Refrigerator Look Book: Nabie Fofanah

The Olympian, sprinter, and top trainer whips up his own fruit-and-veggie drinks and recovers from workouts with antioxidant dark chocolate.

Nabie Fofanah is a two-time Olympic athlete and three-time All-American sprinter who now uses his talents to train other top athletes at Chelsea Piers. His workouts specialize in total body definition using circuit training, Olympic-style lifting, and kettlebells. In short, kicking butts.

Originally from Sierra Leone, Fofanah says his diet represents his rich African heritage as well as his love for all things American (read: chocolate).”I eat at least one African meal a day,” he says. “It’s part of my diet that makes my soul happy.”

We chatted with Nabie to find out what other flavors fuel his drive and what advice he dishes out for the runner in us all. Here’s what we found out:

You have both milk and Smart Balance. Does that mean you eat dairy sparingly? I don’t eat dairy everyday, but I use the skim milk for my Fiber 1 cereal for the protein. I also use it to make chocolate milk, which is excellent for a recovery drink after long workouts.

What’s in the red and white box under the carrots? In the red and white box is 70 percent dark chocolate, packed with antioxidants. Dark chocolate improves my recovery, reduces the amount of cell breakdown in my muscles and brain, and its just delicious.

I’m seeing a pattern here! How about the white Styrofoam container on top of the box? That’s my mother’s cooking: it’s a stew of cassava leaves with dried fish and vegetables. Every man needs mama’s cooking in his life!

Aw, how sweet! You also have a lot of fruit juice. I drink them twice a day and mix them with vegetables to make my own homemade juices.

Would you recommend these homemade fruit drinks to one of your clients interested in dropping some pounds? I definitely would not recommend that someone trying to lose weight drink more than one serving of fruit juice a day. Fructose drinks are not good for most of the population. But for athletes, its more acceptable to drink fruit juices before and after workouts in order to replenish your carbohydrates.

I don’t see a lot of protein-packed foods other than the eggs and tuna. How do you make sure you’re getting enough fuel for your workouts? The reason you don’t see much protein is because I’m not training intensely. I’m working out four days a week for one hour and I am mostly doing light short sprints, lifting light weights for high repetitions, and boxing.

What would your fridge have looked like when you were training for the Olympics back in 2004 and 2008? When I’m training intensely, I stock my fridge with smoked salmon, tilapia, lean chicken, all types of beans, lots of nuts and raisins, peanut butter, potatoes and I always include a protein shake right after my workouts. —Jenna Holt

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