It is essential that we are consistent with training- any good coach will agree that performance and results come with consistency over the days, weeks and even years.
With that in mind we also need to make sure that we are fuelling consistently and appropriately around our training. For instance this may mean we concentrate on getting in the appropriate main macronutrients such as quicker release carbohydrates prior to a training session that is less than 2hrs away, or getting in protein plus carbohydrates as soon as possible after training.
However, as athletes sometimes we can also be habitual in your intake patterns - leading to a lack of flexibility with our nutritional intake. We can get stuck into habits of having the same snacks or meals, at the same times regardless of our activity levels. This can lead to a lack of variety in our overall intake patterns and food choices that can compromise your intake of necessary micronutrients.
Instead, focussing on creating variety means that we don’t end up over eating certain foods, or banning others from our diet. (Restriction and avoidance of food can in fact lead to a cycle of restriction followed by overeating or binge eating which can have negative consequences on body composition if it becomes a regular pattern).
Flexibility in your diet is key
So being flexible with your eating is really important, and being in lockdown with more time at home on our hand, is actually a great time to start cooking again and trying new things!
Get your head in the spice and herb cupboard, check out the back of that larder or cupboard of tins and trawl the bottom of the freezer! Try using combinations of different carbohydrates such as new grains you never include like that old bag of wheat berries or spelt flour, or what about finally finding something to do with that harissa paste or Ras el Hanout spice? There is also something quite wholesome about using the left overs in the cupboard.
Top tips for finding new larder cupboard recipe gems:
-Start with staples - check out different grains and flours to use
-Choose different frozen, fresh or tinned fruits and vegetables for your dishes
-Buy and pot fresh herbs in a little pot in the garden or on your kitchen counter, encouraging you to snip off a few different herb leaves here and there; add fresh parsley to eggs or fish with dill or coriander
-Use leftover ends of spices and herbs to create spice mixes - what about an indian , mexican or morocan spice mix? You can quickly add these to roasted vegetables, salad dressing, fish or chicken dishes or parcels or a quick stir fry
- Add different flavours to your salads, vegetables and cooking by making flavoured oils such as garlic, chilli and basil oils or buy some lovely green avocado oil or tasty nutty oils such as walnut or sesame for an oriental taste.
These simple little ideas will really change up your everyday cooking. PLUS it also gets us thinking about what we could cook when we find a new spice or a grain we haven’t used in a while…...this in itself will create more variety and flexibility in your day to day training diet.
A major principle and ethos is that it is the small changes that will make the biggest difference so give it a go!