John Eley speed skating Team GB (Getty Images)John Eley speed skating Team GB (Getty Images) © Copyright

Eat like an Olympian

We spoke to Team GB short track speed skater and world record holder Jon Eley to see how he fuels his body

Measure and maintain
I have a nutritionist, Kevin Currell, who was assigned to me as part of my National Lottery funding, and we’ve been working together for about eight years. We’ve experimented with different nutritional ideas over the years, but the main way we control my diet is through constant body fat measurements. I do a lot of high level endurance training so my diet centres around fuelling my body to get through it all.

Gluten-free gobbler
Five years ago, I went gluten-free. It was mainly because I was having a knee tendon problem and there was some research based around eliminating gluten to help the healing process. I don’t know if it helped, but it made a big difference to the way I felt. It changed my body composition too and I lost a lot of fat in areas I had previously struggled to, like my stomach. It’s a quick and easy way of maintaining my body fat.

Sugar no-no
I normally stick to water or sugar-free orange squash to give it a bit of taste. I’ve been told to stay away from sugary drinks like coca cola because they contain lots of fats and can make you dehydrated. I do like my coffee, though, and in the past 12 months, I’ve been more into my espressos but if I’m just drinking a normal cup of coffee,  I’ll have a latte.

Top ups
Supplements are quite a big part of my diet. I take protein shakes, which I get from Science In Sport, and we have the company USANA that sponsor our team and give us our everyday Omega 3 and vitamins to keep us topped up. It’s important to be getting the right amounts of vitamins into your body to prevent illness, and because of our heavy workload, we tend to use them a bit.

Protein power
Protein is a big part of my diet and it’s important for it to be quality. I normally buy my groceries at the supermarket, but for meat, I go to the butcher. I’ll have all the usual chicken, pork and lamb chops, but I’m a huge fan of having a good steak, which I cook medium rare with a bit of barbecue sauce and mustard. If I’m cooking for a lot of friends, the easiest meat dish I know is a good chilli.

John Eley's fridge ()


Deep sea diner
I’m a fan of seafood as a source of protein, and I’ll have salmon and prawns in a stir-fry. On my day off, I’ll sometimes treat myself to smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, but other than that, I’m probably not the best at cooking fish so I don’t have a lot of it at home, but I do enjoy it when I’m out at competitions.

Dairy King
I drink a lot of milk because normally I’ll have it with my protein shake rather than having it with just water. As a snack, I’m a big fan of Greek yoghurt because it is high in protein, which is always good when you are on the go. I also like to have a bit of protein before I go to bed to aid recovery so either I’ll have yoghurt or a shake with milk in it.

Nutty nibbler
I turn to fruit and nut mixes and trail mixes for snacks when I’m feeling peckish, but I also love protein bars. Every now and again, I like to treat myself to some milk chocolate. I love my Cadbury’s chocolate, especially as I’m a lad from Birmingham.

Carb cutter
My intake of carbs is a little different to other athletes because of the gluten-free factor. I tend to take in a few more carbs two days before an event, though, because the competition is a three-day one, so I need the energy to get through the whole thing.

Green grocer
Because I don’t really have carbs at dinner, most of my plate will be made up of veg. I tend to stick to peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli and I love asparagus. When it comes to fruit, I’ll always bring a banana with me to training or have one on top of my porridge in the morning. I also like to have apples, strawberries and blueberries with my yoghurt.

Glory and gluttony
After events, I like to treat myself to a good cheat meal. In the off season, I’ll indulge even more and have my favourite cheeky takeaway curry. It’s not the healthiest but I limit myself to two to three a month at most.

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