In our quest for optimal health and sports performance, many of us are eager to find that magic ingredient: the perfect diet. Is there such a thing? And what is in fact the best diet for karate? Let’s find out.
Before I answer that, I’m going to ask you another question:
What foods do you actually enjoy eating?
This may surprise you, that I’m asking you that. Many nutrition-related videos and articles focus on what you should be eating, and neglect to find out whether you actually enjoy eating those foods. They focus on the diet that is “the best” for everyone, regardless of their individuality. And proponents of an ideal “karate diet” argue that their particular combination of foods are a one size fits all perfect for all martial artists. That a traditional Okinawan diet, for instance, should be adopted by every martial artist in the world.
I want to make something clear: There is no one way of eating, or nutrition formula, or food combination that is ideal for everyone all the time. People are diverse, with different body compositions, different food preferences, different budgets, different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, different ages, different lifestyles, and different fitness levels. One size does not fit all. One diet is not perfect for everyone. A diet that works for one person or one group, does not necessarily work for any other person or group. A traditional Okinawan diet might be great for someone from Okinawa, but might be completely inappropriate for someone whose ancestors derive from the Austrian Alps, for instance.
Reality check: people are different.
Yeah, I know. Mind blown, right? 😉
The cool part about this though? And the thing that’s relevant for you? The human body can adapt to a variety of diets and a variety of ways of eating. Research actually suggests that the ideal diet is the one that you can commit to and stick with, so long as basic nutritional requirements are met. So if you want to try that traditional “karate” diet, sure. Go for it. It might work for you. But… it might not. And so might a variety of other ways of eating.
So I’m going to ask you again: what does that look like for you? What type of foods do you like? What type of diet do you prefer? Vegetarian? Vegan? Omnivorous? Mediterranean? Paleo? Keto? High carb? High fat? Anything goes? Balanced?
What is your preferred diet? What foods do you like to eat? And what foods make you look and feel and function your best?
That is the diet that’s right for you.
What is your preferred diet? What do you enjoy eating? And what foods help you look, feel, and function your best? Please comment below.
Here are some great books to help you improve your habits, focus, and mental game, so you can kick ass at karate:
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