ATC’s Nutrition Expert, Kirsty Smith talks about her journey and how she fuels herself to compete in endurance activities.

June 01, 2016

ATC’s Nutrition Expert, Kirsty Smith talks about her journey and how she fuels herself to compete in endurance activities.

My name is Kirsty Smith. I’m a sports nutritionist, living in Singapore with my husband and 3 children. I love trail and adventure running, and I’m lucky that I have a job that combines this with my other love: FOOD

Typical diet week before a marathon or steep climb

Both activities benefit from carbo-loading i.e. super charging your muscles store with gly-cogen, so a few days before the event or hike start tapering your exercise whilst increas-ing your carbohydrate intake. An easy way is to increase the portion size of the carbohy-drates you’re already eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner i.e. cereal and milk, porridge, pancakes, pasta, rice, bread, etc. Make carbohydrates the base of your meal and add good quality proteins, healthy fats, vegetables and fruits. In addition, reducing high fibre foods, and large amounts of protein and fat (opt for tomato based sauces rather than rich creamy sauces) will help to prevent stomach issues.

Body new to intensive training how should you fuel to help it adjust?

Increases in exercise intensity or endurance should be done gradually to avoid injury. Creating a good base diet with a mix of quality protein, lots of vegetables and fruit, healthy fats and quality carbohydrates that take into account your added activity level, will help to ensure that you are covering increased energy needs as well as supporting muscle repair and growth, immunity and health.

Trained by IOC. What key nutrition tips did you learn. How was that experience?

The IOC sports nutrition course was challenging, with high expectations. What I loved about the course was learning how to combine nutrition and strategies to optimise per-formance outcomes, body composition and health.

Key nutrition tip: eat smaller portions of protein at each meal rather than one big slab with your main meal. Your body is continually building and breaking down protein for a multi-tude of functions so spreading your protein ensures you’re always well supplied.

What are some healthy snacks to bring on a hike, are granola bars really too high in sugar?

Granola bars are often marketed as a health food when typically they more resemble a candy bar. Some are obviously better than others depending on what they contain. A lot of energy is burned trekking, especially if there’s climbing involved, so having granola bars as part of your mix on the hike is fine. Opt for healthier options that include fruit, nuts and seeds, or you may choose to make your own.

Healthy snacks include a trail mix, nuts and dried fruit, banana, peanut butter and honey sandwich.

What is the healthiest protein powder on the market? i.e. low sugar, high protein, high vitamins and where does the protein come from?

There are a variety of options including whey and casein, which come from the processing of milk into cheese - think of ‘little miss muffet eating her curds and whey’. There are also vegetarian op-tions such a potato, pea and soy protein. Soy being the most commonly used as it’s a relatively high quality protein. It really depends on you’re preference and the cost. Beware of the marketing hype though as often the analysis doesn’t live up to the many ‘wondrous' claims. A high quality protein with as few ingredients as possible is what you’re after. Added carbs and fat are typically for those wanting to gain mass. Of course it’s always best to get your protein from real food as you benefit from the other nutrients in that particular food.

What are some of your favourite healthy recipes?

A breakfast of greek yoghurt, nuts and seeds, berries and a spoonful of oats sets me up for the morning. Or throwing this into the blender for a great smoothie on the run. Add some greens to super charge it.

It’s a great way to start the day!

For more information on Kirsty’s Packages, please visit here.

Written by Kirsty from Per4mance Nutrition

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