Claire Steels is a world champion duathlete and works hard for her fantastic racing results. We take a look at what this elite athlete eats in a day to fuel her for her big events.
Banacakes (pancakes with banana)
I have been playing around with how to make this breakfast for a while and I think I have cracked it! The mix is made up of 1 banana mashed up with 2 eggs. Beat it all together and cook in a small frying pan. You can split the mixture to have lots of smaller pancakes and it is a little easier to cook too! I top with peanut butter as I'm a bit of an addict!
Pesto chicken wraps
I make these filling wraps with spinach, rocket, avocado and a bit mayonnaise. Lots of protein to keep me fuelled and vegetables for their health benefits.
Banana topped with sunflower seeds and honey
I have this almost daily! Sometimes as part of breakfast, sometimes as pudding, or sometimes just as a snack!
Racing in the morning! Pizza is my favourite pre-race meal! I love all of the training and racing that comes with being an elite athlete and a big part of that is because of all of the food I get to eat, and I have always been a huge pizza fan! For this meal, I opted for a pre-made pizza base and then added my own topping because I was feeling creative! I went for my own version of a Quattro: tomato puree base, pesto chicken (leftover from lunch), caramelised red onion, mushrooms, spinach, rocket, and parmesan cheese. It was amazing and the race went pretty well too!
Do you struggle to get enough protein into your diet? Did you buy an expensive protein powder and have no idea how to introduce it into your diet? Or just looking for a new and healthy breakfast to replace that boring cereal? Protein pancakes are a quick and easy way to have a highly nutritious and tasty breakfast! Here is one of our favourite recipes!
- 1 sachet of Wheybox chocolate orange whey protein
- 50g egg whites
- 1 medium-sized overripe banana
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Use a hand mixer to blend up all the ingredients until well mixed.
- Heat some coconut oil in a pan and tip in your pancake mix, 1 heaped tbsp at a time.
- Leave to cook for a couple of minutes. These pancakes don't use flour so they are slightly more fragile than usual, therefore you should cook the other side by folding them in half into a half moon shape!
- Leave for another couple of minutes then pile on your plate and top with yogurt, nut butter and popcorn!
Thanks to the banana, these pancakes have a soft texture and are naturally quite sweet.
Do you have any tasty and nutritious recipes that you want to share with us? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your recipes!
There are so many reasons why someone might want to lose weight. For aesthetics, to feel better about themselves, to reduce health risks, for a sport or competition… the list goes on. Everyone's journey is totally personal and you should never have to justify yourself to anyone. For some people, losing weight is easy and you’ll hear them talk about how the fat just ‘melts’ off them. But weight loss is dependant on a lot of factors such as age, height, genetics, current body weight, and past sporting background. You may find that the first few kilos go with ease, but then you hit a plateau. ‘Why aren’t I losing weight?’ is a question that can plague anyone, and if you feel like you’re trying your best to eat well and train hard but are not seeing the results you expect then it can be very demoralising. However, there are a lot of reasons why you might not be losing the weight that you expect.
It seems obvious, but the truth is that so long as your caloric expenditure is more than your intake, you will lose weight. Some people will try to go into detail about macro splits and nutrient timing, but it really does just come down to burning more than you eat. It’s important to calculate your BMR and TDEE before you begin any sort of weight loss journey. Your BMR will tell you how many calories your body would burn in a completely resting state, essentially if you were in a coma. Your TDEE then takes into account factors such as your activity level, age, height, current body weight, and will calculate how many calories you really burn on a daily basis. So long as your caloric intake is lower than your TDEE, you will lose weight. If you do not track your daily food and drink intake, there is a very high chance you are consuming more than you think which may well be the reason you are not losing weight.
For women especially, water weight can play a big part in your physique and your weight loss journey. Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle you may be retaining water more than usual and therefore appear to weigh more. Another reason why you may be retaining water is through excessive sodium consumption. Sodium is an important micronutrient for regulating blood pressure, but excessive intake from salty and/or processed foods will cause your body to retain fluids which will also make you appear to weigh more.
If you really are sticking to your diet religiously and training like a beast but still not seeing results, then there may be something more complicated at work. Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid and can have a number of negative side effects, including depression and weight gain. If you think you may have this condition, it is best to see a doctor who will be able to advise you on the best course of action. This condition can make training very difficult due to lethargy so it is best to listen to your body and rest up if your body feels like it’s working against you.
The Bottom Line
Losing weight should be a simple process, but that isn’t always the case. If you calculate your BMR and TDEE and track your intake, you should be well on your way to achieving the results that you want and deserve. We all know deep down that the number on the scale isn’t the most important thing, but it does help to know where you are on your fitness journey. Sometimes it’s hard to see what we truly look like in the mirror, and to notice small changes in our physique just by how we fit in our clothes. Try not to let it take over your life, take it one step at a time, and you’ll be there in no time.
