What's Karate got to do with Nutrition Coaching?

How does being a 2nd degree black belt in Karate and Kyusho Jitsu help me as a nutrition coach?

Those of you that know me know I used to do karate and run a karate club and what has this got to do with coaching weight loss you may ask.

To get a Goshin Ryu Karate black belt takes about 4 years, then to confirm that and attain your 1st degree black belt another year. To then grade to provisional 2nd dan was another 2 years then another year on top of that to achieve confirmed 2nd degree. To then grade to 3rd dan was another 3 years, unfortunately things got in the way and I was unable to grade to 3rd dan.  So that’s a total of 8 years to grade to 2nd dan and 11 years for 3rd.

Grading through the belt colours requires a certain number of classes before you are allowed to grade amounting to hundreds and hundreds of classes to achieve a black belt. From 1st kyu brown to black alone required 120 classes, plus 60 sparring classes and 12 months consistent training.

How many punches, kicks, throws and kata’s do you think I had to do to get my black belt?

Bruce Lee said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10 000 kicks once but the man that has practiced 1 kick 10 000 times”. Why all the repetition? A couple of reasons. Because when you need to defend yourself it’s instinctive but most importantly martial arts develops a desire for mastery, not perfection. To be able to truly master not just techniques but your mind and body as well.

How many times did I do the white belt kata? Thousands. It was not uncommon to spend hours just refining one move of a higher belt kata.

So how does this relate to getting the weight off and becoming healthy?

Well to really learn new nutrition habits takes time, being given a meal plan soon fails as you drive home and decide to grab some take away like you do every other Wednesday night. Learning new habits is a journey of mastery. The dictionary defines Mastery as power or control over something, in this case your eating habits.

There is a bit to learn about protein, carbs and fats of course. So, when your friend tells you that they lost 3kg in a week of going low carb you will know that this is mostly water not fat and as soon as they eat carbs again the weight/water will come back. You will have the ninja skills to know what to do when you go out to dinner, the skills to tear apart the menu apart and be a winner not the person that regrets their meal choices the next day.

You know that eating for a body transformation is way different to just dieting right? On a diet you calorie restrict, lose water, fat but more importantly you lose muscle, the most metabolically active tissue in the body. What does that mean? Muscle is where you burn fat, it uses a lot of energy to maintain meaning it burns calories 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you don’t sustain it with calories and protein you lose it. Have you ever seen any starving people that are ripped?

This is why yoyo dieters keep getting heavier and heavier, they lose that valuable muscle with each diet, and reduce their metabolic rate.

What about those pesky carbs? You learn about carbs and why they are important and when to consume them for optimal health. The reason your friend on a low carb diet can’t think straight is because the brain needs carbs to function. (UNLESS you are on a ketogenic diet- which is very hard to get accurate and maintain for the average punter).

Like martial arts you learn about yourself, what your strengths and weaknesses are. What is it about you as a person, your pains, your achievements what your super powers are. If you know what makes you tick you have won the battle. If you can navigate the ups and downs of life without turning to food as an emotional fix, you’re winning.

It’s about changing your mindset, finding pleasure in the desire of mastery. The way you treat one thing in your life tends to reflect how you treat everything in your life. If doing lessons and habits consistently is a chore then my guess is work and most other things in your life are viewed as chores as well.

If you want your black belt in health you have to do the work. But there is satisfaction to be found in becoming masterful. Fulfillment and confidence await you when you’ve done the work, and achieved your goal.

Not everyone that begins Karate gets a black belt, not many people that start a lifestyle/diet change stick with it either. Don’t be a quitter, be the master of your health.