A day in the life of karate pro Sabina Lääveri – Food Pharmacy


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A day in the life of karate pro Sabina Lääveri

In mid-September we wrote about Sabina Lääveri. You remember…the karate pro who eats almost exclusively vegetarian food. Perhaps you then also remember that we promised to ask Sabina for a detailed diet and exercise diary? And now it’s finally time for us to find out how a vegetarian’s day can look as an elite athlete like Sabina.

– Sabina, can you tell us how a normal November day looks for you?

Of course I can! As an athlete, I spend a lot of time out and about. The days are often very long and I appreciate the little things in everyday life. A cup of coffee at home on the couch early on a dark autumn morning may be taken for granted by some but these are moments that I deeply appreciate. The following is how a typical day can look for me:

05:30 – Alarm clock rings

Occasionally, periodic fasting has worked well for me despite frequent training and during such periods I move up the rest of the day’s meals a few hours. But during a period of very intense training, I eat breakfast. What is important is that I adjust and time what I eat in accordance to when and how I train.

My breakfast consists of:

– Oatmeal with 1 frozen green banana, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon organic peanut butter and frozen berries
– Coffee with oat milk
– Cold water with raw organic apple cider vinegar

A few days a week I plan on a morning workout at the gym before I go to work (that is, my “day job”). I think it’s nice to split up the strength training throughout the week, partly to get the body up and at em’ already in the morning, and partly to be able to prioritize mobility and rehab training – in my case injury prevention exercises mainly for muscles and joints like knees, feet and shoulders.

7:00 AM – Strength training

Warm up
Mobility Exercises
Power Clean 5×5 35 kg
Chin-ups 3x max
Dips 3x max
Clean with burpee 4×8 30 kg
Lunge with rotation and medication ball 6 kg
Box jump 4×8

08:15 – Recovery

– 2 Buckwheat crisps with chia seeds
– Peanut butter
– A banana

11:00 – Lunch

Mia and Lina’s mango stew (love it!). I add to that some beluga lentils, steamed butternut squash, spinach, quick-pickled red cabbage in apple cider vinegar, lime and sea salt. And a lot of cilantro!

Planning is everything for me and always having meals and snacks on hand makes things much easier. I  pack food for both lunch at work and dinner between the workouts. When I prepare the food, I always make large portions so it’s enough for the whole week. A good tip is to store all dry foods in one box, for example vegetables, lentils, potatoes etc., and stew or other like kind foods in another box. That way the food stays fresh longer.

14:00 – Snack 1

– A banana
No surprise.

16:00 – Karate training 1: technique

Warm up
Timing in footwork and striking

17:30 – Dinner

Quinoa with marinated tempeh. Another favorite!
(Are you curious about how Sabina makes this? Check out the blog tomorrow for the recipe!)

19:00 – Karate Pass 2: Situation Training

Warm up
Timing Exercises
Lead – laying under situation training
Sparring 10 rounds

20:30 – Evening meal

– 1 cup hummus with carrot sticks
–  Roasted salted almonds
– Green tea

– What a day Sabina, super busy!

Yeah, I really have to stick to my planning so that things flow. Elite training involves a lot of sacrifice in terms of social life with family and friends.  Leisure time needs to be planned in advance and there is seldom room for spontaneity. But I don’t pity myself though, on the contrary! I live for progress and personal development. To exercise purposefully and be able to control my body down to the smallest movements, to be quick and strong and to fight is pure euphoria. My goal is to make it to the Olympics.

– What inspires you when planning your meals?

Diet has always been an interest of mine and since I have decided to become the best in the world at karate, I also want to optimize my diet to perform as well as possible. The interest in a plant-based diet was associated with listening to Food Pharmacy as an audio book and since then you have inspired my everyday life and lifestyle. Today I am eating almost exclusively vegetarian diets and I have noticed that I recover better, I am more alert during the days and sleep better at nights. Worth gold to me!

But eating strictly vegetarian does require some knowledge. For myself, who wants to maintain muscle mass, I need to keep an eye on how much energy I expend during the day and how much protein I need to eat in order to not lose muscle.

Thank you Sabina! And for those of you curious about her dinner recipe, make sure to come back tomorrow, it won’t disappoint!




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