Monday, March 27, 2006

Feeding the Furnace

For a few weeks after I got back from my trip to Seattle, I noticed I just didn't seem to have the energy I used to in karate class. I was still practicing the same amount of time as usual, but I just felt a lot more worn out. I was trying to figure out what it was - at one point I thought maybe it was a change in the weather or air quality, but I think I finally figured it out. I wasn't eating enough food. Before the trip to Seattle, I was eating 4 meals a day - I'd have breakfast before work, then around 10:00 I'd take a break at work and go to the cafeteria and get another breakfast, then I'd have a big lunch, and then supper later at night when I finally got home after karate class. At some point, I got out of the habit of getting a second breakfast at work. It wasn't until someone asked me if I had lost weight that I considered maybe I wasn't eating enough.

So, for the past few weeks I've resumed getting a second breakfast and now noticed I have a lot more energy in karate class. As a double-check, I also tried using a calorie measurement program to figure out how many calories I should be getting, and sure enough, based on the amount of time I spend practicing karate, I should be getting at least 3500 calories a day to maintain my weight - which is a bit hard to do with just 3 meals a day and is actually about what I'm getting with my 4 meal a day plan. Karate is listed as one of the highest calorie burning exercises in the calorie counting program. It lists it as burning 12 calories per minute - that's significantly more than hockey (9) or tennis (singles:6, doubles:9) and is about the equivalent calorie buring of running at a speed of 6 miles per hour.

If you are looking for an exercise program that is interesting, challenging, and helps you stay fit, I'd highly recommend karate. As I've mentioned in the past, there are also many benefits besides the physical fitness aspects. For more information, check out this web site.