AHEAD of his forthcoming clash with Jose Miguel Torres, three-time world title challenger Martin Murray takes us through his plan now that he’s made the move to 168lbs, and Dr James Morton analyses the boxer’s dietary choices.
I DON’T have a particular philosophy, but I’ve been dieting for so long that I know what my body needs. For example I found out I’m gluten-intolerant early last year so I’ve cut that out of my diet completely. I took the test on the advice of my nutritionist, Ed Tooley, who I’m still working with now and he’s brilliant, really knows his stuff. My diet hasn’t really changed since I’ve made the move up to super-middleweight because it’s a natural weight for me. The main difference is those last few weeks of training, which aren’t stressful anymore because I don’t have to boil down. I also avoid carbohydrates unless I need them, for example around the time I’m sparring. Even then I’ll get the carbs from sweet potatoes or rice, never bread. I keep an eye on my diet even when I’m not in training, especially when it comes to gluten, because if you have some after having not eaten any in a long time, you feel horrible.
It’s great to see Martin working with a full-time nutritionist in Ed Tooley whom I know and whose great work I am aware of. Martin also seems to have good habits of periodising carbohydrates for as and when he needs them. Additionally, he also seems to be obtaining his carbohydrates from good sources.
I USUALLY have gluten-free cereal or gluten-free porridge with a bit of fruit and a cup of coffee. Sometimes I’ll treat myself with a bacon sandwich if I’m not in training. I eat as soon as I’m up really, my body tells me I need to fuel up so I eat around 7.30am before I start training at around 9.30am.
The timing and type of food is appropriate here, though the one thing I would try and emphasise is to get more protein at breakfast. The last time Martin would have had protein would have been the evening prior and when we wake in the morning we are naturally in a state of negative protein balance. The best way to facilitate a positive protein balance is to therefore ingest some dietary protein. Some simple ways to obtain this would be from eggs or cold fish and meat such as smoked salmon, mackerel, ham etc. Greek yoghurt is also high in protein and this could also be consumed with his fruit.
IT’S predominantly made up of some protein and some vegetables or greens, so today I’m having a Greek salad with a piece of chicken.
I get the protein from various sources, like prawns and salmon, and I sometimes add a small bit of sauce to add some flavour because it can be really dry when it’s just chicken and salad. I’ll have lunch around midday, right after training. I’ll finish training and refuel with my lunch because I don’t have protein shakes or anything like that because they’ve all got gluten in, so I get my protein from my food.
Again, the timing and type of food is good here. The only thing I would add would be some carbohydrates to replace some of the energy that has just been used. Whilst I am a fan of low-carbohydrate diets, we do also need some carbohydrates to promote recovery and prevent suppression to our immune systems. Post-training is the best time to consume carbs as this is when our muscles are most sensitive to storing them efficiently as glycogen.
WE usually have dinner around 5pm but it depends on what we’re doing as a family. It’s largely the same as lunch – some protein with some greens and other things, sometimes it might be a stir-fry, we’re having a prawn stir-fry tomorrow, sometimes it might be some rice.
Timing and type of food is also great for dinner. Martin seems to be in the good habit of deliberately reducing carbohydrate intake in the evening period given how large portions may add to body-fat gains at this time.
I’LL make a smoothie at around 3pm or 4pm in a NutriBullet. I’ll take some fruit, ice and water and blend that into a smoothie. Sometimes I’ll just have fruit, but if I want a treat I’ll have a rice cake or a rice pudding just to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I’m a big fan of NutriBullet smoothies for snacks. In general, we should be aiming to consume protein every two-and-a-half-three hours, so depending on the time of Martin’s lunch and dinner, the timing of this snack could change to adopt a 12, 3pm and 6pm-type feeding strategy. Additionally, to get protein into this smoothie, Martin could add 200g of Greek yoghurt. If dinner is consumed between 5pm and 6pm, then it would also be useful to ingest protein prior to sleep as recent research suggests protein before bed improves muscle recovery and strength gains.
LIKE I said, I don’t have protein shakes because of the gluten. I did used to have them but it made me very slow at times. Now I feel great, really healthy. But I’ll take plenty of multivitamins and I’ll sometimes have salt water after training to bring my salt levels back up.
If Martin is meeting all requirements from food, then often there is no need for supplements such as whey protein shakes or fish oils. However, certain supplements such as beta-alanine can improve high-intensity performance though you need to ingest 4-6g per day for at least four weeks prior to fight night.