People ask us all the time about nutrition as it relates to sport, health and what we eat in general. I guess they ask me because I’m skinny. At six foot tall (ok 5’11 3/4″) and usually hovering at around 68 kilos I probably look like I know what I’m doing food wise. It’s very important to note that I’m not a nutritionist, neither of us are for that matter but I guess we have found what works. For us at least.
If I’m honest I think we have probably found what works for most people. There isn’t anything magic about what we do. We both fall of the broccoli, salad and boiled chicken wagon regularly enough. Most often landing face first in something that contains chocolate or is entirely made of chocolate. But most of what we do is simple, straight forward and sustainable.
One of the most common misconceptions about training and in particular, eating and drinking while training is that you must eat and drink constantly before, during and after training. In my experience that’s completely wrong. Most leisure riders, runners and triathletes could do a lot better by eating less both before and during. In particular less sugar. Click through for the good stuff…
We have essentially two forms of fuel available to us, fats or carbs (sugar). I found it very difficult to buy in fully when we started to switch the way we ate from high carb to high fat because I was afraid of the damage or harm we could do to our health. To be honest I was also afraid of getting fat. The problem as I see it is that we have been conditioned all of our lives to believe that fat is bad, it isn’t. Or at least not all fats are bad.
One of the most common questions we get asked is what should I eat on the day? what should I eat or drink on the bike, run etc. For the answer we need to take about 10 steps back, or maybe 20. What you do regarding nutrition on race day is determined by what you eat and drink not only in training but what you eat every day outside of training.
Nutrition is one of the biggest, most misunderstood topics not just in Ironman but also in society as a whole. Obesity is rampant as are diseases such as type 2 diabetes, both of which are primarily caused by the food we eat, not the lack of exercise (although you do need to do some exercise I think the problem is more like 80/20 food/exercise) To make matters more difficult everywhere we turn there’s conflicting information.
High fat-low carb v’s Low fat-high carb v’s Sugar is at fault v’s Fat is the cause v’s Carbs are the devils food.
It’s a bit like the old saying; Opinions are like ars€holes, everyone has one. Well for what it’s worth here’s mine…
When Bryan Mc Crystal was coaching me on the bike last year he warned me going into Christmas not to hit the f**k it switch. You know that moment of teetering between temptation of eating all the cake and sweets and crisps or not. It’s Christmas, you’re constantly faced with the dilemma of should you just go ahead and have one or twelve. You argue for and against before caving in and hitting the f**k it switch and sometime I hit it several times…
Read on for more
I had a chat with Irish Road race champion Damien Shaw this week and was delighted to discover that we were very similar. Well to be honest it was just that we had a very similar view on nutrition. It’s just a pity there is such a difference in engine size. I’m like a 1 litre Nissan Micra, Shaw is like the 3.8 litre Porsche 911. Despite the difference in capacity the most important take away for me was that we both strongly agreed that if we were going to fall of the wagon and eat sugar or rubbish that it should be cake and not energy bars. Read on for more cake wisdom..