I should start this off by saying that everyone is different and the below is what I’ve worked out works for me. It’s not advice!
A person’s diet is a very individual thing – what works for me might not look appealing for others, but hopefully it provides some insight into what keeps me ticking over!
I’m pretty lucky as my metabolism is high and, though I’m a pretty restrained guy when it comes to food, I basically eat to fuel myself and have never had to restrict my intake too much.
A healthy diet helps keep me full of energy in the saddle; something that’s obviously so important to me doing my job to the best of my ability.
The key for me is to eat an even amount throughout the day and not to consume too much in one meal. I need to have sufficient energy to ride out in the mornings, perform on the track in the afternoon, and recover properly in the evenings.
Here’s what I’ll eat on a normal busy raceday.
Bacon sandwich, fruit and a coffee between 6:00-8:00am
I always have something for breakfast to get me going, keep my energy levels up in the morning and have a good start to the day. It’s important for those early starts and especially when I’m riding out at the Nicholls or another yard.
Small Chicken Wrap between 11:00am-12:30pm
I don’t like riding on a full stomach, a small bite to eat a couple of hours before racing to give me that base bit of energy is crucial. But again I like to feel agile and light on my feet which I find less easy if I’ve had a heavy meal.
Keeping hydrated is very important so I drink plenty of water both before and during racing; the latter is really important as I’ll need to replace what I’ve sweated out during a race.
If I have a full book of rides, I might have a little bit of protein – some chicken breast or salmon – in between races to help keep me going. The canteen is usually well stocked and there are loads of options to cater to all tastes.
Steak salad with new potatoes between 6:00-9:00pm
It’s important not to overindulge for dinner and, as I mentioned before, not to eat too much in one sitting. This is key to me maintaining a healthy balance in my diet, and a safe riding weight.
For dinner I always have a good bit of protein, salad and carbs. And if I can get mum to cook it for me then that’s an absolute bonus!
Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil over a high heat. Uncover and cook for 10 mins or until tender.
Whisk the oil, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl until combined. Drain potato and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Turn to coat. Add spinach, lettuce and spring onion. Season. Gently toss to combine.
Meanwhile, heat a barbecue grill or chargrill on medium-high. Cook the steaks for 2 minutes each side for medium rare (how I like it) or until cooked to your liking (look at the steak packaging for guidance). Transfer to a plate. Season. Cover with foil and set aside for 5 mins to rest.
Cook the asparagus on the grill, turning, for 3-5 mins or until tender.
Slice the steak. Serve with potato salad, asparagus and tomato.
You can read The Jockey Diet to find more about what other jockeys enjoy when it comes to healthy eating.