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Health and Fitness Blog

Welcome to our blog, where we discuss current events from the fitness world. We post various new and exciting exercises you can try at home. We discuss different diet plans and their advantages and disadvantages. We also discuss the lives and teachings some of the most influential health and fitness gurus like Arnold Schwartzeneger and Bruce Lee.

The purpose of this blog is to get you thinking about your own fitness journey and to get to know your own body. We encourage everone to do their own research on top of reading this blog so you can gather as much knowledge as possible.


2/21/20

Competition Preperation
 

Fitness
 

First and foremost, a few weeks before the competition should be dedicated to increasing endurance. In Tae Kwon-Do, fights usually last 2 minutes for coloured belts, and sometimes two, two-minute rounds for black belts.

You can never predict the size of your category on the day of the competition; therefore you have to prepare for the worst case scenario. Assume a big category of 32 fighters including yourself, this means five rounds for you if you reach the final. That means if you are a coloured belt, you need to be fit enough for ten minutes of sparring, and if you are a black belt, it is twenty minutes.

The next step is crucial. You need to work yourself harder at training, than what you will put out on the day of the competition. This can be done in many ways.

1.      At the competition you will have a break between fights. Hence, when you are training in the gym, take these breaks out. A two-minute round with the punch bag should be followed by a minute jog, instead of a rest, before another punchbag round and so on. This way your body is constantly using energy and your stamina will improve considerably. And once you’re in the ring, your body will be able to recover between fights much faster as it is not used to having a rest between sparring sessions.

2.      An alternative method would be to set the time for a round to 3 minutes. Try and keep the intensity high throughout. Your body will get used to this time, and once you are competing, you will find that you still have plenty of energy at the end of the round to collect those last precious points when your opponent is tired.

3.      For optimal results, you should combine these two methods to keep your body guessing. Using legs gets much more tiring than punching, so try and use your legs a lot more during training.

4.      Pad drills are very important. Try and learn at least five different combinations well running up to the fight, so you can use varied attacks and keep surprising your opponent.

 

Nutrition
 

It is important to maintain a high protein consumption during pre-competition preparation, as you will be doing a lot of cardio and you do not want your body to start breaking down your muscle tissue to use as energy.

A high carb diet is also recommended as this will fuel your workouts and it replenishes your glycogen levels and your body will tap into those supplies when needed, as opposed to muscle tissue. An important aspect that most people overlook is not replenishing your bodies salt levels. Sports drinks contain lots of minerals and will give you some energy back, so it is wise to consume drinks that contain electrolytes so you can replace the salts lost from sweating.

The day of the competition, you do not want to overhydrate yourself, or bloat yourself with food that is difficult to digest. Keep sipping small amounts of water during the day. Bananas are one of the greatest sources of carbs along with brown rice and pasta and should be consumed every three hours with some protein in moderate amounts leading up to the fight.

You want to have your last carb meal about three hours before the fight. An hour before the fight is a good time for some fruit juice, and a banana with fruit yogurt, and peanut butter with honey to provide some quick energy.

Avoid eating fatty meats and other high fat content foods as this will  fire up your metabolism, and your body will focus most of its energy on digestion and not enough will be spared for your fight. This is sometimes called a food coma and should be avoided as it can make you feel tired and lethargic and have a bad impact on your mood and motivation before the fight.

Good Luck!


Diet vs. Exercise

You’ve all heard this before; weight is dependent on the ratio of calories in to calories out. Is it really that simple though? Are ten calories of fat as easy to burn as ten calories of carbs?

Basic chemistry dictates that different molecules and compounds exhibit different behaviors. Therefore we can assume that a fat molecule will require different amounts of energy to break down than a much simpler carbohydrate molecule like glucose. This difference can also be seen between fructose and glucose, two very structurally similar chemicals. Gram for gram they provide the same amount of energy, however they are metabolised by the body in different ways. Fructose is more difficult to metabolise as only the liver is capable of doing so, as opposed to glucose where almost all of the bodily tissues are capable of metabolising the compound. Hence the body has to use up more recources when fructose is ingested.

This lazy oversimplification of complex biological processes might be leading us further down the abyss of the current obesity crisis. Having said all this about calorie counting, it is still a useful tool to help us stay fit as long as we are aware that it is not the be all and end all of staying healthy.

For the first time in modern history, the newest generations might not be healthier than the one before them. Life expectancy is beggining to decline and this can be seen in the rise of obesity rates and mental health issues. As a result of this, people need to be better educated in order to stop this problem from getting worse.

Cultures accross the world have different eating habits. For example, the inuit diet consists of high fat and high protein foods since their cold and icy environemnt can not accomodate the growth of crops. They hunt fish, birds and land animals such as the caribou and their diet is not detrimental to their life expectancy. The japanese in Okinawa had a really high carbohydrate diet after the second world war, consuming a diet of mainly sweet potatoes due to their ability to grow in their climate. They too did not suffer from nutrinional definciencies.

The point of this is that it is your individual body, and you might be genetacilly predisposed to a certain diet, but it is up to you to discover what that is. No amount of research papers will give you the answer. A good way to discover what is good for your body is to try varying diets for prolonged amounts of time, depending on what your end goal is, whether it is fat loss or muscle gain. While trying these diets, it is also important to go to the doctors and get blood tests and cholesterol checks to ensure the diet will not harm you.

A good way to start  experimenting is to buy scales and weigh out your food intake without changing your eating habits. Write down how much protein, fats and carbohydrates you consume, and then get an average number for these after a couple of weeks. Once you get your average calorie intake per day, you can start to alter the amount of these macronutrients, keeping the total number of calories the same. This is a lengthy process and patience is needed but the knowledge you gain is worth it in the long run.

The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) for an average man sits at around 1,800 calories. These are the calories used up by the body to accomplish its most basic life sustaining functions. In other words, the calories burned by your body if you stayed in your bed all day and all night without moving. Any calories above this have to be burned off through physical movement and exercise. If your intake is 3000 calories and your body uses up 1,800 calories for metabolic purposes, through exercise you will have to burn 1,200 just to maintain your weight. That is a few long and sweaty hours on the treadmill every single day.

Hence a healthy lifestyle does not start with signing up to the gym and going once or twice a week. Without the right diet no amount of exercise will make you healthy. It instead starts at the dinner table, where a healthy diet can mean that your gym sessions can be more enjoyable, less intense and hence more efficient.