Returning To Racing After A Break? Eating Right Could Be Your Secret Weapon.


returning to racing after a break? a dietitian can help

Been a bit lax on your race training recently?


The first thing you need to do is stop beating yourself up about it.


If the past 18 months in particular have shown us anything, it’s that there are myriad reasons why you might have chosen - or been forced - to take a break. The fact that you’re reading this means you’ve decided to resume training seriously and that’s brilliant.


At the time of writing, we’re preparing for summer after lockdown and many athletes like you- whether professional, semi-pro, amateur or hobby - are worried about the weight they’ve put on during lockdown. You’re definitely not alone in being concerned that you’ve lost fitness in the pandemic.


At whatever time you read this though, it’s common after any prolonged break from training to experience niggles and possibly injuries when you come back to training. (The same goes for having reduced your training load to one covering shorter distances)


In this post, our in-clinic dietician and athlete in her own right, Grace Chau shares her advice on getting back into good condition to complete your race. (Spoiler alert: It’s not about which “Superfood” will make you run faster and shave those precious seconds off your time.)


If you’re facing the following challenges and have been wondering what role nutrition can play, please read on:

  • How to lose weight you’ve put on whilst not training

  • How to recover from injury through food

  • How to improve your overall fitness with diet

  • How to eat well for training


So, how do I lose weight after a break from training?


It will come as no surprise to hear that there are no quick fixes when it comes to sustainable weight loss. Achieving goals - whether that’s reaching your target weight, hitting your Personal Best or a combination of the two (they are of course linked!) - takes time.


The best way to lose weight is to eat healthily and slowly reduce weight over a period of time.


Why is it important that you go slow? Quite simply, this is the approach that makes sure that you get all the nutrients you need to have enough energy for training.


Cutting back too severely might yield fast results on the scales. If you’re serious about optimising your performance though, this approach is at best unsustainable - and at worst downright dangerous.



How can I get help with nutrition and weight loss?


On the topic of diet and nutrition there is a wealth of bad advice lurking behind every Google search.


As an athlete, you have to be especially careful with your diet because you’re pushing your body harder than the average person to perform in ways other people wouldn’t imagine.


There is a lot of advice out there that is of no use at all and can actually:

  • slow down or halt your progress as a runner or cyclist

  • be detrimental your overall health

  • lead to (further) injury

icpc Health is an evidence-based health practice, so naturally we always advise our clients to be sure they’re getting their information from trusted, scientifically-backed resources. One site we recommend for guidance on nutrition and diet is the BDA - British Dietetic Association. On their website, you’ll find all sorts of helpful guides.


If you’re looking for serious advice tailored to your individual circumstances and goals, it’s worthwhile to consult a dietitian. These qualified and regulated health professionals not only assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems - they are also experts on how to ensure your body has the fuel it needs to perform optimally.


Following guidance from a professional dietitian will:

  • support weight loss

  • ensure you are eating for good health

  • help injuries heal and reduce the risk of further injury


Is it not expensive to see a dietitian?


Fair question! And actually one of the most common ones we get. And you’d be surprised how many folk that ask it are the very same that think nothing of shelling out significant sums for the latest bike, the best trainers or the newest “must-have” recovery shake.


It’s a bit astonishing how many people forget that their body is the most premium bit of kit they possess. A dietitian who, like ours, understands the realities of serious athletic training is one of the soundest investments you could make.


An initial consultation will set you back a third of the price of the newest Asics - and we probably don’t need to do the maths in comparing it to the price tag of the summer’s hottest carbon road bikes, do we…?


Is it worth seeking professional advice with my nutrition?

We wouldn’t want to be accused of tooting our own horn, so we’ll defer to one of Grace’s previous clients on this one:


“As a busy parent, working full time but also trying within limited training time to compete in cycling time trials, Grace was able to quickly analyse the changes I needed to make. [The initial report] was straightforward and easy to follow. The plan was flexible enough to provide variety.

My main need was to reduce to a race weight that didn’t put limitations on my power and speed during races and two months in, the gradual but consistent losses have ensured that I am still riding strongly and on track to reach an optimum race weight later this summer.


Well worth the time invested and can only commend Grace’s approach.”


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Ready to upgrade your training programme by taking your diet seriously?

Why not get in touch with us on 01467 633 444 or at icpchealth.com and book an appointment with Grace?

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