Thursday, August 11, 2011

turning over a new (spinach) leaf

Along with training my ass off for my upcoming fight, the other change I've made since the WSOP is cleaning up my diet in a big way. My diet is pretty much what you would call paleo-cheat. I don't have actual cheat days (I have had just one since camp started) but I am willing to put some non-paleo stuff in my food to make it more palatable to me. Mostly the non-paleo stuff is dairy, as I have few negative reactions to cheese or butter. The way I see it, if some mozzarella cheese and creamy low-carb dressing that has some canola oil gets me through a bag and a half of spinach per day, it's worth it. The other "cheat" as such is that I continue to drink a combination carb-protein drink during training because I strongly feel that helps my performance over water alone. This is what today looks like, and it's been something very similar to this every single day (with the exception of one night where I went to dinner with some visitors):

12:00 - Protein scoop+almond milk+coffee
13:30 - Lunch salad: Salmon, lots of spinach, mozzarella, avocado, walnuts, creamy dressing
16:00 - 3 eggs, scrambled in coconut oil, served with Srichaca sauce
20:30-22:15 - peri-workout drink (30g carb, 15g protein)
22:15 - protein scoop+creatine
22:45 - grilled grass-fed steak, sweet potato mash
23:15 - (half) spinach salad, mozzarella, walnuts, oil-based dressing
01:30 - 3 strips of nitrite-free bacon
02:15 - protein scoop+coconut milk

I'm not going to bother breaking down the macronutrient content of this, because I'm pretty satisfied that it's good. The only carbs are peri-workout and post-workout (which is something I've always been good about). I'm not too worried about my weight: I'm 138 lbs in the morning right now, so getting to the 130 catch-weight should be a breeze. I'm slightly worried that the diet might be a little Omega-6 heavy, so I certainly take my fish oil. I still take my multivitamin too, but honestly I'm not sure I need it because I think I'm smashing on micronutrients.

I also feel like eating like this is pretty goddamn easy. I mean, I love bread, pasta, granola and rice. I really do. I like ice cream a lot, too. And pastries. So don't get it twisted; refined (and unrefined) carbs are fucking delicious. But you don't really need them. I mean if there are no restrictions and I can go to town on omega-3 deviled eggs and nitrite-free bacon and bison burger patties, that does a pretty good job of keeping the urges down. I'm really genuinely surprised at how easy it's been to stay on track. People have been asking me whether I'm just going to pig the eff out once the fight is over, and honestly I wouldn't mind having a big old slice of pizza or two to celebrate, but the truth is that eating like this is not that much of a sacrifice, especially just for 8 weeks.

And (bearing in mind potential placebo effects) the payoff seems to be really big. I'm in the gym training every night and in our training camp, I truly am the smallest guy with the weakest skills. I mean I think every single person in the training camp is stronger and better than me. So I am always the one on the bottom, always the one being taken down, and always being the one punched and kicked, but even with the ass-kicking I take, I still I feel like my energy levels are up there with everyone else's. And that's important because it's pretty hard to develop new skills if you're gasping for air and your legs don't work.

Anyway, I will wrap this up because I don't want to be one of those annoying diet zealots. In a way, this is not so much a post about diet but more generally a post about how great I feel right now. I've had a lot of really tough days in this camp, days where I felt totally useless as a fighter. But now approaching the halfway mark of the camp feel well-trained but not overtrained, starting to peak, and mentally starting to pull it together (which has been, surprisingly, the hardest part).

It just hit midnight in Vancouver. 5 weeks to a fight!



  2. Spinach is the boss of vegetables.

  3. I recommend you gently steam a bag of spinach and squeeze lots of lemon on it. Much more convenient than eating a giant salad although I do both. With the salad you could make your own dressing using soy, balsamic vinegar, fresh finely grated ginger, and a little bit of sweetener and then substitute berries for cheese.

    If only I was as good at NLH as diet recommendations...

  4. Well, I actually enjoy raw spinach. It's not like I can't stand the stuff and need to get it down.