Your are going to read an article about athletes and food. For each question, choose from the athletes (AE). The athletes may be chosen more than once. Write your answers in CAPITALS.

Five athletes explain how their eating habits help them to stay on top of their game.

When it comes to eating, I’m quite strict about eliminating everything that is processed and that comes in packages. I aim for a clean diet that isn’t laden with sugar, salt and fat, and eat fresh food instead. I’m also a recent convert to the advantages of organic food, and have noticed a real difference in my performance and energy levels since I started eating it. I agree with others who say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially if you have a day of sporting activity ahead of you. Unfortunately, making sure I have breakfast is my biggest food challenge, as I don’t normally have an appetite in the morning. I frequently go without, and then suffer the consequences later.
Research into healthy eating suggests that you should eat little, but frequently. For me that means having something every four hours or so. That way, I not only feel stronger, but can also focus better and last longer when I’m competing. Of course, it’s not just a question of when you eat, but what you eat. I believe that good nutrition is essential if you want to perform well, and the greener the better, so salads and fresh vegetables feature heavily in my diet. When I cook I tend to grill food, and I avoid anything with lots of fat and sugar. My biggest food challenge is sticking to my routine. For example, I prepare my children’s lunchboxes, but often don’t have enough time to do my own, so I end up dipping into my teammates’ snacks!
I love cooking, not only because I get to choose what and how to eat, but also because it means that I can mentally switch off and not think about my training or my next competition. My philosophy with food is that the more colourful it is, the better it is for you, and I try to add colour to my diet, which means vegetables and fruits. However, I also believe that a little bit of what you fancy does you good, so if I want sugar or something that isn’t especially healthy, I’m not going to avoid eating it. Honey is a good example, and porridge with a spoonful of honey is my favourite power food.
I have a big appetite, so sticking to about 2500 calories a day can be a challenge. I pass a fast food restaurant, for example, and think to myself ‘I really fancy a cheeseburger’. And then I remember something my teammates often say—‘Do you want a burger or a gold medal?’—and that helps me to overcome my cravings. My only weakness is mayonnaise, which I love on salad. Sometimes I allow for a bit of it in my daily calorie allowance, but more often I’ll substitute it with yoghurt or a low-fat dressing. I don’t eat much before I compete, but I usually have an energy bar just before the event, and then nibble on nuts or dried fruit during the event itself. That keeps me going, but the temptation to then fill up on fast food afterwards can be hard to resist.
Track and field athletes like me tend to eat a lot when we’re training or performing, and people are often surprised to see me filling up on huge sandwiches or salads smothered in dressing. In my case, the important thing is not just the size of the portions, which provide the calories, but also the good things they contain. A lot of athletes drink special liquids designed to help them build up their strength and performance. These are helpful, but I think you should try to get everything your body needs from your meals. Always remember that specially designed energy foods and drinks can’t take the place of good, healthy food, since they can never contain all the ingredients your body needs to function well.


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