Life at Loughborough #2: Eating healthily on a student budget..no time for horsing around!

With all the horseplay (pun certainly intended) and controversy around contaminated meat produce lately, I though I’d theme this weeks blog around how ive been able to try and form a stable and healthy diet fit for a grand national winner, and all constrained by the tight reins of a student budget. I promise not to fill this entire entry with horse realted puns honestly, but if a few more do amble in…well hay, don’t nag me!

Horse Burgers

As I’m sure you’ll agree, trying to stick to a healthy diet can be hard, what with the precious time it takes to cook, the very precious money you have to spend, and for me battling against the disarray and grime typical of a student kitchen, things are indeed tricky at times. But I really don’t think the importance of solid nutrition to an athlete training six days a week, a student trying to stay focused in lectures or indeed a young guy just wanting to healthy, can be underestimated – and im all three of those things, blimey! Now, in a perfect world we’d all have a diet prescribed out for us full of great nutrition from foods we love and it’d be a joy to follow, but most of us don’t live in a prefect world (see!). Now, I can give you a range of figures here on guidelines for calories, grams of this and grams of that and everything else, but it seems everywhere you look people are quoting something different. To be honest you’re best to do your research and then experiment with what works for you and what you can be consistent with. Personally I’ve found that right around a gram on protein per pound of bodyweight works out great for me, contrary to what you’ll often read about having 1.5grams per pound as a minimum, this way I way I still seem to recover, adapt and grow from my workouts without any excess protein intake, which sure does help to keep the shopping bills down! As a side not while were on protein, I think one of the staple sources of it no matter who you are should be a good protein shake, they provide such easy, versatile nutrition and if you buy from a company like Sativa Shakes you know you’re getting superb quality, taste and nothing nasty like additives.

With protein covered, let’s talk about carbs, these are sometimes seen as the bad guy of nutrition, low carb diets are all the rage these days, but honestly let me tell you, you need carbs my friends! Fair enough depending on your activity levels and metabolic rate you might need a different amount to others but carbs are the main supplier of energy for everyone day to day life. Due to the nature of my chosen sport, sprinting, carbohydrates are key components to both pre and post workout nutrition, though I do try to taper them down later on in the day as bed time approaches as my activity levels are dropping.

Right then, last but not necessarily least, fats. People sometimes shy away from fats, as surely if you eat fat you’ll get fat yeah? Well, no, not as such, or at least not if you choose your fats wisely my friends. Without going into degree level biochemistry, a basic way of looking at fats is to group them as saturated fats (bad) and unsaturated fats (mainly good), a lot of the time you’ll find bad fats in animal products and good fats in plant products. Take butter for example, regular butter (an animal derived product) I try to stay a rather long distance from if I can help it, whereas almond butter (a plant derived product) I sure as heck can’t get enough of sometimes! It’s this kind of approach to nutrition that I think will serve you well, look at a food source and think to yourself can I do better than that with a healthier alternative. As I said last week, strive for progression in all facets of life and you can’t go too far wrong.

So, with all that said I’ll give you a little insight into how I tend to shop in order to meet the nutrient requirements I’m striving for, in the healthiest, most student-wallet friendly way possible. First up a little tip I’ve picked up is to shop for protein sources, carb sources and fat sources separately, I don’t go looking for things that have all three in all ready because one – the nutrients are unlikely to be in a good ratio, and two – who knows what else might be in there these days, I know that additives, fillers, and even Phillies sure aren’t what I want to be putting in to my body! That said, I think if you set out with a list in mind of what sources of each macro you want to buy, look for the freshest, best quality and most natural forms of those that you can afford you’re not going to be far off at all. A silly little trick I have for when I’m shopping is this: pick up what you’re looking at buying then look at the hand that holding it in, can you count all of the ingredients of that food on said hand? No? Think you maybe ought to put it down and try again! If there’s really more than just one or two ingredients in anything you might well want to reconsider and without actually talking to the food on the shelves (as you might look a little silly!) say  ‘no thanks, I’d rather do the mixing of ingredients myself I think!’ Or if you don’t want to risk saying that out loud and sounding a bit odd to passers-by, do the bulk of your shopping at the market, it’s often cheaper, fresher and free of bad temptations. Give these few tips a try next your out shopping and try to think of other ways you can make better choices in terms of your nutrition and you could be well on your way achieving a great diet.

 

Anyway, I’ll leave it there for this week, after saying all this my throat is all dry and I’ve become a little hoarse actually… uh oh I better watch out saying that!

As ever, be sure to leave any comments, queries or suggestions below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Have a great week guys, be sure to be eating well and having your Sativa Shakes, see you again soon.

 

Roy Barber

Roy Barber

 

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