When I first started training, I ate whatever I wanted. My metabolism was faster than it had ever been, and I was burning thousands upon thousands of calories every day. I felt like I could eat what I wanted. But I was tired, and I never felt as strong as I thought I should be.
For a couple of weeks, I tried to be super-healthy. I felt fantastic. That’s when I realized, you need to eat right to train right.
You can train as hard as you want or spend hours in the gym, but you’ll never be your best with a poor diet.
Eating a healthy diet will make you feel like a new fighter. It gives you energy, makes you stronger, and gives your body what it needs to perform optimally. Follow these simple tips if you want to eat like a warrior, and train like a warrior.
Eating right when you’re training is different from eating right when you’re not. There are certain foods that fuel your body better than others.
Try to avoid foods with unnecessary fats. They slow you down and are loaded with extra calories. Almost all junk food and fast food is packed with bad fats. Save yourself from that sluggish feeling by avoiding these foods. You want to limit your fat intake to the healthy fats found in avocados, almond butter, and fatty fish.
To get stronger, you need to eat enough protein to allow your muscles to grow. Some people take this to the extreme – I always notice the guys at the gym that put four scoops of whey protein in their shaker bottle before and after a workout. Having more protein does not mean you will get stronger. Having one serving of protein powder after a hard workout is enough when combined with varied lean protein sources, such as chicken or fish, at mealtimes.
When I was really struggling to control my portions, eating vegetables helped. I felt like a rabbit, with heaps of shredded cabbage and carrots on my plate, but it kept my gurgling stomach happy. Vegetables are great because you can eat them in large quantities without consuming a ton of calories. Blending all your veggies in a smoothie is a great way to get more greens into you.
Fruits contain sugar, so they can be a great energy boost when you’re feeling a little tired. An apple with some peanut butter is always on my menu before a training session. When you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to put on the calories, you can always grab a handful of berries or grapes.
If you’re taking your training seriously, don’t even think about trying the Atkins or Paleo diets. You NEED carbs to train. Without carbs, your body is depleted of energy. Just like anything, you don’t want to over-do it. Make sure you have wholemeal bread, pasta, or oatmeal a few times a day for sustained energy release.
My training partner could eat a whole pizza pie, two subs, and a bag of chips in the one sitting. I’m not exaggerating – he would have cheat meals and eat himself into a food coma.
That’s what total deprivation leads to. You don’t need to forbid yourself from eating chocolate. Instead, allow yourself an ice cream sundae (or whatever your treat is) once a week.
Instead of constantly telling yourself that you can’t have something, think of what you can have.
I love experimenting with post-workout smoothies. My smoothies often taste better than an ice cream shake, and I have fun making them.
Troll the internet for fun and exciting recipes and use them to take your mind off what you can’t have.
If you’re timing your meals wrong, you won’t get the results you need to be your best.
The “Three Square Meals” philosophy is not the best option for someone training as hard as you do. Smaller, more frequent meals are the way to go.
Breakfast is the one exception. This should be your biggest meal as it provides the fuel for the rest of the day. But don’t reach for that cheese danish or maple-bacon donut. You need something with substance for breakfast. An omelet loaded with vegetables and a tiny sprinkle of cheese accompanied with a piece of whole-wheat toast is my favorite way to start the day.
You should also have a good meal a couple of hours before training. Salmon on salad is a great choice, but even something as simple as oatmeal, peanut butter, and an apple will suffice.
Whatever you do, stay away from greasy foods before boxing. No matter how tough you think you are, a shot to the gut after a McDonald’s can leave anyone sprinting to the bathroom.
Keep It Light
Dieting is not fun, but, it doesn’t have to be so serious.
Whether you practice boxing for fun or to compete, training is a lifestyle. Your diet is too.
You can’t expect to live off of protein shakes and egg whites forever. Have a little fun with meal planning and don’t limit yourself to set eating rules. Experiment until you find out what works for you.
Once you find the right way to eat, you and your training partners will notice the difference.