‘Eat and train, don’t diet and exercise.’

This is a common phrase I use when anyone asks me for advice on nutrition and training.

In sport we don’t diet. We don’t focus on counting calories, limit food sources or replace meals with synthetic shakes.

We advise people to eat well to compliment their training.

And the other thing we ask people to do is train smart and increase the intensity of their workouts.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions are a fantastic way to stimulate your metabolism and burn fat for 20-30 minutes.

But the timing, and how you eat and drink around that session, will determine how effective it is.

In professional rugby, these simple methods are used when players return from an off-season a little heavy – they do HIIT sessions morning and night.

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We stimulate their system in different ways, like drinking a pint of water on waking, or having a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach for gut health.

Then they drink coffee with coconut oil and whole milk pre-workout.

This helps kick-start metabolism and encourages the body to use fat for energy during the HIIT class.

Afterwards, a good breakfast full of protein, good fats and fibrous carbohydrates is ideal.

Then it’s important to eat clean during the day, with a final meal before 7pm. A short HIIT-style circuit before bed helps the body burn fat throughout the night.

Eat good, clean food and the fat will drop off. We are able to turn athletes around in two-four weeks.

There’s no need to be afraid of food. Instead, gain an understanding of the different types. Sometimes you’ll want fast burning carbs, like sugars, glucose, fructose.

Slow burning carbs, like wholemeal grains, fruit and vegetables with skin on, are for non-training times.

The timing of protein (fish, meat, eggs and vegetables), good fats (nuts, seeds, avocados) and micro nutrients from fruit all rebuild and energise you.

Having this knowledge means you can eat a vast range of foods which compliment your training.

  • The Athlete Factory is a state-of-the-art training facility next to Chester RUFC at Hare Lane.

Expert professionals and a range of classes are there for everyone, regardless of age, ability or aim.

For details call 0161 2989797, visit www.afchester.global or email speaktous@theathletefactory.global.