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Fired up! GAA Recovery And Nutrition

Fired Up!

I was browsing through the new complimentary magazine in the Irish Independent ‘Fired Up’ and i have to admit it is a great idea! I will also admit to not being a big GAA fan but there are some points i would like to make that i feel could be improved upon. My beef was mainly with the nutritional/diet section on p13.

Here goes:


2 1/2 cups of cereal and low fat milk 2 slices of toast with margarine and jam

Morning Tea

2 cereal bars Lunch 2 ham +reduced fat cheese + salad rolls Orange juice

Pre Training Snack

Tub of yogurt + Piece of fruit Training Water

Post Training

Yop + Sports Drink


200g Lean Steak 3 Cups Steamed Rice + Vegetables

Oh Dear. . . now i may be a little biased coming from a Boxing and Tae-Kwon-Do back ground but WHAT THE HELL!?

Is this the GAA weight gain diet? Do the players WANT to gain 20lbs of fat this season?

I know, I know athletes need their calories. . but honestly . . you do not need to take in 3000 kcals to recover from a session that maybe burned 500. . its going to spill over and be stored as fat! I know GAA isnt an aesthetic sport but who wants to gain fat? I guess my main problem is that the author is trying too hard to avoid the inclusion of supplements. This is fair enough because most of the supplements out there are pure S**te and the uninformed are probably better off away from them altogether. But then it gets messy! The above nutritional programme is FAR from optimal and my apologies for being antagonistic here but giving a blanket recommendation is a little irresponsible in the first place but giving one like this. . with this many ‘hidden’ calories, a big thumbs down from me!

Not to mention the nutritional plan is far from optimal. I wouldn’t mind if your average GAA player was eating this ‘healthy’ diet. .but athletes?! One portion of vegetables in the day? Salad ROLLS? Dairy coming out of their ears? I know for a FACT that the majority of athletes (im talking like 7/10) DO in fact eat like this. . and to a certain extent and short term they get away with it. They will perform on par and underperform in most cases. And then there is a separate article on page 20 on burnout and lethargy. Hmmm I think I can make the connection here.

Sub optimal pre and post workout nutrition Boat loads of Dairy scattered throughout the day About 300g of carbs scattered throughout the day with no real ‘purpose’ (yes i am aware of glycogen replenishment etc and no you DO NOT need protein to maximise absorption of protein)* I know this is supposed to be a ‘pro- protein’ and anti supplement article and I appreciate that! Fair play to the author for acknowledging the need for protein in recovery from sport. Most antelope nutritionists still stand by the 1g/kg bodyweight and claim that too much protein is bad.

Major problem 1:

Yogurt pre training. . yes there is protein in yogurt but it is not digested fast enough and will actually delay gastric emptying (stomach emptying) and leave a nice dollop of yogurt in the players stomach for training. . not nice.

Major problem 2:

‘Slices of toast and margarine and jam’. . . ‘Ham and cheese salad rolls’. . . I shouldn’t have to answer this one! Even of they are brown rolls/toast they are garbage! JAM!? That’s pure unadulterated sugar. Margarine? . . Use real butter please! Margarine contains less fat alright but every last bit of it is hydrogenated nonsense. Get the real stuff, its better for you. The excess calories in here are astounding! Not to mention the ridiculous ‘insulin spike’, resultant fat storage and lethargy an hour later. Leave it out. . get an UBER big egg salad plate with lots of meat into you. You’ll be full of life! No burnout in sight!

Major Problem 3:

Yop and sports drink after and only water during training. . these are inter-county players we are talking about. . they are top of their game! Their performance and recovery needs to be OPTIMAL. A good protein/amino acid/electrolyte (salts) and carb mix sipped DURING training will accelerate recovery leaps and bounds thus preventing the aforementioned ‘burnout’.

Bryan Kavanagh BSc. CSCS

For more information click the link below!

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February 19, 2009 - Posted by | Health and Fitness, nutrition, Sport Specific | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. If been told cutting out dairy is good when trying to loose weight and tone up is this true?

    Comment by Caroline | August 24, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hey caroline!

    Sorry about the delay,

    It ‘can’ be true but it really depends…

    Some poeple are lactose intolerant and the y know about it,

    some people are only mildly intolerant to milk and dairy and dont know about it, same with grains (especially wheat)

    the bodies reaction to this is to retain water and most of it is retained under the skin…giving the appearance that you are carrying extra weight

    aside from taking in too much dairy i.e. to many kcals this is the only way that reducing/ eliminating dairy would have an effect on you…

    does this help?


    Comment by bryankav | August 26, 2009 | Reply

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