As a professional athlete, it’s obviously important for you to eat well. How do you ensure that you manage your nutritional needs when you are on the road?
The main thing is to be as organised as possible. Obviously taking supplements isn’t ideal but when you’re travelling it’s almost the best way to make sure you’re still getting quite a lot of goodness in. I use a product called Green Magic which is a superfoods and antioxidants supplement that you can just take with water, that always helps me feel like I’m getting a lot of my essential vitamins and minerals.
While on the road, I always try to find a good local shop. I try to eat organic produce wherever I can, so if I can find a shop and pick up some fruit and veg and healthy snacks at least to have in the room. It’s quite helpful as it helps to avoid the temptation of being out and about and hungry in coffee shops, which are everywhere!
I also use technology to help me, using my phone to find places that serve good quality foods, making sure they aren’t too heavy on the fat. You may have to go out of your way a bit to find good restaurants but if you are organised and know where they are you can hunt them down.
How do you plan a typical day’s eating on a match day?
It can be difficult and it does depend on the match time. Generally, I try to get a good quality breakfast to set me up for the day, something like porridge, and then if I have a match around 3-4 pm I try to have a decent lunch with more protein that fills me up but isn’t quite as heavy, something like eggs or fish. About an hour before the match I’ll have a coffee, using some caffeine in my pre-match routine.
Do you have certain brands, chains, restaurants that you depend on when travelling?
It’s difficult when you go to new places, but again that keeps it quite fresh. The hardest thing is when you’ve been to a tournament for a number of years and you end up eating at the same place all the time. It can get a bit tedious at times but if it’s working it’s a good thing to stick to.
I always like to hunt out some good coffee shops because that’s something nice to do, but in terms of food places I’m always looking for places that do healthy food, so Pret a Manger is a good one for healthy snacks. I try to be mostly dairy-free and they do good dairy-free snacks, sandwiches and wraps which is really useful.
So you talk about coffee shops and using caffeine in your pre-match routine, we’re guessing you don’t go for a large vanilla latte with extra cream?
No, it’s generally just an Americano/long black and I don’t usually finish it all. You want something that’s light so as not to fill you up too much.
In sport the gluten-free trend has been big news for the last couple of years, have you tried going gluten-free?
Yes, I have tried it actually but I don’t feel like gluten massively affects me anyway. I tried to cut down my gluten but didn’t feel much difference in terms of how I felt or my performance. However I do think that gluten can be quite filling and quite heavy in terms of bread and pasta, so I would steer away from that close to a match and go for rice/potato-based food which I find is a bit lighter for me.
You’re a keen cook when you are at home, what are some of your favourite recipes?
Well for breakfast I usually make porridge with almond milk, or coconut milk which is my new favourite, and add some fresh fruit. If I don’t have porridge I’ll have eggs with rye bread because it’s a bit lower in gluten and yeast, and I’ll add some smoked salmon. So I match up with my training schedule, if I have harder training I’ll go for porridge and if it’s lighter training I’ll go for the eggs which is lower in carbohydrates.
For lunch/dinner I love salmon, it’s definitely my favourite fish, so I try to mix it up in stir-fries and salads or just with some vegetables and rice. Nothing too extravagant, it’s generally more about speed at night, trying to get something cooked as quickly as possible to get some food inside me.
When you hit the offseason and can be a bit more relaxed with your diet, what’s the first thing you reach for?
It has to be dessert! Definitely sweet, something like cheesecake or sticky toffee pudding!
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