helpful tips



Endurance athletes need to eat to support their body through training and racing. Day to day eating habits will either support or sabotage your results. The majority of us think that we eat a far healthier diet than we actually do but do you really know how much C.R.A.P you are eating?

So what exactly do I mean but this? I love this acronym because I think that it really sums up the nutritional quality of each of the foods in the word. It’s a tool I use to help me assessing the quality of the foods which are being eaten by my clients. I call healthy foods ‘foods which make you go” whereas C.R.A.P foods are ‘foods which make you slow’

C – Carbonated drinks – they are high in fructose which the body sees as a toxin and so stores it as fat to protect the body.

R – Refined carbohydrates – this includes white flour, white bread, white pasta, cakes, biscuits, the majority of cereals etc

A – Alcohol and Artificial flavourings, colours and preservatives. Alcohol is processed by the body as a toxin. Food additives are artificial chemicals used to prolong the life of food, avoid these by eating fresh.

P- Processed Foods – heavily processed foods are likely to contain all of the above as well as trans fats which are considered a danger to good health.

The frightening fact is that in Western society on average 60% of the calories we consume come from highly processed sugars, fats and proteins. This is the root cause of the alarming increase in type 2 diabetes. Added to that refined foods have low nutritional value. If you eat a highly refined diet then you are then relying on 30% of your food intake to supply you with 100% of the 50 essential nutrients you need. These resulting nutritional deficiencies will result in disease.

Unfortunately C.R.A.P food is available absolutely everywhere we go 24/7. There’s plenty of the highly processed, calorie dense C.R.A.P available which stimulates our reward centres making us crave even more so that we actively seek our next ‘fix’ somewhere along the street. Many of us turn to endurance sports in the hope that it will keep our weight under control. The sad fact is that if we eat too much C.R.A.P, over time we will become more insulin resistant. This in turn alters our metabolism meaning we will store more fat and it will be harder to get rid of it. Type 2 diabetes along with heart disease will become real health risks which is a shame when you chose to do sport in order to ‘stay healthy’!

I’m not suggesting that you should never eat another chocolate bar or slice of cake….that would be so dull! That said do you know just how much C.R.A.P you are eating on a daily basis?

If not, keep a food diary for a couple of weeks. Make sure you write down everything. When the 2 weeks is over, analyse it. Highlight the C.R.A.P foods, what percentage of your day to day eating is C.R.A.P? If it is more than 10% then to protect you long term health, you need to reduce it.

Each week you can ‘cut the C.R.A.P” by substituting an unhealthy food with healthier foods eg instead of a cake with your coffee could you have a small handful of nuts? Over time you will crowd out the bad stuff and too much C.R.A.P in your day will be a distant memory.

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