By Ben Coomber
As I sit down to write this article I am chewing, chewing with gusto, but, more on that later. Sports nutrition, like anything in the world of health
can swing around in trends. Through the 80’s and 90’s it was all about carbohydrates, eat carbs, you’re an athlete; eat lots of them to fuel your training
and energy output requirement. At the turn of the century we were focusing on fat, every athlete was neglecting it in their pursuit to eat as many carbs
as possible, which was a tough battle for good nutritionists as with help from government and science based bodies it was still an evil nutrient, fat was
labeled as bad.
With the sporting world understanding that fat is needed and essential, and that while carbs are important they still need to be managed, timed, and cycled
like any other nutrient, it left a space, a space for us to start talking about something else. And unless you have been hiding from our nutritional moans
and grounds, hopefully you have heard us beating the drum for protein. While many athletes know the importance and get their fix everyday, we are now understanding
the gravity of its importance, not just in total daily volume, but in the need for consistent feedings. Athletes that I coach were typically under eating
on protein, especially at breakfast, probably one of the most important times to eat it.
But we have a problem in our busy lifestyles; good quality protein can be hard to come by. Yes this all comes down to planning a good nutritious diet,
but we all fall to the issues of convenience and being caught out. As an athlete we need regular feedings, it’s our bread and butter. But protein is inconvenient,
and often expensive. Case in point, how easy is it to grab healthy, good tasting protein from a petrol station or small convenient supermarket? Tough.
It’s usually a choice of salted peanuts or roasted.
This is where Biltong, in my opinion, is saving the day. I pack every athletes nutrition plans with what I call ‘the contingency plan’. The 2-3 options
I give them for convenience, and often as snacks around their key fresh food meals. The things that I always want to see lingering in the cupboards, in
the gym bag, in the car, in the 6 pack snack bag. I never want my athletes to be caught out with their diet, so we eat biltong. Biltong is lean, tasty,
if bought from the right companies very healthy in terms of meat toxicity, and not an inconvenience. Because biltong is bought dried and packaged you also
know exactly how much you are eating, it says so on the label, you know the exact amount of protein and calories contained within, making it easy to bring
it into your daily quota and track it. A convenience you don’t always get with other cuts and joints of meat.
So let’s blow the horn for both protein, and biltong. Don’t let protein be an inconvenience to you, have a contingency plan, have biltong in your cupboard
and gym bag and never go short of that protein fix. Oh yeah, the chewing, just munching on some biltong as I write this on a train, convenient!