Q&A with some of our athletes

2014-09-16 15:39:34

SOUTH AFRICAN MASTERS TRACK CYCLIST

Question 1: What are the core nutritional principles that you keep to on a day-to-day basis?

On a daily basis I try to keep my eating as regular as possible and no skipping of meals – even the mid-morning snack. Following this strategy I’ve totally avoided those spikes and dips in energy and even the food “bonk”.

Question 2: What nutritional advice would you give a younger track cyclist?

I think some of the youngsters may think I preach a bit.

  1. Stay clear of fad eating trends, high protein, high fat and low carb etc., eat balanced and varied. We don’t purely eat to replace calories but to also replace minerals and other nutrients – hence overall nutrition.
  2. Eat well all the time and not just for big events, how can we expect to develop the power and endurance in training if we haven’t fuelled adequately. It would be like turning up to the track with flat tires and expecting to set records.
  3. Eat fresh and where there’s an organic option; take it. It may cost a little more in time and money but in a world where so many athletes spend 10s and 100s of thousands of rands on equipment that’s used once a year but for 100ths of a second gain but, what’s a couple 100 rand extra on a monthly grocery bill?

IRONMAN 70.3 AGE GROUP WINNER

Question 1: What were your main nutritional challenges training for Ironman?

Being a competitive elite age grouper and trying to hold down a demanding corporate job at the same time is no easy task. Consistency in training in order to perform year on year is key. If you are consistent throughout the year, you can maximise training, reduce the risk of injury and get the most out of the hard intensity sessions.

My biggest challenge was around nutritional consistency. This coupled with the latest dieting fads which include LCHF and Paleo diets created massive doubt in my mind as to where to turn from an overall health, and, performance perspective. Not understanding how important nutrition was for performance, and more so when, what or how much to eat at the right times, I felt fatigued most of the time and was unable to lean-up further despite the intense and frequent training.

Question 2: Any tips that you picked up from the dietary consults that you'd like to share?

The regular dietary consults provided me with a much needed eating plan, which has allowed me to get the most out of my training, by understanding when, what and how much to eat at the correct times. This also highlighted the importance of recovery, and what to eat to “fuel the tank” after, as well as before and during training sessions.

It also dispelled the notion that an eating plan = diet restriction. I have plenty of variety in my eating plan, and as all athletes know, we love our food (eating out at restaurants is a big favourite of mine)! Following a plan has all helped me to lose body fat, maximise performance by increasing the frequency of my back to back intensity sessions, and eating the right foods to recover at the right times which allows me to recover adequately.