Training and Nutritional Tips from Rachael Burford

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Guest blog by Rachael Burford, Thurrock and England Rugby Player

What Works for Me

Training and nutrition are always hot topics in the sport and fitness world.

I’m often asked what my training routine is or what do I eat before or after training or on my rest days. It’s always so hard to answer because my training can vary as can my food intake.

I try and listen to my body – if my muscles are feeling sore and tired I may need to increase my calorific intake or I may have to rest or recover more. (Look out for my Recovery Blog coming soon).

I think people (myself included) are always intrigued to see what other people do and how they do things differently. I like to learn and know how people train and how they fuel themselves for their training.

What I have realised over the years is that one way of training or eating does not fit all. I, like you, have to find what works best for me and what is sustainable as a lifestyle. Hopefully these top tips which work for me, can help you find what works for you.

My Top Five Training Tips

  1. Make some realistic goals – setting smaller ones to help you get to your ultimate goal will also make you feel you have achieved more along the way, it will keep you motivated. Make sure you share these with a friend or family member as you’re more likely going to stick to your goals this way.
  2. Vary your training – do different types of training, high intensity circuits or intervals; swimming; hiking; running; try a class or hot yoga or something different at least once a month! You might find something you love, as well as meeting new people and making new friends.
  3. Track your training – this way you can see your progression. It helps to keep a diary of your training so you can watch how far you have come along – this is a great motivational tool.
  4. Take rest, don’t over train – your body and mind need some time to rest, if you find it really difficult to not do anything, go for a walk on your rest day.
  5. Routine is key – having a daily or weekly routine is key to your success in staying fit and healthy. I know it can be difficult with work, or children or other commitments but make sure you set yourself a minimum target to work out in a week, even if it’s going for a walk.

My Nutritional Tips

  1.  Think fresh and real foods!
Market veg
Fresh vegetables

Stick to this rule and you can’t go wrong. When I have my meals I always want to cook them from fresh and I always think how did this product get here? I have a process of thinking is this real or fake?  Real is anything in its original form, fake is anything that has been manmade!! If it’s real it goes in my basket and if it’s been refined I avoid it. Try this next time you go food shopping.

2. Drink lots of water.

We need around 2-3 litres of water a day. It’s so important for you in so many ways: keeps you hydrated; keeps your skin glowing; it can give you energy; and even helps with weight loss! A lot of the time that we think we’re hungry, we are, in fact, just thirsty! I love green tea as it has so many health benefits and it’s great for giving your energy and alertness too.

3. Avoid refined sugar.

What more can I say on that one!

4. Don’t cut good fats

There are so many myths out there that fat is the enemy! It’s not! Good fatty acids like eggs, avocados nuts and seeds all support your bodily functions, provide energy for training and in fact support weight loss.

I use Lucy Bee Coconut Oil as my preferred fat for cooking with.

5. Allow yourself to indulge from time to time … just not too often.

Afternoon tea with mum!
Afternoon tea with mum!

Balance and moderation are key to a healthy lifestyle. Think of the principle of 80:20. This concept means 80% smart and right food choices and 20% of enjoying meals out and treats. Don’t say no to birthday cake enjoy those moments! We only live once so enjoy it!

Rachael,

In a previous article, Rachael chatted about how she was first introduced to rugby.

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