We are what we eat – and nowhere is that extra true than on the observe or within the gym. How we gas our workouts will be the distinction between a painful session and a brand new PB, and the meals we use to refuel performs an enormous position in how nicely we get better afterward.
No one is aware of this higher than Katarina Johnson-Thompson, or KJT. One of the UK’s most profitable and best-known athletes, over the previous three years, the heptathlete has taken Gold on the World Indoor Championships, the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and European Indoor Championships. Oh, and a Silver on the 2018 European Championships in Berlin.
While only a few of us may be tempted to provide the heptathlon (10 occasions) or pentathlon (5 occasions) a go, studying how such an athlete makes use of meals to leap, run, throw and get better will be helpful for all of us. So, we sat down with KJT to speak about all issues grub.
Forget random Instagram “What I eat in a day” movies – we need to understand how knowledgeable athlete fuels a typical coaching day. “At the second, I’m in a tough coaching block,” KJT explains, which implies “attempting to eat protein each three-to-four hours. That will be integrated into my breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Between meals, she additionally tries to get “a protein hit on each side.”
If that appears hard-core, in observe it truly sounds fairly scrumptious. A typical day includes having scrambled eggs on toast and a Müllerlight Smooth Toffee pot for breakfast. Lunch is one thing totally different on daily basis however KJT typically has “one thing like a rooster pasta salad” with a dinner of “salmon, rice and greens.” Snacks may be a protein shake, a Müllerlight or a cup of milk earlier than mattress. “I attempt to combine it up in order that I’m not consuming the identical factor on daily basis.”
Training versus relaxation days
You would possibly suppose that it is advisable eat extra on the times that you just train and fewer on relaxation days, since you want fewer energy when you’re not being energetic. In precise reality, the reverse is true.
KJT explains that many people are “the rest day is when your physique is definitely recovering probably the most – in order that’s when it’s important to eat extra” to ensure that that course of to occur successfully. On her relaxation days, the athlete both “bumps up the portion dimension of what (she) usually eats, or snacks extra.”
Fuelling for achievement
Perhaps a very powerful factor for these of us who run, for instance, to know is simply how large a task nutrition performs in race prep. For KJT, it’s so necessary that she’s enlisted the assistance of a nutritionist to assist get it proper.
“In competitors, diet will be the make or break of your complete schedule. For instance, once I was on the World Championships in Doha, the entire schedule was a night session and I didn’t actually know what to do. Normally I’d eat breakfast then go to the competitors – however in Doha, I’d eat breakfast after which have about seven hours earlier than I’d must do something.” Because of that, she says it’s actually necessary to have a dietary plan for competitions and races.
These days, she has a plan that’s simple for her to comply with – she doesn’t have to consider refuelling or fear about when she will eat.” I simply undergo that with the nutritionist forward of no matter schedule I’m on.”
Supplements and extras
Knowing which supplements are price taking will be tough. Do we want them in any respect? Are sure nutritional vitamins extra necessary to complement than others? Athletes do have larger dietary calls for than most of us, so it follows that they may be extra strict about taking dietary supplements to make sure they’ve all of the nutritional vitamins and minerals wanted to carry out and get better successfully.
Katarina says she takes:
- Multivitamins – ensures no deficiencies
- Vitamin C – retains cells, pores and skin, bones and cartilage wholesome
- Zinc – makes new cells and enzymes, processes carbs, fats and protein in meals
- Magnesium – turns the meals we eat into vitality and protects hormonal well being
- Iron – maintains vitality and ensures oxygen is carried across the physique by way of pink blood cells
But what about non-health dietary supplements… like alcohol? It’s frequent for newbie runners to give up alcohol forward of a race – even when it’s simply to make sure we don’t miss a coaching session due to a hangover. KJT doesn’t fear about having a glass of wine when she’s in coaching mode, nonetheless, as a result of: “I dwell and prepare in France, so it will be impolite to not.”
With a lot dietary recommendation on the market, it’s arduous to know what works and what we should always ignore. Katarina says that she lives by two food-based motos: “Everything carefully,” and “One wholesome meal isn’t going to make you wholesome and one unhealthy meal isn’t going to make you unhealthy.”
Whatever you do, she says, “simply preserve it constant.” We can’t consider a greater takeaway.
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