Ben Crook - Professional Nutritionist
Ben began life as a Biochemist before becoming a professional nutritionist; founding Blueberry Nutrition and working with a wide range of elite athletes and celebrities such as Harry Styles (One Direction) and James Haskell (England Rugby & Northampton Saints [formerly London Wasps]).
How did you get involved in sports nutrition?
I was always an active child that liked to be out rather than sat inside. As I grew I participated in numerous sporting activities and disciplines that I took more serious as I got older. I became fascinated with food and its interaction within our bodies. This led me to study nutritional Biochemistry at the University of Nottingham. Upon graduating I founded Blueberry Nutrition which was intended to provide Nutritional support to anyone from office workers through to elite athletes.
What type of athletes do/have you work/worked with?
I have worked with many entertainers and athletes, these include – Harry Styles (of 1Direction) James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby) The Exeter University Boat Club (EUBC) and Davey Oliver Joyce, a professional boxer who recently won the WBO European featherweight title.
What is the most common nutrition-related concern your clients come to you with?
The most common thing I hear when people seek me for advice is the fact they want to “reduce body fat and increase lean muscle “ not too many people say they “want to reduce muscle and increase body fat “ (that part is easy lol)
What is the most challenging sport discipline for you, when providing sports nutrition support?
All sports have their own unique challenges when it comes to nutrition. Combat sports such as MMA and boxing come with specific weight classes with the majority of fighters wanting to compete at the lightest weight they can attain. This can see a 100Kg man fight at 77Kg which as you can imagine is no mean feat.
Are there any common nutrition-related myths you would like to ‘set straight’?
One of the most common myths or pieces of misinformation that I see is when people cut out specific macro nutrients (Protein, fats or Carbs.) In recent times there has been a trend for people /athletes to cut out Carbs. This is (especially in sports nutrition) ludicrous as our bodies use Carbs as our primary energy substrate so to eliminate them from our diets makes no sense.
What is your biggest motivation helping athletes with their nutrition?
My biggest motivation for helping athletes with their nutrition is when they report how much better they feel whilst making progress. For instance when a boxers needs to lose say 10Kg in 8 weeks we don’t want their performance to suffer , in fact we want it to improve. My number one priority with any individual is optimising their health regardless of sport for discipline which is normally felt within a short period of time. Of course another motivating factor is when the athletes I work with win.
How important is sports nutrition for sub-elite athletes, can anyone gain substantial benefits?
Sports Nutrition is not exclusive for athletes; after all we all need protein, fats and carbs to exist. There are some key elements with regards to sports nutrition that a relevant to sub – athletes and indeed “normal people”. One example of this is the necessity to be hydrated.
What are your top three nutrition tips?
1) Try to avoid products with an extensive ingredients list. After all broccoli only contains broccoli (assuming there are no pesticides or herbicides present)
2) Aim for unrefined, unprocessed as much as possible.
3) EAT MORE VEGETABLES – it doesn’t matter how fit you are you can never eat enough veg.
Why do you advise athletes to use Beet It Sport?
I advise the athletes I work with to use Beet It Sport as I have seen the results first hand when it comes to shaving seconds off a run, hitting a heavy bag or lifting 1% more. Beet It Sport being composed primarily of Beetroot, means it contains plenty of other beneficial compounds such as betanin, Vulgaxanthin and Iron all of which provide invaluable health improving properties
Follow Ben Crook at Blueberry Nutrition here https://www.instagram.com/BlueBerry_Nutrition/