Quorn™ Ambassador, Jessie Pavelka, is a US fitness expert and presenter. A personal trainer, former bodybuilder Jessie is well known for shows such as Obese: A Year to Save my Life and The Biggest Loser where he has helped people to make lifestyle decisions. A few weeks back, I was invited to meet with him and pick his brains. I took the opportunity to ask him how to cope with the change of weather when it comes to things like marathon training throughout the winter…
Motivate yourself! Completing a marathon, or any challenge, isn’t just about the strength of your body, but also about strength of will. The mind can be disciplined – the brain is a muscle that can be exercised like any other. So when you say you’re going to do it, do it. Dress for the elements and get out there. You can’t control the weather on race day, so don’t use it as an excuse. Do it first thing and you’ll feel great for the rest of the day.
Although you shouldn’t let the weather put you off, if conditions are dangerous, Jessie suggests High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or weight training which can be done indoors. A balance of weight training along with cardio can help to improve times and strengthen muscles and will keep fitness levels up. Weights can be bought cheaply from the likes of Argos, Sports Direct and Decathlon, but Jessie also suggests using your own body weight, for example, push ups are great for building upper body strength and squats are fantastic for legs. You can also use these workouts as a way to strengthen the mind – when you feel like you can’t do anymore, when your body is trembling and you think you really can’t do an thing, push yourself to do two more reps. Even if you don’t manage them both, you’re training your mind as well as your body to keep going.
Stretching is important and helps to prevent injury, so please don’t underestimate the importance of doing these. Jessie recommends starting with dynamic stretches to prepare the muscles and gently warm them up. Dynamic stretching means that your body is still moving whilst stretching. After a good 5-10 minute warm up, you can then move on to static stretching (stretch and hold). Don’t forget to stretch to cool down after a workout either.
After a race, especially a marathon, you’re probably going to be hungry. You’re definitely going to need to refuel. For a post-race snack, Jessie recommends simple carbs such as dried fruit and protein. Snacks like protein bars are easy to prepare in advance, using combinations of nut butters, oats and dried fruits – simply wrap up and keep in your bag for after the race. It’s also easy to add a spoonful of protein powder to the mix when making these. However, whereas most of us believe peanut to be the best source, Jessie informed me that almond and cashew butters are actually better for us than peanut butter.
Leading on from that, Quorn is a healthy, low-fat protein*, and you could consider using it for a meal later in the day after a workout or race.
This beautiful Socca was topped with the new Vegan Quorn Pieces, which picked up the flavour of the pesto beautifully. High in protein and low in fat, with carbohydrates, this would be a delicious meal to enjoy after a tough event.
Quorn is widely available from supermarkets, with the range boasting everything from convenience products such as pies, to mince and pieces, which are perfect to use in cooking as a substitute for meat if you are looking to reduce your intake. The mince, Quorn pieces, and fillets are great to use in curries and pasta dishes as they really absorb the flavours of the dish. A new vegan range has now also been launched, so there really is something for everyone.
*Quorn Mince, Quorn Meat Free Chicken Pieces and Quorn Standard Sausages are a nutritionally healthy protein source. Protein contributes to a growth in and maintenance of muscle mass.
This post has been produced in collaboration with Quorn, but views, as always, are my own.