Sunday 26 October 2014

Boxer Katie Taylor lends her top fitness tips

The Olympian shares her training routine with FIT Magazine.

Alison O'Riordan

Published 26/08/2014 | 02:30

Olympic boxer Katie Taylor
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Katie Taylor

By sharing her tips for success so people can make positive changes, the fighter is helping participants live fit for the next 100 days.

The 28-year-old boxing star herself trains twice a day, six days a week with a well-needed rest on Sundays.

"In the mornings I could be doing a running session or a weights session or a pads session in my gym in Bray. In the evenings, I am in the ring in the gym sparring and doing technical work as well as punching the bags. The two sessions are very high intensity," says Katie.

"Each session would last around one-and -a-half to two hours. So I am training four hours a day between either bags, cardio or a strength session. We have to do a bit of everything in boxing and every session is very different."

Pounding the pavements is another part of her weekly exercise regime.

"I use the running track in Charlesland, which is in Greystones, Co Wicklow, or even Bray Head; a heavy running session is quite different and helps mix it up.

Olympic boxer Katie Taylor

"I have good variety in my training so I try to blend it as much as possible. This is very important as it stops you becoming bored and keeps you fresh."

Now sparring largely with male boxers, to give herself more strength and durability and make sure she can go the distance, the athlete, who is considered pound for pound the best female boxer in the world, says: "I've always trained and sparred with the lads since I started. I think it's important for every female to spar and train with guys, it will only bring them on.

"I've often said that some of my sparring sessions are harder than some of my fights. It's great getting that competition and those training sessions. I would spar with Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan quite a bit; I don't think many of the people I come up against will be half as good as those guys so I'm very lucky to be able to get those rounds in."

The boxing sensation, who is credited with raising the profile of women's boxing at home and abroad, is also a firm believer in the necessity of sleep.

"It's important to get your rest in as well, as you need your body to recover as well. On a typical day one should be getting at least eight hours sleep, it's important to recover well. I go to bed for 11pm and up at 8am. To wind down I do quite a bit of reading and I like watching DVDs, too. I also like going to the cinema."

The hugely popular sportswoman admits to not training too early and rising for a hearty breakfast.

"My breakfast would be porridge with Manuka honey and berries. I have three main meals a day which are breakfast, lunch and dinner and then I have snacks in between. The lunch could be chicken and pasta and the dinner would be similar to that with green vegetables. It's important for me to get a lot of carbohydrates in. I try to have a healthy balance. I don't have a special diet, I just a try to be very balanced. For snacks, I would have yoghurt and then fruit in between."

Katie has been involved with the combat sport since 1998 when she began aged 12, coached by her father Peter, himself a successful amateur boxer. She has many food tips in her repertoire, her top one being eating large quantities of protein.

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Katie Taylor

"If you're training a lot I would advise eating a lot of protein as it helps muscles to recover faster and can help muscles go longer."

Despite her excellent strength, speed, reflexes, endurance, this sporting legend also has her vices. "My bad eating habits are that I am addicted to chocolate, any kind really, I eat all of it. That's why I have to cut it out during the week but then on my cheat day, which is a Sunday, I'm allowed to eat what I want as I would be very disciplined every single day during the week," she explains.

So what does the competitor who throws punches for a living think of the fitness programme and the Irish Independent's campaign to spread the joy of fitness and the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle?

"I think 100 FIT days is a great idea. It's great motivation for people to actually get out and be active. To stick it out I would say set yourself goals, realistic ones and don't be too hard on yourself if it doesn't happen straight away. You have to be consistent with your training and you definitely will get the results in the end but it's all about persevering. It would be good to have a tough training partner too, to motivate yourself, as it's a lot easier when you are training with other people. Another point would be to change your training up, don't just do the same thing, a bit of cross training, a bit of running and swimming."

Speaking on the joys of fitness and about being able to take on other strong female athletes, the 5ft 5in superstar says: "I get great satisfaction from training hard. My training sessions are very intense, I'm pushing my body to the limit every single day so it's quite different to other people. It's my job, so I have to be in top physical shape. When I do finish a tough session, it is very very satisfying. It's not so good during the session when I am in bits but after the gruelling session I feel great.

"Training to be fit needs a focus, so my main goal is Rio (Olympics) in a few years. I always have little goals in between like the World Championships in November, that's what I'm focused on right now and gets me going.

"A day doesn't go by when I don't think about defending my titles at those World Championships. So for ordinary athletes out there the advice is to have a focus and set yourself goals. Have something to motivate yourself.

"The most important thing is to be consistent, if you're giving it a lot for one week and then missing for a few after it won't work. "

Katie Taylor

With her sixth European medal won in June, Katie became the 60kg champion of Europe again after defeating French boxer Estelle Mossely in Bucharest but the consummate professional still feels there is room for improvement even at such a high level.

"It's always great when defending titles and coming back with gold medals but I still have a lot to improve on. I need to get better and keep improving and the day I stop improving is the day I won't reach my goals.

"There are still so many improvements to be made. That's what sport is about, you never stop learning," she adds.

Now with four World Championship wins, six European Championship golds and an Olympic title under her belt, does the champ feel overwhelmed in the slightest?

"I don't really think too much about it, when one competition is over I quickly turn to the next. I think when I retire I will look back on things and think about it a bit more then but when you're in the middle of your career, you just want to keep going and keep adding to those titles. It is a great achievement but I feel the best is still to come."

Results show she has been victorious in an astounding 147 out of 154 contests, but the 28-year-old still reflects on the few near misses.

"I think back on the losses too, without those losses I definitely wouldn't be the boxer I am today. I have learned more from those setbacks, so one can't be afraid of setbacks. "

Now with the 2014 AIBA World Women's Championships on the horizon in South Korea in November, Katie will be aiming for her fifth successive title in Jeju. The Bray woman won her first world title in India in 2006 and followed that up with wins in China (2008), Barbados (2010) and China (2012)

"It's always going to be a big challenge defending those titles but I think I'm focusing on my training and getting into the best shape possible. I feel if I'm at my best I will be very hard to beat."

While currently focused on amateur tournaments, training for the next Olympics in Rio in 2016, where she wants to be ranked number one, doesn't escape our conversation.

"It's just about defending those titles in advance, the likes of the World Championships, the Europeans, and I don't want to give anyone any glimmer of hope, it's important to go into every competition as a favourite of the competition and I want to go into Rio as a favourite but it won't be an easy task, I still have to qualify for the Olympics, which is always going to be a tough challenge. I'm looking forward to it and those challenges as well."

Despite the tough schedule on the horizon, and the constant discipline, dedication and single-mindedness, the best is yet to come for the lightweight champion and Olympic gold medallist.

"I think people definitely haven't seen the best of me yet. There is a lot for people to see and I don't think I've reached my peak yet, I feel I am getting better and better in each competition and going to each competition with something different and something new. The best days are always ahead of you."

Katie Taylor has launched the new Adidas Energy Boost footwear, which is available now from Lifestyle Sports and adidas.ie in four colours: striking pink, frost mint green, white, and black.

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