How to train martial arts while losing weight?

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

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

Martial artists must maintain a constant figure and therefore require a specific diet to adhere to. There are times when they need to bulk up and when they need to lose weight. These two periods require different nutrition. So how do you train martial arts while losing weight?

To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit, but calories give you much-needed energy if you’re a martial artist.

Source: Nguyen Hung / Unsplash

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

What to eat? Train in martial arts while reducing your weight

As I mentioned before, you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. However, not all calories are the same and not all have the same effect. When we say calorie deficit, we mean cut empty calories.

Empty calories are calories that drain the body because they are difficult to digest and offer no nutritional value to the person consuming them. Therefore, one must reduce these calories to a calorie deficit in order to lose weight.

These empty calories are mostly white flour and white sugar, and they offer no energy, but on the contrary, they drain the body and take away its strength.

bowl of sugar
White sugar is considered an empty calorie, avoid it.

So, instead of having carbohydrate-rich foods, you should choose foods rich in protein and fiber to speed up your metabolism. There is also something called putting the body into “flush mode”, where water consumption is very high for the first few days.

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

Read more: Which is better? Carbohydrates or proteins for endurance?

During this period, the body has already been flushed, and water consumption is reduced. To compensate, the martial artist increase the consumption of leafy greens to oxygenate the body, hydrate the body and increase the amount of protein.

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

The day before the weigh-in, they go 24 hours without food but only with water, which is the last stage of the weight loss process. The body becomes dehydrated and the goal is to have as little body fat as possible between skin and muscle, which is especially important for UFC weight classes.

Source: Ameya Sawant / Unsplash

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

What is the impact of weight on martial arts training?

After a period of weight loss, which is usually relatively short, martial artists feel weaker than usual as they lose weight rapidly, which puts considerable strain on the body. Therefore, they do not have the strength to train as much as before the process.

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

The post-weight loss period also requires a more gentle nutritional approach, which means they need to start warming their stomachs gradually. The first thing to do is to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes. The second step is to eat food in the form of shakes, as solid food would damage the martial artist’s digestive tract.


Who is the author? Laura is a frequent traveler who enjoys kickboxing and hiking. She is particularly curious about nutrition and cooking, which is why she started the blog juliescafebakery.com