Heptathlon Gold Medalist Jessica Ennis Diet Secrets
Winning a gold at the heptathlon is no small achievement. Jessica Ennis of Great Britain, found her way to success after years of hard work, dedication and a well planned dietary regime. Heptathlon as the name suggests is a sport that involves the following 7 events- 100 m hurdles, high jump, long jump, shotput, javelin throw, 200m and 800 m races. For an elite athlete, heptathlon demands the highest levels of fitness and stamina. This blog takes a quick look at what Olympians like Jessica Ennis need to eat, to excel at this track and field event.
A High Calorie, Well Balanced Diet
No other sport tests an athletes' stamina, energy and endurance levels better than the heptathlon event. Nutrition wise, an athlete needs to follow a high calorie diet which consists of carbohydrates to provide a bulk of the energy. The other essentials that should not be overlooked are proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fluids. Eating healthy everyday should be the goal of the heptathlete
Ideal Diet For The Heptathlete
- Carbohydrates- They function not only to provide adequate energy for day to activities, but also help to build glycogen stores in the liver that will provide precious fuel on the event day. A disciplined diet that is rich in unrefined cereals and their products like pasta and bread is the best way to intake good amount of carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in this macro nutrient and 4-5 servings a day are recommended. Sweets, sugary fruit juices, sodas and chocolates ( other than dark chocolates) should be eaten as less as possible.
- Proteins- The muscles tend to get damaged due to the high levels of exercise and physical activity that an athlete participates in. The repair and recovery of the worn out muscles should be done on a daily basis by providing the body with sufficient amounts of good quality proteins from supplements or food. Dietary protein can be obtained from animal sources like meat, dairy and poultry or plant sources such as pluses and beans. These foods should be present in the diet everyday and at each meal. 1 g of protein per kg body weight is sufficient for an athlete who is competing in a heptathlon.
- Fats- When the body's stores of glycogen diminish, it then turns to fats to obtain energy in the form of glucose. For this, a small intake of good quality fats in the form of unsaturated vegetable oils and nuts and seeds is advised. Eating too much should be avoided as it can increase body weight of the heptathlete, which is not desirable.
- Fluids- Sufficient fluids not only prevent dehydration, they also help to achieve optimal performance. Sports drinks should be taken during the main event and plain water is best on days that involve training and practice. Small amount of fluids are best for the athlete and an overzealous intake is dangerous. This is because too much water can cause bloating and dilute important electrolytes like sodium and potassium.
Jessica Ennis's Olympics Diet
- Breakfast- Her first meal of the day consists of bran flakes with fruit juice, a high energy bar and a whole fruit, which usually consists of an apple or a banana. Toast and yogurt, that combine carbs and proteins are also eaten sometimes.
- Lunch- A sandwich that contains meat like ham or turkey is Jessica’s lunch menu. This is followed by an energy drink or a fruit juice.
- Snacks- They consist of energy bars or eggs with toast. This is eaten with a salad to boost her intake of vitamins and minerals. Goat's cheese and cheddar are also eaten along with bread occasionally.
- Dinner- Jessica focuses on an iron rich dinner as it is a very important mineral for a female athlete. This is obtained from red meat such as beef that she eats on a regular basis. Pasta with meat is her favorite and is often eaten for dinner. She indulges in chocolate based desserts after a long and hectic day.
Jessica Ennis's fitness and performance are true reflections of her dedicated and nutritious diet. This 26 year old athlete is a role model for many, who can learn from her sacrifice and determination for the sport.