So following on from yesterdays blog this post now covers what I eat and how I approach nutrition whilst my career is high performance sport. My approach to nutrition and food is very simple, I base everything around intaking macro nutrients: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats (Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids). In addition I then seek out micro nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Selenium, Calcium, Zinc and Iron. All of these key macro and micro nutrients I seek in the food I eat over a period of a week. I don't physically register the intake of these macro and micro nutrients I am just aware of what food types they are in. To ensure I get all of these micro and macro nutrients, well it is quite simple, I make sure it is only these food types that are in my cupboard and in my fridge wherever I am in the world.
So why do I look at my food in a categorical way? Now this is where my education benefits my career. When we perform daily at such high intensities and volumes I am aware of exactly what nutrients our body uses during the course of a training session, hard training day and week in general. My aim through restoring all of these key nutrients is to ensure my body is in energy balance. These key nutrients are not only what my body uses and I need to restore, it is also a massive contributor to my bodies healing and recovery process.
So why the above macro and micro nutrients in particular? Below I have very simply defined how I view each macro nutrient and summarised the value of micro nutrients.
Carbohydrates: Our bodies main source of fuel when conducting activity is carbohydrates, just like cars run on efficient, fast acting fuel our bodies do the same and this is Carbohydrates.
Proteins: every time we train we break down small muscle fibres, in order to repair these muscles fibres and make them stronger our body requires proteins.
Fats: when I say fat I mainly focus on getting mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 and 6), why? These fats are vital for our immune system. When we train and race hard we suppress our bodies immune system and it is always a balance to ensure we don't get ill and we don't get injured, especially when in heavy training and immediately after competition.
All of the above micro nutrients Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Selenium, Calcium, Zinc and Iron we basically can't live without them. These micro nutrients are especially important for us as sporting athletes. Compared to the general population we put a large demand on our bodies ability to repair, restore and strengthen the overall structure.
Look at this way, we smash our bodies day in day out through hard intensive training, our body basically needs to be able to repair itself in order for us to become stronger. By ensuring the regular intake of key micro nutrients we are giving our body the best chance possible of recovering, gaining strength and adapting to our ever demanding training load. We can't train day in day out and expect the body to recover if we don't feed it with the right nutrients.
That is how I look at food and this is how I structure my eating habits. There is always room for 'plea surely' foods, especially when you are having a high training load, but it is vital that the key nutrients come first.
|A welcomed treat after my win at Life Time Fitness Tri, Miami|
So what do I exactly eat, well as I mentioned at the start I think it will surprise many as to the quantity of food I eat so instead of just writing a list I thought why not make a food diary? It is what I do whenever I work with new clients and their eating habits, so I am going to do the same through images. Tomorrow I start my approach to Rev3 Knoxville, I have 3 days of hard training remaining and then I enter my taper period, it is this time where it is absolutely crucial my body gets what it needs in order for me to be in energy balance come the weekend. I will commit to publicising a 3 day food diary from Monday to Wednesday. I will upload images at the end of every day when I have got my feet up and resting in bed. This album I will host via my Facebook page - www.facebook.com/helletri
I hope this blog and the 3 day food diary will provide you all an insight into my approach to food and what I eat on a regular basis.
And now to finish up by saying awesome job to Alica Kaye for the win at St. Anthony's today, Alicia and I have spent a lot of training hours together over the past months, she has put me in the hurt locker on many occasions and it is fantastic to see her hard work paying off.