Friday, March 20, 2009

Five a Day!!!

When I first went to see the Nutritional Support Team at Leeds Met University in October last year and they told me I had to eat breakfast and have at least five a day I thought ‘great, sounds good’. I’m a boater, of course I could see no problems at all in consuming a McDonalds breakfast or a full English followed by the full five C’s a day of coke, chocolate, crisps, chips and a curry. In fact it should be positvely enjoyable and would be easy.

...But no this diet plan of a boater was not the diet plan of an athlete that they had in mind. They were proposing big changes, huge changes. They were talking about, dare I say it... apples, oranges, lettuce, tomatoes; they were talking about Fruit and Veg! And for breakfast they were not suggesting bacon and egg mc’muffins washed down with lashing of coffee and fizzy drinks, but they were talking about cereals! They were not even talking about nice sugar coated fun cereals like coco pops and frostie’s that I could maybe consider working towards coping with first thing in the morning. They were talking healthy cereals, cereals that have a closer resemblance to a cut up cardboard box than an enjoyable morning snack.

Surely they weren’t being serious. Surely they didn’t really mean it! Did they not understand the level of difficulty in what they were asking.

‘and have a piece of fruit and a glass of juice fresh fruit juice with it’

... what were they suggesting, surley not... nooooooooooooooo!

Ok major panic over maybe I could do this maybe I could cut out the fast food, and quick fix junk and snacks that had kept me going all my life in particularly on the road over the last few years. Maybe this could work. Maybe it could help sort out my ever fluctuating energy levels which I had put down to an undetected dose of billharzier. Maybe my energy levels could have some small tiny little link to the fact that I had been living off a high sugar, high E number junk food diet. Maybe just maybe this new diet could help. Maybe it could be worth trying...

But then when it looked like it was all going to be reasonably ok they hit me with the crunch. They spoke the words that few would dare, they told me...

‘You need to cut down the coke!!!’

Stunned, silent! Surely I had misheard them...

‘cut down the coke?’



Coke you might ask aren’t you an athlete! Surely you don’t have such a thing!
We’ll the truth is I did and it was a very hard moment as I had to admit to myself there and then, in my first meeting that I had a problem. That I was an addict. That I was addicted to coke!!!

After 12 years of paddling in the UK. After many hours spent in urban white water environments on rivers such as the Aire, the Trent and the Thames I was addicted. I was addicted to the black tar like substance in the red can that called itself coke-cola.

5 months later and I am now clean. I haven’t touched a can of coke-cola since October and with the continued help and support of the fantastic Sports Nutrition Team, at the Leeds Metropolitan University Carnegie Centre of Sports Performance and Well Being, I am now well on the way to leading a much healthier life. The team have worked hard to create a diet plan that fits in around my hectic kayaking lifestyle and that I enjoy.

I did have to make a few big changes and I am now pleased to say that thanks to their help I am well on my way to reaching my health and fitness goals for the forthcoming World Championships later this year.