James Wilks is a MMA fighter who is best known to many as winner of the Ultimate Fighter. Trained in traditional striking martial arts, James holds a Black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a Brown belt in Brazilian Jui Jitsu.
The Englishman moved to America to improve his training and there learned grappling skills. In 2003 aged 25 he fought in MMA and recorded a win using a grappling technique. When we spoke with James in May 2012 he had a record of 11 wins and 4 losses. In 2009 James entered UFC9 and won the Welterweight title.
He is a Black Belt and Instructor in TaeKwonDo and Assistant Instructor in Japanese Jui Jitsu as well as being an Instructor in the British Combat Association. James is also a qualified instructor in connection with several armed forces and law enforcement bodies.
Following an injury in March 2011, James was forced to train less, so had more time to study nutrition. At this stage he started cutting out meat and dairy.
“At first it was for health and athletic performance but it also became about ethics and the environment. My strength increased. I put 20lbs on my dumbell benchpress (10lbs each arm) in only 2 weeks and my endurance improved. Running is much easier now. I have more energy and recovery is better too. The whole protein myth is complete nonsense. Plant-based foods have plenty.”
Breakfast for James is usually oatmeal, flax seed and blueberries. Other favourites include quinoa salad with black beans, chickpeas, red wine vinegar and veggies, and curried lentils. He told GVA that he’d just finished a particularly good cashew curry with kale and quinoa.
“I was so stuck eating lean turkey with brown rice and broccoli or something similar before I switched. I eat such a wider variety of foods now. A lot of people assume it would be more expensive but actually its cheaper. Its great!”
As well as feeling better, James’ study of nutrition has shown him the advantages. “As an athlete you want your endothelium, the inner lining of your arteries, to be as healthy as possible. It is responsible for nitric oxide production which transports oxygen to the muscles and dilates the arteries. More oxygen means better performance whether it be strength or endurance."
"Plant-based foods are inherently loaded with antioxidants too, which aid athletes in recovery. If someone wants to be the best athlete they can be they need to fuel their body with the best diet available and that is a whole food, plant-based diet. Period!”
James has not hit the vegan mark, so we have not given him a permanent profile on this site. This is because a neighbour has rescued bees, and he eats honey from their hive. James, if you make the last steps to full vegan you'd be very welcome as a permanent profile.