In my many travels as a martial artist and an applied sports scientist plus from other martial artists on this board the same question is posed to me in one way or another.
"how can i retain/gain mass despite all the cardio my martial arts training adds into my regime."
The ripped martial artist we see on TV and films has alot to do with the idea martial artists have to be overtly muscular. thats not to say such a physique is impossible for a martial artist with a sound weight training regime.
but in reply to the possiblity of gaining/maintaining mass while partaking large amounts of cardio, there are no hard and fast answer to this because it depends on the individual to an extent e.g body type, metabolism, diet and training intensity.
In my opinion one of the major draw backs of martial artists is their mind set "must train hard all the time." Even ive been a victim of this way of thinking. Over training is not uncommon, even bruce lee once said "id rather over train than under train". This is not most advisable approach.
Most martial artists dont give them selves enough time to recouperate more rest is definatly needed as part of training program. But on top of this there are suppliments that can revert the apparent the lack of gains.
Glutamine the over looked suppliment is an unbeatable addition for matial artists. From personal usage and trails at the university of teesside taekwondo club on specific fight team memebers, plus review of much literature and studies ive found it can aid the catabolic effects of intense cardio when coupled with a good diet.
Glutamine is classified as a nonessential amino acid since it can be readily synthesized by various tissues such as the skeletal muscles, liver, and adipose tissue. However, research indicates that glutamine is conditionally essential when the metabolic demand for glutamine exceeds the amount available in the free glutamine pool and that which can be provided by de novo synthesis.
During exercise or other times of metabolic stress (e.g. fasting, severe injury, illness, etc.), the demand for plasma glutamine markedly increases
Glutamine supplementation may promote nitrogen retention (a positive nitrogen balance) and prevent the loss of muscle protein.
Furthermore, by enhancing plasma concentrations of glutamine, the demand for free glutamine by other tissues and cells (e.g. the small intestine and immune cells) is attenuated and thus the release of glutamine from muscle tissues is reduced
therefore the supplimentation of glutamine is advantagous the martial artist who trains so frequently at high intensity. but please do take time off now and again.
thanks for reading Will Mishima, 2nd Dan TKD
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Rennie MJ, MacLennan PA, Hundal HS, Weryk B, Smith K, Taylor PM, Egan C, Watt PW. Skeletal muscle glutamine transport, intramuscular glutamine concentration, and muscle-protein turnover. Metabolism. 1989;38(8 Suppl 1):47-51.
Stehle P, Zander J, Mertes N, Albers S, Puchstein C, Lawin P, Furst P. Effect of parenteral glutamine peptide supplements on muscle glutamine loss and nitrogen balance after major surgery. Lancet. 1989;1:231-3.
Groff J, Gropper S, Hunt S. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism Second Edition. St. Paul, MN:West Publishing Company.1995.