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Top athletes share their recipes for success ahead of Rio Games

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The National Lottery has teamed up with the country’s top sports nutritionists on a new campaign, The Food Champions, to share the eating habits and refuelling secrets of Britain’s leading Rio Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls with fitness enthusiasts and people who play sport at all levels.

The campaign has been developed with nutritionists from the English Institute of Sport (EIS), which works with more than 30 Olympic and Paralympic sports, and takes the principles of elite athletes’ dietary regimes and applies them to everyday lifestyles.

40 healthy, delicious, nutritionally balanced and easy to prepare recipes have been developed as part of the campaign which can be viewed at www.thefoodchampions.co.uk

The recipes focus on eight sports and are designed to deliver the necessary ‘nutritional outcomes’ that food needs to provide to help athletes improve performance in those sports.

Examples of the ‘nutritional outcomes’ include building muscle (for sprinters), burning fat (for boxers), boosting the immune system (for swimmers), aiding recovery (for cyclists), improving endurance (for triathletes and distance runners) and improving bone health (for gymnasts).

The National Lottery, which funds more than 1,300 athletes across the UK and contributes to funding the EIS, has named a number of the recipes after some of those athletes in honour of their dedication to their sport.  They include:

  • Cav's Mountain Climb Cherry, Fig & Almond Flapjack (cyclist Mark Cavendish), to be eaten during a long ride to boost performance;
  • Nicola's Knockout Chicken Kebabs (boxer Nicola Adams), which can help to burn fat as part of a training regime;
  • Peacock's Pleasing Eggs and Avo on Toast (sprinter Jonnie Peacock), which can help build muscle.

Becky Adlington, a former Lottery-funded swimmer and winner of four Olympic medals, is supporting the campaign.  She says expert nutritional advice can make a crucial difference to athlete performance:

“I know from my own competition days just how important it is to follow the best nutritional advice.  Funding from National Lottery players allows the EIS to fine tune our athletes, maximising their potential.  Now everyone who loves playing sport can benefit from Lottery-funded advice to improve their own performance and to stay healthy.”

Dr Kevin Currell, Head of Performance Nutrition at the English Institute of Sport, hopes people of all ages and sporting abilities will follow their expert advice:

“Food is a vital part of an elite athletes training programme and has the power to impact positively on performance.  Athletes’ diets are designed to suit the specific demands of their sport and ensure the food and drinks they consume contribute to the delivery of the ‘nutritional outcomes’ they need to achieve to support their training regime.

“This principle can be applied to the eating habits of anyone who does sport and the recipes developed for this campaign are designed to deliver the relevant nutritional outcomes necessary for each of the eight sports.  It aims to make the scientific expertise we apply to elite athletes accessible to a much wider audience and give the public an opportunity to learn from the eating habits of Olympic athletes and integrate some of these tips into their own dietary and training regimes.”


Notes to the editor

National Lottery players raise £34 million every week for arts, sport, heritage and community projects.  Sport funding provides equipment and improves facilities for thousands of grassroots sports clubs across the country and allows 1,300 athletes to train full-time and benefit from excellent facilities, coaching, and leading medical and scientific advice through organisations like the English Institute of Sport.

At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, Britain won only 15 medals.  Following the introduction of National Lottery funding in 1997, sporting performance has soared.  London 2012 saw Britain win a phenomenal 65 Olympic medals and 120 Paralympic medals. 

The EIS is the team behind many of Great Britain’s most successful sports and their 300 employees deliver over 4,000 hours of service a week to over 1,700 athletes.  The EIS helps elite athletes to improve performance through the delivery of science, including nutritional advice, medicine, technology and engineering.

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