While a nutritious diet is key for each and every athlete, never is it more important than when sport stars are out of action through injury or illness.
Because as the body starts to repair, the nutrients found in food are paramount in the healing process, something which skier Cara Brown has discovered for herself.
After tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) back in April – the skier’s curse - Brown has since gone through months of painful, tiring rehab, with returning to competition her main motivation throughout the tough times.
And while the walls of the gym at Bisham Abbey have become all too familiar for the 22-year-old over the summer as she fights back to full fitness, Brown has come to learn that what is on her plate is just as key to her recovery as her physical work.
“I’ve had a nutritionist while I’ve been in rehab, so that’s been really good,” said the three-time national champion.
“They’ve been telling me to up the amount of protein that I take in and to take it in more regularly throughout the day because I would only really have protein at dinner, whereas to actually fuel my body with the amount of exercise that I’m doing in a day, I need it consistently throughout the day.
“Protein is like the building blocks for my body to get stronger so I think that’s a really key thing, so I have eggs with my breakfast and then I have milk as a snack or little protein shakes during the day.”
But while some athletes never stray far from their strict nutrition plans, Brown isn’t afraid of consuming the odd treat every now again.
“I think it’s important with nutrition that you have to watch what you’re eating, but if you’re doing the amount of exercise that you’re doing as a ski racer, you can eat what you want,” she said.
“But having said that, you’ve got to eat the right stuff for your body in order to benefit from it.”
So what would you find in Brown’s weekly shopping basket?
“Jammie Dodgers!” she said. “Lots of eggs and crumpets, and I quite like fish, but there’s a lot of treats in there. I like yoghurts, tarts and biscuits, but keep that one quiet!”
Photo credit: Vanessa Fry