Swimathon 2015: Eating the right food

by Ben Wicks Media & PR Manager Ben Wicks, one of Marie Curie’s Media & PR Managers, is taking on the world’s biggest fundraising swim event, Swimathon. In the run up to the challenge Ben will be telling his story, documenting all the aches and pains of training and explaining why he’s raising money for Marie Curie.

Ben Wicks, Media and PR Manager

I’m now half way through my training for Swimathon and I’m faring much better than I thought I might. At the start of January I genuinely didn't think I’d get through it, but the past week has shown me that progress is being made. I think one of the reasons for this is because I've tried to stick to the right diet.

For the past few years I've tried to eat well and last year I made the decision to cut out wheat and lactose where possible. What a difference it’s made. Energy is key to really getting through a 5km swim, so I’m really conscious not only about what I eat, but when I eat as well. I've found that having a routine of when I eat is really helping my progress.

A well-tuned routine

To kick start my day I make myself a high-energy snack of wheat free granola, flax seed and soy yogurt all mixed together. When arriving at work I then have my more substantial breakfast, an egg white omelette with goat’s cheese, tomato and spring onions. Sometimes, if my work schedule permits, I’ll make myself a bowl of porridge at 11am before having a rather large salad for lunch. My salads have become famous around the office 1) for their size and 2) because everyone comments on how good they look (I might start charging to make them for people). To help with that afternoon sugar craving I eat a couple of bananas and an apple. That tends to set me up for the evening’s training activity, be it swimming or running.

Let’s shake things up

I’ve always resisted using protein shakes as I once had a personal trainer who advised against them. He used to say that as long as your diet was balanced and you had protein with each meal, you should be fine. So I lived by that mantra for a long time, but once I started training and the muscles were really starting to ache, I researched whether or not these shakes would help. A colleague of mine suggested Science in Sport as they have a great muscle recovery shake that apparently works wonders. After all these years staying clear I was unsure at first, but my scepticism has been well and truly thrown out of the window. I saw an improvement within a few days and I would definitely recommend that people at least consider them. My post-training dinner normally consists of chicken or turkey with some form of veg, usually broccoli. As a child I used to hate broccoli and refused to eat it or anything that it had touched - funny how things change. I have certainly found that my eating regime is helping my training regime, and I'd be very interested to hear your weird and wonderful diet techniques while training, so please leave me a comment below. On a separate note, my fundraising is going well, but I’ve still a way to go. If you’d like to sponsor me please do so below.