Aussie long distance runner Joel Tobin-White shares the one thing that’s ‘horrible for our health’

Joel Tobin White28, is an Australian elite long-distance runner and co-founder and host of running podcast For The Kudos.

The member of the Melbourne Track Club has competed in events ranging from 1500 meters to 10,000 meters around the world.

Here, he joins 9Coach’s series 5 Fitness Questions.

Australian distance runner Joel Tobin-White joins 9Coach’s 5 Fitness Questions. (instagram)

1. We’re always being promised “the secret” to getting and staying healthy. What’s yours?

Consistency is my secret. There are no shortcuts to getting healthy and maintaining fitness. It’s about following a program week after week after week, and allowing your body to slowly adapt to the training routine. Nothing can happen overnight, but with a consistent approach to training and healthy lifestyle habits then anything is possible.

2. What’s something you know now about health (be it training, eating or general wellbeing) you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself five or 10 years ago?

Elaborating on my first point – as a young athlete I made the mistake of pushing too hard in certain sessions throughout the training week. I’d struggled with sickness and injury because my body was always playing catch up.

As an older athlete now I know that you have to think “60 weeks not 60 days”. With the longer-term consistent approach to training, you’re far more likely to stay injury and illness free.

READ MORE: 5 tips to get back into exercise after a time out

3. What’s your nutrition philosophy?

As an endurance athlete, I burn so many calories that my nutrition philosophy has to be “eat a lot – all the time”.

When people find out I’m a professional athlete, they always ask “So does that mean you have to be really strict about what you eat?” The answer is no. I have to make sure I’m taking in all the required macro and micro nutrients in a balanced diet and any extra calories I eat throughout the day are used as energy in my training.

For someone trying to lose weight, with a couch-to-5km program for example, they would have to be far stricter with their diet as their energy expenditure is not going to be the same as a professional distance runner. In elite sport I’ve seen so many athletes become injured due to calorie-counting and lacking the proper nutrition required during large training loads.

READ MORE: Adaptive sport ‘saved’ Paralympian after ‘life-altering’ event

4. What’s one area of ​​your own health, fitness or wellbeing you’re working to improve? Is there a goal you’ve set yourself, or a skill you’re trying to master?

The last few months I’ve been managing a persistent knee issue. I’ve had to manage this with anti-inflammatory medications, rest, physio and rehab. After the injury came back a third time in four months, I realized the only way I was going to beat the injury once and for all that was to take three weeks off running and spending time training in the gym.

Strength and conditioning training allows me to strengthen the muscles, joints and other parts of the body that work together to support the knee when you run. A lot of the time injuries can happen due to weaknesses in other parts of the body and the only way these can be fixed is by strength training in the gym.

5. What’s a small, practical step you’d tell a friend to make if they asked your advice on something they can do to improve their health, starting today?

It really depends on a case-by-case basis. If a friend was spending their weekends partying, I’d tell them to reduce their alcohol intake. If a friend was eating unhealthy but exercising a lot, I’d tell them to address their macro and micro nutrients in their day-to-day nutrition. If a friend was eating very healthy but wasn’t exercising, I’d encourage them to start their day with a morning walk to get their body moving.

With that said, the one thing I would recommend over anything is “movement”. Sedentary lifestyles are horrible for our health so the one thing I would recommend above all others is find the time each day to get the body moving – whether it be walking the dog, cycling to work, yoga at lunch or a jog in the morning – get the body moving every day!

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