When I was a lot younger I often said things like ‘I could live on pasta’ or ‘mum, can I have pasta’ because I loved it! If there was any left over in the kitchen after everyone had eaten their supper you would be sure to find me gorging on the remains! Ironically, today I eat an awful lot of brown pasta obviously because it is one of the best sources of low glycemic carbohydrates about. Here are my top 3 pasta dishes for all you pasta lovers who are conscious about your waistline!
Spicy Chilli Beef and Brown Pasta
For some reason when you diet and you have a craving, having something spicy seems to work. Maybe because it is such a unique flavour in your mouth, and considering you diet may be quite bland it satisfies your cravings like something sweet might do! The spicy component of the beef will also actually support fat loss because of the thermogenic effects, every little helps!!! Personally I find this recipe works best for me!
200g lean minced beef (drained of fat)
2 chopped tomatoes
2 sliced mushrooms
½ chopped red pepper
½ chopped green pepper
½ chopped red onion
Tablespoon mild chilli powder
60g brown pasta (dry weight)
Chicken and Brown Pasta Bake
There is nothing like a hearty warm, calorie dense meal when you are starving! Pasta bakes certainly fit this bill very well, and it is also a perfect meal to reheat as well if you cook enough for several servings. This particular meal is very quick to prepare making it a favourite of mine!
200g chopped chicken breast
5 sliced cherry tomatoes
2 sliced mushrooms
½ sliced red pepper
½ sliced green pepper
½ sliced red onion
20g pine kernels
25g low fat cheddar cheese (grated on top)
½ lemon squeezed over the dish
Pork and Brown Pasta Surprise
This is something I got very accustomed to when I was on holiday in Cyprus in 2009! It isn’t always easy staying in shape abroad but this dish made it a lot easier! This literally entailed taking a bunch of ingredients and chucking them into a big mixing bowl once it was cooked and enjoying! This is a typical ‘scoff’ meal where you just chuck into a bowl and enjoy shovelling it down with a spoon!
200g lean pork steak (cut fat off edges)
25g low fat cheddar cheese (grated)
20g pine kernels
1 heaped tablespoon of low fat green pesto
60g brown past tubes (dry weight)
5 sliced cheery tomatoes
There are 3 of my favourite brown pasta dishes! Hopefully you will agree that there is plenty of flavour and variation in these dishes, proving yet again healthy doesn’t mean tasteless! Enjoy, or as they say in Italy ‘Bon appétit’ or is that France?!
Pat 2 of our extreme sports super feature is going to concentrate on eating as an extreme athlete! Amateur extreme athletes don’t tend to take so much care with their diet as perhaps they should! At the end of the day you are an athlete and you are what you eat. If you are eating poor food choices then it stands to reason your performance on the track won’t be so impressive!
Before I go on to what you should eat, here a few reasons why an extreme athlete should eat a proper diet!
Motocross racing is one of the most physically demanding sports I have ever done therefore it stands to reason your muscles will also feel this way. Feeding your muscles the correct nutrients in order to recover is vital, and this could be the difference between avoiding serious injury when you crash and not!
After 18 laps your forearms begin to burn like crazy and so do your abdominals! This is because your body is scoffing the calories within your body and the physical demand your body is placed under is causing muscle stimulation. Eating good healthy foods will increase your energy and it should give you the capacity to push yourself that bit further towards the end of the race!
Eating energising clean healthy food certainly maximises your focus. Out there on the track where there are 40 other bikes or so it is so important you have your mind on the game at all times! One slip up could cost you several places or even worse, an injury!
So what food should an extreme athlete be eating? Well, this is all about maximising performance therefore aesthetics are not really an issue. However, eating healthy will help you get lean and stay lean if that is something you do care about. Below is a sample diet for an extreme athlete throughout the week.
Breakfast – 70g oats, sliced banana, 2 chopped strawberries, handful of blueberries, 1 scoop of chocolate or vanilla multi-blend protein.
Mid morning – wholemeal pita bread, scrambled egg (1 egg, 5 egg whites), tomatoes and salad.
Lunch – 70g (dry weight) brown pasta, 150g white fish, broccoli, and stir fried veg.
Mid afternoon – 250g sweet potato, lean pork steak, greens.
Supper (post training) – 300g baked potato, 150g lean steak, greens, and kiwi fruit.
Before bed – 100g low fat cottage cheese, 50g chopped pineapple.
This is a diet for an average extreme athlete throughout the week, working on the basis that they practice their sport or go to the gym in the evening. On race day, this diet wouldn’t necessarily work because they do a lot of heats during the day and this means they wouldn’t want a lot of food sat in their stomach during the race! Therefore on race day it would be wise to plan your meals right after each race finishes and swap your carbohydrates for basmati rice, white pasta, baked potato and even some fruit salads with kiwi fruit, pineapple, banana and berries.
