Preparing Your Perfect Porridge

Feed zone: preparing your perfect porridge by Timothy John of Road Cycling UK


Could this be the ultimate pre-ride meal? Quick, easy, packed with carbohydrates and open to numerous tweaks (or “serving suggestions”).


We speak, of course, of the humble bowl of porridge, a staple of the cyclist’s diet and something with which many of us will begin our day in the saddle.


First, the science bit. What gives porridge its potency as a fuel for cycling? We asked The Training Room’s Chris Hole, who identified the high carbohydrate value of oats as porridge’s principle benefit to the cyclist. To a far lesser degree, he says, the oats will also provide fuel from fats.


Chris makes his porridge with 100 grams of whole, rolled oats, prepared with water, and served with a generous sprinkling of various seeds (hemp, poppy, and sunflower among them) to provide “healthy” mono, poly, and unsaturated fats. He adds desiccated coconut for flavour, crushed almond for protein, and eats between two and three hours before the ride.


How do you eat yours?

Summer Graduate Fair

The Summer Graduate Fair features specialist graduate employers, top careers and recruitment hints and tips all in one place, it’s the best graduate fair of the summer.


Free to visit, register now for fast track entry and take part in the unique compatibility matching system so you meet the right organisations.


Exhibitors will be offering jobs, postgrad study, gap year options, career advice and competitions and all for free.



Being held at ExCeL London on 29 & 30 May the event is open from 11am – 4pm each day.


You can find us over the two days at stand 192. We will also be giving a seminar at 1pm on Tuesday 29th about career progression opportunities within the fitness industry.


We’d love to see you there. Register now at




Nutrition: Five Top Tips

Five top tips to help you get your nutrition right by Timothy John of Road Cycling UK


Correct fueling – understanding the types of nutrients required, and the quantities in which they should be consumed – will improve performance, but can seem baffling to the layman. We caught up with Chris Hole, coach to triathlete Jane Leslie in her British and European championship winning season, and lead tutor at the Training Room’s Bristol academy, who gave us five top tips.


1) Carbs are king


The importance of carbohydrate as a fuel source for the cyclist is almost universally recognised. Chris recommends a carb intake of between 60 and 70 per cent per meal.


Less well known, however, is the importance of carbohydrate as a source of fibre. “On a multi-day event, the digestive system is neglected because the blood is going to the working muscles,” says Chris.


Potatoes, pasta, and rice are common sources of carbohydrate but Chris is a fan of buckwheat and quinoa, often served with avocado for protein.


2) Good fats are no bad thing


Fats are an energy source, and essential fats “those the body can’t make itself – must come from your diet.


“Fats work with proteins and synthesise them. If you went on a low fat diet, you wouldn’t be using your protein sources as efficiently as possible,” says Chris.


Additionally, he points out, cells have a fatty outer coating, and removing fat from the diet risks compromising their structure.


“Fats line the nerves and help muscle contraction, which is what a cyclist needs. Nervous transmission aides muscle contraction.”


3) Four-hour window


After your ride, a four-hour window opens in which the body works at its hardest to replace glycogen stores depleted by your efforts in the saddle.


“Within the first two hours, the body is working at three-times the normal rate of replenishment. After those two hours, it drops to 50 per cent,” says Chris.


How to make the most of this window? Chris recommends consuming 200 calories per hour, equivalent to 50 grams of porridge every sixty minutes. Small meals are easier to digest, but the principle holds: two larger meals of 400 calories each, will also provide adequate replenishment.


Your calorie source should come predominantly from carbohydrates. Chris recommends one to 1.5 grams of carbohydrate, per kilo of body weight, each hour.


4) Salt water


When the body sweats, it not only loses fluid, but vital salts as well. While sodium is available in tablet form, Chris is a fan of whole foods, which here means high quality salts like Himalayan rock salt, Celtic sea salt, Hawaiian deep sea salt, or salts from Utaha’s Great Lakes.


“These will give you an unprocessed, natural salt. If you were to put it in water, it would remain suspended and dissolve. If a salt sits at the bottom and doesn’t dissolve, it’s a poor salt,”says Chris.


Two important facts to note:



5) Jam packed


If you want to avoid troughs, avoid highs. This means leaving the lid on the jam jar if you’re having a pre-ride slice of toast. “Watch the jam,” warns Chris, “It’s a simple sugar.”


“If you get a blood sugar peak, you’ll get a trough,” he adds, “simple sugars tend to spike blood sugar levels which trigger a release of insulin, which then pulls glucose or glycogen from the blood, which will impair performance.”

Christopher Hole – Personal Training Tutor in Bristol


I chose to become a Personal Trainer because I wanted to make an impact in the health and fitness industry and educate people about their body and how it works.


I began as a Personal Trainer over 3½ years ago now when I completed the Training Room Fast Track course. Immediately after the course I started working with David Lloyd and progressed to 25 sessions a week helping the team of Personal Trainers to become 3rd in the whole of the David Lloyd Company.


I’m now a Level 4 Personal Trainer in Back Pain Management and have an insatiable thirst for knowledge that has lead me to read over 1000 health and fitness text from books, articles to scientific journals on subjects from physiology, cell biology, bio-chemistry, bio-physics, spine bio-mechanics and human behavior


Now I’ve progressed from personal training to tutoring I am able to share my knowledge and experience with other Personal Trainers to help set them up for long careers in the industry.


