A few weeks ago, Paul O'Connell recently appeared on Off The Ball and told Ger Gilroy that he was once burning 8,000 calories per day.
Debates have been raging in the (virtual) office since then about the best ways to build your six-pack and run your marathons.
Instead of listening to Tommy Rooney, Ger Gilroy and Nathan Murphy who all claim to be supreme athletes as they prepare for their duathlon, we decided it was best to talk to someone who actually knew what they were talking about.
Joe Molloy welcomed Galway-based sports nutritionist Sinead Bradbury onto Wednesday's Off The Ball to discuss how nutrition has evolved.
Bradbury works with the Galway senior footballers and first explained how the overarching approach of sports nutrition has changed.
“Sports nutrition now has evolved into more than weight gain and weight loss," she said.
"There's so much more that an athlete has to take into consideration. They have to have energy, they have to take care of their immune system, recovery is so important, hydration status...we're getting more to the specific needs of individual athletes.
They are going on the unique body compositions of different players.”
🗣️ 'Myself and @docallaghan4 were burning 8,000 calories a day.'
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) September 14, 2021
Carbohydrates have had a bad reputation amongst the general public for a long time now. It's still a conversation to convince people that carbs aren't actually bad for you. Bradbury highlighted how they are especially important for athletes.
“If you're under-fueling as an athlete, whether you're younger or experienced, male or female, if you're under-fueling you can really get into a lot of trouble. You can be more injury-prone. You can get sick and there are hormonal concerns for female athletes.
There's a lot that can go wrong if you're under-fueling. Being carb-phobic as an athlete is a big no-no.”
Protein has never had the stigma that carbs have had but Bradbury explains the common mistake being made.
“An elite athlete should be getting about two grams of protein per kg of body weight. So if you're an 80 kg athlete you need about 160 grams of protein intake throughout the day. One of the big things that the research is showing now, in GAA players in particular, is that they're getting enough protein but it's not being distributed throughout the day.
They're getting it at dinner time but not always enough at breakfast and at lunch time. And in terms of recovery and building muscle and repair, what we need the protein for as athletes, we need it to be evenly distributed throughout the day.
It's not enough just to get one hit.”
— Jerry Flannery (@jerryflannery) September 15, 2021