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Old 08-17-2004, 11:30 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 130
Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

I know this is weird, but how many people focus on thier diet and how it affects thier ability to train?

I don't mean a big mac and fries half an hour before class either, we all know thats bad news. But I mean more as, do you find eating certian foods makes you feel better in both life and training?

I find that if I eat fast foods over a long period of time "say a week" I dont even want to go to aikido because I get tired and feel very horrible in the stomach. I mean horrible to the point where I don't even want to go to work. I also get a short temper because of what I eat.

However if i eat lots steak and vegtables, I tend to want to train and have alot more ambition.

Im thinking you are what you eat applys here.
If I eat crap food I get crap attitude.

Any seconds? opinions?
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Old 08-17-2004, 02:54 PM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 21
Re: Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

I would definately agree there is a significant corrolation. I feel more physically fit when I "prepare" to train. This preperation begins when I go to bed and continues as I wake up. This means getting proper sleep. My optimum amount of sleep is 9 hours before the day I train. I alternate training days to allow my body to recover, and on these days, I find it best to get 10 hours. Obviously, this is my IDEAL situation, and might not happen very often.

I try to eat a balanced, healty diet. I also believe that drinking water throughout the day is also very important. I have heard there is much disagreement between eastern and western medicine when it comes to the amout of water we should drink. Infact, I have even heard, that if you have a cramp in your side it means that you drank too much/little water, depending on which philosophy you subscribe to. Ironically enough, if you do some research, you will find that the symptoms for underhydration and overhydration (you would think that water bouncing would indicate this, but it doesnt always occur. Please do research before claiming that is is a bogus statement, as contrary to logic as it may seem. Infact, I will try to find and attach the link in about 5 hours) are pretty much identical. How do I know when I am inflicted with one or the other? Beats me. I am no specialist. This is what I have found works for me:

Drink water throughout the day before you train. Since everyone is different and requires a different amount of water, you must let your body tell you what is the right amount. I find that drinking about a half glass every 2 hours is very beneficial to me. Also try to space your meals out evenly so that your body has a chance to digest the food.

When I get to the point where I am about 2 hours before I am going to train, I tend to do better when I eat carbohydrates and sodium. Now I couldnt tell you the difference between a simple and complex carbohydrate, so maybe someone else can fill in that little gap. But I have heard that it helps for exercise and seems to help for me. I know sodium is important though because if you are like me at all, I drench my gi in sweat. Sweat steals a significant amount of much needed sodium from the body. Sports drinks such as gatoraide are supposed to replenish this with electrolytes. Again this is from memory, so if i get the factual portions wrong (versus my anectodal evidence, which is just my opinion through trial and error) please correct me. This would also be the time I take my final significant drink of water, and it should be limited at that.

After this final meal/drink two hours I find that drinking anymore fluids actually makes things worse. I dont feel dehydrated when this happens, its just a lack of energy. This is probably related to the aforementioned soduim/electrolyte thing. While training I take sips of water regularly, usually after every hour (for periods of 2-4 hours usually). The sips should be limited to less than a mouthfull however. Although I do swallow the water, it might be better not to. I have not tested this yet. It would make sense, as boxers spit their out their water when fighting. I would assume it is for similar reasons.

When the training is complete resist the urge to gulp down 3 gallons of water. This is one of the mistakes I make most often. After experimenting, I have found that it is indeed better to space out the water consumption after training as well. You can relate this to doing a short 15 minute walk after the 5 mile run so that your muscles get a chance to "cool off". I have heard the reasons for this ranging from giving your body time to absorb the water, to not diluting the blood stream, as it will allow less nutrients to flow. Whatever the reasons, this is what I found works best.

Not so surprisingly, I found when I drank caffine (SODA and COFFEE! I know, its painful to give up ) it was detrimental to my overall physical performance.

