We caught up with Fight for Peace boxing coach and personal trainer, David Andrews, to talk about the importance of nutrition for anyone serious about their training.
Many fighters and clients that I train always ask the same questions: what should I eat, how can I lose weight, how do I get a lean physique?
The short answer? Eat Real Foods! Foods that are grown naturally, from the earth; meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts!
Eliminate all processed foods from your diet and after a few weeks you will see and feel the difference. You'll benefit from improved sleep, better recovery, reduced headaches, and less swelling and bruising after training. You'll also become less reliant on medication because of the health benefits from the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in natural foods.
To start your day nothing beats a high protein breakfast. Look to quality sources like eggs, meat, fish and nuts, which you can combine with some salad or veg. Alternatively, try a small bowl of oats with some berries, seeds, coconut or almond flakes and top with quality organic peanut butter or almond butter for a mix of protein and omega 3. These breakfasts will keep you fuller than the boxed cereals, pastry's and breads that so many people are used to eating.
Subsequent meals throughout the day should consist of a lean meat or fish with different coloured vegetables. Try to include proteins like chicken, turkey, lean beef, tuna, or white fish, and pair them with sweet potatoes, quinoa, kale, broccoli, salad etc. Always aim for fresh produce that's organic or free range and locally grown if possible. Focus on eliminating heavy pastas and breads and by doing this and eating naturally the first few pounds/kilos should drop off, depending on your body type, training levels and goals.
Try to portion your meals with a handful of each ingredient and when possible make enough the night before to use the following day. Chillies, stews, casseroles etc. are ideal for storing in containers so you always have a home cooked meal ready.
Water intake is crucial to living, not just training, so ensure you get enough. Start in the morning by drinking 0.5 litres as studies show we can lose fluids throughout the night in sleep. Then aim to drink 2 litres by lunch time, and if you're training or competing that day then increase and listen to your thirst. I aim to drink 4 litres a day without training and increase according to my daily routine and training schedule. The same goes with food; eat according to what you have done or what you are about to do, listen to your body!
In between meals try snacking on small portions of nuts, such as almonds, brazils, walnuts or macadamias. Pair them with an apple or some raisins and you have a good snack in between your main meals.
It's essential that we feed our bodies with the right fuel and nutrients, and spend more time researching the foods we eat and the ingredients in them. If you don't know what's on the label when buying a food product, don't eat it! Real food doesn't need labels.