by Joseph Spainhour
A car needs fuel to operate, so does the human body. The fuel that we use is called food and the way that food is broken down and used as energy is called nutrition. The following paragraphs will delve into the ideas behind proper nutrition and how it interacts with the students Taekwondo training.
Nutrition, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is the process of nourishing or being nourished, especially the process by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and for replacement of tissues. Proper Nutrition is the process by which we give our bodies all of the minerals and nutrients that it needs in order to operate at its highest level of functionality. Much like how a guitarist tunes his instrument before he plays, proper nutrition can let you get the most out of your body.
Determining your level of proper nutrition is a simple task. The United States Department of Agriculture has put together a system called the food pyramid that lets you see at a glance if your meals contain the proper combinations of food for healthy living.
According to their website www.mypyramid.com a healthy diet is one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
Proper nutrition should be maintained at all times. This is difficult in the every day world where convenience sometimes takes the place of common sense. The Art of Ho-AM Taekwondo Student Manual has several good choices and tips for maintaining a healthy diet. See chapter 5 for more information.
Now that we know what constitutes a health diet and how we can maintain proper nutrition, how will that aid us in our Taekwondo journey? To start with, every time you move a muscle you are exerting a force. In order to exert that force your body has to have enough energy to perform the task. Proper nutrition ensures that you will have enough energy when the time comes to move that muscle, to perform that block, or to break that board.
In conclusion, proper nutrition is very important to the Taekwondo student as well as any other athlete. It is the fuel which we burn in order to perform our wonderful art.
As martial artists we should strive to maintain a high level of energy, not only to perform in class, but out side of it as well.