The Caveman diet
People always ask me, ‘What should my diet look like’? Keep-fitters, gym-goers, competitive-boxers, everyone – I always reply in a similar way… “how would a caveman eat?” We need to think back to when food was simple yet nutritious. Without the luxury of ‘quick and easy’ foods a caveman would have to kill or catch to survive – meaning fresh, healthy, unmodified foods were a part of life!
Coach’s tip: If it doesn’t swim, run around or grow from the ground, don’t eat it!
Favourite recipe: Pasta & tuna or chicken breast with rice and mixed veg. These meals are suitable for pre- or post- workout meals due to high carb quality providing energy for a tough session and protein to aid muscle growth and repair.
Get your five a day
We have all heard about the “5 fruit and veg a day” thing, and guess what… it’s right! It is no secret the inclusion of fruit and veg as part of a balanced diet leads to many health benefits, such as: reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers; makes you look and feel great; and for those looking to slim down, fruit and vegetables are naturally low in fat!
Coach’s tip: Fruit smoothies – tasty, healthy and really easy to make. Making smoothies is a fun and creative way to achieve this health goal – experiment with different fruits and vegetables to find your dream mix
Coach’s tip 2: Buy a bag of mixed frozen veg from your local supermarket – it’s quick to cook, no prep required and you can throw it in as part of most meals – we all have to start somewhere!
Favourite recipe: Add 200ml of water/fruit juice to a blender, throw in an apple, bannana and a handful of blueberries. Then mix in with a teaspoon of honey for a sweeter taste.
Water water everywhere
If I had to give you only ONE piece of advice to super charge your nutrition it would be the same each time… DRINK MORE WATER. In a sport as physically demanding as boxing it’s critical. You can imagine it, and no doubt feel it, with the amount of water you lose through sweating, especially after a 60/90 minute intense session!
Plain water is best when you train for up to an hour. For longer training sessions you need any an isotonic sport drink to give you an energy boost. You can make a simple, cheap solution using squash, water and salt.
Simple sports drink recipe: Add 800ml of water with 200ml of orange squash (1L) & a pinch of salt. Mix together in a jug and cool in the fridge.
Most of us do not drink enough water, others think they do but come up short of the daily recommended amount. According to the NHS, in climates such as the UK, adults should be drinking at least 1-2 Litres (6-8 glasses a day). Main benefits include keeping the body well hydrated, helping with weight loss and improving your mood!
Coach’s tip: If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try sparkling water or add a slice of lemon or lime. Or heat the water and infuse a tea bag, some coffee or a slice of lemon.
Knowledge is power
Whether you’re a casual gym-goer, health-freak or a competitive athlete, we should all have some basic knowledge of nutrition. Nutrition and training go hand in hand! You can’t have one without the other. Educate yourself on what foods you need, when you need them and why you need them.
Based on your fitness goals, understand what type of diet you need. Boxing is a weight-making sport for some, so those looking to lose weight will need to expend more energy than their daily calorie intake and should plan to reduce fat as part of their overall diet. For the more traditional gym-user looking to build muscle, you should include a protein food with each meal to maintain and build muscle mass.
Coach’s tip: A good general starting point is to refer to the NHS ‘eat well’ plate which provides a good visual on what a healthy balanced plate of food should look like.