As a jockey, you may feel that you can’t eat anything at all, or that you have to starve yourself all the time. It would be sad if it were so. Luckily, you are actually eating every day even if it’s little and calorie restricted. What matters most is what you eat, not necessarily how much you eat.
Dr Giles Warrington, prominent researcher in the field of jockey nutrition and Head of Programme Chair of Sports Science and Health at DCU, brings it to a point, “jockeys need to realise that they have to make the most of the restricted nutritional window they have and eat sensibly and healthily. Many athletes overemphasise the use of supplements to prop up a poor diet, but they need to get the basics right first.”
How about my former self: In the past, when I was hungry and needed a pick-me-up but couldn’t afford a meal, when I was under-slept, over-worked and hadn’t been eating well all I wanted was SUGAR and CAFFEINE. No surprises there. I’m sure you’re just the same.
Sadly, neither sugar nor caffeine, nor the odd alcoholic drink thrown in for good measure, did anything to pick me up at all. They just left my head spinning, my legs empty and sent me on a downward spiral of food cravings. And I’m sure you’re just the same here, too.
Do you want to know how I sorted myself out? I followed the same basic steps that Dr Warrington points out: eat well and you will be well. While sports supplements can be useful in ensuring you get nutrition even when you literally can’t eat anything, they are not to be relied on as primary source of nutrition.
Your basic nutritional needs should be met by your diet alone, and they can be met by your diet in most cases. This involves eating a balanced diet (as laid out in a previous article) combined with low calorie pick-me-ups when the going gets tough and your weight is on the line.
Say you are hungry, are feeling dizzy and lethargic but have weight to make. How much bang can you get for your buck in 180 kcals? Your mind is probably immediately reaching for a chocolate bar. I ask you to consider a Spirulina bar,
Bounce Spirulina and Ginseng Defence Boost”, 180 kcal per ball. Nutrients: slow releasing energy, calcium and other vital minerals, fibre.
Cadbury’s Crunchie”, 185 kcal per bar. Nutrients: fast releasing energy, sugar, whey, sugar, and more sugar.
While Bounce balls come with a price tag, these homemade Spirulina balls are probably even cheaper to make than buying a Cadbury’s bar. Whisk up 1tbsp Spirulina powder, 15 dates, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tbsp almond butter, roll into balls in your hands, then roll in raw cocoa powder. Actually quite delicious.
- Healthy Jockey
- Jockey Training
- Performance Nutrition