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Vegan Kung Fu Student

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Hi everyone


I'm new to this forum but thought I'd sign up as I've enjoyed looking through some of the threads on here.


I've lived a vegan lifestyle for just over two and a half years now. My starting weight is 68.5kg and I am 5ft 8.5inches tall.


I started kung fu a couple of months ago and I am loving it. I train in Five Ancestors Fist and we also do Shoalin Five Animals. I currently train 3 times per week which equates to 5.5hrs per week. 1.5hrs on Monday night, 2hrs Wednesday night and 2hrs on Saturday lunch time. I haven't been doing this for long but it is already starting to tone up my body and I am feeling stronger. The training consists of about 50% body conditioning and 50% in pairs practicing moves/ forms etc. We do lots of practical self defence and are told to put real force behind our strikes to make our practice realistic. We don't do much of the big graceful moves, it's all practical and combat orientated.


I have found that between workouts all I want to do is rest and I am sleeping much more than before. I'm not quite sure if this is normal or if I should be eating more calories maybe? It's not that I'm just feeling a bit tired, I feel completely wiped out of energy. But I am feeling my body changing and toning up so I guess it needs to rest to rebuild itself.


I'm not quite sure if my diet is completely balanced. I would probably prefer to simplify my diet and keep it more routine. Like oats, nuts and dried fruit for breakfast. Fresh fruit for lunch and maybe a couple of whole meal bagels with humous or peanut butter on. Then a big starchy dinner plate of rice, beans etc. But I'd love any tips or advice anyone may have.


I am not a huge eater but I realise that if I want to bulk up I need to eat more. My aim isn't so much to grow big like a body builder. I think this might hinder my movement and speed a bit and my aim is to get better at kung fu. My aim is more to get stronger, faster and chunk up a bit to help make my stances and strikes more stable and powerful.


This turned out to be quite a long post so sorry for boring you. I just want to train and eat right and I'm not really sure what is the best way to go about it. I do use Chronometer to help track nutrition but I'm not really sure what my target levels of calories, protein, fats etc should be. Currently I aim for 3000 calories per day but I don't think I'm hitting that target.

Edited by Shelter Helper
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It's only been a couple of months. I was thinking of filming myself doing some of the forms to help me with improving on them. If I do I'll upload them but as of yet not much to show. Much of what I have been doing so far in class has been body conditioning and some drills with partners in the class. I've learnt the first Sam Chien form and some self defence stuff.


I was just wondering what other vegans doing similar training find works for them diet wise. Currently I don't really follow a consistent diet. I try my best to have a good breakfast of oats, nuts and dried fruits with soya milk. I also pick at fruit during the day at my desk. For lunch I have things like bagels with humous or salad from the salad bar at work. Then at dinner time I try to have something starchy like rice, potatoes etc. Along with beans and lots of spinach, broccoli etc. I also like to have green smoothies when I can and also try to eat dates for energy pre-training.


I'm thinking that my tiredness may in the large part also be down to having been very busy at work for a long time now. I have had the week off work and I think I might be catching up on sleep whilst also my body is adapting to the kung fu training.

Edited by Shelter Helper
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i'm a huge fan of oats for breakfast, most days

they are super cheap, and i notice a remarkable difference when i'm at work or sports in my energy levels from for example, oats vs toast

also, a couple more things, try hydrating more, when you wake up, chug some water, when you're up, chug some water, later, chug more water

also, the dried fruits would be a good idea, they are pretty calorie dense, but i often do eat dried fruits because of the sugar content, they do give a energy boost that lasts a long time for me


i personally try not to drink much caffein, no coffee, very little black tea, when i used to drink that stuff more regularly, i'd find that i'd get tired pretty soon after drinking it, not sure if this works for other people though, i guess most people would prefer to keep their coffee


good luck



edit: also, about the oats & dried fruits, oats with dried apricot is really good, if you can find a good brand of frozen strawberries, oats with strawberries is also really good

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Sound like our diets are fairly similar. I am also drinking lots of water through the day. I have a water bottle on my desk at work and I'm constantly sipping on it…. and constantly going for a pee. I definitely feel less alert on the days I don't drink so much water.


I have stopped drinking so much coffee. I used to have about 6 cups per day at work. Now I will just sometimes have one in the morning and sometimes one after lunch. Mostly now I just drink herbal teas. Chrysanthemum tea is one of my favourites. It's meant to be a good tea for cooling the body so it's also nice as an ice tea.


Tonight before my training I had baked beans on wholemeal toast and also mixed in a small packet of sprouted lentils. I had loads of energy and pushed hard in training tonight. My concentration felt good too. I think keeping well hydrated all through the day helped. I've also been practicing taking deep breaths when I feel myself getting stressed at work. I think getting too stressed drains a lot of energy through the day. Staying nice and calm and then also trying to stay relaxed and not tense during training really helps.

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That's a goo point actually. After training I always try to rehydrate but don't feel hungry. I'll try to make myself eat a couple of banana afterwards. I'm finding I really have to push myself to eat more but I need to if I want to put on weight.


I'm not too sure how best to take photo's of myself, I'm finding it quite tricky. Where my mirror is in my room isn't very well lit but I'll try to get some better photo's up on my next attempt. It will be good to track my progress. I am seeing subtle changes already in my body so hopefully in a few more months I'll start to bulk up more. It's mostly my shoulders and my grip strength that I've noticed changes in so far. I'm not looking to get body builder big exactly, just nice and toned, strong, with a bit more lean muscle. On my Sifu's advice I'll stick to bodyweight exercises rather than lifting heavy weights. Building up speed and power and strengthening tendons, bones etc.


