Throughout his career as a professional athlete with an impressive CV featuring captain roles for teams including Leeds, Newcastle and the England Sevens, Rob Vickerman always understood the importance of self-awareness, staying focused and dedicated to his training to maintain his performance.
Following a protein rich diet designed to help fuel his training, Rob assumed the foods he was eating were the best possible choices to compliment his exercise.
“At no point throughout my career did I even think about awareness of my nutritional make up. I, like many of my peers, ticked the usual boxes of high protein quantities, low carb and fats without really
knowing what was good for me or why.“
Leading a healthy, active lifestyle, Rob didn’t question the foods he was eating when he experienced frequent digestive problems, citing the reaction as a common side effect of his regular protein shakes.
He didn’t consider that elements of his diet, which was fundamentally healthy, could be having a negative impact on his health and performance.
“To overlook what fueled me meant I was missing perhaps the most important information contributing to performance. I used to react somewhat ‘typically’ after taking protein shakes, seemingly no different to the majority of my teammates. I never questioned this, nor the fact when I had eggs I would have a
similar reaction, bearing in mind I was having 20-30 eggs a week.“
When his digestive discomfort continued, along with low energy and other unwanted conditions, Rob decided it was time to take a closer look at his diet to see if something he was eating could be causing him to experience problems.
“I took the 150plus Programme from Lorisian as I also suffer from migraines. I was advised that, rather than trying to find the cause by excluding foods one by one which could take me years, taking this simple test would examine 158 foods and drinks in one go.“
When he received the results, Rob discovered he had been experiencing reactions to yeast, cow’s milk and eggs, the crucial daily components of his
training diet. Understanding that these foods could be behind his bloating and migraines, Rob decided to replace them with nutritious alternatives and see
whether he would notice an improvement.
“I have since reduced my intake of these as low as possible and now examine the back of packets to identify the complete makeup of products.
"I feel I have much more consistent energy, not having an energy lull or bloated stomach after eating bread, breakfast meals and protein shakes."
With his new, personally optimised diet, swapping his trigger foods for alternative sources of nutrients, it didn’t take long for Rob to experience a positive change to his health.
“My migraines haven’t come back and I have enjoyed a better performance as a result of this. Alternatives were easy and readily available to source and I now enjoy chatting to others about how simple the whole process was and how I enjoy sampling different sources of protein and calcium.“
Looking to the future, Rob is feeling positive and empowered by his new found knowledge.
"Had I known this information when I started out in professional rugby, it would have undoubtedly changed my diet, increased my self-awareness and most importantly improved my performance."