I like training. Quite a lot. But it’s only been recently that I can say I’ve really noticed a difference in both my performance and my body.
When I trained for the London Marathon in 2012, I had literally no idea about how nutrition would be affecting my performance. To me, carbs and fats were dirty words, and I would happily get through a day on pretty much fruit & veg alone. Admittedly, I wasn’t in a good headspace, and restricting what I ate helped me feel like I was progressing toward my Marathon goal even when I now realise I was infact doing the absolute opposite.
Fast forward five years and I now train with my PT, Kristy Grant, twice a week. A couple of months ago she cornered me on my way to the showers. It was time, she told me, to talk nutrition. So we grabbed a coffee and sat down. Turns out, I’d been doing a lot of things very wrong for a long time. My fear of carbs left my body constantly aching for sustenance, which I would placate with pieces of fruit. I mean, I must have been eating about 10 portions of fruit a day, a fact that I proudly told Kristy and watched her face fall. Because, although fruit is incredibly healthy and the abundance of nutrients, vitamins and things like fibre outweighs the high sugar content, eating regularly to excess (in my case, every single day) is not ideal.
Kristy explained things like macros to me shattered a whole load of my misconceptions surrounding carbs, proteins and fats. Obviously, I have to still live my life, and we took into consideration the number of events I have to attend for work, but I’ve been using 30:30:40 as a vague structure for my meals. And what I’ve noticed is a general tightening feel as my body has stripped much of its fat, allowing my tone to show.
For reference, bodybuilding.com suggests these as macro guidelines
Probably the group I find hardest to reach my daily target in is protein. Because although I love a chicken breast or steak for dinner, I’m not a big savoury breakfast person, and lunches tend to be on-the-go. Thing is, protein is crucial to help your muscles repair and rebuild stronger so it’s an absolutely vital part of any training regime, regardless of personal goals and ability. At rest, it is recommended you consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
So I’ve been trying out a bunch of different protein shakes. There is honestly nothing scary about adding protein- just to quickly shatter a few misconceptions: you won’t bulk-up overnight, they taste awesome, and girls can have it too.
Protein has come a long way in recent years, and is increasingly user-friendly. Many brands now do individual sachets that you can carry around and fling into your water bottle post-workout. And the gigantic shakers you’ve probably seen on the gym floor have largely been replaced with more streamline bottles, which are easier to lug about and also more female friendly (we tend to need less than the boys do).
I recently tried out some of Optimum Nutrition’s latest products at an al fresco workout. Their vanilla protein is the best I’ve tasted, and their new breakfast range (protein pancake mix, protein oats, and protein yogurt smoothie) is an awesome way to get more protein into your food when you want to actually eat something rather than just drinking a shake. For hectic schedules and early starts, their protein flapjacks are next level tasty.
S H O P T H E L O O K
To try the new and existing products, visit their site here and make sure you use my discount code at the checkout: MarieClaire20.