Introduction: In the last decade in Romania, following the international trend, the interest for combat martial arts sports increased among the young generation. From all the contact sports, kickboxing was one of the most accessed athletic disciplines by both amateurs and professional athletes due to all the benefits of the complex training sessions.

Aim: The aim of the study was to analyze the differences between professional and non-professional males concerning the evolution of food habits and performance improvement when they follow the same training programme.

Results: Data analysis reveals an increase of physical performance in all performed tests. A significant improvement has been shown for both professional and non-professional athletes after 8 weeks of specific training. In the non-professional athletes group, the improvement of physical performance was even greater than in the professional group. Data analysis according to the age group revealed that in the case of the mature athletes the physical performance progress showed a lower augmentation than in the young ones, but the level of performance was at higher values than the performance of the young ones. In terms of nutrition, both groups need an improvement of their dietary habits, even if the professional ones revealed a better nutritional approach than the non-professional participants.

Conclusion: The results of this pilot study indicate that an integrative approach of a martial art athlete training is important in order to develop sports elites. The long term training programmes combined with proper nutrition are the key factors of the strategy for achieving greatness. Further studies are necessary in order to set the best physical and metabolic parameters in order to create the framework for a long term training strategy.

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Social Sciences, Education, other