By eating a healthy balanced diet like this you should experience far less muscle soreness! There are quite a lot of healthy fats in this diet which are essential for maximising aerobic capacity and protecting your joints, obviously a weak point in a lot of extreme athlete’s body’s! Your energy levels for race day should also be excellent! Extremists get in the supermarket and get your diet on track!!!
As part of our ‘extreme sports super feature’ I am going to outline which supplements I believe to be the most beneficial to any extreme athlete. In the introduction to this series I touched on the stresses athletes like motocross riders endure, and why I believe if the followed a rigid eating, training and supplement plan their health and performance on and off the track would improve. Here are 4 must have supplements for any extreme athlete in my opinion!
Glucosamine & Chondrotine
It is no secret that a whopping percentage of athletes will suffer from some degree of arthritis, and a much larger percentage of extreme athletes will suffer from this! It is no wonder why when you consider their knee joints are constantly absorbing huge amounts of movement as the riders jump over table top jumps! Glucosamine is a must supplement for any athlete in my opinion simply because it is able to really help with joint health. Glucosamine is able to promote healthy joints because it is has shown itself to help with the production of cartilage proteins! As a result damaged cartilage in your joints should repair quicker, potentially prolonging or even preventing the development of arthritis! Chondrotine is known for its ability to help fight cartilage damaging enzymes whilst also potentially acting as an anti-inflammatory!
This amino acid has gained itself a reputation as a stable in almost any athlete’s supplementation plan! L-Glutamine has shown itself to support muscle recovery and immune healthy, particularly after exercise. For an extreme athlete racing laps and laps of a demanding off road circuit, this is very important because their muscles will be sore!!! As you exercise your natural L-Glutamine levels will decrease, which is why you need to supplement on L-Glutamine to kick-start the recovery process post-race!
Waxy Maize Starch
Energy is something which you need in abundance to race to your maximum capacity! People often think the machine does the work for you, but as the rider you are pushed to your fitness limits! Taking waxy maize starch about 20 minutes before a race will help ensure that your muscle glycogen levels are full, meaning your energy levels should be maxed out!
Protein supplements are not just for those of you who want to ‘build muscle mass’ in the context of a bodybuilder or fitness model! Protein plays a huge role in the recovery process, and if you are racing a lot then you can be sure your muscles will be in need of plenty of protein! Any athlete should get in 1g of protein per pound of body weight, even the ones who don’t want to get ‘muscley’ because you need that amount in order to recover adequately after exercise! That includes motocross racing, downhill biking, surfing and other similar sports!
So if you are an extremist you have no excuses not to get your supplement game together! There are 4 supplements which I would highly recommend for anybody who participates in extreme sports!
So I entered the Fit forum 12 week body challenge, looking at cutting down as much as possible in order to get myself looking defined and lean. I knew this would be a really good time to test what I have learnt, and put all my hard work to good use. I started the challenge around 78.5kg and about 12-13% BF! At the beginning I did look nice and lean, but I really wanted to get more definition, especially around my abs.
So where did I begin? First I looked at my diet, and decided to up the protein level, and slightly reduce the carb levels while adding an extra meal to my daily diet, not forgetting to eat a good level of fats. This meant I was eating 7 meals a day, and eating around 2800 calories overall! As I went along I would tweak this through the 12 weeks to make sure I was always getting the nutrients I needed. To add to this I started to cycle in the mornings, around 30-40 minutes to help really burn into my fat levels, because I have found pre-breakfast cardio is the one of best ways to strip fat away. This was all working very well, I measured myself every few weeks, and using the same machine my BF was going down, during one week my BF had gone down but my weight had gone up, I was adding lean mass, which I was very proud of. I made sure to mix up my routine every 6 weeks, to make sure my body didn’t adapt, and to ensure it would still grow!
In regards to supplements I added creatine into my diet during this challenge, and I found that really helped my strength levels while I was cutting down.
When it came to the last few weeks I seemed to plateau off, and the losses weren’t as significant, but I was still doing very well, my target was to get to 8% BF, and the last measurement I had was 8.5%! As you can imagine I was very pleased with what I had achieved. But I know I could have done better, looking back now, I was a little too relaxed at times with my diet, and I would have liked to have pushed myself further in the morning with the cycles, and the weights at the gym. I have decided to enter another competition, and will use all I have learnt to make sure I try my hardest for that one. I was able to learn what my body can go through, and what I can achieve when I try, and I know that if I put in 100% I can reach my goals, and get the body I want, as in the end that is the true goal.
On a positive note, for the new challenge I have decided to do a clean bulk to add some more muscle, which means I can eat loads of food again.