Sharon Courtney is a hugely inspirational player for all of the LGFA family. Not only is she a multiple All Star Awards winner, she is also one of the top defenders in ladies football and a lecturer on the Health And Physical Activity Degree programme in Dundalk IT.
At the recent Lidl Future Stars Roadshows, we were lucky enough to have Sharon join us to give her sage advice on how to fuel yourself for success, and what she thinks is the secret to eating well when training:
Fruits & Vegetables
Sharon recommends you increase the quantity of vegetables you eat before you start adding more fruit into your diet. This will give you a more balanced approach to eating fruit and vegetables.
The fruit and vegetable Super Savers this week all cost just 69c and include Carrots, Baby Potatoes, and mushrooms; giving you a great opportunity to add more to your diet without impacting on your budget.
Sharon suggests that we really take a look at the food that we put onto our plates and consider whether we need to fill the plate with food. She pointed out that it might make sense to put a smaller amount on the plate and drink a large glass of water with a main meal. Then wait about 20 minutes to see if we are really hungry before going back for a second portion.
For snacking in between meals what about a handful of nuts or our new snack pots of nuts and dried fruits, 99c. They are so handy to eat on-the-go; I keep a packet in my handbag just in case I get caught short and consider going to the corner shop.
What does Sharon eat in a normal day?
Actually, she told us, it’s not that different to what everybody else eats. Sharon eats plenty of whole foods including lots of vegetables and gets her carbohydrates from sources such as rice, pasta, and potatoes. When training she increases the food she eats to fuel her body, but when not training she cuts back a little bit so that she’s not eating unnecessary food.
She does however limit the amount of processed foods she eats, and in particular foods that are high in sugar, whether that’s a cake, or a lot of fruit, in the day. Sharon says this will cause sugar spikes and affect your energy in the long run. A bad idea for anybody but in particular it’s not great if you’re training.
What About Treats?
There’s nothing wrong with having some time out from a strict training diet and Sharon advised us not to limit what we eat, but just to be more mindful of how often we eat sweet treats in particular. There’s an old Irish Seanfhocail that says: “Bíonn blas ar an mbeagán.” Roughly translated it means that a little bit of what you fancy tastes great.
That, I suppose, is the old way of describing the 80/20 way of living that Sharon advises us to follow. Basically it means we should be very careful about what we eat 80% of the time but that it’s okay to deviate from healthy eating 20% of the time.
BEST OF LUCK TO THE LADIES IN THE ALL-IRELAND FINAL!