Interview | Diani Walker
Diani Walker has been on everyones radar since 2015 when she picked up a bronze in the 60m in the British Indoor Championships, aged just 20. Since then, although the odd injury has hampered her development, she has continued to excel; 2017 saw her represent Team GB at the U23 European Championships, and recently post a new PB at the British Senior Championships in the 100m (just 0.9 seconds off the current World Record pace).
We had a few moments with Diani to chat to her about her diet & nutrition...
If you eat before you compete, what sort of food are you having? "Before my competition starts, I have a small breakfast including cereal or syrup porridge, scrambled egg on its own and then closer to when I warm up for my race I have a banana".
What, if at all, do you eat during a competition? "During the comp I’ll have sandwich (preferably tuna and sweetcorn) and a natural bar. After the competition Im not totally hungry, due to me having a recovery shake. I tend to eat the rest of my snacks such as the sandwich and a banana, until dinner".
What are your thoughts on protein bars & shakes that are so popular at the moment? "My opinion, protein shakes aren’t bad, it just depends on what brands you choose. I personally use SIS rapid recovery shake, because it doesn’t tamper with my weight and helps really well with my recovery from hard sessions, or heavy competition weekends. I’ve never had a protein bar, so I can’t speak much on them".
What is your cheat meal? "My cheat meal would be a barbecue base pizza or Chinese special chow mein noodles".
What is the most common meal in your household? "I rely most on not missing my breakfast or not having my breakfast too late. If I don’t have a full lunch it doesn’t bother me".
How important is hydration when you train & compete? "Hydration is very important, even in the winter because I’m constantly training and being active throughout the days. I feel deflated when I’m dehydrated".
Do you have any superstitions or rituals you follow before you compete? "My ritual the night before competitions is to drink water, have a bath, then drink water again. I also make sure I pray the night before, foam roll and do stretches to end my night".
As you have progressed through the age groups in athletics, has the focused shifted much to nutrition & recovery; is it a bigger part of your routine now, compared to when you were younger? "I do tend to look over my nutrition better, by making sure I definitely include a decent amount of fruit and veg with my meals. I make sure I have fish at least once a week and I focus well on keeping hydrated on water and electrolytes at training and outside training. I structure my days well, after I took the time to understand my body and know what it’s limits are, throughout the week regards to training schedules and rest days. As a university student recovery is key, as It is a stress factor as well on my body".