The skills, the body, the trip to Rio, the green and gold tracksuit…there’s plenty of things that our Olympic athletes have that we wish we could have too. And while it’s looking unlikely that I’ll get a last-minute call up to join the team (surprising, I know), there is one thing we can have – and that’s an Olympic-worthy diet. There’s plenty to learn from what athletes eat so let’s take a look at some of the top tips to come out of Rio.
Breakfast: Yep, even the pros eat breakfast. Start the day with protein (think eggs, dairy, lean meat and grains like quinoa) to channel that Olympic spirit. Eating breakfast kick starts your body and actually means you are less likely to overeat throughout the day. Plus it restocks your energy levels before you start that morning training session!
Plan: You might not be busy chasing Olympic gold, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t busy! Planning and preparing your meals in advance is a good way to keep on top of what you’re eating, and helps you avoid those less-than-healthy impulse decisions you make when you’re on the run. If you don’t want to plan out an entire week’s worth of meals, make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks organised for while you’re at work, school, or putting in some serious hours watching the Olympics from the couch.
Eat for your health: The key to winning that race? Not being sick in bed while it’s running! Keep your immune system healthy by eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and including citrus, dark leafy greens. Plain natural yoghurt is a great source of probiotics, which have been linked to a better immune system (and it’s also great for your protein and calcium levels too!)
Eat for recovery: A good workout isn’t just about what circuit you choose – it’s about how you recover afterwards! High performance athletes hydrate within the first 5 minutes of competing, and within 20 minutes they’ve had something with a mix of protein and carbs. Think a protein shake or smoothie to help speed up your recovery.
Be flexible: Don’t restrict yourself to a strict meal plan every day of the week if you’re not enjoying it, and don’t feel guilty if you occasionally have something that maybe isn’t so healthy. Remember that while Olympians inspire us, we’re not Olympians – so we don’t need to be as strict on our bodies and diet as they are. And even top athletes indulge every now and then!