Jam sarnies – the key to sporting success?

Meat and two veg followed by jam
roly-poly, washed down with a light ale and polished off with a
soothing Capstan Full Strength were regarded as the perfect
pick-me-up after a Sunday morning jog.
I was pondering this as I staggered off
the other day on my usual run. Would Usain Bolt sprint even faster
after joining me for a Saturday night beer-and-curry extravaganza? I
suspect he might.
I wondered if any of the world’s top
athletes currently gathered in London saw the recent BBC Panorama
programme which questioned the use of sports drinks and supplements,
seemingly consumed by sportsmen on an industrial scale.
Former world cycling champion Graeme
Obree seemed bemused, telling us his pre-race snack of choice was …
bread and jam. As an energy booster after a heavy training session he
recommended sardines on toast with some vegetables.
All very tasty. But what are the
alternatives to jam sarnies or expensive drinks full of sugar if we
Olympic spectators are suddenly inspired to start marathon training?
Or (more likely) plan a long walk or bike ride in the country?
A diet high in carbohydrates and
protein and low in fats seems to be the key, so I asked a man capable
of putting a more appetising spin on ‘power up’ eating – Steve
Smith, head chef at the Michelin-starred Burlington Restaurant at the
Devonshire Arms Hotel.
One of my favourite country house
hotels, The Dev is set in the glorious Yorkshire Dales where local
brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee have been cycling and running
in preparation for the Olympic Triathlon.
Steve suggests starting the day with a
top-quality muesli with either fresh or extra dried fruit, and
perhaps adding the great superfoods like blueberries. In winter he
likes porridge topped with banana for potassium.
Instead of a hearty fry-up, try
something lighter but full of energy sources, such as scrambled
free-range eggs with wholemeal toast. Coffee is good for immediate
energy – and cellulite.
The hotel provides a packed lunch to
see you through a day’s hard exercise, but suggests water instead
of quick-fix sugary drinks.
Steve says he avoids additives and
unnecessary fats, so for a restorative dinner in the Burlington
sample protein-packed delights such as lean duck, scallops, eel,
slow-cooked sirloin of beef with onion and bone marrow, served with
pulses, fruits, vegetables and salad leaves from the kitchen garden.
Stock up on extra carbohydrates with freshly-baked bread – and
treat yourself to a yummy dessert. You deserve it.
Now, where did I put those running
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