Mark Meets: Professional Triathlete Will Clarke former Olympian and U23 World Champion

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Today we have hear from Professional Triathlete Will Clarke, former Olympian and Under 23 World Champion. Here he gives us his insight into nutrition at the very highest level.

will clarke

Outlook on nutrition...

Since I've competed in triathlon, I hear about new foods every day, some I've never ever heard of. I have a quite relaxed attitude towards food and I think it works. I shop every day for dinner and buy whatever I fancy eating. I usually have my 5 portions of fruit and veg and drink plenty of water. I never eat fast food and I know when enough is enough in terms of of unhealthy food, but I also appreciate it is a balance. I think everyone knows what healthy food is and what food makes them feel good or bad.

Food as fuel...

The main difference for endurance athletes in particular is that they eat enough to fuel what they do and that the body is getting whatever it needs to replenish and recover. I think healthy eating becomes more important the harder you train, because you’re depleting yourself more. When you’re training hard you should be eating a lot and often. Everybody needs their carbs, proteins and fats as well as their vitamins. However you should also be able to eat what you like as well as maintaining a healthy diet. The sugars you get from your favourite treats a few times a day, are a good thing in my opinion.

Weight...

Triathlon is a weight-bearing sport, so it's certainly an advantage to be lean and as long as you eat sensibly and train hard, the weight will slowly fall off you. However, it doesn't necessarily take huge sacrifices to do that. Leading into a race is when I believe it's most important to make an effort. Keep to a routine that works well for you. I do try to eat a bit less than usual when my training backs off, because this is a time when it's easy to put on weight. I also try to eat foods that make me feel good and avoid the ones that don't!

Carbohydrates...

It's fairly standard to eat carbohydrate rich foods in the days leading up to an endurance event, especially the evening before. I like to eat so I'm very full, confident in the fact that I will need every one of those calories come race day. It's important to have a plan in terms of what you're going to eat before and during the event. You'll always learn more about what works well for you as you get more experienced. As the distance gets longer, unfortunately it gets more and more complicated and harder to get your nutrition right. As you learn more you end up having an itinerary of nutrition that you have to take!

Food on the go...

This year I've been using beetroot shots, sodium-loading drinks, caffeine drinks, isotonic and heaps of energy gels from the Powerbar range, not including grabbing anything you can get your hands on while on at aid stations. The Powerbar protein recovery products are invaluable for post race recovery!! I'm not a nutritionist, and my views on food are pretty relaxed compared to a lot of people, so in some ways I feel slightly unqualified to talk about this!

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Summary...

I believe if it's not broken then don't fix it. Small adjustments are the way forward. We are all creatures of habit and most of us don't like big changes and our bodies often don't like it either from my experience. There are plenty of nutritional products and super foods we can take to make ourselves faster and I recommend trying them out. But on the whole enjoy your food and keep it balanced. If you train hard you deserve it, remembering that it is always the balance you are aiming for.

About the Author

Hi Guys, My name is Mark and I am the Endurance Expert at Monster Supplements. I compete in many sports that fall under the endurance umbrella. My main sport is Triathlon were I have competed at World Championships in 2010 and many other major events around the UK. I run competitively from 5k up to Ultra distance events. I like to compete in more adventurous events taking in wild terrain and challenging environments. I have a degree in Sport & Exercise Science and am nearing the end of my Masters degree in the same subject. My role at monster is a nutritional product developer and nutritional adviser, so I am always happy to give advice on training, nutrition and supplements. I'm a firm believer in getting out of sport what you put in, so train hard, eat right and reap the rewards!
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