I DON’T even have a routine, I just eat what I fancy. I don’t prepare my food in advance or plan ahead but I keep healthy and keep track
of my weight. I don’t know the science behind it but I try and vary my diet and I know I’m eating the right stuff. I also like a little cheesecake now and again, a treat once or twice a week.
Although many athletes do not follow a structured plan, it can be useful to not only see what works but also what doesn’t. By tracking the type, timing and quantity of your food and fluid intake along with magnitudes of weight loss and how you felt during and after each training session, you can continue to make subtle improvements which, over the years, could make a meaningful difference.
I have porridge every morning religiously, just plain or with a bit of honey maybe. I eat breakfast about an hour before I go to the gym, so I might eat it at 9am then train at 10am. I don’t stuff myself. Even sometimes before a night session I might have a little porridge for energy, it makes me feel full and energised.
Porridge is a perfect breakfast but it could be consumed an hour earlier to allow more time for digestion. Depending on the amount of milk you use, you could be lacking protein at breakfast. Adding some whey protein to your porridge – or having three eggs at breakfast – could increase your protein intake.
I have a good meal, so chicken and veg, fish and veg. I really enjoy fish – salmon is my favourite – and a nice steak, with a few new potatoes. I used to be really into broccoli but now it’s asparagus and spinach; I prefer green veg.
Lunch choices seem great in terms of protein and vegetables. Depending on the weight that needs to be lost, it is fine to add some
more variety of carbohydrates to help recovery e.g. basmati rice, quinoa, sweet potato etc.
My main meal I have after my last training session, so it could be 6-7pm or sometimes as late as 9pm; I’m a spur-of-the-moment person, I don’t train at set times except when I’m with [head coach] Joe Gallagher in Manchester. I’ve got my own gym locally [in Lincolnshire]. I eat fish and rice or chicken and rice with veg or, if my mum is doing something nice, I’ll steam into that. Recently she made Italian chicken with pasta. I eat out quite a lot. You can eat healthy at a restaurant, there’s an Italian I use quite a lot where I’ll have steak with salad, and a chicken place like Nando’s where I order the chicken and rice.
Having a structured time for dinner would be beneficial as eating too late at night (especially large portions of carbohydrate such as pasta) could make it harder to lose body fat in the long term. If dinner is at 6-7pm, then it is still useful to consume protein prior to sleep.
I snack on fruit throughout the day. I eat straight after my first gym session, a big snack, maybe a jacket potato with some salad or chicken breast with salad. I’ll eat that within half an hour or an hour. I always feel hungry after a good session, but then I wont eat until my next session or –
if it’s been four-five hours – I will have a banana 10-20 minutes before I go to the gym. I like to feel something in my stomach before I train.
Fruit is a good snack but adding some Greek yoghurt to it would make it a more complete snack as it would also provide protein. As a general guide, it’s good to get into the habit of eating/snacking every three hours, this will help provide a continual supply of protein to the muscles and will also keep hunger under control so that you don’t potentially over-eat at the next main meal.
I don’t use many supplements. All they are is food supplements so surely I’m better off having proper food. Always after the weigh-in I’ll have dioralytes and energy drinks for recovery.
It is true that a sound diet should achieve all nutritional goals. Nevertheless, whey protein can be beneficial for convenience purposes to help recovery and other supplements such as beta-alanine could be beneficial for competition. Vitamin D supplementation is also useful as many UK athletes are deficient in this vitamin.