It’s no mistake when elite athletes get to the top. Overall, it requires extraordinary amounts of energy, commitment, and focus — and like most other pro sports athletes for fencers that involves paying attention to what they put in their bodies. What Are The Best Eating Habits For A Fencer?
We learned as kids, “You get what you put in”. So, you get out of your fencing practice what you put into it. We all know this. Furthermore, we also all know that you get out of your body what you put into it. If you focus on exercising and healthy eating, you’re bound to add more healthy years to your future than if you did the opposite.
So, put in work at practice and you’ll see good results in competitions and tournaments. Put in good food into your body and you’ll see good results out of your body.
What is Good Food?
We’ve all heard about how you should be focused on your calorie intake when you’re in intensive competition training. Olympic athletes will eat rigid regimens in the months leading up to the qualification and, of course, before the games themselves. However, we fencers aren’t training for big competitions all the time. Even regular season fencing competitions are relatively sporadic – one or two per month. So, eating good and healthy through the day, especially when you have school and then practice, is a different matter.
Six Essentials to Your Diet
There are six essential foods that should be present in your diet every day if you want to feel your best and be able to do your best on the fencing strip. Good healthy nutrition has six basic essential elements: water, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Approximately, 40 to 60 percent of your body weight is water and muscles are composed of about 70 percent water. This should tell you that you need a lot of water to maintain your body properly. The average individual should have 8 to 10 glasses (8 ounces) of water a day. If you are exercising a lot, you may need more. To get the other five essential elements of nutrition, we go to the ever-popular “food pyramid.”
The base of the pyramid is comprised of bran, rice, cereal, and pasta. You need 6 to 11 servings a day from this food group. This may sound like a lot but, for example, one slice of bread or 1/2 cup of rice or 1 & 1/4 cup of dry cereal counts as one serving.
Fruits and Vegetables
The next level up on the pyramid is the vegetable and fruit section. You will have 2 to 4 servings of fruit and 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day. You will get the fruit both from fruit flesh and in the form of juice (not to be confused with the other fruit drinks on the market that are mostly no more than 10 percent pure fruit juice). Make sure you have a variety of vegetables. Children, getting 3 to 5 portions of potatoes isn’t cutting it. You need those products that are dark green and yellow too.
Meat and Dairy
Finally, we come to our pyramid’s section of dairy and poultry. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are amongst the dairy products. For this group, only 2 to 3 servings a day are required. An eight-ounce bottle of milk, eight ounces of yogurt, or one ounce of cheese is a serving. The group Meat consists of meat (beef, lamb, pork, etc.), poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. Again, the ideal Eating Habits for a fencer eating this food group is 2 to 3 servings a day. It is where most of us can come across what we really like. One serving here is just two ounces.
Fats, Oils, and Sweets
The last and what many of us (especially the chocoholics among us) find the level of fun is the tip of the pyramid that is the food group fats, oils, and sweets. The recommendation is “use sparingly” on this one, unfortunately. Eating a whole package of Girl Scout Thin Mints in one day is a “no-no.” You need some fat in your diet, but with the other items on the list, you’ll get the majority, if not more, of what you need every day.
Eating Habits for A Fencer Foil Champion
The first thing you must-do if you want to eat like the first American to become a world champion in foil-fencing: go easy on the carbs quickly. After all, in a couple of minutes, an individual fencing match can be over, but if you keep winning, then you must fence all day. “At 8 A.M. you should start your first match,” says Miles Chamley-Watson, who once showed Raekwon how to use a sword for GQ magazine. “And if you’re doing great, you could continue until 6 p.m. Perhaps some people need a lot of carbohydrates, but I feel like I’m just very athletic. If I eat only protein and vegetables I feel great. I feel lighter.
The 25-year-old invests six hours of exercise per day and eats 3,500 calories of protein-heavy to keep going. At six foot four, he starts his day with a big breakfast, usually, a combination of yogurt, granola, and a protein shake, followed much later by a filling lunch to last the final hours. Evening fencing lessons, daily exercises, nearly an hour of stretching a day — it all gets repetitive without any cross-training. You just need to mix it up but it’s ideal Eating Habits for a Fencer.
A routine-breaker of choice for Chamley-Watson? Boxing. “the footwork is very similar, which is really cool,” he says. I’d fence a little bit before the 2013 World Championships, but I still boxed four days a week. My footwork was incredible and my stamina through the roof.
You would imagine he’d be a violent guy when you know that someone sword battles for a living and then punches people for fun. But, particularly given his career history, Chamley-Watson is a pretty cool dude: That 2013 tournament was where he was the first American man to lunge and parry his way to victory. He also triumphed over Russian fencer Artur Akhmatkhuzin in the Finals, Rocky-style.
And when he doesn’t participate in the Olympics, he graces the runway, modeling for Ralph Lauren and VFiles. He has the kind of metabolism that most average people would wish for and may not have to change his diet very much to plan for modeling. “it depends on what it is,” he says. “If it’s a pretty big shoot then you’re going to want protein and no carbohydrates. I’ll stick to simple foods like chicken and kale without any sauces or fat. I’m still in pretty good shape and my body doesn’t need to change that much. I’m not too big, not too skinny, so to me, it fits well.
If there is one indulgence, it’s a Korean barbecue that the fencer makes himself. It’s a regular feature of the diet of Chamley-Watson because it is a source of lots of protein and it’s just damn fine. “You prepare it yourself, the meat is very fresh, and you know what you are doing,” he says. “It is seasoned beautifully, without too many preservatives or spices. It is beef. There’s kimchi for your body which is incredibly sweet. If you could buy one of those barbecue pits, then you should.
Here is a Basic Daily Meal Plan You Can Follow
- Shake with almond butter, protein powder, almond milk, banana
- Yogurt with granola and peanut butter
- Chicken with kale, quinoa, sweet potato
- Red Bull
- Turkey jerky
- Korean BBQ, kimchi, three trays of beef
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