Peak Performance – Eimear Fegan

01 April 2008 – Cormac Campbell

It has been said that boxers are worse than teenage girls when it comes to watching their weight.

Shedding the pounds to squeeze their body in to a weight division is an unfortunate and unwelcome fact of life for many pro and amateur fighters. But although the likes of David Haye and Ricky Hatton recognise the importance of tailoring their diet and nutrition in the build up to a contest, most boxers arent well educated on how they should boil down.

This often leads to crackpot schemes and hardship that could be easily avoided with better advice.

One such weight loss scheme involved an amateur boxer I am acquainted with waking up every morning, eating half a bag of Haribo Tangfastics and drinking a litre of Dr Pepper before going for a morning run. A days study at University then followed which included a healthy meal at lunchtime. The second half of the Haribo was then finished along with the Dr Pepper before an evening training session and bed.

At this juncture, it should be acknowledged that like a car, the body is a machine, and the quality of fuel that goes in will be reflected in the performance. According to Co Down dietician Eimear Fegan, it is no surprise that the above contest was lost on the scales.

Sweets have calories so that will be metabolised in to fat anyway so youre better off taking something slow release so an approach like that isnt really good, she said.

Slow release foods and energy drinks are a better approach. You dont want to eat just before exercise. So eat something like pasta, brown rice or wholegrain foods about two hours beforehand and an appropriate energy drink closer. Then in the recovery an isotonic drink to encourage fluid uptake to fully re-hydrate.

It all sounds so straightforward, but according to Eimear, unfortunately it isnt. People talk about how good bananas are for you, but their value depends on their ripeness so it really isnt that simple.

Ahead of his two round demolition of Enzo Maccarinelli in March, World cruiserweight Champion David Haye surprised many by tipping the scales light at 198Lbs. The belief before the contest was the Haye, who has long talked of stepping up to heavyweight was killing himself at the weight. However, a new approach meant that not only did he come in under but he was better than ever.

I entered the ring not much more than 200, maybe 203 he said in the post fight press conference.

Its been nine months, six days a week, twice a day. All my food has been organic, my fluid intake has been perfect. I havent come for six weeks before this fight!

Thus rather than quick fix solutions, it appears that nothing beats dedication. This is a belief that Eimear, who currently works in the renal (kidney) department of Manchester Royal Infirmary, agrees with. Fruit and veg should take care of your vitamins and minerals, so you really shouldnt need to take supplements. Some supplements contain as much as 200 percent of your RDA so that wouldnt be advisable.

Creatinine is a waste product of muscle metabolism. A body builder will have a really high creatinine blood level but a little old lady will have a very low level so taking it probably isnt a great idea especially if you are getting enough protein in your diet.

Your body can only use a certain amount of protein so there is little point taking in extra as your body just gets rid of it through the kidneys. Even people who are taking a lot of exercise can still get this in through their diet.

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