How Does Nutrition Play a Role in Self Defense Training?

By on April 20, 2012

I am often asked by students or anyone that knows I am a self defense instructor about my personal nutrition plan and what I would recommend for them. In this article I am going to cover what I personally think about nutrition and a bit about fitness.

My Personal Nutrition Plan

Growing up in Florida, my parents (1 being American and 1 being Cuban) always had loads of food on the table. Everything from Meat and rice to fruits and veggies. My mom was always the “you need to eat more” type of mom. And my dad was overweight and ate anything and everything. But being in self defense / martial arts my whole life I realized that I could not scarf down the amount of food that would be fit for an entire family all at one go. Even though that is what they wanted me to do. If I did that, I would have been the “biggest” martial artist ever.

When I was 16 to around 20 years old my weight and body pretty much stayed the same. I was 5 foot 6 1/2, 145lbs – 150lbs, and 4%-5% body fat. But I was also training 10-15 hours PER DAY. That included 4-5 hours of gym time and the rest training in martial arts.

Fast forward

From about 24 years old till now, my weight had steadily increased. As well did my muscle size. I could never gain bulk back in the day. But I eventually added about 20 more pounds of muscle on my frame. And since then my nutrition “plan” consisted of whatever I felt like eating within moderation. So as a result, I also gained around 25 pounds of fat as well. At my max weight, I totalled 194lbs on average. And once I swear it tipped at 201. I thought I broke the scale, no kidding.

Now at 35 years old, I had to do something about it. I did not “look” fat. But I was overweight for sure. I had to stop denying it.

Enter The Primal Blueprint

I have to say first that I have never been a fan of diets. But I was so intrigued by this book that I just had to read it all the way through. The book The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson is an amazing read. If you don’t have it already, GET IT.

I bought the book and when I got it I could not put it down for anything. I found myself not getting out of bed just to read more.

After I finished reading the book (total time: 11 hours – I know, I am a slow reader) I immediately went to my pantry and threw out anything that was not on the diet. Now I know what you are asking, whats on the diet? Right? Well here it is.

  1. No Grains. This includes all bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading.
  2. No Processed foods. ie CRAP
  3. No Beans (legumes).
  4. No drinking your calories. This means only Water, Teas, and coffee.
  5. Can Eat: Lean Protein. This includes Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Lean Beef, Pork, Eggs, etc. You can even eat game type meat.
  6. Can Eat: Veggies. With veggies you can eat all you can find.
  7. Can Eat: Fruits. All you want.
  8. Can Eat: Nuts & Seeds. Except for Peanuts (they are legumes)
  9. Can eat Oils. Things like Coconut oil, Ghee (clarified butter), etc.  NOT Vegetable oils.

And that is about it. You can eat pretty much as much as you want of the above “Can Eat” items but you are going to want to keep it simple in my opinion. Pick 4-5 different meals and just stick with that. I find it much easier to stick with the diet knowing that I only have 5 meals to choose from.

But wait theres more:

I forgot to mention that you can break all the rules once in a while. And you know what, It actually helps me lose MORE weight. It is crazy but it works.

So what does this have to do with Self Defense?

Well from my perspective, you need to be able to defend yourself in the event you have to get physical. And if you are not in shape it is going to take much more out of you. With good nutrition and exercise you will be able to train longer, harder and/or at higher intensity. Precisely what you need. Not to mention it will have effects over the rest of your life as well. Not just your self defense training.

For more information on the Primal Blueprint you can check out Mark’s blog or purchase the book over at Amazon 
Stay Primal, my friends!
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STAY PRIMAL, my friends

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About Coach Karma

Coach Karma L Senge has been in Personal Protection / Self Defense as well as the Fitness & Nutrition world for over 31 years now and continually teaches around the world. He has held seminars for many government agencies around the world as well as seminars for civilians. He currently teaches seminars in the United States, Europe, India, and throughout Central America. As well has oversees many training groups around the world.
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Bob M
Bob M

Great Article Mate! I to am on the 4 hour body diet. I have lost 10 pounds in the last week and a half

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith

Awesome Mate! The 4-Hour Body diet and the Primal Diet are pretty close to the same thing with some minor differences. I have tried both and I find I loose weight and feel better on the Primal Blueprint diet.

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