The Real Food Champion

A Whole9 South Pacific feature. 

Performance does not equal health. Many of you will be well familiar with this adage, or (if you’ve attended one of our seminars) the health versus performance curve. This curve shows two paths (performance and health), rising gradually together and very closely following each other for a good amount of time—until at some point, the paths diverge. Performance continues to increase, while health decrease. In simple words, as you strive for peak performance in your chosen sporting endeavour, you may have to take steps which may take away from your health. Having worked with semi-elite to elite athletes in the past, we are well aware of this phenomenon.

However, our recent experience made us realise that with effort and diligence, health and performance can continue on together, hand in hand, for much longer.


Meet Sam Bastin

We met the 22-year-old fighter Sam Bastin (www.sambastin.com) and his coach Jason last year. Through their exposure to the Whole9 approach to nutrition, both improved their diets moving towards more wholesome food with good quality meat, fresh vegetables, seasonal fruit, and healthy fats. When they approached us for nutrition advice prior to Sam’s next fight, we knew that Sam was already starting from a good baseline.

However, the task before us was not an easy one. Sam was going to fight in a new weight class for him: Featherweight, with a cut off weight of 66.5kgs. At the time of our first talk, Sam was walking around in his lean fit frame of 82kgs. Dropping 15kgs in 10 weeks is hard enough, however we also needed Sam to maintain his fitness, his muscle mass, and his fighting edge.

The traditional way Sam used to drop weight was to do lots of cardio, reduce his overall energy intake, eat low-fat everything, and rely on significant fluid losses in the days directly before the fight. We asked ourselves if we could do things differently: have Sam eat real food without counting calories or choosing low-fat processed junk. We used the Whole30 program as the base and made a few modifications to allow for twice-daily training and steady weight loss. Pasta, juices and cereals were out. Sweet potato, lots of eggs, and fatty meats were in.

Sam’s coach Jason was all-in… with some concerns. “We decided to take a gamble on this one. Sam needed a structured approach since he has never dropped that much weight before the fight. We weren’t sure if this was even possible.”


A Fighting Chance

We could not wish for a better guinea pig. Sam was diligent and hard working. He took our advice on board and followed our program to the letter. As the weeks were passing by, he was hitting his weekly weight targets while maintaining his conditioning and energy levels. Cutting days just prior to the weigh-in are notoriously brutal, but Sam’s determination won through. At the end the water weight came off without a hitch and Sam weighed in at 66 kg.

Hungry and dehydrated, he had 24 hours to get ready for the fight.

Real Food for the Win

Sam’s previous diet immediately after a weigh-in resembled that of a starving kid in a candy store. He used to replenish his empty glycogen stores by stuffing himself full of cakes, pasta, chips, and soft drinks. Once again we needed a different tack. After weeks of gruelling training and nutrition regime we did not want to lose the game because of poor refuelling, increased inflammatory load, foggy sugar brain, and gastrointestinal upset.We worked out a 24-hour plan designed for optimum rehydration, glycogen repletion, and an energy boost, all without powders, supplements, or medications.


We were on the edge of our seats awaiting the fight result—but we needn’t have worried. Sam’s skill, fitness, grit, and determination carried him through to win the fight and become Combat 8 Featherweight Champion!

We are incredibly thankful to Sam and Jason for giving us the opportunity to prove to the athletic world that you don’t always need pricey supplements, pills, shakes, and tricks to achieve your sporting goal.  Sam says, “I am enormously grateful to Whole9 South Pacific for all their help. I never felt hungry, I had lots of energy, but at the same time the weight was coming off. I couldn’t do it without these guys. Thanks heaps for your knowledge and your support.”


Is Your Fitness Facility Ready for a Real Food Transformation?

Jamie and Anastasia are currently scheduling Whole9 Nutrition Seminars in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Bring them on to teach your clients and athletes how to apply real food nutrition protocols in their daily diets, training diets, and compeitition day diets to maximise both health and performance. Email workshops@whole9life.com for more information.

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  1. says

    Hi Nick, Jamie and I are hoping to cover major Australian centres in the course of this year. However, to ensure smooth running of the seminar and a good turn out we need a local host (a gym, a meet up group, a Paleo-oriented cafe) to spread the word on the ground. If you know of anyone who would be keen to help us out in SA shoot us an email. I love Adelaide and would be very keen for a visit!