A successful competitive swimmer in her youth, Gina Crawford was a young woman without a sport between the ages of 17 and 24, when she discovered triathlon. Since turning pro, the New Zealander has won 12 iron-distance races and broken 9 hours on four occasions. The mother of a three-year-old boy, Gina has also recorded four top-10 finishes at the Ironman World Championship, including an eighth-place finish last year. Her 2015 season got off to a good start with a victory at the New Zealand Long-Distance Triathlon Championship.
What is your racing weight?
52 kg (114 lbs)
What are your personal dietary “rules”?
I try to keep foods as natural as possible, cutting out processed foods wherever possible. I also try to eat mostly organic foods and grow most of our fruits and vegetables ourselves.
I don’t have any strict rules as such. When I began the process of cutting out processed foods several years ago, my tastes changed and now it is good nutritious foods that I crave rather than “junk” foods. I eat a pretty balanced diet of carbs, proteins, and fats. I never buy low-fat items. I have whole creamy milk and yoghurts, etc. I believe that the low-fat items have extra sugar added and I think you need the higher fat to feel full and therefore not to binge on junk foods later in the day.
Proteins I eat directly after a training session. When it comes to sugar, I really would like to reduce the amount I eat; I have a sweet tooth and a bit of a sugar addiction (probably like most people). While I can reduce sugar quite easily when I am in time away from training, I find that once in heavy training it is impossible for me as I need the calories to get through my heavy load and without it I just feel terrible and weak (withdrawal symptoms?!).
For me, apart from trying to eat non-processed foods and a diet high in vitamins (lots of fruits and veggies), I don’t restrict anything. If my body wants it, I have it, and I find I am a pretty stable weight throughout the year. When I have time away from training I don’t tend to crave the higher energy foods, and then when in high training I do, but the weight drops to race weight quite easily as I am using up so many calories that it is hard to keep up (in my bigger weeks I am exercising around 30 hours per week).
What’s a typical breakfast for you?
I make a cereal with oats, chia, flaxseed, coconut, raisins, and usually have it cooked as a porridge with whole creamy organic milk. I have it with lots of fruit, whatever is in season.* Sometimes if I have a really big session ahead I will also have toast.
[*It’s early summer now in New Zealand. That means peaches, plums, strawberries, blueberries, red currants, and raspberries.]
A typical lunch?
I tend to eat a lot of eggs, either boiled, scrambled or an omelette. Some kind of veggies* or salad and often some cheese on toast. Again lots of fruit.
[*Lately it’s been spinach, silverbeet, beetroot, zucchini, carrots, and cabbage.]
A typical dinner?
A pretty balanced meal, with protein (either chicken, venison, or beef), carbs (usually rice or potatoes) and lots of salad and vegetables. For dessert I will have fruit with yoghurt or ice cream.
What’s the biggest change you’ve made to your diet since college?
My diet is vastly different since college. I was not involved in sport back then, and didn’t start my path to fitness until 25 years old. My diet back in college was very budget dependent. I ate a lot of sausages, white bread and biscuits. I also ate a lot of processed foods, packet sauces filled with preservatives and noodles and macaroni cheese packet meals, again with a lot of preservatives. I have now cut all of that out, and the thought of eating what I ate back then makes me feel ill.
Bacon, potato chips, or ice cream?
Definitely ice cream! I also like to make this myself in order to cut out a lot of the unnecessary “gunk” that is in most brands.