By Frisco Rosso
It’s been a cold week, borderline freezing in fact, which has done little to rouse my enthusiasm for exercise. The snooze button has been working overtime.
It’s week four of my gradual turn from the dark side of bollocks fitness and heart attack-inducing eating habits, and I’m still clawing my way towards a healthier future.
This week it’s diet adjustment time.
Up until now I’ve never had to pay too much attention to diet, mainly because I’m wiry. I could chomp down any amount of chemical crap and processed deliciousness, and pretty much stay the same size. Although there are plenty of people out there that fail to see the problem with this situation, skinny wretchedness does little for you when your sport is boxing.
The problem with being wiry is that no matter how much super-max, genital-shrinking weight-gain powder you decide to pour down your gullet, nothing is ever going to happen. Being young, stupid and hungry, I decided the only option was to try and bulk up the unhealthy way through junk food.
The only problem was, aside from being detrimental to training, the junk food trend continued even after I’d jacked boxing in, and it did nothing to bulk me up anyway.
As an aside, the only advantage to being wiry in a boxing contest is that you are often underestimated although not necessarily in a good way. “‘Scuse me while I floss my teeth with this lanky piece of shit,” is the sort of thing I’d hear quite often prior to stepping into the ring and, granted, it usually proved to be prophetic. Being the only welterweight in the gym meant I generally had to square off against muscle factories twice my weight, hence I became an adequate sparring partner: Resilient, and good for taking a beating, but bugger all else.
Fast forward a few years and the ol’ metabolism is starting to change, and the wiriness is not as wiry as it once was. Sodding typical. Everything seems to take more effort post-25 years, and menacing words like cholesterol start rising to the fore. Just because you look semi-ok on the outside doesn’t mean that your insides don’t look like the remnants of an oil refinery explosion, so it’s time that I try and undo some damage.
After some unwilling research, I discovered that trying to resolve past eating sins can be a complicated business, especially if you’re planning on following a formal diet.
There’s the Primal diet, the Paleo diet, the Birchall diet, Beyond the 120 diet, Beverly Hills diet, Body Detoxifying diet, Brown Fat Revolution diet, Thatlastonemademewantacheeseburger diet, Carb Lover’s Diet, Chocolate diet, Cardio Free diet, Cheater’s Diet, Eat Clean diet, Still Reading This? diet, Energy Boosting diet, Hallelujah diet (for real), Hollywood diet, Hunter Farmer diet, Millennium diet, Peanut Butter diet, Raw Food diet, Skinny Bitch diet, World Peace diet, I Actually Don’t Care Anymore diet. The list is endless.
Fine, three of the above I made up, but you get the drift. If I had the inclination to delve into the workings of these ‘proven’ diets, I’d probably gain weight from just sitting on my ass reading them all. But weight isn’t really the issue here. Sure, my stomach has had some extension work in recent years, and the memorable moment when I practically disemboweled myself trying to fasten the button on an old pair of trousers last month could have been avoided. But as the chassis is already a work in progress, I figure I should concentrate on tuning up the engine.
So it’s back to boxing again. Well – the diet part anyway. My former trainer always said that a boxer’s diet is one of the healthiest an athlete or regular Joe can follow, and it’s one of the easiest as well, mainly because it’s based on common sense. The only obstacle is mental attitude – isn’t it always?
Lean chicken and fish is top of the menu, while red meat and processed garbage wrapped in pastry should be mostly forgotten about. Picture the sad face, but I suppose it makes sense.
Milk, eggs, nuts and a variety of boring-looking beans are good for protein intake, particularly if you’re cutting the meat quotient down. Sadly honey-roasted peanuts, fried eggs and milkshakes don’t count as they tend to cause a blocked toilet effect in your arteries. Nice thought.
Fruits and vegetables
Not long ago I congratulated myself spectacularly for buying a large packet of dried fruit instead of Doritos as a snack from the supermarket. I even managed to keep my usual cordial expression at the tills when the clerk rang up the bag of goodness and it turned out to be eight times more expensive than the bag of chips. The façade soon cracked when I noticed the sugar content on the side of the packet, and realised that this bag of dried fruit was not much healthier than eating the aforementioned eight bags of Doritos. Fuck sake.
So keep things fresh, varied and, apparently, colourful. Eating an apple a week doesn’t count either unfortunately unless you’re following the scurvy diet, so daily doses are mandatory (sigh).
I’m still working on it, but eight glasses a day are supposedly the way to go. Water helps clear out your system, keeps you hydrated and spritely, and is a vital element for regular training. Spending an hour exercising and then downing a litre of Coke may enable you to belch a flawless rendition of the national anthem, but it’s not going to help in the energy department.
Energy drinks are probably the biggest con since curly fries, so give them a miss also. Monster, Red Bull and their equivalents may make you feel like world champion for 30 seconds or so but for the most part they dehydrate and leave an unsatisfactory hole in your pocket.
Oh, and booze is out too (hate, hate).
The occasional pie and chips isn’t going to kill you, neither will the cake, ice cream or steak the size of a hot tub. It’s just a case of moderation. Five days of conscientious eating followed by two days of cutting loose isn’t a bad way to go to begin with. That’s my approach anyway.
Fuhgeddaboutit!!! Aside from a daily vitamin pill and possibly a cod liver oil tablet, there’s no substitute to absorbing nutrients from real foods. Keep the diet varied, and chances are you’ll get as much if not more nutrients then you need.
So, time to get on with it. God help me.
With more tension than your mother’s suspension, I am Frisco Rosso. I’m likely to deliver a few lines worth at any given moment regarding film, music, sport, books and anything morally unsound that strikes a blow between the eyes in the name of entertainment.