Forget that fad diet, just eat clean
The turn of the calendar year is often a time when we think about trying that new diet, or that new work-out plan. After the excesses of the holidays, it often feels like a necessary step.
At Oracle Team USA, the sailors have access to fitness and nutrition programmes to ensure they are fit enough to give the team a competitive advantage during racing. Remember, all of the work done on the America’s Cup boats is hand powered – no engines or batteries allowed.
So what happens when you give those same sailors nearly a month off over the Christmas holidays?
“We are working with professional athletes so we didn’t have big concerns about seeing them head off for the break over Christmas,” said Scott Tindal, head physiotherapist and team nutritionist for Oracle Team USA.
“They were all given personal development programmes and they all knew what sort of food and nutrition they should be taking on board. Obviously they’re going on holiday and they need a break so we tell them to enjoy themselves, but to make sure they don’t undo the last year and a half of training. But they’ve all come back in really good shape so we’re happy.”
Craig “Oscar” McFarlane, the team’s physical performance manager, had little doubt that the motivation of fighting for a spot on the race crew would have been enough to keep the sailors honest over the holidays.
“This is the America’s Cup year,” he said. “If you haven’t put the work in over the holidays, you’ll get found out pretty quickly.
“Remember, these guys are fighting for a spot on the race crews, so the motivation is always there for them.
“We’ve had a couple of good strength sessions already, and they’re all in pretty good shape. We’re happy.”
So what kind of advice do the professional trainers have for the rest of us looking to get in shape in the new year?
“It’s about having a regimen, sticking to it and making sure you are mixing up the right nutrition, strength and conditioning exercises,” McFarlane said.
“Do more short intervals with short recovery sessions, don’t be afraid to get your heart rate up and be consistent in your workouts.”
Tindal agrees and said focusing on what you eat will make the exercise more effective.
“Avoid the fads and diets that are all over the media at this time of year,” he said. “The focus should be on what foods you are eating and what you’re drinking. Avoid processed foods, limit alcohol, eat cleaner.
“Good quality food and portion control is a key to increased health. Quality exercise, including weight lifting and high intensity intervals is always key, but so is being active – plenty of walking, 10,000 steps a day, is something that will help anybody feel better.”
It’s easy to look for the magic bullet when it comes to health and fitness, but the advice from Oracle Team USA is to stick to the basics – eat better, exercise more, and keep moving!
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