Thursday, 29 March 2018

The importance of nutrition for your Just Walk challenge


Hi, I’m Craig Peters and I’m delighted to be working with Just Walk as their resident Personal Trainer to provide lots of helpful fitness and nutrition advice to help prepare you for your Just Walk challenge.

To ensure you are feeling great and as prepared as can be in the lead up to your Just Walk challenge it’s important to think about what you are going to eat pre-walk and during the event to help you with endurance and maintain your energy levels. Here is what I would suggest:

Before: The day and evening prior to the event you should look to take on a decent level of carbohydrates, which provide energy and are the most important source of fuel for exercise. Your body can store small amounts of carbohydrate in the muscles and liver as glycogen, but these stores are limited so you need to make sure you’re fully fuelled before the event.

Personally, I love a bit of sweet potato, quinoa, chickpeas or lentils, and a good intake of any high-level carbohydrate foods the night before will help to top up your glycogen (energy) stores.
Be sure to opt for wholegrain varieties such as whole-wheat pasta, brown rice or wholemeal bread as the fibre in whole grains provide a slower release of energy – you don’t want to go off full throttle only to physically crash 20km in. Other good sources of carbohydrates include potatoes (with skins), couscous, beans and pulses. However, most importantly, remember to add generous portions of fruit and vegetables and get your protein from the likes of fish, chicken, turkey, beans, eggs, nuts or lower fat dairy foods.

During: You’ll certainly need something during your walk to give you a much-needed boost when you “hit the wall”, and we’ve all been there! The exact number of calories that you use up will depend on a range of factors, including walking speed, distance, weight, age, gender and muscle tone. However, an average woman weighing 70kg and walking 3 miles per hour (1 mile every 20 minutes) would burn around 230 calories an hour.

When I need an extra energy boost, a banana combined with natural crunchy peanut butter with no palm oil is the perfect snack (you just can’t beat it for me!). Fruit is a healthy snack and the natural sugars will provide a quick energy boost. Different fruits contain various vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre. Try bananas, apples, berries, orange segments and grapes.

In addition, fruity flapjacks and granola bars are both very practical in terms of carrying the items, whilst also a great source of energy. The fruit contained within these products will give you a quick boost of energy due to the sugar content, whereas oats are a starchy carbohydrate, which provides longer lasting energy. Oats also contain fibre, which may help you to feel fuller for longer.

Fluids: You don’t need me to say it; drink plenty of water. However, you must remain aware that there are dangers in drinking too much, which can result in hyponatremia: low blood salt level and fluid overload. Then, on the other-hand, you risk drinking too little and becoming dehydrated. A lot will depend on various factors such as the weather (bear in mind it will be May and Spring should have well and truly arrived), your body’s reaction to the demands of the event, sweat rate, age, etc.
Your body is under extreme stress during long distance walking.

You need to ensure you have access to fluids (there are plenty of water stops along the route) and ultimately that you are able to drink when thirsty. Don't risk running dry; wearing a hydration pack to ensure you will have fluids available at all times is really beneficial. 

The key is to respect the Just Walk event, respect the BIG 60km epic route and respect the terrain; both the inclines and declines. Remember, if you are not mentally ready, you are never physically prepared. That’s the key with anything, but more so when it comes to physical activity such as this.

Good luck!
Enjoy it; soak it up, drink it in, and be mindful, as events such as these don’t come around every day.

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About the writer:
Craig Peters is a qualified Level 3 personal training instructor, behavioural coach, and motivational speaker. Not only is Craig a professional, experienced personal trainer, he also enjoys pushing the boundaries and testing his own fitness levels and limits.

In 2016 he completed over 67,000 burpees, a full body exercise, to help raise £17,000 for St George’s Hospital in London. They saved the lives of his twin sons after they were diagnosed with stage 4 twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Craig’s fundraising efforts meant the hospital was able to purchase one of the machines used to save the lives of his twin boys.


Craig is also supported by global footwear and apparel brand, Reebok, who in February 2017 invited him as one of just 44 athletes in London, Sydney, Los Angeles and New York to take part in a unique Guinness World Record event to launch its new Nano 7 shoe. Craig also attempted to break the Guinness World Record for the most number of burpees within 24 hours. However, having reached 6,500 he had to retire due to exhaustion but is ready to attempt it again in July this year!

Looking for personal training to help you through our Just Walk event? Craig is very happy to help any of our Just Walkers with their training, if this is something you’d like to discuss, please fill out this form and Craig will be in touch.


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