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NUTRITION FOR THE MODERN DAY ATHLETE

Whether you’re exercising to lose weight, or training for a specific event, one key aspect to training, recovery and weight loss is nutrition.

It makes sense to me that you get out what you put into your body. When you start to become more active you will notice your hunger cravings and spend on food will increase. Because you’re more active, you are hungrier and then you will start spending money on food.

For the last 12 months I have tried a few combinations of fuelling myself through city life and running. Below are my tips for the everyday athlete to fuel themselves through work and running!

My basic theory is that you put the food in your body that you need to function and treat yourself every now and then.

BREAKFAST

Over the last 2 months I have been following Max Lowery’s #2mealsaday guide – I skip breakfast.

The theory being you have dinner and then put your body into a fasted state until lunch the next day, you are not starving yourself, but your body is using your fat as fuel.

This is great for an endurance athlete as often, we have to use our stored fat as fuel when we have used all the carbohydrates and have run out of physical supplies.

When your body becomes fat adapted, your cravings in the morning will subside and you’ll notice a huge difference in how you feel – I guarantee you will feel more energetic after 2 to 3 weeks.

LUNCH

Lunch, is a huge market. You have Eat, Pret, POD and other independent stores selling sandwiches and health pots for anywhere between £5 to £10. Spending this daily can add up big time.

I have therefore found comfort in high street shops such as Tesco’s. Utilising their meal deals is really cost effective way of fuelling yourself for just £3 a day. The other option I go with is the salad bar – this is cheaper at £2 per pot!

The Meal Deal – £3

– Chicken and Pasta – good mixture of carbs and protein (NEVER fear carbs, you need them)
– Popcorn – good sweet snack to fill you up with limited excess sugars
– Smoothie – ALWAYS the innocent smoothie. Why? Because it is purely fruit (unlike others) and also has a good hit of vitamins and it also hits my sweet tooth nicely.

Mini Salad Pot – £2

– 2 hard boiled eggs – good fats and protein
– Mediterranean Cous Cous – good mix of carbs through grains and vegetables
– Diced Sweet Potato – delicious and good nutrients

I understand these aren’t perfect, but they are good and cheap for the active working lifestyle.

SNACKING

We all do it. If you say you don’t snack, you’re lying.

When I feel the need for something else in the afternoon either because I still have hunger cravings, or maybe as a pre workout, then nuts / trail mix are awesome.

If I am still really hungry still then I drink a cup of tea or coffee. Probably not the best advice, but it does keep hunger away.

EVENT / RACE / IN EXERCISE NUTRITION

A lot of the official nutrition bars and gels for events are super expensive. SIS gels are near to £10 per packet and other protein and energy bars are between £1.50 to £3 per bar.

For the latest endurance race I did (an ironman) my nutrition was:

– Snickers (£1 for a pack of 16)
– Bananas
– Strawberry laces (£1 per pack)
– Lime cordial and a pinch of sea salt diluted with water (90p for cordial and £1 for the salt, water is free)
– Pork Scratchings (£1)
– Pip and Nut Peanut butter sachets

The Pip and Nut sachets are a god send. They have a great deal of energy, are super tasty and are easy to eat.

If I do purchase some specific endurance nutrition then I go for Tribe bars. Like EVOSSI, they are a really good company whose employees are all runners like you and me. For £6.99 you can get an assortment of bars and shakes for pre, during and post race / training. I would recommend these packs to the marathon / ultra runners for their long runs.

For runs like, the EVOSSI 15km Adventure (Sat 2nd Sept!) this run is long enough to need some light nutrition. Take some trail mix or a snickers with you to keep you going when you feel fatigued – for me this is normally around the 10km mark, but everyone is different. I’ll be storing mine in the top pocket of my EVOSSI Elevate running top.


DINNER

Dinner is my favourite time. This is when you can really cook and get creative. I always need a bit of guidance, and for this I use Joe Wicks #Leanin15 books. These meals are cost effective and, as it says in the name, take 15 minutes (to half an hour) to make.

Joe has the right idea when it comes to food as fuel. He loves using ingredients like chorizo, cheese and vegetables. He has some really great alternatives to my favourite food. Oaty chicken, Tortilla pizza’s and Turkey and sweet potato burgers are my top 3!

My favourite thing about Joe Wicks is, like the aforementioned Max Lowery, that he understands we need fat, carbs and protein and therefore uses all these ingredients in his meals.

TREATS

One of my big bits of advice is to allow yourself to slack off once in awhile. If you go to the cinema, smash a bag of pic ‘n’ mix. When you’re out with mates, sink a couple of pints. On a road trip? Get that Big Mac Meal.

I am not saying go on a bender then go running and you’ll lose weight, but what I do encourage is enjoyment.  Not one meal, drink or glutinous moment will define your day or your training. Just have the self discipline to not make it a habit.

So there we go. These tips are what I use to fuel me through my day to day adventures. I would love to hear your thoughts. If you think it rubbish, let me know – I want to improve this area of my training. If you try it and it works awesome, let me know – it’s always good when a plan comes together.

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