The Mirror’s Simon Head explains how Soulmatefood worked with The GB Boxing team to prepare them for the 2012 Olympic games. Helping them make weight and take away their temptation of other food offerings in the village.
Knockout menu: The meals that propelled Team GB’s boxers to medal glory at London 2012
See how specially-chosen diets helped Team GB’s boxers in their quest for Olympic glory at London 2012
You’ve watched them and cheered them on to victory, so you’ll all be aware of the in-ring skills of Team GB’s medal-winning boxers.
But as well as the training and physical exertion that goes with being a boxer there’s another crucial element – their diet.
Team GB’s fighters needed to make sure they stayed in shape and (with the exception of super-heavyweight Anthony Joshua) make weight for their bouts throughout the competition, while maintaining high energy levels to ensure they entered the ring in the best condition possible to win.
With that in mind Team GB’s boxers enlisted Soulmatefood, a team of specialists who compiled, prepared and delivered, the boxers’ meals every day during their London 2012 campaign.
The entire squad signed up for the personally-prepared menus, which were specially compiled with each fighter to provide them with personal diet that would help them recover from training and bouts, while maintaining their optimum weight for their category.
“As the athletes are young and active, so are their palates, so it’s important that we create menus and dishes to their liking!” said CEP of Soulmatefood Christian Coates.
“If we were to feed them rabbit food then they are unlikely to eat it, therefore we make healthy, nutritionally sound versions of fun food favourites like Nandos and fajitas.
“We also address portion control to help boxers maintain their ideal weight. Obviously, if they are over-weight, they could be disqualified and if they do not make weight, it may be deemded too dangerous for them to compete.
“We also have to be clever sneaking ingredients into foods to boost nutritional value, like mixing blended vegetables into meatballs, burgers or sauces. This ensures that the nutrient content of the food remains high, without it being detrimental to the taste or appearance of the dish.”
The boxers met with the company to compile their individual menus, taking into account what they liked, what they didn’t, as well as any food allergies or dietary preferences like vegetarian or vegan diets.
Meal plans are tailored to specific conditioning phases e.g. hypertrophy, muscular endurance, body fat loss or sport including weight management, team sport, strength and power, or endurance.
Nutritionist for Soulmatefood Tom Whitehead explained: “We take into consideration the needs of athletes and their preferences.
“We use ingredients that provide the best quality nutrition to enhance their performance. For example, we use turkey as opposed to mince (lamb or beef), as it’s a lot leaner and is a good source of beta alanine.
“The pasta we use is brown, as it has a low GI (glycaemic index), so its not going to affect insulin levels and keeps fat storage down.”
London 2012 boxers’ favourites
Here’s a selection of some of the dishes enjoyed by London 2012’s boxers during the Olympics…
Mango and strawberry yoatie
Bircher style muesli (a mix of yoghurt, protein, oats and berries/fresh fruit)
Honey roast nuts with superberries (a mix of nuts and seeds roasted in manuka honey with goji berry, blueberry and cherry mix)
Tandoori salmon with hot and sour noodles
Cajun chicken burger with sweet potato wedges, charred corn, broccoli and barbecue dip
Firecracker fillet of beef with vegetable fried rice
Anti-oxidant rich SuperGreens smoothie that contains spirulina, spinach, banana, apple, yoghurt, berries and cherries (cherry juice is excellent for recovery)
Thai red chicken curry with fragrant rice and wilted greens