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My favourite support service so far!

My favourite support service so far!

As regular readers of Protection Guru’s Monday morning email will know, I am currently in training for a triathlon. As part of this training, I am going through an exercise where I use as many of the support services I have access to through my various protection plans to help me. Periodically I will report back on my findings and once complete I will do a full round up of everything I have used along with how easy they are to use, my thoughts and potential money saved. Today however, I want to talk about a service that has really helped me kick on in my Triathlon training.

My training so far has been a bit of a mixed bag. I am really pleased with where I am from a swimming and cycling point of view (I am hitting top 10 times for my age based on last years race), but shooting pains in my calves have really held back my progress on the run. I am currently going through physio and have an MRI tomorrow (thank you Vitality PMI), which I hope will lead to a plan to get me through the race!

This is not what has impressed me most so far however. About a month ago, I realised that I had made a massive change in my daily activity. Since the start of the year I had gone from almost no exercise to approximately 1 hour hard training 6 times a week. A lot had changed but my diet remained the same. When I have the time, myself and my wife actually eat relatively healthily, however I have two young children and so time is not a luxury I am afforded very often!

Via the AIG group income protection plan Protection Guru employees are enrolled into, I have access to SmartHealth and through this a nutritional consultation. Once you have access to the SmartHealth app, arranging an appointment was easy. After completing a few personal details you are asked about the reason for the consultation. This is a free text box so it enables you to explain exactly what you a re trying to get from the consultation whether that is weight loss, medical reasons or anything really. In my case this was better nutrition for training.

Once complete, you are then sent an email providing a link to a pre-consult questionnaire where you can provide more details about your reasons for wanting to speak to someone, your ability to meet your goals on your own, your diet (including a brief diary of what you ate and drank over the past 24 hours) and your health. The form is pretty detailed and took around 15-20 mins to complete. At the end you are sent another link to actually book the appointment.

So on to the actual consultation. The session itself lasted 30 mins and started with a quick recap of the reasons for me being there. My nutritionist, Charlie, a Performance Nutritionist was hugely knowledgeable and quickly started to design a high level plan for me based on my training and race. We discussed the types of food I should be eating, in what proportions and when compared to activity. Much to my wife’s disgust, I was actually told that I should be eating 1,000 more calories per day.

We also discussed race week and a plan to give me the best opportunity to swim, cycle and run fast on the big day. Carb loading was an interesting discussion as I didn’t realise that carbs take 24 to 48 hours to get to the muscles as glycogen. As such my carb loading will start 48 hours before the race when I will attempt to eat 750g per day in the two proceeding days.

The last little tit-bit that Charlie provided me with was caffeine. In his words “Caffeine can enhance performance by reducing perception of effort and helping you work at a higher intensity”. As such I was encouraged to purchase caffeine tablets and take around 200g an hour before exercise and the race.

Charlie followed the consultation with a full write up of our discussions and a plan for me. He included useful information on sources of protein and carb loading techniques. We have had a few subsequent emails where I have asked follow up questions and he has been quick to respond with the relevant information.

Just over 4 weeks post the consult, I have to say it has made a massive difference. It literally took just few days of following the plan before my training started feeling easier and I was able to push myself far harder (running aside). I don’t always hit the number of calories required through carbs/fat/protein but generally I feel stronger, faster and more energised. In particular, I now swear by the caffeine tablets. They apparently take an hour to get in the blood stream and often I can feel the point at which they kick in (although this may be in my head) as I seem  to get a boost of energy.

Overall the whole experience was seamless, thought provoking and hugely enlightening. I couldn’t recommend it enough and thank AIG, Teledoc Health and Charlie. Best of all, I didn’t pay a penny towards the costs. This is certainly something I would recommend to clients if the opportunity arose.

Please note, all of the above is based on my consultation and my needs and shouldn’t be taken as a plan for you (I am clearly not a nutritionist and not giving advice). I would encourage anyone that has access to book a nutritional consult for themselves where they can receive bespoke advice to find out how better nutrition can help them meet their goals… risk warning done

P.s. I have finally got around to setting up a Just Giving page and will be completing the triathlon in aid of the Stroke Association. My mum had a massive stroke relatively early on in the Pandemic and to this day still requires a lot of support which the Stroke Association helps with. If you felt kind enough to donate, I would be massively greatful!

If you would like to follow my progress and the highs and lows of my training, then this is the page…


Also on Protection Guru last week

About The Author

Adam Higgs

Adam leads Protection Guru's detailed protection research and benchmarking of both product and operation features provided by insurers and has a vast knowledge of the protection market. He has been instrumental in building the protection comparison service Quality Analyser and maintaining the data to enable adviser to quickly and easily compare protection products based on qualitative measures. He also works with adviser firms to help in panel reviews and with insurers to help them understand the shape of the market, their strengths and the areas that could be improved in their products. In his spare time and when not spending time with his wife and two children, Adam is a keen Arsenal fan and enjoys hacking his way around a golf course.

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