Okay, before I begin, I want to make it abundantly clear I’m not known for my meticulous healthy eating regimes and whilst I think I’ve struck a pretty good balance between eating well and enjoying treats in moderation, I don’t exactly eat to perform…..
Anyone for bread?
My ‘snacks’ for the Trailblaster 12 race….
However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take a keen interest in nutrition and I do try to make at least 80 percent of my meals from scratch. So when I was asked if I was interested in reviewing the new book ‘Fast Fuel’, I jumped at the chance.
The author, Renee McGregor has years of experience and expertise in sports nutrition and advises athletes from amateur to Olympic levels. In the book she translates her scientific knowledge into practical eating advice, aimed specifically at runners looking to achieve their goals.
The main focus of the book is stressing the importance of choosing nutrient-dense foods. So for example, if I’m planning on a sixty minute run with some faster sprints towards the end, I know I’ll need some carbs to fuel me. Rather than choosing a nutrient-poor carbohydrate such as an energy drink or white bread, I’d be better opting for a bowl of porridge or some fruit. These options will still provide me with the carbs I’d need but in addition will provide my body with valuable vitamins, protein, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Of course it’s not always that easy and grabbing an energy drink would be better than having nothing at all – just so long as that isn’t a regular occurrence.
Of course that’s pretty straightforward advice but the book goes into much more detail and has some fascinating chapters that a science geek like me relished the chance to read, such as the effect of caffeine on performance; the gluten-free fad; racing weight and body composition; aerobic and anaerobic metabolism and the female hormone cycle.
As well as the science side of things there are hundreds of recipes in the book too. There’s nothing too complicated but the recipes were far more interesting than the ‘chicken, broccoli and rice’ I was expecting! (I’m sure there’s a lesson in not judging a book by its cover in there somewhere…..). The recipes are laid out simply with clear instructions and the nutrition facts per serving are displayed at the bottom of each page. There aren’t any glossy photographs of the meals but to be honest I quite like that. I mean, my meals never look like the photographs in cook books anyway!
It retails at £9:99 (which is a reasonable price for what you get) but I’ve seen it currently in the sale at WHSmith for £6:99 (which I think is a bit more like it and I’d be happy to pay that price for it).
If you’re a regular reader (Hi, Dad!) you’ll know that over the past twelve months I’ve been trying my hand at CrossFit. I love the variety it adds to my training and I’ve gone from paying pretty much zero attention to strength training (bar the occasional bootcamp session) to doing it about four times a week. My bodyweight is surprisingly pretty much the same as it was last year – maybe an extra kilogram or so – but my body composition has changed quite dramatically.
Now I’m certainly no power lifter but I’m quite keen to retain the baby muscles I’ve built over the last year, and when I’m running a lot of miles this can be quite tricky. I’ve been trying to add more protein to my diet and was thrilled when ProWater asked if I’d be interested in sampling some of their products.
A lot of my harder strength training sessions are done at 5:45am, which is certainly not my most favourite time of day to do anything – let alone be expected to pick up heavy stuff or be good at gymnastics. But it’s often the only time I’ve got to work out so there’s no point whinging about it. The biggest drawback is nutrition – I do the workout fasted because, let’s face it, no one wants to get up at 4am to eat and allow that food to digest. But this makes recovery even more important.
In an ideal world I’d eat a proper meal within twenty minutes of finishing my workout. Again, it’s simply not possible so I look for the next best option – which for me has always been a protein shake. I’ve tried various different whey proteins and I’ll normally mix it with whole milk to add a few more calories. Most days it works just fine but sometimes, when you’re absolutely parched, you’re red hot and your throat is burning, the thought of a chalky, dusty shake doesn’t set my world on fire. But an ice cold, fruity, refreshing juice? Now you’re talking!
In a nutshell, one 500ml bottle contains 20g of protein with zero sugars, carbs or fat. I’ll admit I was a bit sceptical at first and thought that the ingredients list would be full of ‘nasties’ but they’re made with 100% natural flavours and colours and honestly, they taste really good! Quite sweet, but certainly no sweeter than any other juice drink and a much more refreshing option than a powder.
I’d say the product is more geared towards the consumer that might be looking towards losing weight and wants the convenience of a protein shake but without the often hidden calories. Personally, I’m looking at maintaining or perhaps even gaining weight so it’s not ideal for my needs, but I’d definitely consider it as an option for adding more protein in addition to my usual meals or snacks.
Price wise……honestly I was a bit taken aback at the expense. You can currently buy a pack of 12 500ml bottles for £29:99. So even buying in bulk works out at £2:50 per drink, which is definitely out of my price range. However if I found them on offer somewhere I’d definitely buy some to keep handy in the fridge.
I certainly feel a lot stronger than I ever have and the weight that I’m able to lift is gradually sneaking up. Most of that is due to the work I’m putting in but I can’t deny that good nutrition has some part to play. As the saying goes, ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’, right?
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of ‘Fast Fuel’ and four bottles of prowater for free to review. I did not receive any additional financial compensation and all opinions are my own, honest ones.