If I say the words “sports nutrition”, what do you think? For many of us, the predominant image is probably a guy a bit like Arnie, downing a protein shake, wearing tight nylon short-shorts and a slinky vest. Fear not, I’m here to tell you that we can have a far more expansive view of what constitutes sports nutrition. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, anything that you put in your mouth which contributes to your training programme is, in essence, sports nutrition.
If a cup of herbal tea before bed helps you get a good night’s sleep then it is, to you, as important a sports nutrition drink as a protein shake is to Arnie! Nutrition doesn’t have to be prescriptive – a good nutrition programme is about listening to your body and responding to what it needs: if you are hungry then eat and if you are full then stop. There are a few basic points to consider which can help you hit the basics but, generally speaking, being incredibly precise about your food intake is not necessary unless you are an elite athlete training multiple times per day.
Charlotte Nichols is a 3rd-year Medical student at the University of Bristol. This summer, she and her partner Stuart will be attempting to complete all 80 Olympic events during the 17 days that coincide with the Tokyo games (23rd July-8th August) to raise awareness and vital funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, in memory of Stuart’s much-loved brother, Spencer (Spenny).
In 2011 Spencer tragically lost his life to Motor Neurone Disease aged just 49, leaving behind his wife and 2 young sons. Spencer held a special place in the hearts of all who knew him. He was many things to many people, a well-known and talented musician, a keen footballer, a loyal and trusted friend and always the party starter! Spencer lived with this disease for just under 2 years and throughout this period he dedicated himself to raising as much awareness and money as he could for the MND association.
Charlotte told us “Stuart has always wanted to mark this 10-year anniversary and celebrate Spenny’s life in a fitting way and that was the seed that grew into Spennylympics, and in me, he has found someone determined and crazy enough to bring this idea to life! We are under no illusions as to just how difficult this challenge will be, in fact, it has been described by some as “impossible” which has only fuelled our determination to succeed even more!”
During a week where we are reflecting on Kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week, it seemed fitting to shine a light on Arron’s BDT Cycle Challenge – undertaken for no greater reason than to bring some joy to his UoB team.