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Girl on an adventure: nutrition and training

Good’s wellness writer Rachel Grunwell is gearing up (literally) for her latest adventure – a 100km bike ride from Christchurch to Akaroa on March 25. Check out her fifth blog in this series about the challenge ahead.

I’m training a fair bit for the Le Race event. And it feels like I’m eating like a horse.

Worried that I might end up the size of horse, I asked for some nutrition advice from the BePure clinic.

BePure is a holistic health and nutrition company, founded by Ben Warren, with a mission to provide support for optimal health. They offer testing (to check for things like hormone imbalances or deficiencies) and you can buy supplements through them too if you want/need these.

Chatting to Ben Warren of BePure 

I had a chat with one of BePure’s clinical consultants, Sarah Wilkinson.

Sarah asked me what I’m eating and then she reassured me that because I’m training at a higher level that a bit more whole-food kai was okay.

“It’s all about energy out, energy in,” she says.

I told her I’m particularly hungry in the morning and I’m eating a second breakfast by 11am. Cue a neighing-horse-like-sound in the blog at this point!

She recommended I make sure I’m having enough protein at every meal, particularly at breakfast, so I feel fuller for longer and have good energy levels.

I train hard in the mornings generally, and so therefore I’m in need of a decent number of nutrient-dense calories in the morning. She said “that’s okay for you!”

Then she kindly reassured me I do not look like a horse… So, thank goodness, no hooves or long neck with my reflection in the mirror yet…

I used to be an oats-every morning kind-of-gal. So, basically I was having a massive hit of carbs at breakfast. But Sarah helped me too with advice to swap to eating something like eggs, salad (with an olive oil style dressing), salmon (or chicken, fish or tuna etc) and a little avocado (good oils!) for breakfast instead. And I take some BePure supplements. These supplements (things like probiotics etc) successfully helped me to resolve a leaky gut issue I had earlier this year.

By the way, it took a while for me to get my head around not eating oats for breakfast, but after about a week I got into the rhythm of eating a better protein-based breakfast. Eating salad or vegetables too in the morning means that I inject more greens into my diet – so therefore more nutrients.

It's all about energy in, energy out

After a while, I then couldn’t believe I had been eating oats for breakfast for so long! Sometimes I have buckwheat porridge, chia puddings, or coconut yoghurt and cereal for breakfast for a change. I mix it up, and therefore change up my nutrient intake.

Ben Warren has helped me fine-tune my diet too. I’ve been on a whole-food, nutrient-dense, mostly spray-free and organic (where possible) diet for a few years now, but Ben also taught me some other key nutrition tips when I interviewed him for a Good magazine story – and I picked up lots of tips too when I heard him speak at a seminar. I’ve been on minimal gluten and carbs since that talk! But I can’t quite bring myself to eat more organ meats, which he highly recommends. I’m too squeamish.

My coach Richard Greer 

Of course, I still have the odd treats. Life is about balance for me. And I like that Ben has that same philosophy too.

Meanwhile, I got some tips from my coach Richard Greer, from Team CP, around nutrition and cycling. Here are three top tips from this highly experienced athlete who trains lots of people to reach their sports goals:

1.   Refuelling and weight loss: If your next training session is not within the next 8-hours then wait until your next normal meal. You do not need anything special for muscle recovery. If you eat more, it will just increase your energy intake.

2.   Drink: The first thing that will slow you down while out running or biking is becoming dehydrated. So, have lots of little sips on a regular basis is the way to go (if practical). A tip too is to know how much you need for a given training bike or run is to weigh yourself before and after to ensure you having the right amount. He says people seriously do this a couple of times!

3.   Sports Drinks: When you are aiming to perform at your best (so, at an event) drinking your energy is the simplest and easiest way to fuel your body - especially when on your bike. Gels can be difficult to manage one-handed when riding and it can be difficult to make sure that you get the water to have the right carbohydrate mix.  Whole-food on the other hand can often be too dry and difficult to chew while trying to breath.

Rachel is Good’s wellness columnist and the director of the lifestyle website www.inspiredhealth.co.nz . Follow her on Inspired Health’s Facebook and Instagram