Our guests on this week’s podcast are boxer Carl Frampton and Professor Stuart Phillips.
1. THE MORE ACTIVE YOU ARE, THE MORE PROTEIN YOU WILL NEED.
Stuart spoke in detail about how to calculate how much protein to eat each day. The recommended amount in the UK, USA and Canada is about 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. Stuart suggests the ideal amount is double that for an active person, so 1.6g per kg. If you are an athlete and really pushing yourself, this number can go up to 2.2 grams of protein per kg for those of you training especially hard.
2. PROTEIN IS NOT LIKE CARBOHYDRATES OR FAT.
One of the first and most insightful things Stuart said is that protein is not like carbs or fat – our bodies cannot and do not store it. Stores of fat can be used by the body at a later date but protein and amino acids cannot so we must include protein in our daily diet.
3. KEEP TAKING CARE OF YOUR NUTRITION AS YOU GET OLDER.
Our optimal weight to perform at our best changes as we get older, but our need to consume protein and feature weight training in our exercise regimens does not go away. Eating well and continuing to train can help us stay independent and comfortable as we age.
4. PROTEIN MAINTAINS AND BUILDS MUSCLE.
Endurance athletes also have elevated protein requirements. We need sufficient protein in our diet to maintain the muscles we use to run, ride or swim and to recover after training too. Our ligaments, bones and muscles all require protein to function. We tend to think of strength athletes when discussing protein requirements, but it is important to consume protein for all sporting disciplines – even if you are less active than an elite athlete.
5. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF CARBOHYDRATES OR WATER.
Carl admitted that he spent much of his earlier career in a state of dehydration for fear of the scales. Not drinking enough water makes us tired, struggle to focus and fail to perform well. In extreme cases, dehydration can lead to kidney damage and other health problems. Don’t be afraid to hydrate!
James has been analysing the diets of athletes for almost 20 years. Athletes used to need help optimising their protein intake – now, they often under-consume carbohydrates instead. James does not believe it is possible to be an elite athlete on a low-carb diet. Carl backs this up, evidenced by him being in a much better condition than when he was following a paleo diet.
6. CONSISTENCY IS KING.
Boxers go through an 8 to 12-week training program in the lead-up to a fight. Twelve weeks of training is a great amount of time for anyone to commit to good nutrition and exercise. It is long enough to see a difference mentally as well as physically. Remain consistent even when you are not training for a particular event – with a balanced diet all year round. Especially for younger athletes, maintaining a solid foundation leads to better performance all around.