Putting the right fuel in your body will help you to both keep active and maximise the benefits of doing so. As if being a personal trainer and competing in Ironman events wasn’t enough Dylan is about to head back to university to study nutrition. Given the colossal distances he swims (2.4 miles), runs (26 miles) and cycles (112 miles), all one after the other, Dylan has some key tips for fuelling your body for life and exercise.
Cut out the junk food
It’s not a diet, it’s good eating habits you're bringing to your diet in order to maximise what your body is capable of. What you put into your body directly impacts the energy levels you can get out of it.
Eat real foods
I’ve never seen a pasta tree in my life, or a bread bush for that matter. If it’s natural, eat it. Eggs, fish, milk, load yourself up with vegetables - as many as you can stuff on your plate. Be careful of starchier vegetables.
Don’t reward yourself
People overestimate how many calories they burn when exercising. So they’ll do a hard workout and then think ‘I’ll reward myself with a big meal’. All the health benefits of the exercise are undermined, in some capacity, by over-eating. You fill those calories you’ve just burned off. By the same standard don’t be good all week to then let it go from Thursday to Monday morning. You undo all that good work by overeating and ‘rewarding’ yourself. If you keep things on track 80% of the time then you can indulge a little but it’s all about getting into good habits.
Forget fuelling yourself for exercise, people, in general, do not drink nearly enough water. It’s so key to drink water. In doing so it continually flushes toxins out of your system.
Avoid sugary sports drinks
You don’t need them. Anything below 90 minutes to two hours exercise doesn’t need the fuel of these types of drinks. I see people doing a 45-minute weight session and they’re swigging these sports drinks and it’s not necessary. The sports drink industry is massive, with very good marketing but the efficacy of some of them is questionable at best. It’s worrying when you see vending machines full of them at gyms.
Be wary of fruit
Yes, they are full of goodness. But everything in moderation. Fruit is essentially nature’s candy. You’re better off sticking to berries where possible.
Go on how you feel
The more you train and experiment with eating certain ways you get a feel for what you can do and what your body is capable of. You might be able to go three or four hours without eating but others will need a bit of fuel in there to keep them going.
Make it yourself
This is all about planning. If you know you like to snack in order to keep yourself fuelled then look to make some good stuff at home. This way you control things like the sugar content. So make some homemade Flapjacks or some Peanut Butter and Oat balls, they’re all natural and making them yourself means you know exactly what is in there.
Don’t worship diets
People hear about a diet and it becomes like a religion to them. It becomes the only way to eat in their mind. You have to find what works for you. It’s often a case of cherry picking certain aspects of various nutritional ideas. Everyone is different. We all need different things to make the most of our bodies. Metabolically we’re all as different as our fingerprints so it is a minefield getting it right.