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Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS
San Diego, CA

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An Athlete’s Kitchen

An Athlete’s Kitchen

23 October 2013 4:00 am
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You wake up at o’dark hundred to run. You hit the box for your CrossFit WOD after work. You’re competing in obstacle races and triathlons on the weekends. You’re an elite… But is your kitchen?

Here are some tools from a “kitchen coach” to consider, so that this crucial nutrition and prep zone can be as performance-optimized as its owner!

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My fave athlete, OCR coach Michael Mark
(Photo Courtesy:  San Diego Obstacle Course Racing)

Storage organizers – compression gear for your kitchen

You don’t have time to hunt for things, right?  Just as you have your training gear organized, you can also have your cooking and nutrition gear organized.  There are in-cabinet and backsplash accessories that can help you store and find your essentials faster.

In-cabinet options include drawer dividers (great for spices, utensils, supplements), knife blocks, roll-out trays (ideal for juicers and other small appliances) and numerous other options, depending on your kitchen’s layout.

Backsplash systems also work great for organizing and storing spices, knives and supplements in handy locations, especially for compact kitchens with insufficient cabinet space.

There are even new systems that include outlets, smart phone and tablet chargers, so that you can power up your new Vitamix and protein shake recipes.

Legrand Adorne

Adorne organizer keeps your gear handy and charged
(Photo Courtesy:  Legrand)

Small appliances for big returns

A slow cooker, especially one with a keep warm setting, can be a busy athlete’s best friend. Slow cooker meals can be very low fat, without loss of flavor, and prepare dinner while you’re at work.

Many of my athletic friends like to juice. You’ll want a solid, sturdy juicer for that and keep it convenient to the refrigerator (in your food storage zone), where the fruits and vegetables also “live.” If you’re short on counter space – as many kitchens are – you might want a roll-out tray or mixer lift to keep it stored when not in use.

Grilling is a super-healthful way to cook, as athletes already know.  If you don’t have access to a grill, consider getting an indoor model that you can use near your vent hood. It, too, will need a place to be stored, and a roll-out tray can work great for that, too.

You might even find yourself with a small appliance storage cabinet retrofitted with dual roll-outs for the grill, slow cooker and juicer, along with an in-drawer knife block for prepping your healthy meals.

In the next section, I talk about steam ovens and induction cooktops, as most of the peak performers are built-in.  There are a few that are countertop, though, and that are worth adding into your cooking regimen if you’re not about to remodel.

Spartan kitchen - Slow-cooker - All-Clad for WSAll-Clad’s ultra beast of slow cookers!
(Photo Courtesy:  Williams-Sonoma)

Big appliances for big results

Regular Gold Notes readers know that I love induction cooking. It saves time in both cooking and cleanup, getting you out the door faster. It delivers high performance with energy efficiency, so even your leanest meals meals taste great. Plus, you’re saving the ozone layer for future races – and racers.

You also know that I love steam cooking. A convection-steam oven can deliver delicious meals cooked to perfection with minimal fats. They’re also great for reheating leftovers.  (They’ll do everything a microwave will, except make microwave popcorn.  And I’m pretty darn sure you’re not eating that!)

Most of these ovens are built in, and worth considering if you’re planning a kitchen remodel. Some don’t need to be plumbed, making them easier to install in an existing kitchen.

You use them hard when you compete, so you may want to treat your lungs to a top-notch kitchen ventilation system. Chances are, the one you have now is noisy and inefficient, so you may not even be using it when you cook. That’s just flat-out unhealthy and unsanitary!

Spartan kitchen - steam oven - Jenn-Air

Steam/convection oven is a cooking MVP
(Photo Courtesy: Jenn-Air)

More gear

Millions of kitchens have tile floors. Tile is extremely hard to stand on, especially when you’re preparing all your shakes and meals for the week. You’re already putting stress on your feet, ankles, hips and back when you train and compete. Why give them added stress and fatigue? If you’re not ready to change your flooring – or like the looks of what you have – consider a comfort mat in your prime prep areas. It’s like a yoga mat for cooking and clean up.

Another item I suggest everyone have — but especially athletes who max out on water consumption — is a filtration system.  There are numerous choices that can fit under your sink.  If you’re getting a new refrigerator, you can opt for one with built-in filtered dispenser instead.

You’re also going to benefit from task lighting, so that your chicken gets trimmed and your carrots get sliced, not your fingertips. You need those for climbing rocks and transverse walls! Consider energy-efficient LED under-cabinet lights to illuminate your prep areas. They won’t get hot while you’re working, adding comfort to the equation.

Spartan kitchen - Antique Mat - Wellness  MatsAnti-fatigue mats save your feet for races
(Photo Courtesy:  Wellness Mats)

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for advice on updating or remodeling your kitchen, please contact me about a local or long-distance consultation, depending on your location.

Molten Gold - Wall Power
Cersaie - Top Products from the Tile and Bath Show

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