A healthy diet isn’t just for athletes

I was racking my brains about what to write about for this next blog & I was inspired on a 6am flight to a last minute pre worlds training camp. Inspiration can come in many forms but this is a unique source & includes a pack of pringles, a chocolate bar and a full fat coke.  

Athlete or not, diet is a massive issue in a lot of people’s lives- and so it should be… from a health point of view. Essentially the food we put into our body is like the fuel you would put in a car. Put in crap & that’s what you’ll get out, again not only from an athletes point of you but anyone. I want this blog to be more general & hope I can help people make better choices when it comes to food. 
Back to the inspiration for the blog- I’ve just witnessed someone consume approximately 700 calories & 100g sugar before 6am. For a start full fat drinks in my opinion are such a waste of calories! 200 calories (a can of fizzy pop)… in my mind I’m thinking of all the food options I could have for that instead, which would be much more satisfying. For 700 calories I could eat a massive bowl of porridge full of yummy toppings & a cuppa tea. I don’t want to make this all about calories because I certainly DO NOT track calories and I’m a massive eater. But it’s about the types of food people are consuming & the difference you can make to your health with better choices. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring & I seriously believe it tastes better! 
I feel blessed that the job of being a professional athlete means I have to eat healthily to make sure I’m fuelling and recovering properly to be able to perform to my full potential. In the off season I don’t worry as much about my diet and with a few weeks before the off season starts I’m dreaming of all the bad food I can indulge in. Then… 10 days into the off season I feel terrible!!! My skin is bad, I’ve put on weight, and I generally just feel sluggish and crave that feeling of health again. I always say- ‘ I wish people who have a terrible diet could feel like I do when I’m healthy’… you feel better in yourself- mentally & physically by following a healthy diet! 
Another tip I tend to give a lot of people is with the timing of food macros (carbs,protein,fat). A few principles I adopt when trying to loose weight is ‘sleeping/training low’ which means changing the timings of carbohydrate intake. If I know I have an easy session or rest day coming I won’t eat carbs for dinner, my body will then be depleted of glycogen & with only a protein based breakfast (an omelette or protein shake) once I start riding my body will be burning fat as a primary source. However I do want to add carbs are GREAT!!! I LOVE carbs & would not be able to train/perform without them! Additionally I never skip meals & I plan what I’m going to eat for the week so I’m organised. A standard day in the life of me when it comes to my diet if I have a hard training day is – 
Breakfast: A massive bowl of porridge with lots of toppings that I change up (nuts, berries, yogurt, peanut butter, honey) 
Training- I always fuel if I’m doing more than 2hrs on the bike with either a banana, energy drink, bar.. I usually aim for 60g of carbs an hour post 2hrs of riding. 
Post training recovery- whey protein shake 
Lunch- a mixture of carbs/protein (I like the convenience of the microwave rice packets you can chuck in for 2mins) then have salad with it and a protein source such as eggs, salmon, tuna… something quick post training. 
Dinner- again a mixture of carbs/protein & veg… my favourite is fajitas! Quick easy and yummy- chicken, onion, peppers, spices, wraps, avocado, salsa and a load of salad! 
My go to snack or desert is total 0% yogurt which is low in sugar and high in protein!! 
To summarise here’s a few top tips to lead a healthy diet- 
  • Plan main meals for the week 
  • Eat around activity levels 
  • Don’t starve yourself 
  • Plan treats 
  • Don’t stress if you have a bad day 
  • Don’t cut anything you love out- you will end up craving it and probably binge on it when you feel crap! It’s all about moderation… if you love chocolate- eat chocolate, but limit yourself! 

I’ve just got back from Mallorca where I went for a last minute training camp before my last race of the 2018 season- the World Road Race Championships. It’s going to be brutal but Mallorca was perfect to prepare me for lots of climbing. Not my favourite discipline of riding a bike but I will give it my best shot & I am always super proud to wear the GB jersey. Dani

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