I’ve never been a big fan of the extreme ways boxers try to lose weight before a competition: starving for a week before a fight, sleeping, eating, breathing in the sauna, and sitting for hours. Hammam or sauna – mmm, no thanks!
So I’ve spent my entire boxing career trying to find the best diet plan that will keep me fit and strong and keep my energy level high so I can perform at my best, without having to put on a plastic bag and jump.
Last year I was chatting with a boxer from Alberta at nationals and I asked him how he was doing in his weight class setup, “Does he tire her?”
His response was: “I only eat clean. Eat clean! What a new idea. Right away, I was shopping for books, reading blogs, and applying my newfound insights to my diet. Did you get it? challenge. Now he ate 5-6 meals a day and it was easy to lose weight when he mixed the diet with more intense boxing exercises.
But as time passed and my body adjusted to this new way of eating, it quickly became very difficult for me to lose weight before fights. I didn’t want to stop eating because the goal of healthy eating is to eat more often so your metabolism always speeds up. I wasn’t, and I didn’t lose as much weight as I really wanted to be. We’re talking totally ripped, count my pack of 6.8% lean body fat. What are the others doing? How are bodybuilders and fitness models doing?
So, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I hired a personal trainer (professional, bodybuilder) to help me achieve my ideal fitness level. The first week he asked me to write down everything I put in my mouth. At the end of the week, I looked at my diet (oatmeal with honey and banana; apple with chicken nugget; chicken with salad, no sauce, apple, fish with steamed vegetables) and yelled. There are a lot of things I need to fix here! “Really? Yes, really. It turned out that I was eating too many carbohydrates and there was not enough protein with each meal (I need at least 30-35g) and instead I was supplying protein to my body. During the training, I was starving. I also ate foods that had a very high glycemic index at the wrong time. Eventually, I did not eat enough, even though I ate 5 times a day (apparently an apple does not count as a meal).
We decided that fruits and dairy should be eaten in moderation and that my diet needed protein from meat and fibrous carbohydrates from vegetables. We cut my breakfast of 50 grams of oatmeal into 15 grams of oatmeal and added ½ cup of egg whites and a string of fruit (watermelon, grapefruit, orange or apple, somewhat weak on the glycemic index). I also needed to start eating small amounts of starchy foods (pasta, rice, oatmeal, yams, yams) with my first and third meals (and every five days).
My favorite part of my new diet was that I had a tablespoon of nut butter with every meal (I should theoretically take an EFA with every meal, and nut butter is one of them; I also eat walnuts or pecans.)! Now, I love nut butter, but I basically cut it out of my diet because I’ve always eaten it. But now that I eat it with every meal, the temptation to eat a whole jar is gone. I also have a nice cheat day a week where I can have it all! Usually, I splurge on dinner, ordering an entrée, dessert, and wine, but he’s looking at me.
I’ve been working on my new diet for just under a week and have already started to see definition (more on that than before) and weight loss. The most important thing is that I eat when I should and my energy level is very good, so I can do two workouts a day.