Kung Fu Nutrition


I’ve been giving a lot of thought to a topic I’m labeling as “Kung Fu nutrition”. Can’t think of anything else to call it.

As you know, the food pyramid encourages the consumption of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as our source of fuel/energy for the body.. The recommended percentages of these foods would fall around 60% carbs, 20% proteins and around 20% of the good fats.

I have taken this thought and applied it to our practice of the internal arts.

It seems to me that the bulk of our “energy source” derived from our practice of the internal arts such as our beloved taiji, should be around 60% breath-work(carbs). 20% form practice(protein) and 20% cross-training (fat).

To further break down this nutrition analogy, the carbs or the breath-work, can be separated into simple carbs and complex carbs. Thus Qi gong, which involves more physical movement, synchronized with breath, would fall on the category of the simple carbs while zhan zhuang or standing post practice and other nei gong methods would fall on the complex carbs category. Neigong practice such as the one found in Yiquan is very ‘nutritious’ for long term maintenance of the being. Of course, I’m not belittling the value and beauty of qigong. But of the two, neigong, imho, supplies much of what is needed for longterm development. Naturally, if we compare waigong with qigong, the former would be more like the simple carbs by comparison.

Our 20% of “energetic protein” would provide the resources for the frame. This is derived from actual form practice. Be that form taji, xing-yi, bagua or any other internal system. Form work develops strength, good body alignments, balance (central equilibrium) and all that visible aspect of our trinity, in a similar fashion that protein in the body, is used to build muscle.

I think of cross-training in other arts, or swimming, strength training, jogging, dancing, yoga, music, art, plyometrics, and other modalities, as the fats that are so much needed for a complete balanced “energetic nutrition” and hopefully the synthesis of these nutrients provide enough resources for our “energetic mitochondria” for the rise of zheng-qi..

Just some yet to be organized thoughts…



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