"Nutrition: My Favourite Support Service"

Adam Higgs shares how the Teladoc Health Nutrition service made a significant difference

My Favourite Support Service So Far! - Teladoc Health UKIn a recent Protection Guru article, Adam Higgs shared how the Teladoc Health Nutrition service made a significant difference. Teladoc Health UK delivers the award-winning AIG SmartHealth services.

We have replicated the article below:

My Favourite Support Service So Far!

As regular readers of Protection Guru’s Monday morning email will know, I am currently training for a triathlon. As part of this training, I am going through an exercise where I use as many of the support services I have access to through my various protection plans to help me. Periodically I will report back on my findings and once complete I will do a full round up of everything I have used along with how easy they are to use, my thoughts and potential money saved. Today, however, I want to talk about a service that has really helped me kick on in my Triathlon training.

My training so far has been a bit of a mixed bag. I am really pleased with where I am from a swimming and cycling point of view (I am hitting the top 10 times for my age based on last year’s race), but shooting pains in my calves have really held back my progress on the run. I am currently going through physio and have an MRI tomorrow, which I hope will lead to a plan to get me through the race!

This is not what has impressed me most so far, however. About a month ago, I realised I had made a massive change in my daily activity. Since the start of the year, I had gone from almost no exercise to approximately 1-hour hard training six times a week. A lot had changed, but my diet remained the same. When I have the time, myself and my wife actually eat relatively healthily, however I have two young children and so time is not a luxury I am afforded very often!

Via the AIG group income protection plan Protection Guru employees are enrolled into, I have access to SmartHealth and through this a nutritional consultation. Once you have access to the AIG SmartHealth app, arranging an appointment is easy. After completing a few personal details, you are asked about the reason for the consultation. This is a free text box, enabling you to explain exactly what you are trying to get from the consultation, whether that is weight loss, medical reasons, or anything else. In my case, this was better nutrition for training.

Once complete, you are then sent an email providing a link to a pre-consult questionnaire where you can provide more details about your reasons for wanting to speak to someone, your ability to meet your goals on your own, your diet (including a brief diary of what you ate and drank over the past 24 hours) and your health. The form is pretty detailed and took 15-20 minutes to complete. In the end, you are sent another link to book the appointment.

So, on to the actual consultation. The session lasted 30 minutes and started with a quick recap of why I was there. My nutritionist, Charlie, a Performance Nutritionist, was hugely knowledgeable and quickly started to design a high-level plan for me based on my training and race. We discussed the types of food I should be eating, in what proportions, and when compared to activity. Much to my wife’s disgust, I was actually told that I should be eating 1,000 more calories per day.

We also discussed race week and a plan to give me the best opportunity to swim, cycle, and run fast on the big day. Carb loading was an interesting discussion as I didn’t realise that carbs take 24 to 48 hours to reach the muscles as glycogen. As such, my carb loading will start 48 hours before the race, when I will attempt to eat 750g per day in the two preceding days.

The last little tidbit that Charlie gave me was caffeine. In his words, “Caffeine can enhance performance by reducing perception of effort and helping you work at a higher intensity.” As such, I was encouraged to purchase caffeine tablets and take around 200g an hour before exercise and the race.

Charlie followed the consultation with a full write-up of our discussions and a plan for me. He included useful information on sources of protein and carb-loading techniques. We have had a few subsequent emails in which I have asked follow-up questions, and he has been quick to respond with the relevant information.

Just over four weeks after the consult, I have to say it has made a massive difference. It took a few days of following the plan before my training started feeling easier, and I could push myself far harder (running aside). I don’t always hit the number of calories required through carbs/fat/protein, but generally, I feel stronger, faster, and more energised. In particular, I now swear by the caffeine tablets. They apparently take an hour to get in the bloodstream, and often, I can feel the point at which they kick in (although this may be in my head) as I seem to get a boost of energy.

Overall, the whole experience was seamless, thought-provoking, and hugely enlightening. I couldn’t recommend it enough, and I thank AIG, Teledoc Health, and Charlie. Best of all, I didn’t pay a penny towards the costs. This is certainly something I would recommend to clients if the opportunity arose.

Please note that all of the above is based on my consultation and my needs and shouldn’t be taken as a plan for you (I am clearly not a nutritionist and am not giving advice). I would encourage anyone with access to book a nutritional consult for themselves, where they can receive bespoke advice to find out how better nutrition can help them meet their goals. Risk warning: done.”

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