I'm also starting to feel stronger in my stances when we do 2 man training drills. I'll defo get some video up soon of me practicing drills. So I can track my progress with that too. I might video one tomorrow as I practice before I go to training on Saturday lunchtime.


Calf muscles starting to tone up slowly.



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Hi there!!!


First about me...doing all kinds of training. Weights during the week on non-training days. 4x a month-ish training MMA (karate, judo, jui jitsu) and 6x a month 'fight club' (aka Krav Maga -- VERY intense, full contact fighting/defense). -- and 45 yrs old! #BOOM


Now on to your topics...


General thoughts: For optimal fitness and benefits from training, you need to be hydrated and get sleep. Most people don't get enough, which inhibits recovery/rebuilding because that's what your body does when you catching some Zzzzzssss.


That you're leaning up shows you're actually putting max effort into kata/forms, staying taut, working up a sweat!!! Plus the body-weight training will be awesome too!!!


Note, when I started doing fight club (Krav maga) training, I had to shift what I was eating when. Need to carb up a bit, like an hour or so before, depending on what I had for lunch, and found bit of fruit in the car on the way over was good too to stop running outta energy 1/2 way through 1.5 hr classes.


Your meal plan sounds largely ok to me. My breakfast most days is the 'breakfast bowl': oatmeal, steel cut oats, cinnamon, sometimes some bulger, sometimes some coconut oil, sometimes scoop of peanut/almond butter, fresh fruit, splash of almond milk...


Might try adding in some chia seeds to your water bottle when you hydrate during classes/lifting.


With some changes to what/when I eat, I've managed to bulk up more now than I've ever been...and with ABS (i.e. low body fat).


TOTALLY AGREE with your ambition of strength and size (and flexibility and speed!!!) over just pure 'bulk'...though those with more total gym bulk are easier to kimora!!! just saying...


off to bed......but will follow....

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Nice one mate. Sound alike you're getting some good varied training there. All applied skills too which is good.


I think I am good at getting plenty of water. I sip water all through the day at work and always make sure I drink a good amount before training and after.


I've got some Chia seeds at home that I was going to use for baking. What is the reason for putting them in your drinking water? I might give that a try.


Much of our training involves body conditioning and cultivating internal power. We do very high reps like 10,000 punches. Followed by about 5000 kicks, then doing grip exercise to build up strength that way. We also practice forms and 2 man drills.

Edited by Shelter Helper
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cool video! ahead of me!


Chia...you need hydration during exercise, the chia gives you some added carbs and proteins...tasteless, they just expand in the liquid (makes a good pudding if soaked in some almond milk, or soy). I've heard that they're better for you uncooked as it can decrease the nutrients, but don't know 1st hand.


The body conditioning you mention sounds really good too! I have some weighted gloves for working out at home, pretty cheap like $5 at walmart/asda. 4lbs, but emulates the effect of hitting a heavy bag or similar.


Once thing, while in my karate we mostly are kicking/striking the air/imaginary opponent, and of course judo/jiu jitsu is a 2 person drill, what ignited my interest in Krav was actually hitting something, and tons of sparing (note, my sparing skills limited for awhile due to getting into my head of point sparing in karate...creates muscle/head memory about not injuring your partner/opponent).


Thought I'd share some links back....


my school......


another video...more 'practical'


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Thanks man, I'll definitely try the Chia seeds in my water.


My Sifu actually said that once I get the forms down that it can help to practice them with ankle weights on or a weights vest.


Cool video's, thanks for the links. Have you seen this Krav Maga video on You Tube. I enjoyed watching it and they were pretty hardcore.



Much of our training is partnered up with someone else. We do lots of limb knocking to strengthen our forearms and legs etc. This allows us to block punches and kicks without it hurting so much. I've noticed this working already. I can already stop strong blows without them hurting like they did when I first started. I used to also get lots of bruises but not so much now that my body has got more used to it. I think the skin, tendons and bones toughen up. Our bodies adapt to the pressure they are put under. If bones are put under more stess they become harder over time. We don't do this by putting pressure on the joints though. We do bang forearms and shins together though. Knuckle push ups and the like.


I completely understand what you mean about actually making contact when sparring. I'm told that I will get to spar with pads on once my Sifu is confident that I will use Kung Fu skills to spar rather than resorting to brawling. I see his point. The kung fu needs to come a bit more natural first, then practice sparring with it. He is very talented my Sifu and so is the Grand master, who I have met in London's China Town. So I am putting my trust in him to guide me to become as good as I can be. I'm seeing results already and it feels like I've been going to class for ages when it's only been a couple of months. Going 3 times per week seems just right to me. It also gives my body some recovery time in between sessions.

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  • 1 year later...

I started Wing Chun about ten months ago. It is the first martial art I have really stuck with (sorry Judo, Tae Kwon Do, and Haganah). I catch a bit of heck at work because I go to "slap" fighting twice a week, but no one will go with me. Wing Chun is what actually got me back off the couch. I would get so winded in class I needed to start riding the Airdyne for the training effect.


Unfortunately, I work with a guy who started boxing about six months ago. He is in his mid-thirties and tips the scale at about 320. I commend his becoming active, but he tries to intimidate me. He will walk up, flex his meaty bicep, and tell me how sore he is from boxing. Yada, yada... I did hear he sucker punched a fellow who worked him for a couple of rounds and knocked the guy senseless. He is a poor sport also. (This was after they left the ring...)


Although I am not intimidated, I do connect with reality and understand that a fellow twenty years younger than me, and at least a hundred pounds heavier would be a big challenge. I had better have my bong and tan sau working that night.


Anyway, I really enjoy the Wing Chun. I do not mind getting hit, either with the closed fist or open hand, it is part of the experience.

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