Championship Nutrition With David Williams

Chef David Williams

Chef David Williams holds a unique perspective at the confluence between the food, health and sports worlds, and he was generous enough to recently grant HardyMag an extended interview.  Williams has developed an unparalleled reputation within sports nutrition circles, and he’s currently both chef and training camp manager for Heavyweight Boxing Champion Wladimir Klitschko.

Wladimir Klitschko is the unified WBO, IBF, IBO and Ring Magazine Champion of the World.  Wladimir has established himself as the supreme fighter within the heavyweight division, besting top opponents including Chris Byrd, Samuel Peter, Tony Thompson, Ruslan Chagaev and Eddie Chambers.  Klitschko acknowledges that the nutritional guidance and insight provided by David Williams has played a significant role in supporting the attainment of his lofty status within the boxing world.

Not only has David Williams helped facilitate Wladimir Klitschko’s meteoric rise to boxing fame, but Williams is also chef to Wladimir’s brother — Vitali Klitschko.  Vitali is a three time heavyweight champ and holds the distinction of having the highest knockout percent of any heavyweight champ — an amazing 95%.  The fact that both brothers rely upon Williams to structure and prepare their nutritional intake speaks volumes — and we are pleased to be able to now convey to you some thoughts on food gleaned by HardyMag during a recent interview.

Williams begins by tracing his history in the food business, which extends back over two decades.  Founder of the acclaimed Mogan’s Cafe (moganscafe.com) in Pacific Palisades, he developed followings within both the culinary and sports worlds.  However, the sports world won out, and in December of 2009 Williams decided to sell Mogan’s in order to fully focus on his roles within the Wladimir Klitschko camp.  According to Williams, this was a difficult decision, but Klitschko’s controversial performance and exciting last minute knockout victory in the Chambers fight served to cement David’s resolve to fully focus on supporting the best two boxing brothers the world has arguably ever seen.

Chef David Williams prepares a meal for Vitali Klitschko during his May 2010 Training Camp in Austria.

Williams starts off by discussing calories.  While many assume a calorie is a calorie, Williams does not see it that way.  In his words,

“Calories from oatmeal compared to cheese pizza might be the same, but the nutritional value is different due to saturated fat, cholesterol, carbs etc… I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to understand that pizza is different than oatmeal.”

Simply put, each day you have a budget of calories, and you need to make each one count.  Sure, the pizza and oatmeal might be equal in calorie counts — but what are you getting from each?  Williams also encounters a lot of misperceptions about fat.  According to Williams, it is “virtually impossible to totally cut fat from your diet unless you are eating steamed vegetables plain, and salad with no dressing…YUK!”

Williams emphasizes that just like calories, not all fats are created the same.  He strongly advises cutting down on saturated fats, and he enumerates a list of foods which those in training should seek to avoid.  According to him, this list includes “butter, cream, whole milk cheeses, fatty cuts of meats, creamy salad dressings and some tropical fruits that are high in natural oils like coconut and palm along with trans-fats such as margarine used in pastries, most baked goods, donuts and cookies.”

When it comes to the optimum fats/proteins/carbs ratio, Williams is of the camp that a mixture of 40-45% carbs, 25-30% protein and 30-35% fats presents for an ideal allocation — and he further adds an admonition to limit daily sodium intake to no more than 2500mg.  Williams combines his culinary flair with his deep nutritional knowledge when he goes on to discuss the best foods for a cut.  He divulges one of his secrets in this arena — the use of salsas and chutneys (which are basically just reduced salsas).  He feels that salsa and chutney gives a “ton of flavor and keeps the saturated fats down.”  He further elaborates by endorsing “grilled meats, chicken and fish on the barbecue  — of course skinless.”

When discussing his preferred bulking diet, Williams indicates that protein intake is of paramount importance.  He emphasizes that both animal and vegetable proteins are requisite, and he ramps the protein intake up from 25-30% all the way to 45-50% in bulking scenarios.  He finds inventive ways to do this — in his words this can be done by “adding chicken to your salad at lunch, snacking on soy beans (purest form of vegetable protein) or adding protein shakes as a snack.”  Williams does give the caveat that those who are adding in the form of animal protein should also add extra salads in order to avoid constipation.

David’s true talent lies in maintaining nutritional values without sacrificing taste.  He is a big fan of fresh herbs including cilantro and basil, and he assiduously uses honey as a substitute for sugar.  He also substitutes Half & Half or whole milk for cream which he insists does not detract from the flavor nor consistency of cream based dishes.  Such creativity is also encapsulated in his advice for those craving a creamy salad dressing — he advises to “use a vinegar based dressing but add some cheese crumbles to satisfy.”  Creative uses of grilled vegetables as either salad toppings or side dishes further enhance food enjoyment while conforming to the rigid nutritional requirements of top athletes like the Klitschko brothers.

When it comes to the often controversial world of supplements, Williams gives some simple advice.  He contends that “you can rely primarily upon a well rounded diet.  For me, a good ‘one a day’ vitamin is all that is really needed up and above a good diet and possible use of a vegetable protein powder.”  In Williams’ opinion, people “get carried away with supplements.”  He can see the facility of occasional use of amino acids when bulking up, but as a general rule he believes that supplements are used by many seeking to avoid the rigors of a proper diet.

Williams is quite serious about what goes into his client’s diet.  He sums it up nicely when he says “…the way we look at it at Klitschko training camp is to think of your body as a car — you put in bad fuel and you get a bad performance.  Conversely, if you put in the best fuel, then that same car will run forever at top performance.”

What kind of “fuel” are you currently putting in your “car”?

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10 Comments

  1. Shane says:

    Interesting read. I just wish Haye would get in the ring, what a pussy.
    Wladimir can at least beat up on his mandatory (Povetkin) now.

  2. Travis says:

    Anyone know what’s in the tongs in the 2nd pic?

  3. CTaylor says:

    Other heavyweights should take note, perhaps then we wouldn’t have the, what is now commonplace among heavyweights, Chris Arreola, & James Toney physiques.

  4. Isaac says:

    Shane: I’m convinced that Haye will NEVER get in the ring with a Klitschko. He’s had too many chances and will forever be known for ducking both of them.

  5. Dominique says:

    Yellow asparagus. It’s huge in Austria and Germany that time of year.

  6. Travis says:

    Yellow asparagus I would have never of guessed that! Thanks.

  7. Interesting. I know that Adam Booth is very strict about what David Haye puts inside his body. Nothing but smoked white meat and protein shakes straight from the pipe.

  8. Isaac says:

    Tony: LOL, I don’t know. I think Haye must be straight as an arrow. If the saying “you are what you eat” is true, David Haye has been eating a huge amount of pussy lately.

  9. cody says:

    i thought coconut oil was a good sat fat b/c of the medium chain fatty acid ? its not like any regular sat fat. whats the deal?

  10. Jason says:

    Cody: I’m not sure….but I do know that at the movie theater, most of the time they use coconut oil to pop the popcorn, and that stuff is terrible for you.

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