British cyclist, Lizzie Armitstead is a world class cyclist. She took Silver at the Olympics road race in 2012 and most recently she took Gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. When you meet Lizzie in person, one of the first things that strikes you is how healthy she looks. Of course, riding your bike all day long and living in the South of France gives her a little bit of an advantage but it’s clear that a healthy diet has a lot to do with it too.
We sat down with Lizzie to find out exactly what she eats on a day to day basis, and more importantly, how she resists temptation.
“Nutrition is something that has really changed for me this season. I never really bought into nutrition before. I think it is also to do with age. When you are young, your metabolism is so high you can get away with eating rubbish and you don’t put on any weight. Now I really buy into nutrition.
I think the main thing I have altered is my eating patterns, I make sure that I have three main meals a day. I never skip a meal. I have seen so many riders who get into this cycle of putting on weight and starving themselves and you can only do that so many times before your metabolism is totally knackered. So I make sure I have three meals, and then it’s about being consistently healthy, you have to be prepared to take weight off in a long way instead of really quickly.
I learnt a big lesson after 2012, going into 2013, it took me a whole season to get that off so now I am aware that I don’t want to put too much weight on, but it is important to put a little bit of weight on because it is good to train heavy and race light as it stops you getting sick.
At Christmas and things like that and you are surrounded by people who are telling you that you must eat, I try not to get carried away with what they are saying. I never take advice on my diet from other people. I know what’s good for me and I stick to what I know.
If like me, you are an all or nothing person – if you have one biscuit, you’ll have the packet – it is all about resisting that first biscuit.
Here is what I eat on a typical day:
My favourite breakfast is porridge so I start off the morning with that. It will generally have berries on it with cinnamon and some almonds. I will also have an espresso. And that is for a good long training ride.
On the bike:
I always just train with water. I hate using energy drinks because I use them so much when racing and they are terrible for your teeth.
I would eat bananas, flapjacks – I don’t eat any products as I try to limit them to race day. So I only eat proper food when I am training.
I have a salad for lunch followed by a Greek yoghurt and then for main meal I have some fish, vegetables and rice."
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