I have been very interested in this subject, as you can tell by my self experements (with me as the guinea pig ), and how I have asked many people for their opinions on the subject. I welcome everyones personal experiences, expecially if there are any medical doctors (eastern and western medicine) in the house. If there are any factual errors please correct them.

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Old 08-17-2004, 03:50 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 890
Re: Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

I find myself unable to sustain a constant healthy diet, so I shift from one mode to another like a pendulum.

Normal food at work, junk food at home (50% of the time).
Soda at work, only purified water at home.

When I started drinking a lot of water I realized that soda and even Snapple actually destabilize the mind ever so subtly.

Last edited by shihonage : 08-17-2004 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 08-17-2004, 06:03 PM   #4
Jordan Steele
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 126
Re: Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

I exercised and ate well before I took Aikido, but my sensei and the senior student are both personal trainers. Our dojo is very fit and health conscious which means better training. Nutrition is not nearly as important as exercise, but what and when you eat can improve daily performance dramatically. Generally a "meats and greens" diet with lots of water is the best way to go. It is a fact that what you eat and when you eat it has various effects. Steak and salad ten minutes before training and you are going to feel sluggish and heavy, but eat the same meal one hour or more before training and you will feel strong and solid. The average male can consume about 2400 calories per day. If you eat healthy food you'll have trouble eating more than that because meat and fruit and vegetables make you feel more full than junk food.
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Old 08-17-2004, 07:38 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 21
Re: Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

Here is a link i found about drinking too much water and the symptoms:


for other articles, just go to google and type "too much water", which is how i found this article.

Most of these articles are based on an article written by Chris Del Mar in the British Medical Journal, volume 328, february 2004 at this link: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/conte...j;328/7438/499

It is just a short article and doesnt seem to present much hard evidence. It seems more research is necessary.

For those who have never heard eastern philosophies on medicine it sounds a little strange, doesnt it? Havent we always been told "you can never drink too much water"?

Something to ponder on.

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Old 08-22-2004, 10:04 AM   #6
Troy's Avatar
Dojo: Yellow Springs Aikido
Location: Fairborn, Oh
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 50
Re: Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

Before I started training in Aikido, I was a fast food, pizza and shicken no vegies kind-of-guy. When I started training, my body said "what the... I need better fule!" My wife-to-be says that you crave what your body needs. And I can say this is true. I have been craving vegies and good stuff as of late. I find japanese food helps this graving a but sence it is better for you the way it is prepaired, but I am slowly trying to eat better.
I do believe if you eat better, you train better, because you are putting better fule into your body.

"The Art of Peace is the religion that is not a religion; it perfects and completes all religions."
-Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 08-25-2004, 08:33 AM   #7
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
Re: Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

Hi all,

It's time for me to brag just a little bit. I've lost 45 lbs. in the past year and kept it off. I'm not following any particular diet, just eating less overall. I eat more, but smaller, meals and try to get some veggies and fruit most days.

The regular exercise from aikido helps, but I've been training for nearly five years and actually managed to gain weight during that time. This indicates to me that my diet was the major problem, not lack of exercise.

Naturally, carrying much less weight around makes things much easier than before, but I've noticed something very interesting related to what I eat and how I train. Before I lost the weight, I had no trouble making it through an evening training session without feeling hungry, even though I hadn't eaten dinner first. Now, I have to have a snack of some sort before training or I have a huge energy low about an hour into class. I find that an apple, banana, or a pack of cheese cracker sandwiches a half hour before class can tide me over.

I find it odd that my energy needs have changed so dramatically, but I'll go with what works.


-Drew Ames
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Old 08-25-2004, 10:30 AM   #8
Dojo: Slough Aikikai
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 130
United Kingdom
Re: Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

Drew Ames wrote:
Hi all,

The regular exercise from aikido helps, but I've been training for nearly five years and actually managed to gain weight during that time. This indicates to me that my diet was the major problem, not lack of exercise.

Don't forget to factor in that you'll have packed on a few pounds of muscle as a result of your training! (Hurrah!)

