Nicola Adams: ‘I still get nervous before a big fight’

The boxer on her training regime, her mum’s home cooking and her respect for her opponents


I try to get at least eight hours’ sleep. It’s important for my recovery, so I’m normally in bed by 10pm. Luckily, I fall asleep pretty quickly. I try to pry myself away from the telly before heading to bed, and not automatically hop on to social media on my phone. I usually get up at 7am and go straight to the gym.


I’m training for a big fight right now, so I’m eating a lot of carbs. I have my meals delivered: breakfast is scrambled eggs and toast, and for lunch I’ll have grilled chicken with vegetables, along with potatoes or rice. In the evening, I’ll just have soup – no carbs. Soup’s been my favourite healthy meal since I was little. If I’m not watching what I eat, my weaknesses are pizza, ice-cream, cupcakes and Belgian waffles.


I’m constantly going between my home in Leeds, where I grew up, and San Francisco, where I’m based for training. It’s pretty much 7am till 7pm, five days a week. I do running, followed by strength and conditioning – press-ups, pull-ups, weights – and in the evening I have a boxing session with sparring, bags and skipping. I still get nervous before a big fight. I think nervous energy is good because it means you’re not underestimating your opponent.


My mum, Dee, taught me to believe in myself. I grew up admiring how she dealt with everything, from studying for more qualifications to working multiple jobs, and leaving an abusive marriage to my dad when I was 11. Even when things were tough, she picked herself up and carried on. I head back to Leeds for her home cooking and to see my younger brother Kurtis. We’re both very competitive and we take go-karting seriously. Kurtis is someone I can turn to for advice on anything and he’s going to tell it like it is, without sugar-coating it.


Sometimes I wish there were two of me because I find it hard to fit everything in to my day. To wind down, I like to play a game or head out with friends for dinner or clubbing. When I get proper time off, I like nothing more than to fly somewhere warm like the Maldives or the Philippines and sit on the beach, drinking a pina colada and getting a massage.

• Nicola Adams is an ambassador for E45, supporting the brand’s new Straight Up Women campaign

Sarah Ewing

The GuardianTramp

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