Thursday 18 January 2018

Eating won't make you fat!


BEFORE you turn the page and say this McCrystal fella is bonkers let me explain.

I'm about 12 months into my new diet/way of eating and believe it or not the bulk of my food is fat and protein. I often get asked what does an athlete eat. I can only speak for myself, but here's a sample menu: 5:30/6am Two espressos 7:30-9:30 Train 10:15 'Carbs' Millet flakes (porridge) and honey

2pm four or five rashers fried in butter, avocado and nut butter. Strong coffee

4:30(sometimes I might skip this) spoon of coconut oil and handful of nuts 5:30-6:30 Train 7pm Homemade burgers and sweet potato chips and roast veg with Olive oil dressing

Supper: nut butter or coconut oil spread on rice cake. Or if I'm bold some chocolate!

Sometimes I will need to eat during training, which would be quick release carbs in fruit, bananas, dates etc. I drink lots of coffee.

I know what you're thinking: how can someone so active not eat carbs? I do. But I eat carbs post training rather pre-training. Coming closer to race day I switch to carbs because when fuelling for performance is at its maximum carbs are king. Even a skinny marathon runner has tons of fat stored in his body for fuel.

There are two types of people: sugar burners and fat burners. Ever eat a meal and feel ridiculously hungry two or three hours later? Or can you go five hours and be hungry and could take or leave a meal?

Well, if you're in the first group you're a sugar burner, and the latter a fat burner.

I would strongly advise people to do their own research because everyone is different, but there is a lot of evidence now suggesting that we should eat this way.

In a nutshell my fat food choices would be Butter (Kerrygold), coconut oil, olive oil, walnut oil, avacado oil and avocados. My protein comes from lean meats, fish, and eggs and I eat lots and lots of bacon. Limit fruit for after exercise. Though fruit is thought to be good for us, it does contain sugar. It is nature's candy!

So why eat fat? Well, for starters, fat doesn't make you fat. Fat also helps with stress management, cognition, mood, sleep, energy, weight management, healthy tissues, skin and hair – even digestion and nutrient absorption. So there you have it. Fat is good. More to follow.


I've recovered well from my Ironman exploits and got a mail from Brian Crinion regarding the Runways duathlon in Dublin on Wednesday 28th. Sure go on I said. I convinced myself I needed the workout and it would dust off the cobwebs from my time off. I love hard efforts anyway but he didnt tell me the national champ was coming - Paul Carroll!

Ah well I just have to go. I know I've said before that all races cannot be a priorty but I always still want to win regardless of what type of race I've catagorised it in my head!

Lucky enough Paul didn't show, but I had other top guys to contend with in Joe Lynch and Niall Sommers.

The pace went off hot and I found myself up with the two guys and didn't want them getting too far ahead so I had time to real them in on the bike. I played a more clever approach to this race and raced to win rather than really bury myself. Joe, I feel, did the same, but I just had a little more legs on the bike than him. I think we caught Niall on an off night, his coughing and spluttering didn't sound good.

I got the win and now had my eyes on the TriAthy Olympic distance last Saturday.


I really didn't know how things would go here. Competition was deep and the standard in the country has risen but I had eyes solely on myself. More so than ever because everyone was in different waves. I had one guy in mine you might know, Jenson Button, F1 driver. When I heard he was in it I mentioned it to my wife, her eyes lit up and words of 'he's cute' actually came out of her mouth.

At that point I think Karen made the right decision to come down and support her 'HUSBAND' racing. After all it was our 5-year anniversary. No better way to celebrate than taking her to the race. Who said romance was dead?! The boy can race and he didn't show up just for the cameras.

Not to disrespect the other guys on the line but I knew Russell White was the man to beat. He is a top kid and has great potential.

I hope he will be the next Gavin Noble flying the flag at the Olympics some day. On that note I'd like to congratulate Gavin and Aileen Morrison on their Olympic qualification. It will be a great day for Triathlon Ireland and the athletes and all connected. Good luck.

Anyway, I found myself swimming quite comfortably and never felt under pressure, I should have recognised that had I been under pressure maybe it would have resulted in a faster swim split. Nevertheless I exited with Mr Cute as a Button and we sped off onto the closed roads of Athy. I quickly got into race effort and didn't want to give our F1 friend a toe.

I moved through the field fast as slower waves set off before me. I had forgotten about my crash last year until I reached the first corner. There it was, I had visions of bits of me on the road. Last year I left with 70% of my skin intact.

I raced hard and watts were at the top end but hit the corners easy. I really didn't want to go down. I didn't think I could hold it for the full 40km which was right. I slowed for the last 5/10k but I didn't mind as I had to concentrate on the run. At this point I still hadn't a clue where I was in the race. It really is an all out individual time trial. I met Jenson at a couple of turnarounds and I have to admit my wife was right. He is cute.

I hammered home and a quick transition was needed. Out of practice in the short game my transition was anything but quick. I couldn't get my runners on but when I did I got up to speed and held a pace of 3:30min/km. I was running well, hurting but I think the long game I've been doing has helped me suffer more.

I hit a bad patch around 6-8k but came out of it. The grassy bank was hard to run on and dancing in and out of slower athletes was tiring but we all had to do it and shared the same ground. I finished well and couldn't have given more on the day.

I was right in my predication that Russell was the guy. And he was the guy. He gave us a lesson. Well done Russell. Other congrats to Bjorn and Steven Early. TriAthy put on a great day and to organise so many athletes over the weekend is a credit. This was my first ever triathlon four years ago and one I will always go back to.

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