In 2009 I decided to put this knowledge and fitness to the test by cycling 677.5 miles in 6 days, cycling from Lands End to Fort William and cycling 280 miles over 3 days in the Tour of Wessex. I’ve also organised and taken part in a 15 hour spinning marathon. I continue to cycle in 100+ mile sporting events all across the country.

Our students – Jane Woodhead’s Story

Keeping fit and healthy has always been a passion of mine. I love the “buzz” which you get following a training session and I personally do not think there is any better way to start the day than with a work-out in the gym.


Exercise is a great way to de-stress too and after you have trained hard I believe you really do feel better and more confident about yourself. Fitness has, however, always been a hobby for me & that was until I discovered the Training Room and the fantastic range of courses – and, most importantly for me, the flexibility.


I was greatly inspired by my personal trainer who filled me with confidence and the belief that if I put my mind to it, I really could achieve anything. With an ever-changing business climate I decided it was time to acquire additional skills allowing me to pursue alternative lines of work.


As I am so passionate about fitness, this seemed the natural direction to take. The Training Room offered me the chance to study to become a personal trainer over a period of six months and at the same time qualify to teach spinning, gym based boxing and circuits.

I didn’t want to give up my day job and I could not afford to take several weeks off to study. The Training Room provided me with the perfect flexibility to study at the weekends and in the evenings. After looking at various courses with different companies, the Personal Training course with The Training Room fit everything I was looking for. I was already a fully qualified boxing coach with the Amateur Boxing Association so this seemed a natural progression for me. I attended one weekend a month for six months and studied at home in-between with constant on-line and telephone support from my tutor as and when required.


I loved the course and learned so much – it went beyond what I had expected with a complete module on nutrition. I met new friends and acquired new skills and qualifications. Everyone really helped and motivated each other – we were all in the same situation, trying to hold down full time jobs and study at the same time. Lead Tutor, Lyndsey Todd, was an absolute inspiration. She was with me every step of the way to help and encourage and really went out of her way to support me.


Having left education more than 20 years ago, this was the first time I had returned to study and had to revise for exams. It was a daunting prospect – but with the support I received from Lyndsey I am proud to be able to say I achieved over 80% in all of my exams and 96% in one of them. Even before finishing the course I had secured three classes each week, teaching spinning and boxing and just a week after I completed the course I secured a further spinning class and my first personal training client – I know none of this would have been possible without the guidance and support which I received on the course.


Jane Woodhead

Southern Cross Country Championships

The Team descended on the Wasing Estate, near Aldermaston, for the Southern Cross Country Championships. Not only is this a popular course with riders but as the National Championships are to be held here this year it was an opportunity to remind ourselves how the course flows. For once we had a nice sunny day and thoughts turned to sun cream rather that how many layers we needed to put on. We couldn’t help feeling sorry for Jon who relishes hot racing conditions, but has so far raced in wintry downpours and couldn’t race today due to a massive shoulder injury incurred on a track night. The team however was bolstered by Simon Willatts who is over from Australia at the moment. He has been training hard in Australia but mainly geared towards multi day Endurance events in Europe.


The course has no real climbs, just drags and a few short punchy efforts. But as it flows so well there is very little opportunity to take a breather and therefore it’s important to judge your riding. Go into the red too often and it will leave you suffering and losing lots of positions. A few of the very muddy/boggy sessions had been cut, leaving good tracks and fun twisty sections. There were bits to catch you out if you weren’t paying attention, such as thread routes on the corners but equally some fast fun downhill parts that made you smile.


The women in the team set the standard for the day with both Liz and Carol taking wins in their respective classes. Steve came 4th in the Grand Vets race, gaining time in the technical sections to lose out on the drags. Mark, Simon and Ro lined up with a large Vets field. Simon was handicapped by not being gridded and did a fantastic ride to get his way up to 6th.  Mark had his normal battle up front and was pleased with his measured ride for 3rd place. Ro is still recovering from illness and maybe shouldn’t have ridden. In true Ro style he refused to give up and came in a creditable 17th. Stu King rode a very strong race against the top Masters in the country. He was up at the front battling hard (despite his pit crew letting him down bottling – apologies from Mark) and managed a great 7th place.


BodyPower Expo

The return of the BodyPower Expo is now less than 2 weeks away! It will not be long until visitors can enjoy the hundreds of fitness exhibitors, dozens of interactive feature areas and countless big name professional athletes and industry recognised fitness experts on show.

Always striving to deliver the best visitor experience, BodyPower has introduced new interactive feature areas into their ever expanding expo. New for 2012 is the exclusive ‘Beach Body’ area, strength and conditioning zone ‘Physique Elite’ and the ‘Healthy Eating Village’ where leading industry experts will be on hand to advise on the best tips and techniques to get you in unbelievable shape for this summer!

The show will also boast an unrivaled list of world class athletes. Latest confirmed names at the show include UFC competitor Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping, transformation legend Kris Gethin, Fitness model Courtney Prather, Olympian Darren Campbell and fitness coach Harry Ranson. In addition to this impressive athlete list, the expo has announced their new Friday Masterclass Programme. Guests will have the opportunity to particpate in a range of exclusive masterclasses with sporting legends such as Mr Olympia Phil Health, BJJ World Champion Braulio Estima and World’s #1 Fitness Model Gregg Plitt.

BodyPower is shaping up to be the UK’s best sport, fitness and nutrition expo to date!

You can find the Training Room team at stand EE61.


We’re looking forward to seeing you there.