Ultimate Training: Before you begin

Ultimate Training

As a martial artist, you understand the importance of physical fitness. Without at least a basic level of fitness, participation in the physically demanding training of martial arts is prohibitive. You already know that beyond achievement in training, exercise also benefits your life through stress reduction, weight management, better sleep and digestion, higher energy levels, and decreased risk of injury. But you want to push past the basics, to excel in your art and reach your full potential. Here are a few

guidelines that can help you in your quest to achieve Ultimate Fitness.

Warm-Up
It is essential that you always warm up before every workout. In it's normal, cool state, your body cannot function dynamically and reach full flexibility. By spending ten to twenty minutes in gross motor activity like aerobics, you can significantly reduce your risk of injury and increase the effectiveness of your workout. Warm-ups generally raise the body temperature about two degrees, and have the following physiological effects:

  1. Decrease in muscle viscosity (stickiness)
  2. Increased oxygen supply
  3. Decrease in lactic acid
  4. Increase in flexibility and mechanical efficiency
  5. Increase in cardiovascular response and capacity
Remember, the better you warm up, the better you perform. If you think you don't have the time to warm-up, consider the rehabilitation time needed to heal a torn muscle or ligament.

Lifestyle Changes
In addition to in-class training, there are a number of life-style changes you may need to make to maintain your overall desired level of fitness:

  1. Exercise year round
  2. Relax during exercise and in your daily life
  3. Don't overtrain
  4. Eat a balanced diet
  5. Maintain a reasonable weight
  6. Don't smoke or abuse drugs
  7. Consume alcohol only in moderation (healthy adults only)
  8. Relieve stress regularly

Train At Your Own Pace
Remember that exercise has varying degrees of effectiveness, and that all individuals start at different levels and progress according to their own limitations. Rather than comparing yourself with your classmates, compare your present self with where you were one month or six months ago. Work towards realistic goals, and recognize your own progress.

Listen To Your Body

Ultimate Training
Before you begin training, have a physical exam to determine that you are physically fit enough to train without limitations. If your doctor expresses concerns or sets limits on your exercise program, stay within those limits. The goal of exercise is to enhance your body, not damage it. Remember never to train when you are sick or injured, and always listen to your body -- it doesn't lie.

In future articles we'll look at other ways to enhance training, and specific exercises designed to maximize your power, speed, flexibility, and endurance.