Elite Martial Arts and Fitness recognizes that life is about balance. Staying fit and exercising is great, but eating well is part of the equation too. Although many karate classes are worthy of being chased down by a beer (or two), doing that every time will likely have some negative outcomes (beer bellies). We’ve compiled some basic guidelines to help you maximize the benefits of your workouts and to feel fantastic!

Hydration

Imagine a really dirty kitchen sink, filled with gross bits of food from a massive dinner party. Now try to clean it by using ONLY soap. There’s likely some movement, but not a lot of progress, is there? What’s the missing ingredient to get the sink REALLY clean? Water. WATER. WATER!!

Imagine our bodies are the kitchen sink. We can fill our bodies with salad, vitamins, protein, gluten-free baking, and kale, but nothing will work properly without sufficient hydration.

What’s involved with proper hydration? Water. Not coffee. Not tea. Not your protein shake. Water. Even though we quench our thirst with these beverages, we don’t get the full benefits of hydration any time we add something like tea, lemon or sugar. These delicious additions to our drinks trick our bodies into thinking it’s food instead of water so it’s not processed the same way.

Did you know that every cup of coffee we consume, it puts us in a deficit for two cups of water?

8 cups a day?

It’s a good goal. Water is good for you! Why not drink it all the time? Good rule of thumb is to take your weight and divide it in half – that’s how may ounces of water you ought to have per day. Make sure to compensate for all those trips through Tim Horton’s drive-thru.

Juice Boxes and Pop

They’re delicious. We get it. Instead of juice though, get your fruit from real fruit and your hydration from water. You’ll feel better for it. And pop? It’s not a drink, it’s a dessert. It’s ok to treat yourself once in a while, but remember that it’s not a thirst quencher, it’s an indulgence.

 

Calories & Special Diets

Low-Calorie, No-Carbs, High-Protein, Low-Fat, Atkins, Paleo, South Beach…regardless of what diet works (or doesn’t work for you), remember that if you are trying to lose weight it’s typically as simple as putting out more than you take in. What does that mean? Try burning more calories than you consume. Be conscious of what you eat. Know that sometimes your diet will be exemplary and other times it may not be Instagram-worthy.  That’s ok. Try your best each and every time, and if there’s a slip up, get back to staying on task the next day. Start with that concept and if you need to tailor it further to maximize fitness goals, seek good advice. Remember, there is more to life than being thin – it’s more important to feel strong, vibrant, and confident.

Eating Out

Going to a friend’s house for dinner and you’re concerned about what they’ll be serving? Bring an offering of a fresh salad or vegetable dish to share.

Unless there’s a serious allergy or a sensitivity, eat what’s put in front of you. People put a lot of effort into entertaining. Be appreciative and adjust portions. With a healthy diet filled with nutritious meals and an active lifestyle every other day of the week, it’s ok to say ‘yes’ to the homemade BBQ ribs one in a while.

At a restaurant? Thanks to the Ontario government, there’s nutrition information everywhere. Read it and treat yourself to some scrumptious fresh food.

Eat local. If you are selecting a restaurant for a Friday night date, try a restaurant that specializes in recipes that uses fresh and local produce. Everyone benefits.

Fitness and Busy Lives

If we don’t have our health, we have nothing. We know…we are BUSY! Find time to take care of yourself. Try exercising regularly. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either. Find some exercises you can do while completing some mundane tasks – like walking the dog more,  balancing on one leg while you’re doing the dishes, or flexing abs while at your desk. It CAN be done. And…if you’re having a difficult time finding motivation, join a fitness class or even better – a karate class! Be encouraged by some really remarkable instructors and even more remarkable classmates.

Bottom line? Drink, eat, and be merry.