Student Nutritional Advice; Gavin Griffiths

Posted on 08 Nov 2016

Nutrition Advice:

Gavin Griffiths (Leicestershire CCC),

Former England Under 19s

St Mary’s College Old Boy


These were the notes that Gavin used for the Nutrition Seminar last week.


What should people eat at school?


I hate seeing kids in the shop across the road with a fizzy drink and a bag of crisps or sweets at 8:30 in the morning. This will give you a massive burst of energy for an hour or so (which isn’t really needed as you’re in school) and then you’ll crash and require more energy. Not great for learning, especially around exam time. I only learned this in the last years of school.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Don’t eat cereals that turn the milk a different colour (coco pops) and none your nan wouldn’t have had back in her day (lucky charms etc)

Mornings can be very rushed but breakfast can take as little as 5 minutes.

Some examples are:

~Porridge or weetabix

~Bananas or berries


~Eggs on toast


Lunch at school can be healthy. If you are bringing your own in try to have a sandwich or pasta (tuna chicken etc), fresh fruit and maybe some nuts or a yoghurt (low fat isn’t always the best as they are normally full of sugar).



Every student should carry a water bottle and fill up around school; we are advised to drink around 2litres of water per day!


SUGAR is the devil when it comes to nutrition.

We as humans naturally crave sugar, it tastes nice and it gives us a ‘lift’ however eating too much sugar can have detrimental effects on our health:


~Type 2 Diabetes

~Weight gain (excess sugar is stored as fat)

~Mood swings due to sugar spikes

~Tooth Decay (dental bills aren’t free after education)


A Grown Man should not exceed 37.5g (9 teaspoons) of added sugar per day and any food with more than 22.5g sugar per 100g food is considered high in sugar.

To put this into perspective:

~Large Mcdonalds vanilla milkshake: 76g of sugar (19 teaspoons)

~2L bottle of coca cola: 216g of sugar (54 teaspoons)

~190g bag of Maynards wine gums: 112g of sugar (28 teaspoons)


Finally our bodies adjust to become dependent on this sugar, for example if a chocolate bar is eaten at the same time daily, the body starts to expect to receive this sugar hit and thus sugar cravings begin.


Sleep is one of the most important thing for athletes to recover, both mentally and physically. Personally, I need at least 7 hours to function properly from day to day. I believe this can differ from person to person. Don’t be on your phone/Netflix/Instagram until midnight. You won’t be effective the day after!



Sport Specific


3 phases for a cricketer (adjust accordingly for your own sport)


In Season APR - SEPT  About being game ready.

Off Season SEPT-OCT  Not losing fitness too much.

Pre Season NOV-MARCH  Making real progress with training, skill and physical.


Cricket is different from rugby and football in regards to time off between game days. for example, a county cricket player may have a 4 day game Sunday-Wednesday and then back to back T20s Thursday-Friday. This makes recovery difficult and nutrition even more important.


In Season:


A Varied Diet depending upon activity during the day or next day. This can be dependent on a toss of a coin. If we are batting I may not do anything for a whole day (the best days). If we are fielding for a day, Bowlers can burn up to 4000-5000kcal more than usual.

Usually high carbohydrate high protein diet with added supplements for help e.g. MaxiMuscle. A lot of water vital for rehydration.



AWAY DAY (coach) services etc 

Usually we travel the day before on a coach and stop at motorway services, finding the right foods here can be a challenge.


Pre Game:


Usually breakfast in a hotel


~Bowl of porridge with a banana

~3 poached eggs on brown toast

~Bowl of fresh fruit with yoghurt

~Protein shake

(Yes, all of that) 


Snack: Biltong, Nuts, Berries, Fruit and yoghurt.

Blueberries are great brain food.


Post Game:


Immediate high carb supplement provided by Fitness Coach.


Some examples of good food for recovery:


2 grilled chicken breasts with rice or sweet potato and vegetables.

Salmon with new potatoes and broccoli.

Chicken or Fish Pasta 


Berries with yoghurt for dessert.


Gym work is very much about maintaining strength, speed and stamina as opposed to gaining due to lack of time and energy.

Never ever alcohol 48 hours prior to a game or while injured.


Off Season:


Tends to be around 8 weeks long. Damage limitation for many as we use a lot of this time for rest and recovery. Can be difficult as diet requirements adjusts massively. (less activity, less calories needed or weight gain is inevitable)

More alcohol usually consumed with end of season dinners etc. 

Personally I use the last 3 weeks of off season to build fitness back up to speed to hit the ground running in pre season, without going too hard as to avoid burnout prior to the season.

In this period I tend to cut Carbohydrates in my meals, so for example I might lose the bread at breakfast time and then the potatoes at dinner, but still have pasta at lunch to keep me going through the day.


Pre Season:


This is about making progress with strength speed and stamina and your training and diet would be based around specific goals for certain people.

~ Weight loss (low carb high protein diet) training would be very cardiovascular based with extra daily running sessions.

~ Gain in muscles mass (high carb high protein) training would be weights based.



This is the busiest gym period with a lot of weights lifted and a lot of running sessions, so it is vitally important that the body is fuelled essentially. It’s pointless doing strength workout and then not eating enough or eating pot noodles, Mcdonalds etc. foods with very little nutritional value


Of course, there are days where, as athletes we don’t fully adhere to these rules but the quicker we can get back on track the better.


ALCOHOL (at this point of the Seminar, Year 7&8 left the room).


Believe it or not, most professional athletes like to have a beer from time to time. However, as a general rule of thumb we don't drink 48 hours before any session and never when injured. It can negatively affect the body in a number of ways:

~Increases the time it takes for muscles to recover

~Dehydrates the body, increasing the risk of muscular injury

~Reduces the quality of sleep

~Then of course, the dreaded hangover!!

Finally alcohol is stacked full of empty calories our bodies realistically don't need, leading to weight gain. Beer is full of carbohydrates and we often couple spirits with sugary mixers e.g coke.

Did You Know; a bottle of Disaronno has over 100 teaspoons of sugar (before you add a mixer).

Hope this helps