Publishing my daily diet has not been something I’ve ever thought of doing. Firstly, I couldn’t imagine anyone would ever want to know what I eat. Secondly, it feels quite odd doing so, I mean I’m not a dietitian, top athlete or particularly well conditioned. However, a reader recently asked me if I would consider doing it. After some thought I decided to give it a go, so, here’s the daily diet that supports my training…
*Disclaimer – I am in no way claiming this to be a recommended way to eat. I am not a qualified nutritionist or a diet specialist. This is purely an insight into my daily diet. If you are considering making any dietary changes please ensure you consult the appropriately qualified persons.*
I should start by saying my main focus with diet is simple. Eat enough so that I can train and have energy, but not so much that I support body fat. Essentially, eat what I need and no more.
I first looked at improving my diet about a year into starting Crossfit – around 3 years ago. Prior to this I was a typical student, eating whatever, whenever and being festively plump year round. I came out of education, stopped going out drinking and started to compete. Therefore, wanting to get better at Crossfit led me to change what I ate.
So, that’s it really, I just wanted to be a bit more conscious about what I put in my body to perform better.
The following is what I eat every weekday. At weekends with Han I try to make healthy choices but eat what I want – Life’s about living. This poses a different problem, getting enough calories in, so I often throw in a random bowl of porridge if I feel like I’ve under eaten.
In addition to the below, I may have the odd treat in the office – Who can’t turn down a mini Yum Yum! However, this is honestly my daily diet and training schedule:
- 6:30 am – Morning aerobic session (20-30 minutes)
- 8:30 am – Porridge, semi-skimmed milk, 4 whole eggs
- 12:00 pm – Wholegrain rice or sweet potato, chicken or tuna, mixed salad, avocado
- 3:30 pm – Cous Cous or white rice, tuna or chicken, teaspoon coconut oil
- 5:30 pm – Evening Crossfit training (90 minutes)
- 7:00 pm – Protein shake, 1 apple, 1 banana
- 7:30 pm – Pasta, turkey or chicken (red meat once a week), sauce (Nando’s, tomato, HP)
- 9:30 pm – 5 Weetabix, whole milk
Breaking it down
With every meal I have one simple rule: Try to get a lean protein, unprocessed carbs and healthy fat source.
My first meal is always a staple when I get into work. I prefer full fat milk, however, work only has semi-skimmed so I make do. I believe in eating the whole egg and not just whites as this is more complete and yolk has it’s benefits as well.
Lunch is a more fibrous carb as if I eat fiber too close to training I struggle with digestion. I aim to get the majority of my vegetables in here as well. This is typically higher fat that my pre-workout food as fat before training also impacts my digestion. My carb source changes a bit so long as it is unprocessed however the rest stay the same.
My pre-workout (3:30 pm) meal is simple. A healthy carb source – rice/cous cous interchange, lean protein and a tiny bit of fat. The fat is more for flavour to stop things being bland. This rarely changes in my daily diet.
I have a protein shake and two pieces of fruit straight after training. This is purely because my drive home is 30 minutes so I’d be hungry by the time I get in. Ideally I wouldn’t have fruit here, I’d have a simpler sugar like dextrose. However, I don’t get much fruit in my daily diet elsewhere. Therefore, just to get fruit in I use fruit for the sugary carb.
In addition, I then have my evening meal. I aim to eat most of the carbs in my daily diet after my evening training. Yep, that’s right, most of my carbs late in the day. My evening sessions are more intense so this is needed, don’t be afraid to eat later on if you train late! My meal is low-fat, high carb and moderate protein (my shake gives me a lot). Lower fat to help speed up the carb digestion.
Finally, before bed I’ll have a big old bowl of Weetabix and whole milk – Yup more carbs before bed. This is because I don’t eat before my morning cardio session. I find having this before bed isn’t too heavy on my stomach but lets me train early without eating. I struggle to find the energy in the morning otherwise.
I just wanted clarify why I eat the way I do. It is quite honesty from trial and error over the years.
Through trial and error, I have found the number of times I eat that works best for me. Smaller more frequent or larger more spaced out meals leave me feeling bloated and doesn’t sit well with my digestive system. You may find that you get hungry between meals or need less, it’s only through trial end error I’ve got to this point.
My portion size and overall food volume is pretty much based on how I feel. Over the years I’ve learnt how much of a food group is too much or too little. Sometimes I don’t make enough and sometimes it’s too much. If this happens I’ll just look for an extra bit of healthy food or leave some of my meal. I will never over or under eat just because I feel that I have to.
The food I eat is pretty simple. Nothing too fancy, luckily I’m okay with this. It saves me time and money as well as giving me the calories I need to train. I only train twice a day because I like it, I’m likely never going to Regionals, I just genuinely enjoy training.
Hopefully this gives you an insight into my daily diet and a bit of context to your own diet. As I said, I’m not a qualified nutritionist or top athlete. I’m sure there are people out there horrified at how I eat, or who could recommend much better ways to eat to improve performance.
My diet has kind of just evolved over the years to fit my lifestyle. I used to stress and panic about getting the same amount of food in my daily diet. However, I learnt that our bodies differ day-to-day as do our circumstances. Therefore, whilst in theory an exact daily diet intake is ideal, practically it just doesn’t fit.
Let me know your thought’s in the comments below or if this helps you at all!