Best-known as the man that completed a marathon while pulling a Mini Cooper (19 hours, in case you were wondering), athlete, strength coach and adventurer Ross Edgley is also the mastermind behind some serious training programmes.
Edgley is now attempting a challenge unlike any other. “I am training to complete a series of ultra-distance open water swims, around the world, pulling a 100lbs tree for charity,” he tells us. That’s 100km of swimming every week, with a 100lbs trunk on his back.
We know it sounds crazy, which is why Edgley will need to consume 8,000 calories every day! Want to know what that looks like? Read on.
Based on research from the International Journal of Sports Nutrition, Edgley created this carb-heavy diet to fuel his enormous expenditure. Here’s how it all breaks down per day:
Protein = 220g
Fats = 240g
Carbohydrates = 1,240g
“Yes, we need protein to repair and regrow, and when I’m not mid swim I will heed the advice,” says Edgely. “But right now I’d rather have a plentiful supply of my two energy-yielding macronutrients: fats and carbohydrates."
Edgely, already an experienced athlete, keeps enough protein in his diet to repair and refuel his muscles. But his biggest focus is on fats and carbs in order to sustain the massive efforts required during those long swims. Fueling for a big race? Cut back on the pre-event protein and load up with low-GI carbs.
Edgely takes peanut butter, banana, blueberries, flaxseeds, a scoop of vegan protein powder and porridge oats and mixes it all up with almond milk. “Often made in a giant cauldron in my kitchen, I put this in massive Tupperware boxes and keep it at the end of my swimming lane with a spoon,” says Edgely. “When swimming for 8 hours I can stop between 1km intervals and demolish a bowl.”
Porridge is one of the very best fuels to start your day with, being chock-full of “good carbohydrates”. Unrefined, low-GI carbs release energy into your body slowly, helping maintain blood sugar levels and avoiding energy slumps.
Edgely’s continuous consumption ensures he can keep swimming for a frankly ridiculous 8 hours at a time, consuming between 500-1000g in a single session.
Post workout meal: mango chilli fish
Edgely bulk-cooks four portions of this lean recovery muscle-builder to ensure his aching muscles are replenished. Cover a large haddock fillet with a spice mix of paprika, oregano, lime juice and olive oil, season and bake. Edgely serves this with a salsa made up of chopped tomatoes, mango, red peppers, onion and green chilli.
The calorie breakdown of Edgely’s fishy feast is as follows:
- Total calories: 301g
- Protein: 32g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fat: 9g
Given that most of the calories from his porridge are energy-focused, Edgely needs protein to build muscle. High-protein dishes like chilli fish or chicken curry are his mainstay to be eaten twice a day.
“When I’m not spending hours in the pool, I pay such close to attention to my choice of butcher!” says Edgely. Not all meat is created equal: a high quality cut of meat or fish should be full of omega 3 fatty acids, protecting you from a whole host of problems that range from depression to joint inflammation. And if it’s omega 3 you’re after, you can’t go wrong with an oily fish dinner.
The green chilli revs up his metabolism, forcing his body to burn more fat for fuel, while lime provides a boost of vitamin C, used to up his immune system. This is critical – should Edgely fall ill, all his training goes out the window.
“Post-workout nutrition will never be the same again for me,” says Edgely. “The chocolate protein cheesecake is a nutrient-dense recipe that helps you meet your elevated macro requirements and enhance recovery.”
The protein topping is made from a whey protein, cocoa, natural yoghurt, quark, egg white and gelatine combination that provides a big post-workout protein hit. Then the base is made from a ‘biscuit-like’ museli, honey and blueberries or strawberries.
Each serving of Edgely’s cheesecake contains 369 calories, helping him hit that enormous target. The average portion contains 35g of protein, more than you’ll find in most high-street protein shakes, and a big-hitting 71g of carbohydrates.
Aside from the immune-boosting berries, Edgely’s secret is the quality of chocolate used in his cooking – the higher quality cocoa, the better. As researchers from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of L'Aquila in Italy discovered, dark chocolate, 'improves insulin sensitivity in healthy persons'. Turns out Edgely’s sugary feast stays virtuous by preventing the onset of diabetes – when eaten in moderation.