Training to be a fighter is a tough gig, one that doesn’t stop after you leave the gym. In fact, it’s probably more important how you take care of your body for the 20 or so hours a day when you’re not training that makes the biggest difference. And there’s nothing more vital to how you perform and how you feel than what you ultimately put into your diet.
In a sit-down interview with UFC.com, #1 bantamweight contender Urijah Faber talks about his diet, and gives out plenty of good tips to those aspiring to train, and to those of us that could stand to lose a few pounds.
Faber on foods he avoids:
“There are a lot of things I don’t like. It’s like the Water Boy, Bobby Boucher and his mom saying that ‘Everything is the devil.’ I had that growing up. Like, I’ve never had a soda pop or a Pepsi. I’ve tasted it a couple times but never really drank one. It’s like, you know, ‘It’s the devil!’ (chuckles). I’ve had root beer …and I’m not a complete weirdo when it comes to stuff like that, but I don’t ever drink soda. I try to avoid candy but sometimes I crave it and I’ll have a little. I don’t eat red meat very often; I just don’t like the way I feel when I eat it. On occasion I’ll have a good steak or In N’ Out burger if I feel like it. I don’t like milk very much … I’ll drink goat milk, I think it’s better for your body and easier to digest. I’ll try to get it as close as ‘out of the goat’ as possible without sucking on the nipple of the goat (chuckles).
“I don’t avoid milk in all cases. I actually like Egg Nog at Christmas time. But milk, in general, I feel like it makes a lot of mucous for me and I think there can be a lot of hormones in milk that I don’t like. It’s just another one of those things that mom raised me to be anti against since I was young.
On the perception of eating healthy:
“If I see there is a problem with someone, I’ll definitely step up and say something about their diet, at least make them aware. Because a lot of times people don’t even know that they’re not eating right. For example, this is a salad. Is a salad from McDonald’s the same thing? Because they have ‘em with iceberg lettuce, cheese, croutons and tomatoes … so it sounds great.
“We had this guy on our team from Hawaii and he was having the hardest time making weight. He’s like, ‘All I had last night was salad, blah, blah, blah. So he had this family get-together and invited the whole team over. They had three types of salad: One was a fruit salad with marshmallow mix. Another salad had fried bacon bits, wonton sticks, iceberg lettuce and chicken. And then they had like an iceberg lettuce salad. They all were salads, but they were all super unhealthy! So I started thinking, ‘Yeah, he just had salad but it had a bunch of ranch dressing or something on it.’
On his every-day meals:
“Traditionally I’ve always eaten a lot of salads because growing up we always ate a lot of salads. Like this salad here has chicken in it, some cheese, a lot of olive oil and garlic, apple cider, some dark green lettuce, couscous, some Israeli couscous – which I don’t even think I’ve eaten that before – but it looked good so I threw it in there.
“There are a lot of complex carbohydrates in here, a lot of saturated and unsaturated fats, fiber, protein and a whole lot of flavor. Protein is important. Protein isn’t necessarily an energy source but it’s for rebuilding your muscles and you utilize the creatine that you get from meat. The first three to seven seconds of explosive activity you use creatine. Some people take creatine supplements … Everybody has creatine naturally and some people have high levels naturally, but you can also get it from meat.”
If you have time, I definitely recommend reading the whole interview. They asked a lot of great questions and Faber does a great job in telling a complete story.
It just amazes me how much time and effort these guys put into their diet…and rightfully so. It could be the difference between winning and losing.