An army marches on its stomach, so said a wise man. Anyone competing in sport at a competitive level knows that performance is closely related to the quality and quantity of your diet. Working day in day out in a Michelin-starred kitchen has its benefits, however when training hard, you need to be careful to eat the right type of food to fuel your training. With my very busy life in and outside work, I try to leave no stone unturned, because it’s easy to miss a meal and by default the quality of your training and recovery are compromised.
Food for a world champion
In the lead-up to the World Duathlon Championships in Ottawa in the summer, I was extremely careful with my diet. I needed to find a balance between convenience, health and nutrition. When you've spent 12 months focusing on one ' A' race, you really can't leave anything to chance. I knew what my ideal race weight should be (68kg) and I worked closely with my coaches Ben Wilson (cycling) and Katie Hewison (Duathlon) to ensure that I was hitting the correct numbers in cycling and running training, and also ensuring I wasn't over-doing things.
By having a stable and well balanced diet, you can sleep easy, knowing that you are putting the right fuel into the engine. With structured training you should hopefully be able to fulfil your potential whatever your goal. We will never have a prefect diet due to many things out of our control and also being 'human'! However I believe if you main meal is of the right quality then you can get away with a few dietary mistakes here and there.
The dish I am cooking for you this week was a staple of my preparations for competition. I ate this at least 4 times a week!! That was a tad obsessive, however it's an easy dish to digest and the flavours work so well. This is prefect food for anyone during exercise or competing in endurance events. High in complex carbohydrates, good fats from the nuts and low fat, high quality protein from the fish. I am using turbot but this can be substituted with any white fish like halibut, cod or haddock.
Halibut, nutty fregola, lemon & olive dressing
2 x 100g portions of turbot
300g cooked fregola
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tomato, diced
6 black olives
10 cherry tomatoes
Coriander to finish
Pre-cook the fregola and allow to cool. (Fregola is a semolina-based carb which comes from Sardinia, so cook it like pasta). Toast all the nuts and seeds and allow to cool. Mix in with the fregola 10/15 minutes before serving to ensure they keep nice and crunchy. Add a drop of lemon juice and the parsley, correct seasoning and set aside. To make the lemon and olive dressing, mix the juice of half a lemon with the olive oil, correct seasoning and add olives and diced tomatoes.
To cook the fish, pre-heat a grill and brush the fish fillets with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill for 4-6 minutes until firm to the touch, squeeze of lemon juice over the top and serve with the fregola. Spoon over the lemon & olive dressing and add a touch of coriander. Then enjoy.
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