It’s February! I’ve been in a hard training block this month and wanted to talk to you guys about nutrition.
So, what is nutrition? It is the process of obtaining food necessary for health and growth. In sporting terms this is to fuel the body and to reach optimum performance. I never really paid much attention to my nutrition until a few years ago. I realised how important it was to fuel my body in the right way to get the best recovery from tough training sessions and be able to have the energy to hold out on those long gruelling sessions!
I’ve found that I can make fueling for my sport fun. I love creating smoothies using a variety of frozen and fresh fruit and veg and trying out different soups is perfect for warming you up in winter. I can burn up to 6,000 calories in a day so it is vital to keep myself fueled up.
There are many sporting supplements out there to help aid recovery and refuel you during exercise but nothing beats proper fresh prepared food. This provides your body with the right balance of vitamins and minerals. It’s a personal preference for me.
A good balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats can give your body the best fuel to perform any physical activity. Carbohydrates are important to provide your body with energy for endurance and power, proteins which help build and repair new body tissues and fats providing energy when exercising at lower intensity.
The most important meal of the day (and my favourite!) is breakfast.
It has been proven that people who eat breakfast perform better than those who skip breakfast. Waking up very early for training this can pose a challenge – not many people have an appetite at 5am! It is important for me to consume a little something before training so a small snack (such as cereal, toast or a banana) beats trying to exercise on an empty stomach.
Make sure you have something packed to eat straight after exercising! I usually have two breakfasts, my stomach can tolerate a medium sized meal before I train and post training well I have been known to eat a lot!! (The bread roll with cheese and ham was for a snack for later on, I was on a tough training camp).
My breakfasts are not always this large. I’ve managed to change it a wee bit so I can actually still eat lunch afterwards! I regularly have a bowl of porridge with some frozen berries, a bowl of Greek yoghurt with honey and mixed fruit and a plate of scrambled egg.