The Zone Diet was developed by American medical researcher Barry Sears. Its main aim is controlling the hormones of the body by eating lean protein and unprocessed foods in order to achieve weight loss. While the logic makes sense, does this diet really work? We take a closer look.
How Does The Zone Diet Work?
The Zone Diet is pretty complicated, and to follow it properly you would need to do a lot of research into macronutrients, hormones, and blood sugar.
When following the Zone Diet, meals are split into 'blocks'.
7 grams of protein = 1 block. 14 grams = 2 blocks. 21 grams = 3 blocks.
9 grams of carbs = 1 block. 18 grams = 2 blocks. 27 grams = 3 blocks.
1.5 grams of fat = 1 block. 3 grams = 2 blocks. 4.5 grams = 3 blocks.
A one block meal would consist of one block of protein, one of carbs, and one of fat. There are then two block meals which are two portions of each, three block meals which are three portions, and so on. The blocks work on the rule of consuming 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat at every meal.
Followers of the diet are encouraged to eat at regular intervals in order to keep the hormone levels balanced and to weigh out their food. The Zone Diet classifies carbohydrates by the Glycemic Index which rates them according to how quickly they raise the blood sugar. Slowly-absorbed carbohydrates have a low GI rating (55 or below), and include most fruits and vegetables, milk, some wholegrain cereals and bread, pulses and basmati rice. The Glycemic Index is usually used by diabetics to manage their insulin levels.
The logic of controlling the body's hormones in order to lose weight and stay healthy is a great one. Many people do not realise the effects that their nutrition has on their hormones and the effect that those hormones have in turn on their mood, weight, and other lifestyle factors. The Zone Diet focusses on three key hormones: glucagon, insulin, and eicosanoids. Glucagon tells the body to release stored carbs at a steady rate which stabilises blood sugar levels. Insulin is the storage hormone and an excess can cause excess weight gain. Eicosanoids control various other hormones in the body.
This diet also encourages people to weigh their food and eat at regular intervals which are excellent healthy eating habits. The macronutrient split is not as harsh as other people may insinuate, as 40% carbs is really not that low.
For a start, this diet is probably too confusing for most people to follow, and when people can't understand something they won't stick with it. Another major flaw with this diet is that it classifies carbohydrates in a way that would tar tomatoes with the same brush as rice or pasta, even though they have a completely different effect on the body. This diet implies that a portion of vegetables would count towards as many carbs as a bowl of porridge or something similar, which simply isn't true.
Additionally, this diet encourages people to cut corners. One source states that if a snack bar were to contain 8g of protein, 29g of carbohydrates, and 6g of fat, you would only count the carbs and so this snack bar would be a '3 block carbohydrate' which we can clearly see it isn't. The block system over-simplifies counting macronutrients, and rounding down 8g of protein and 6g of fat to zero is not a good habit to get into as it'll lead to overeating and frustration.
While the roots of this diet make sense, the execution is very poor and it risks leading people into bad habits. For those who have no prior understanding of nutrition, macronutrients, or hormones, this diet would be far too complicated and could lead to them becoming wildly misinformed. Weight loss and healthy living do not have to be complicated! Eating healthy, whole foods in moderation and not exceeding your daily calorie allowance is all you need.
If you're anything like me, getting your five-a-day is pretty hard, especially those bitter green vegetables. Making your own homemade smoothies is an amazing way to get some extra vitamins and nutrients into your daily diet, as well as keeping hunger at bay between meals!
My Superfood Spinach Smoothie is something I make daily as it has so many amazing health benefits and kerbs the afternoon hunger cravings before dinner. It contains matcha green tea powder which has the same health benefits as drinking 10 cups of green tea! I personally cannot stand the taste of green tea, so drinking 1 cup a day would be a struggle, let alone 10! However, green tea has some incredible proven health benefits such as balancing your hormones, increasing your metabolism, and improving the quality of your skin, hair, and nails.
This recipe also contains protein powder making it very high in protein so it's a great boost if you struggle to hit your daily protein intake or are just fed up of eating endless chicken breasts. The smoothie is packed with spinach so that you can also reap the many health benefits of this vegetable, which include improving iron levels, improving your mood, and preventing you from getting lethargic! It really is a magic recipe, it almost feels like cheating the system! It tastes great, and will really help you to achieve your health and fitness goals.
300ml of soy milk (or almond/coconut milk if you prefer)
1 scoop of protein powder (of your choice, I use chocolate flavoured whey protein)
1 scoop of matcha green tea powder
1/2 a banana
2 generous handfuls of spinach
Place all the ingredients into a processor and blend them together until you have a smoothie. I use a hand whizzer, similar to the Nutribullet.
Makes 1 serving - drink immediately, do not store
Calories - 255
Fat - 4.7g
Carbs - 19.4g
Protein - 31.4g
Please note that this smoothie is not designed to be used a meal replacement and we do not recommend skipping meals to achieve weight loss.