When England’s most famous boxer, Ricky Hatton, steps into the ring against Mexican-American scrapper Juan Lazcano on May 24th, no one at Manchester’s City Stadium will be watching harder than sports nutritionist guru Kerry Kayes, founder of the CNP Professional sports nutrition range..
Decades of nutrition research will be on demonstration as ‘Hitman’ Hatton battles it out with ‘The Hispanic Causing Panic’. His nutrition program upturns many conventional ideas about what a boxer should be eating and drinking during training.
Kerry Kayes, who studied nutrition when he himself was a champion bodybuilder of the 1970s and 80s, took the younger Ricky under his wing six years ago. At the time the boxer was already gaining a name as much for his ‘relaxation’ with his mates and his traditional English breakfasts as for his world-class boxing.
So when Ricky returned to the gym in February after his world title fight last December and an uproarious Christmas and New Year, his nutrition program was really under test. But his phenomenal self-discipline in training amazes the sports world, and it seems that no one has the ability to train harder and come out fighting more fiercely.
The daily meals of lean chicken, fish, pasta and fresh vegetables won’t be a surprise to the superfit. What marks out Ricky Hatton’s whole diet is an intensive daily course of what he calls his “super magic shakes” – protein and other supplements from CNP Professional – and the insistence on drinking lots of water – upwards of four litres a day – even though many boxers fight shy of drinking plenty of water.
Kayes is going against the flow in focusing on protein supplements and water consumption, because for years boxers have cut down on food and water to reach target weights. That’s completely the wrong attitude, he argues. Starving the body might burn fat to start with, but the body adapts and slows metabolism, and it actually becomes harder to lose weight. What’s more, the lack of nutrients doesn’t allow muscles to recover after training.
His solution, which is at the heart of Ricky Hatton’s training, is a big increase in supplements, particularly protein supplements.
“If you are working out hard, your body really needs those nutrients. But you have to keep the Kcalories down to lose the weight. If you only have the solid food, it comes with those Kcalories attached, as fat. The protein supplements ensure your body will recover properly after the exercise without adding fat.”
Kayes says his diet gives Ricky Hatton around 2,700Kcal, and just over 200g of complete protein daily. For training this allows the weight to drop off while nourishing and restoring the body after exercise – and developing peak physical fitness.
Ricky Hatton’s match isn’t the only one on May 24th that’s using CNP and Kerry Kayes’ expertise. Matthew Hatton, Ricky’s brother, who is also under the Kayes nutrition program, is on the same bill, and will be battling the biggest fight of his career against Craig Watson for a Commonwealth Welterweight title.
Kerry Kayes emphasises that the Hatton diet is not only for pro sportsmen. “Anyone working to peak physical fitness can benefit,” he says.