Chris 'The Bull' Baugh is an undefeated Light Middleweight boxer from London. He's also the owner of First Principles Training, teaching people at various levels
Tell us what an average day for you looks like…
Normally I wake up at 6am, have a quick breakfast and get to the gym for 7am for my first client or class of the day. I try and line up whatever morning clients I have back-to-back until about 11am. Then I go home, grab a light snack and my kit bag and head over to whatever gym I'm training at that day, either Rooney's in London Bridge or Islington Boys' Club in Archway.
Train for a few hours, shower and head home for a meal, then back to the gym for about 5pm for evening clients. If I have a quiet night I will fit in either a run or a swim. Normally I'll finish by 8.30pm, be home by 9pm- one hour to chill and then bed by 10pm to get my 8 hours and do it all over again the next day.
How did you first get into boxing?
I did Chinese Martial Arts and Kickboxing until I was 19 but the first time I boxed was when I was living in Ghana for a few months after I left school. I was out there teaching and someone heard I was into training because a guy turned up outside the school one day and said “are you the boxer?!”- he took me to a backstreet gym in the heart of Accra and let me train with the boxers there. Three months of that and I was hooked- when I came back to London I joined the boxing team at university and the rest is history.
With your personal training, what boxing disciplines do you incorporate, just the physical side or also the mental attributes?
I'm big on the mental side of my sport and in any kind of physical training more generally. I built my coaching ethos on a set of 'First Principles', which aim to develop mental resilience, focus and self-awareness. Awareness of yourself and your own illusions or rationalisations is so important because it's the foundation of truly knowing how hard you're training- are you really at your limit or are you just telling yourself you are?
On the physical side, I work with some people who want to learn to box and I design sessions around core boxing skills like coordination, foot and hand speed, balance and boxing fitness. Other clients want to focus on something specific like strength gains or sport specific goals and I use a whole range of tools with them not just boxing. Whatever the physical goals of a client and the training they do, the mental conditioning I've developed and believe in will be present in their experience.
How important is a healthy diet to your training?
You can't perform efficiently if you don't eat, drink and sleep right so it goes without saying that diet is a massive part of my lifestyle and a requirement of my sport. I'm aware of meal timings as well since this can massively affect your energy levels and weight. It's hard sometimes being on the go all day and not having a lunch hour but I cook a lot of food at home and use Tupperware boxes. A pack of BEEFit is always an easy and nutritious way to get my protein in after training!
How does this change when you’re preparing for a fight?
Everything just gets stricter. I try and eat small portions of food every 3-4 hours, avoid eating after 6/7pm and my water intake goes up even higher to around 5 litres a day. I find this helps me have the most energy for training and work, while still being mindful of the weight I have to make for the fight.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to change their diet to train for a physical, contact sport like boxing?
Whatever sport you're training for you need to eat as clean as possible. Avoid sugar on its own or added into foods and alcohol too as they both have zero benefits for training. If you can do that you're already avoiding most processed food.
In contact sports bone density is important to avoid injuries so lots of calcium containing foods as well as plenty of lean protein to maintain the muscle mass you have. Up your greens too- eat as much spinach, broccoli and kale as possible! With boxing there's the added dimension of making weight but if you train hard and eat clean then that part is much easier.
And finally when can we expect to see you out again?
I'd been struggling with a hand injury since August so I've had to take a break from punching people. Fingers crossed come February 2016, The Bull will be back!