Currently I'm trying to lose some lard by following the Gi Diet. This involves avoiding overly processed carbohydrates and going for carbs that are absorbed slowly, which gives a nice slow release of energy and avoids those dips in energy levels which make you hungry again. Also, involves 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, so i spend a lot of time eating.
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Old 08-25-2004, 05:39 PM   #9
Stuart Mckay
Dojo: Sakuyoukan - Wishaw
Location: Scotland
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 16
Re: Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

i find it very hard to have a healthy balanced diet, i suppose it doesnt help working in mcdonalds, but after working for 2 or 3 hours all u r thinking is god that salad with chicken aint gonna fill me up, break out the extra large bigmac meal. Then going back to work after eating that is just crap, u feel like crap so ur work is not as efficient now, so i suppose that that can relate to training aswell, i have on occasion forced myself to eat healthly and i feel all the better afterwords for it. As for drinks i have just decided to drink nothing but water and tea from now on, see how that works out for me.

Will let u know in about a month or 2 if its working or not.

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Old 08-28-2004, 11:59 PM   #10
Thomas Ambrose
Thomas Ambrose's Avatar
Location: Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 59
Re: Your Diet And Its impact on your Aikido

As far as food is concerned, I used to be a burger and fries kind of guy. Lately I have noticed that steak, baked potatoes, and subs seem to "work" better with me. I am one of those rare people who is slender and could afford to gain a few pounds (I know most people have the opposite problem ). I think that subs and steak/potatoes offer me higher quality proteins and more complex carbs, and actually allow me to finally put on a bit more mass. Also, the carbs tend to give my body a bit more energy during the training.

I have also noticed that my "Gatorade budget" has increased. I used to have Gatorade around to drink as needed, but now I drink almost completely Gatorade, iced-tea, juice, and of course the occasional beer . I used to get dehydrated after practice, but I devised a little "cocktail" to help out. I mix orange Gatorade with orange juice, about half and half (because i don't like the acidity of OJ) and i sprinkle a small amount of salt in. This will give me some H20 and some potassium, sodium, and chloride (all electrolytes). I also tend to take a small bottle of Gatorade with me to drink immediately after practice so that I can start getting re hydrated before I try to eat anything.

I am not a nutritionist, but I don't think over hydration is an issue unless you really overdue it. Also, you need to take in some sodium or other electrolyte with all the water you bring in, which usually isn't a problem since we tend to over salt our food, and often we "overdue" the salt intake anyway, reversing the problem.

I never eat sooner than two hours before training, unless it is something very light (a few crackers, a fruit, etc). It is kind of strange, very often after training, I stop by Subway and grab a turkey breast on white bread sub-sandwich, with extra cheese! I have also been craving sushi.

Jeff Gros, I am not positive, but I think the difference between complex and simple carbs is as follows. Simple carbs are the basic sugars, like glucose, fructose, etc. Complex carbs are long molecules that are really strings of basic sugars, or polysaccharides (spelling?) usually available in pastas, bread, rice, potatoes, etc.

Ultimately the product in metabolism is the same, you get sugars, and those end up being converted to energy for your body. With polysaccharides, the breakdown of long chains of simple sugars is a slow process, allowing your cells to do it slowly, and therefore the energy can be properly processed and stored in your body. The energy will also be slowly released and available longer. Simple sugars being already processed, broken down, or simple to begin are quickly metabolized, offering a huge excess of energy all at once, or a so-called "sugar-high." This energy is quickly expended and often wasted. Also, the excess energy will be be reprocessed by the body and stored as fat. This is why I think something sweet may be craved immediately after a workout, and eating potatoes, pasta, etc well before a workout tends to work better as the energy is slowly and constantly available.

Not sure if I am 100% correct here, but this is what little I think I learned in my cell-bio and bio-chem classes! It tends to work for me at least! Anyway, that was meant to be my $.02, but I think I accidentally gave my $1.50 Hope you you found it of interest!
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