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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…

First off lets get some things straight.

  1. We don’t believe in diets. At all. Ever. We believe you wont ever need one once you eat in a healthy, sustainable way.
  2. We don’t coach people to eat a certain way to loose weight. Rather to learn how to eat in an enjoyable way for the rest of your life. The weight thing then takes care of itself.
  3. Everyone is slightly different and has different nutritional requirements.
  4. We will very often recommend eating things that the whole rest of the world says are bad for you.
  5. We don’t listen to the whole rest of the world and don’t believe the accepted popular nutritional information. Just look at the shape of all the people following the so called healthy guidelines and decide for yourself if they are working.
  6. Healthy eating, nutrition, whatever you want to call it has to be something that you can do for the rest of your life not just for the month of January. It also has to be something you enjoy. Who enjoys dieting? Who the hell is voluntarily going to do something that they hate every day for the rest of their lives?
  7. Forget about the idea that you don’t like the taste of certain foods on the list, thats because your taste buds have been so corrupted by sugar that you can’t taste food. In exactly the same way as an ex smoker suddenly realises that food tastes completely different once they stop, so too does the person who eliminates sugar from their diet. Everything tastes differently once you no longer eat sugar.
  8. I know there are lots of you out there thinking this doesn’t apply to me I don’t eat sugar. If this is you then you might be in for a bit of a surprise with what exactly you are eating.

The world is getting fat and its killing itself with food. We are eating ourselves to death and we are doing it at the instructions of our government and the big food companies. Most if not all of what you think you know about food and health is wrong.

Fats are good.

This can be very difficult to get your head around and I’m unlikely to convince you in a short blog post so this is the first and most important part you need to do your own homework on. One of the best people to check out is Professor Tim Noakes, author of what is widely regarded as the bible of running called The Lore Of Running. Prof. Noakes spent most of his life as an advocate of the low fat, high carb way of eating but even though he had run dozens of marathons and ultra marathons, trained regularly and followed all of the conventional eating advice he was gaining weight. Over the last few years he has become one of the loudest and most respected voices leading the way in a new way of looking at food.

If it looks like a dog and barks like a dog then it’s probably a …

You have to ask yourself that if we are all following the conventional advice and the whole world is getting fatter and sicker then maybe there is something wrong with the “right way” What we have been told to do isn’t working and if you are struggling with health and weight and you’ve been trying the healthy grains, low fat way of eating and you are still struggling then maybe it’s time for a complete change. Does your daily food look something like this when you are being good?

Breakfast

Wholegrain toast, healthy cereal or porridge, freshly squeezed juice.

Lunch

Turkey salad sandwich on whole grain bread with a sugar free sports drink or smoothie.

Dinner

Pasta with lean chicken

If it does and you are still struggling to get to your ideal weight despite being disciplined and training several times a week then the obvious answer is to train more and eat less. WRONG. You are not lazy, you are not a glutton. The food you are eating is wrong. Change the food  you eat and everything changes. And I dont mean a big bowl of lettuce and 4 olives. If you eat the correct foods there is no portion control. I’ll say that again, THERE IS NO PORTION CONTROL. Eat the correct foods and you eat till you’re full.

Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

It’s time we all started taking responsibility for our own food choices, researching and learnin g what works for us and what doesn’t. We can no longer blindly believe what we are told we have to educate ourselves. Not just for our sports performance but so that we live longer andf feel better while we are here. I want to still be around and hopefully training and racing in 40 years but I know that is dependent on the choices I make now as regards food and lifestyle.
Why do so many people struggle with the idea of switching from the low fat, high carb diet to eating low carb high fat? I found it very difficult to make this switch and I will go into this in more detail in my next post.

Rob

I have written a report examining how 5 of the most successful Irish Ironman triathletes have qualified for Kona an incredible 29 times. You can access it free here.

You can read a little about us how we got into Ironman and how I went from smoker to Kona here

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