I'm currently getting ready for a TKD tournament in September (ITF-based, sport/light contact sparring and forms). As part of the training, I'm trying to ensure that I'm keeping a diet that maintains a proper energy level for competition/training as well as allowing for healing from the rigors of everyday training. My current training routine consists of:

  • Calisthenics (daily; 10-20 minutes)
  • Technique Drills (daily; 15-30 minutes)
  • Strength/Weight Lifting (3/week; 20 minutes)
  • Sparring (3-5/week; 20-40 minutes)
  • Tabata interval runs (2/week)
  • Jogging (1-2/week; 30 minutes)

All training is at full intensity, though there tend to breaks between sets during weight lifting (2-3 minutes). While no plan can meet the needs of every martial artist, it seems like there should be some basic outline that is more broadly applicable. So the question is this, Is there a generally accepted diet for competition martial arts and if so, what is it?

  • 2
    Your question as it is, is a bit vague. Can you elaborate more on the types of workouts you are doing, like sprints, weights, etc? A more detailed workout schedule would more than likely produce better results.
    – JohnP
    Jul 31, 2012 at 4:48
  • 1
    More specificity is better than asking a general and broad question. Is this something inherent to martial arts (or a particular one)? The way it is currently asked makes it sound like the Physical Fitness Stack Exchange would be a better outlet for this type of question.
    – user15
    Jul 31, 2012 at 11:36
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    how often are you training? how long are your training sessions? how intense? do you have any dietary restrictions? I'm not a nutritionist, but i could write a novel on this topic, just need more details
    – Patricia
    Jul 31, 2012 at 12:58
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    It shouldn't happen much if you're doing light contact, but I have this vague notion in the back of my head that one of the B vitamins is important for recovering from bruises more quickly.
    – Robin Ashe
    Jul 31, 2012 at 16:51
  • Eat real food, might go a little more carb heavy in the form of sweet potatoes and yams. Creatine Monohydrate can help with recovery. And get plenty of sleep. Jul 31, 2012 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


Your workout routine as it stands isn't unusual in any respect. For nutrition, I would go with the maxim of shopping the outside edges of the store, i.e. lean meats, veggies, fruits, whole grains, etc. I'm not going to recommend a ratio of the carb/protein/fats, other than to say you should be getting around 1.5 - 2 grams protein/kg per day to support the lifting and intensity work, and try to get your fats/oils from healthy or natural sources.

During your sparring/technique drills where you are likely sweating heavily, I'd go with a low calorie electrolyte replacement drink, and after your endurance work, I recommend chocolate milk for a recovery drink. (Those are my personal recommendations, if you have conditions such as lactose intolerance or other sensitivity, adjust as needed).

Figure out your calorie needs, adjust as needed to gain/lose/maintain, and you should be fine with a basic, healthy nutrition plan. A multivitamin might be an ok idea, but if your nutrition plan is sound, you most likely don't need it.


It's good that you're looking at it now, settle on something that works for you quickly, and then don't change it. One of the worst things you could do with tournament diet is change it up a week before your tournament and find something disagrees with you. Even if technically something you're eating is 'bad' for you, if you're used to it you at least won't run into any nasty surprises.

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