I have my first sparring competition in one month, I was wondering if it would be good to go on a diet now and try to lose a couple of pounds, I really don't eat out of control, but I eat whatever I want. Just a little history about myself. When I started TKD I weighed about 285 lbs, I've weighed myself now and come in at 230 lbs at 6'3", but I was curious what you did before competition to get yourself in fighting shape. I have added another class recently and now I'm in the process of becoming an instructor, so it's not like I don't come to class, I actually go about eight times per week. I assist my instructor with the first class then participate in the advanced class right after so I do get a pretty good workout, I just want to do a little bit extra and lose a couple of more pounds before the competition.
Here is what has worked for me.
After 20 years of pursuing a low fat diet and seeing my weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure gradually increase over the years, I went on a low carbohydrate diet and lost 25 pounds in 2 months. I gradually added complex carbohydrates and my weight has stabilized at a 20 pound loss. I avoid sugar, avoid simple carbohydrates, and I don't worry about fats, except for trans fats. For a sweetener, I use stevia. Try an internet search for low carbohydrate diets and stevia.
Your sparring will improve with weight loss. When in the grocery store pick up a five pound bag of sugar in each hand; that's ten pounds. Now imagine trying to spar with that much weight strapped to your waist. A pound of fat is about 3500 calories. During a tough workout you might burn 500 calories. That's 5 workouts to burn away a pound of fat. Fours cans of soda a day is about 500 calories.
Drink four less cokes a day and you will rid yourself of as much fat as a hour of working out. You must eat properly to lose weight. Exercise helps ensure the loss is in fat, not in muscle. Some disks in my neck are degenerating so I can't run, jump rope, or do any exercises that jolt my neck. I seldom spar in class because of the pain afterward, but I hate to give it up, so I do enter tournaments two or three times year. Last month I took third in 3rd degree forms and was winning at sparring until I fouled out.
To make up for the lack of sparring training, I have to do something else. One way to have a edge in sparring is to constantly attack and never give the opponent a chance to attack; always keeping the opponent on the defense. To maintain this type of pressure, you must be in peak physical condition. When I first get out of bed every morning, I do stretches, sit-ups, and pushups. At some point every other day, I spend at least 30 minutes training on the heavy bag. This training involves constantly dancing (staying on the balls of the feet and constantly bouncing forward and backward, bouncing off both feet at the same time, not just shifting weight from one foot to the other) while performing all types of punches and kicks in combinations. To develop your defenses, you have to spar real opponents, but good foot work is not only a good defense, it helps in your offense. You may quickly avoid an attack but you may also quickly move back in with your counterattack.
Don't over train. You body needs at least every other day off to heal and re-nourish. Also, when training too much, you tend to pick up bad habits. If you change a technique slightly because of a minor injury or any other reason, and you train too many times in a row, the change tends to become ingrained and difficult to get rid. Teaching keeps you thinking about techniques and having to perform the techniques perfectly for students. Thus, it keeps you from developing bad habits.