Sports nutrition for Krav Maga – Pre training

The young kravist looked pale and unsteady. He complained of  fatigue & nausea, he said he was feeling faint. As a coach you always worry, whether is this something serious or poor nutrition.  The cause is usually the same.  Skipping food then attending a Krav Maga class.


We get a lot of questions about sports nutrition for Krav Maga. Today we are looking as pre training nutrition, things to eat in the hour before training.

Remember If you don’t eat right, you can’t train right…

Pre training nutrition

There are 2 popular but conflicting models of sports nutrition. One involves the consumption of carbohydrates to fuel athletic training, This is the most widely practiced model of nutrition. The second, a more radical approach is that of paleo nutrition which overlaps with the low carb, or ketogenic diet movement – eg Barry Sears Zone diet. This is becoming more popular and will be subject to a further article.

Pre training nutrition concerns the consumption of sufficient nutrients to power the body through a pre arranged conditioning session, without taking excessive supplies adding to fat storage. The good news is that it’s easier than it sounds.  For now we will look at the more conventional sports model of carbohydrate ‘powered’ training.

Why is pre training nutrition important?

Training is powered by carbohydrate stored in large muscle groups of the body, and your liver.  Carbohydrate is stored in the body in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is fast to access,  easy for the body to metabolise in training but is in limited supply.  Think of the fuel tank in your car. Like your fuel tank, storage is limited. Eat to much, and its stored as fat, not glycogen.

Glycogen is used to power muscular activty for Krav Maga

Glycogen is used to power muscular activity and stored in the liver and major muscles – however the supply is limited.


The objective of pre training nutrition is to have sufficient glycogen available to fuel training, or to top up  carbs where where needed. Taking to much carbohydrate on board will leave you feeling sluggish and bloated – again not condusive to good training.

The objective of pre training nutrition is to eat to power effective training without adding additional fat stores to the body 


What happens if I dont eat enough before Krav Maga class

As your body becomes glycogen depleted, you begin a process called Catabolism [Catabolism] Maraton runners call this catabolic process ‘Hitting the wall’.

You body defaults to catabolism to continue powering your muscles during training, however catabolism is slower and less efficient the using glycogen to power physical activity. This leaves a ‘drag’ between supply and demand of energy for movement. The net result is exhaustion, reduced performance and eventually nausea and dizzyness.

Endurance athletes frequently train in a catabolic state as they are using repetitive, rythmic movement and typre 1 muscle fibre. Combat athletes like Kravists use more dynamic training for shorter periods that places more emphasise on type 2b muscle fibre and a mix of aerobic and anaerobic training.

Neither anerobic training, nor type 2b muscle fibre functions well without glycogen so the body grinds to an unpleasant halt. This issue becomes significant when training for longer than 90 minutes or so and it can become very pronounced when training for 6 hours or so at a Krav Maga Bootcamp or Grading.

How can I avoid  ‘Hitting the wall’

Here are a few way to manage pre training nutrition to avoid this slump in performance.

•Dietary carbohydrate – Ensure your daily diet provides an ample supply of carbohydrate at all times, with around 60% or more of calories from carbohydrates (unprocessed, whole grain breads, pasta and cereals, rice, corn, all types of fruits and vegetables, beans, peas and lentils). If you train in the evenings, make sure you consume sufficient carbohydrate both at breakfast and lunchtime.

• Carbohydrate drinks: For longer (60+ minutes) or more intense training sessions, you should consume 500-1000mls of a 6% carbohydrate drink (around 60 grams of carbohydrate per litre of water) each hour during training. This will help to reduce the extent of carbohydrate depletion during exercise.

Pre training snacks (1 hr before) – Eat something light 60 minutes or so prior to training.  Light snacks could include:

banana is a great pre krav maga training snack

banana is a great pre krav maga training snack

Banana:  they are packed with potassium, which aids in maintaining nerve and muscle function. The body doesn’t store potassium for very long, so a medium banana before a class will help keep nutrient levels high.

Oats: Oats are full of fiber, which means they gradually release carbohydrates into your bloodstream. (But they’re not so full of fiber that they’ll cause gas.) This steady stream keeps your energy levels consistent during your workout. Oats also contain B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy. Help yourself to one cup at least 30 minutes before you begin exercising.

Wholegrain bread: A slice of wholegrain bread is a good source of carbohydrates. Consider spreading  jam or honey for more fuel or sliced up hard-boiled eggs for high-quality protein. Add a couple slices of turkey, Try to eat about 30 grams of carbohydrates and 15 to 20 grams of protein.

Fruit and Yogurt: Fruit is high in carbohydrates and Greek yogurt is packed with high-quality protein. People tend to skip fruit and other foods that are high in carbs but protein doesn’t break down fast enough to become fuel for a workout. The carbs from fruit break down quickly and the protein is used later to prevent muscle damage.

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