Monday, April 15, 2024

Squash players experiment with radical ‘Keto’ diet

Canadian Nicole Bunyan works out in the gym

Low-carb eating plan said to boost energy levels
By GEOFF BEW – Squash Mad Health and Fitness Correspondent

Professional squash players have been experimenting with a radical low carbohydrate eating plan as they seek to push new boundaries to gain an edge over their opponents.

Nicole Bunyan is among those to have tried the Ketogenic diet, which is said to boost energy levels, reduce muscle pain and the risk of cramp, improve recovery times and aid metabolism.

Followers avoid traditional favourites such as pasta, rice, potatoes and bread, along with sugary food and drinks, and instead eat fatty cuts of meat, fish, and lots of vegetables.

Former Princeton college star Nicole, who is ranked just outside the world’s top 60, first heard about the diet from her nutritionist and decided to experiment during the off-season.

“I loved the Keto diet,” said the Canadian, who has been given a wildcard into the Carol Weymuller Open, a PSA World Tour Bronze event taking place in Brooklyn this month.

“I felt light and as though I had endless energy without severe hunger pangs or cravings.

“This worked really well for me, as I was coaching for several hours in the evenings without a break, so a slower sustained energy was preferable.”

Nicole (right) decided against continuing Keto full-time, but feels the experiment armed her with greater knowledge about how to get more from what she eats.

“What I learned, was that I don’t need to ‘carb load’, but as long as I include smart carbs at the right time, they can be effective and not weigh me down,” she said.

“This helped reduce bloating and crashes, and gave me the energy/glucose when I needed it.”

Standard Keto meals usually feature eggs, avocados, and liberal portions of spinach and olive oil.

Nicole, who also does fitness and squash coaching from her base in New York, says her rivals on court – and people outside the game – are starting to embrace the growing science advocating the diet.

“In America there has been a large movement towards the Keto diet and ‘healthy fats’ in general,” she said.

“I think that some squash players are going away from the traditional ‘carb loading’ phenomenon.

“More so, I think the ‘high sugar’ trend is finally decreasing. That is more of a concerning issue than ‘high carbs’ are, I think.

“Carbs and fats have their place, but the amounts can depend on individual body type, and the type of activity.”

Pictures from Squash Canada and social media  


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