SportsAid Blog 1400X420 1

Training Diaries: Tales from your local Athletic Heroes

Who needs Iron? We all do! 

When Spatone partnered with SportsAid in 2019, we were introduced to an incredible roster of British sportsmen and women aspiring to be the country's next Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and World champions. Since its inception, SportsAid, a leading UK charity, has been dedicated to enriching the lives of young athletes by recognising and nurturing their abilities through and beyond sport. 

Living on your doorstep, these local heroes have shared their inspirational stories with us over the years, and spotlighting their progress, achievements and sporting careers has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Over the next few months, we’ll continue to introduce you to more heroes as they share their hopes and dreams while balancing their commitment to their sport. 

Karim Chan 

First up, meet T20 Para Long Jumper Karim Chan whose mantra is “if you work at it, you can do it”.  

Tia Ruel 

Training 5 days a week, 23-year-old England Boccia (pronounced “Bot-cha”) player Tia Ruel believes her secret weapon is nutrition. 

Ben Bartram 

15-year-old Ben Bartram celebrated a new career landmark in January 2021, becoming the third player currently on the LTA’s World Class Wheelchair Tennis Performance Pathway, attaining the world No.1 spot in the junior boys’ ranking. 

Infact, recently, Double Olympian Eilish McColgan secured a place at her third Olympics and has shared her experiences with fatigue. In her personal blog, she details how she actively worked to increase her iron levels to help stay on top of her rigorous routine – be it fuelling, stretching, sleep and recovery. 

Iron is an essential element for blood production and supports many other bodily functions. We need to ensure we maintain optimum iron levels to function at our best. It is especially vital to sporting performance as it is key in providing energy and helping the body recover. It isn’t uncommon for athletes to experience a lack of energy1 potentially due to lack of food reserves, dehydration or low iron.  

In our previous blog post on maintaining an active lifestyle, Renee McGregor, a leading sports dietician and founder of TrainBrave shared how different types of exercise require different nutrition for natural energy: “After training you want to get a good mix of carbs and protein. If you have done a long endurance or high intensity workout you need to aim for 1.2-1.5g of carbs per kg of bodyweight and 0.4g of protein in the immediate phase after training. If your session has been shorter and less intense, aim for 1g per Kg/BW carbs and 0.4g of protein within 30 minutes of finishing your session. This can be your next meal or if it is not a mealtime choose a suitable snack. Some good options include a bagel with poached eggs, baked potato with tuna or 300ml flavoured milk and cereal bar, whey shake made with cow's milk or vegan protein shake made with oat milk and banana.” 

She added, “Most people will probably need to eat 1-2 hours before they train to ensure their food has digested. If you are doing an activity that is going to last more than 90 minutes, you will also need to consider taking on some nutrition during your session and then ideally, we encourage individuals to recover within 20-30 minutes of completing their session. This could be your next meal but if this is not a mealtime, then use an appropriate recovery snack/drink.” 

Some people’s lifestyles make it difficult for them to get the iron they need through diet alone. Using an iron supplement can help these individuals meet their daily requirements. So, whether you’re an athlete, a fair-weather Saturday jogger or you’re just trying to keep up with your loved ones, we’ve got you covered... because when you feel good - life is good!