Top fitness influencer Bradley Simmonds has swapped the gym for the bike in recent months.
The trainer, who boasts over 210,000 followers on Instagram, was one 15,000 amateur cyclists who have descended on the starting line in Briancon on Friday to experience a flavour of just how difficult the Tour de France is by riding one of its character-testing mountain stages.
We got the chance to speak with Bradley ahead of the significant test of his endurance and he explained how he’d made changes to his diet in preparation for this weekend’s challenge.
“I don’t overly obsess about how many calories I eat because I train so hard, I’m more worried about what I eat,” Simmonds said. “Nevertheless training for the L’Etape has definitely meant an increase in my calorie intake/portion sizes as training for this has been different to my day to day training, focusing even more on my cardiovascular fitness and stamina.
“I’m really enjoying full-fat Greek yoghurt, low sugar granola, fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey for breakfast. It’s quick to make, contains proteins, fats, carbs and has a natural sugar boost for energy.
DO I COUNT MACROS? should we count our calories? ??????? Personally I don't, however there is nothing wrong with it. I know if I did, I would have even more control over my body fat % (currently at 10-11%), so it's great if you're looking to lose weight or body fat. However, I do train very hard and I'm aware of how many calories I burn on a daily basis ?? which tends to leave me extremely hungry and wanting to eat a big plate of healthy food consisting of proteins, fats and complex carbs. For me that's good enough! I love the social side of food so counting calories and macros would be miserable and boring. I believe it can cause an unhealthy obsession as the main focus is often appearance and appearance only. So to be completely honest I choose not to recommend counting macros or calories unless you're simply focusing on your appearance. I strongly believe When you eat healthy foods, you don't have to count calories. As long as you feed your body with the nutrients it needs, it'll take care of the rest, including keeping you at a healthy weight. Focus on training hard and often and fuelling your body with good nutritious food with the odd treat and there's nothing wrong with that, but not forgetting if you eat more calories than you burn you won't see results. ?? Photo credit – @jordan.bareham ? #getitdone #bradleysimmonds #weightloss #nutrition #macros #calorie #fatburner #musclegain #fitness #foodlover
“Lunch tends to be post workout so I’ll have chicken brown rice or sweet potato with a big salad or vegetables.
“Dinner is similar but I might have fish with green leafy vegetables and slightly fewer carbs.
“Because I’m training a lot more and for a lot longer, my portion sizes are slightly bigger and I’m having more carbs than usual to ensure I’ve got enough energy for training.”
Simmonds, a former professional footballer, was forced to forge a new career route when an anterior cruciate injury brought his playing days to a premature end.
But he couldn’t be kept away from the gym and he completed his qualifications three years ago before making clients of the likes of John Terry, Brendan Rodgers and Theo Walcott.
With his wealth of fitness expertise, Simmonds approached the L’Etape challenge intelligently and has some solid advice for any budding cyclists who are considering doing the same.
“Definitely work on strengthening your glutes, quads and surrounding muscles,” he recommended. “I’ve been training using a watt bike which has really help build up muscle as well as my cardiovascular fitness because of the resistance. It’s given me a feel for uphill riding, which is very tough.”
A firm believer in the importance of athletes’ diets, Simmonds has a nutrition tip for young cyclists that may not be widely known.
“Beetroot juice,” he said. “I love beetroot anyway; but beetroot juice has been proven to help with stamina and endurance in long distance races. I’ve been drinking it as much as I can. Training hard, eating well and getting my mind set right is key.
“Protein and complex carbs are also essential for recovery. So chicken and fish with brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato or even whole grain pasta. Protein repairs and restores our muscles and we need to refuel with carbs so we can continue training and carry on with our day effectively.”
Once his race is ridden, however, Simmonds will allow himself a cheat meal and there’s no doubt in his mind about what he’ll be picking.
He said: “I love Jack Daniels glazed ribs with fries and an Oreo milkshake, I may have to order this after the race! I think I’ll have earned it.”
For more information on how to take part in L’Etape du Tour, please visit: http://www.letapedutour.com/en/