What I Eat In A Day: Dublin GAA star Paul Flynn
Dublin GAA footballer Paul Flynn shares his day on a plate.
How do you start your day? At what time do you wake up on average?
I’m up at 6.30am each morning and start the day with 4 eggs and a cup of tea.
How many meals do you eat per day? During training days and on an off day?
I eat six meals a day - breakfast, a snack at 11am, lunch, a snack at 4, dinner and a snack at 8.30pm. Times would vary and content would vary on training days’ v non training days.
What would be your staple breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Breakfast: I always have 4 eggs and they could be in different ways like omelettes, protein pancakes or soft boiled. I am not too adventurous in the morning; I like a routine.
Lunch: I tend to have a lot of salads with chicken. Superfood salads with quinoa, beetroot and salad are a favourite. On training days, I might have a bowl of soup as well with some brown bread.
Dinner: Stir fry, it’s always stir fry as it’s so handy.
Do you cook? If so, what's your signature meal?
My culinary skills are very limited but one thing I do like to make is spaghetti bolognese with sliced carrot instead of pasta. It’s a FoodFlickr special!
How many days a week do you train? On days you train, how does your diet differ than normal?
A normal week would consist of five sessions a week which is a blend of Pitch, S&C, Yoga and Recovery. When I’m training, we receive set meals by Dublin GAA food partner Gourmet Food Parlour, which forms part of our overall nutrition plan.
Does your diet differ for specific exercises, e.g. Are there specific meals for cardio days or weight days?
Yes my diet would differ at times. We practice what is known as carb cycling which means I consume more carbs around training and on non-training days I keep carb intake low. So it looks like this:
Non-training day - low intake of carbs
Training day - high carb intake around training
Day before competition - Very high carb intake
As an athlete, what's the worst meal you can eat?
Processed foods are pretty bad so I tend to stick to fresh foods, nuts and fruit & veg. All takeaways are but you can of course indulge at times- everything in moderation I suppose.
Are you sick of eating chicken breasts and sweet potato? How many do you eat in a day?
I think it is important to be creative if possible at meal times. I always tend to have astir fry because they are simple and quick. If you are creative and try new things, chicken can be enjoyable. I don’t eat too much sweet potato so it is not an issue. I think over time you begin to adapt and get used to not having potatoes, pastas etc. in your diet. I have a good BBQ and really enjoy cooking nice pieces on meat on it so that keeps variety in it.
When you’re out for dinner, where do you frequent and what would be your usual order?
I am like a piece of the furniture in Gourmet Food Parlour (GFP) Swords. And now that GFP do the food in House, Leeson Street I am there at least three times a week because it is right next to the office. It is hard during the week to keep on top of the healthy eating and so it makes things a lot easier that they are right beside me as they feed the Dublin GAA team and know what I should be eating!
Are you completely opposed to sweet treats or do you allow yourself a cheat day?
It depends the time of year. I do always have a cheat meal or two during the week. I think it is important because it keeps you motivated. It’s like anything- if you don’t exercise and begin training 7 times a week you will most likely become overwhelmed and instead of dropping off you will stop altogether. Similar with the diet!
What's your favourite cheat meal?
I’m partial to the odd pizza or curry. A small bit of what you like is okay.
How much water do you drink and do you take any supplements?
I take fish oils and multivitamins and maybe some BCAA’s (Branched chain amino acids) around training. Other than that I would add some protein to a smoothie but that’s it.
I would drink between 1-2 litres a day. It is something I can improve on.