We spoke to our ambassador, Caroline Livesey about the importance she places on nutrition as part of her endurance training.
Caroline: I’ve said it many times – there is no one-size-fits-all for nutrition. Much in the same way as everyone responds differently to different types of training, for each of us, there is a magic nutritional equation which just works. The bad news is that it is incredibly difficult to find, and when you put your body under the stress of racing endurance sports it makes it doubly hard. Even those with no history of gastrointestinal issues can find that when they race an Ironman everything falls to bits.
Training for an Ironman is super tough no matter what level of athlete you are. To be able to race, or even just complete such an epic day requires hours of commitment over many months. To survive the training and turn up on the start line fit and healthy requires dedication and sacrifice. For athletes investing so much in the process and the race, nutrition is a key pillar. Good clean, healthy food with the correct balance of nutrients and the right number of calories will support the training effort. Poor food choices just fill athletes up with empty calories and ultimately prevent the body from recovering and making fitness adaptations.
So what is the good news? Well – the good news is that The Primal Pantry appears to be the fairy godmother when it comes to creating good habits. Certainly, for me, the magic formula during a race includes these delicious bars. The balance of fructose from the dates (and other fruits), combined with the protein from the nuts makes them easy to digest and are great for energy.
Two things I love about them is that they are “real food”, and they are easy to eat. There are no man-made sugars or starchy stodge clogging up your mouth and then your gut. It’s a real problem with other brands’ bars created for training and racing. The energy you need to chew and then digest them is disproportionate and I think they generally taste terrible. If you were to try eating one at your desk as a snack you would feel sick. So why put your body through that when you are under the physical stress of a race?
Although I now work part-time my days are incredibly full – and as with many other people in this sport, there are times when easy snacks are essential. So to give you an idea of my nutrition – my work day might look something like this:
0530 – Wake up, Run session. Usually fasted.
0630 – Finish training, walk/feed dog, make a cup of tea.
0700 – Drive to the pool (30 mins). Eat a Primal Pantry bar and drink tea.
0730 – Swim session. Protein shake on finishing.
0910 – Have a BIG bowl of porridge at my desk at work. Sometimes with a chopped Primal bar on top! Always with added cinnamon and nuts and seeds. I soak my oats in coconut water overnight to soften them up and add flavour.
1100 – Primal Protein bar. My breakfast includes protein but it is so important to keep getting protein throughout the day. It is essential for recovery and building a strong body. I also have an apple or another piece of fruit.
1200 – Gym session if I can fit it in depending on work.
1300-1330 – Lunch. I always take my own salad to work so that it is ready for me as soon as I am hungry at lunchtime. It is so easy to do once you are in a routine – just make extra when you cook dinner the night before and toss with some leaves. I also have avocado oil and cider vinegar at work to dress my salads. I steer clear of all those hidden chemicals and sugar in processed salad dressings.
1500-1600 – I snack depending on how hungry I am and what session I am doing after work. Yes – I may have another Primal bar! My favourite is the protein cocoa orange but in the afternoons I tend to have a standard bar. The Coconut & Macadamia bars are so delicious they might as well be a cake. So if there is cake in the office (often!) then I am never tempted to eat it. Added bonus!
1730-1830 – training session depending on when I finish work. Usually a run or turbo session.
1930 until bed – Dinner and preparation for the next day. My dinners are simple but BIG. I need the calories for the amount of training I do. I eat a lot of chicken, vegetables and sweet potato. I cook enough to have some left for lunch the next day and spend time while cooking preparing that too. If I have been at work that day then the next day will be a training day of 5-6 hours so I also try to get to bed early!
*Phew what a day! That is why it is extremely important for Caroline to stay fuelled with optimum nutrition so that she can train and compete to the best of her abilities! To find out more about Caroline, visit our brand ambassador page.