Learning to eat healthily
Just like for many people, healthful eating was not second nature to Laura. “I never really thought about what I ate and diet wasn’t a huge part of my life when I became an Olympic champion in 2012,” she said in an interview for BBC Sport. She knew nothing about protein after workouts or carbohydrates during rides. But when she won a silver medal in the Omnium at the World Championships in 2013, she decided to make some changes; silver in Rio was not acceptable.
She decided to improve her diet with the help of a nutritionist. “I like to keep it as natural as possible, and I’m allergic to most things anyway. Milk is key for me and was important throughout the Olympic process. I have a pint after training and another before bed. I’ve performed better on my bike as a result and I feel better in myself as well and I honestly never thought I would. But I still eat chocolate – I can’t give that up.”
A day of eating
Laura described her daily routine in an interview for Women’s Health magazine. “So, in the morning I will have Special K for breakfast and maybe a crumpet or a bagel afterwards. Then I tend to go out on the bike, so that will be like 2 hours. Then when I’m back it will be lunchtime and that can be anything from having beans on toast to an omelette, anything like that because normally I’m training in the afternoon, you want something quite easy to digest and not something that’s going to sit on your stomach for that long. Then I will go back out on the bike, I might take a cereal bar or something with me to keep me going till dinner. Then for dinner, it varies, a bake, like a tuna bake or a roast dinner if it’s a Sunday and Jason is feeling nice.”
You don’t have to be a good cook
One thing that Laura mentions without hesitation is that she’s an awful cook. She even tried having meals delivered to her, but never found a service that would be a good fit. It seems that Jason Kenny, Laura’s husband, and an Olympic gold medal winner himself, seems to be the one who spends more time in the kitchen, and for a very good reason.
It’s hard to criticize anyone this successful, the results speak for themselves, but if I had to I would recommend Laura swapped the morning cereal and bagel for some wholefood source of slow carbs like porridge or sweet potatoes. Otherwise her diet seems very good, it’s full of nutritious foods and she figured out good timing considering her training schedule. We should all learn which foods work better in the middle of a very hard training day and which should come later for dinner.