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How to Train Martial Arts While Cutting Weight?

Useful information, even if you are not into martial arts training.

Find out how to train martial arts while cutting weight. Even if you are not considering becoming a martial artist, this article still provides valuable information that you can use for your fitness purposes.

Martial arts is more than just a physical activity. It requires a good amount of physical strength and an extraordinary amount of mental discipline. Martial arts is a lifestyle and involves specific nutrition, as not all foods are suitable for your body to work like that. 

Martial artists must maintain a constant figure and therefore require a specific diet to adhere to. There are periods when they need to bulk up and when they need to cut weight. Both of these times call for different nutrition. So, how to train martial arts while cutting weight? 

To cut weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit, but calories give you energy, which you need very much if you are a martial artist. 

Source: Nguyen Hung / Unsplash

In the following paragraphs, I will discuss how to train martial arts while cutting weight. I will also provide the rationale behind those nutrition decisions and why you can apply them even if you are not a martial artist. 

What To Eat? Train Martial Arts While Cutting Weight

As I already mentioned, you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. However, not all calories are the same, and not all of them have the same effect. When we say calorie deficit, that means cutting the empty calories

Empty calories are calories that drain the body as they are hard to digest and don’t offer any nutritional value to the person consuming them. Therefore, one needs to cut those calories to a calorie deficit to lose weight. 

Those empty calories are mainly white flour and white sugar, and they don’t offer any energy, but just the opposite, they drain the body and take away its strength. 

bowl of sugar
White sugar is considered empty calories – stay away from it.

So instead of having carb-rich food, you need to opt for protein and fibre-rich food to speed up your metabolism. There is also something called bringing the body into a “flush mode,” where the water intake is very high during the first few days. 

After that, there is a low-carb, high-protein period, and that is when you have a total carb intake of 50 grams, whereby you increase your protein intake. Carbs are essential, even in a weight loss process, as they are an energy source, and zero carbs will do you no good as you won’t be able to lift a finger, especially with a low-fat diet. 

Read More: Which is better? Carbs or Protein for Endurance?

During this period, the body has already been flushed, and the water intake is decreased. To compensate, the martial artist would increase the intake of leafy greens to oxygenize the body, hydrate the organism, and boost the protein amount

In addition, the amount of eggs and poultry is also increased, whereby salt is avoided. Salt absorbs water and dehydrates the body, which is not what you want in a weight loss period as a martial artist. 

On the day before weigh-in, they spend 24 hours with no food but only water, which is the final stage of the weight loss process. The body dehydrates, and the goal is to have as little body fat between the skin and the muscle as possible, which is especially important for UFC weight classes

Source: Ameya Sawant / Unsplash

The weight loss period is usually short, which is a huge downside, as you would have to lose a significant amount of weight in a short period, so it is indeed a struggle. 

How Does Weight Impact Martial Arts Training?

After a weight loss period, which is typically relatively short, martial artists feel weaker than usual as they lose weight quickly, which significantly strains the body. Therefore, they don’t have the strength to train as much as they did before the process. 

Therefore, many combat sports can be called intermittent, with periods of high-intensity training followed by low-intensity training. This cycle follows the nutrition styles of martial artists. 

The period after the weight loss also requires a gentler nutrition approach, meaning they need to start warming up their stomachs gradually. The first thing to do is rehydration and replenish the electrolytes. The second step is eating food in the form of shakes, as solid food would damage the digestive tract of the martial artist. 


Who is the author? Laura is a frequent traveller who enjoys kickbox and hiking. She is especially curious about nutrition and cooking, and that’s why she started the blog juliescafebakery.com

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