DIET IN A DAY: MAX WHITLOCK
In 2019, during the Rio Olympic Games, Max Whitlock became Britain’s first ever gold medallist in artistic gymnastics, winning both the men’s floor and pommel horse exercises.
He may only be 24, but he's already a five-time Olympic medallist and five-time world medallist. In total, the man from Hemel Hempstead has won ten medals and three in titles in Olympic and world championships. Whitlock, without doubt, is the most successful gymnast in Britain’s history.
(Related: How to build Whitlock muscle)
Men’s Health sat down with ‘Maxi’ to find out what the Olympian eats during a day’s training.
"I’m quite relaxed with what I eat – nothing too extreme. For breakfast I’ll have toast witheggsandsalmonand then maybe a banana an hour or so before training."
Despite what a lot of people think, gymnasts are some of the strongest athletes around. Training is built aroundbodyweight movesand calisthenics, helping develop muscular endurance, strength and conditioning. Can’t push out a press-up? You won’t last a second on the pommel horse.
Eggs and salmon are packed full of protein, the key macronutrient for building muscle. Salmon also contains omega 3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation, increase heart health and improve cognitive function.
(Related: 7 more reasons to eat salmon)
"I try not to eat too much in and around training, as I need the time to digest. But, if I’m feeling hungry, I’ll snack on some nuts or biltong."
A handful of nuts or a few slabs of biltong will help to up your protein intake for the day. 100g of mixed nuts, for example, contain almost 20g of protein, as well as healthy fats to support immune function after a tough workout. But be wary because all nuts are not created equal. A large handful of pistachios rack up nearly 550 calories – almost double the calories of a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Always check the labels. Want to improve your health with nuts?Then look no further.
(Related: The best bodyweight exercises for men)
Lunch (post-training meal)
"After training, it’s a case of eating plenty of protein and carbohydrates. I will always have a shake immediately after my workout – I like theMyprotein impact whey isolate.The High Pro Barsare great, too. Then, I’ll have pasta with meat and vegetables. Not that exciting, but it’s what the body needs."
A lot of fuss has been made over the golden hour, a window of time immediately after exercise when your body is more receptive to nutrients. Don’t obsess over it. TheJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutritionexamined 23 studies on protein timing, and found no correlation between time windows and muscle strength. As long as your diet is generally high enough in protein, you’ll be fine.
(Related: Everything you need to know about protein)
"For dinner, I’ll eat anything really. It could be spaghetti Bolognese, or steak, or a simple salmon and vegetable dish. I don’t drink much alcohol, and if I want something sweet, I’ll have it. That’s the great thing about exercising every day; you can eat pretty much anything you like."
Whitlock’s diet is pretty normal, proof that if you train hard and eat well, you can pack on serious muscle and strength.
Throughout the day, he is constantly feeding his body with carbohydrates fromlow GI foods. Not only will this help fuel his workouts, but maintain energy levels and avoid those mid-afternoon slumps.
(Related: Everything you need to know about the Glycemix Index)
Whitlock is also feeding his muscles with aconstant supply of protein. Remember, the body can only process so much – guidelines for the average adult is 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight – and studies have shown that it’s easier to digest protein when spread out over the course of a day rather than in one or two big hits.
Video: Olly Murs - Do It Like Max Whitlock [Episode 1]
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