Juicing is about so much more than weight loss. Andrea Wentworth uses juicing as an essential part of her nutrition when training and competing in Ironman triathlons!

In September 2012 I ran my first race since I left school some 21 years earlier. I decided to start running in June 2012, something that, in some ways, still surprises me now. Why? Because I had always HATED running, or at least that is what I had believed for most of my life.

Too be honest I am not sure this is entirely true. As a small child I was always outdoors, playing. My memory of this time is not filled with slow walking, but moving as fast as I could. I was chasing life in the way so many small kids do, hungry to get big and to be able to do the things bigger kids (like my older brother) were allowed to do.

I found it really hard when I first started running

I think my hatred of running actually came from school and is not so much a hatred of running, but of failure. What I always hated was coming last, not being celebrated and watching other kids basically be told they were better than me. A sense of failure is hard for many of us to accept at any age and for me that feeling of ‘being useless’ is one I had long associated with sports of almost every kind.

Whilst I found it really hard when I first started running – I couldn’t even complete a mile when I first started –  the thing that I hated has become something I love. I now find running lets me switch off from the stresses and pressures of the life associated with being a 38 year old working father, with a mortgage, bills etc and temporarily reconnect with my infant self. As an infant I didn’t have anything to worry about and when I ran as an infant it wasn’t exercise it was fun.

The competition of school took the fun away from sports for me, but now I think I have found that feeling that has been hiding from me for 30 something years. Running is once again not about exercise, it is about fun, relaxation and time for self reflection. I suppose in a way it is almost like meditation and somewhere I find peace, whilst also pushing myself to see what my body is capable of.

I had always wanted to complete a long distance run, ever since my Dad completed the Southampton Half Marathon in 1987, but I never believed I was capable. My belief started to change at Jason Vale’s Juice Academy in June 2012, when I met some accomplished runners and someone who was training for an Ironman. I had no idea what an Ironman was, but it was explained to me that an Ironman comprises of 2.4 miles of open water swimming, followed by 112 miles of cycling and then 26.2 miles of running. I remember simply wondering how anyone could achieve such a physical challenge and then thinking that if the person I’d just met could complete an Ironman, maybe I could do a half-marathon after all. I have since completed several half-marathons, a full marathon and have just signed up to run a 106 mile ultra-marthon in 2014!

“I wasn’t particularly fast”

Anyway, the person I met at Juice Academy that was training for Ironman was Andrea Wentworth. When asked about how she started to think about training for Ironman, Andrea said “I had always swum and run but hated cycling. One year though I decided to get a road bike as I wanted to try a triathlon. I started off with 3 Olympic distance triathlons in 2010 and got the bug.”

Andrea told me that when she first started she “wasn’t particularly fast”, but she enjoyed the discipline and variety of triathlon. Andrea also found she quite liked the endurance aspect, so in 2011 she did her first half-Ironman (1.25 miles of swimming, 56 miles of cycling and 13.1 miles of running) in the UK and finished in 6 hours and 30 minutes!

When I met Andrea in 2012 she was training for her first full Ironman, Ironman Austria. Andrea completed this in 12 hours and 34 minutes.

This year (2013), Andrea completed the Mallorca Half-Ironman in 5 hours and 45 minutes. She was also the 5th fastest female at the Ripon Olympic Distance triathlon, which she completed in 2 hours and 32 minutes AND she  completed Ironman Switzerland in 12 hours and 13 minutes!

Andrea Juices Her Way to Ironman Finish

Neil Martin: When did you first start juicing and how did you first learn about the idea?

Andrea Wentworth: I first started about 5 years ago, I just bought a juicer for some reason but only juiced every now and again. Then I read Slim for Life [by Jason Vale] after my sister had recommended it and I was hooked.

Neil Martin: What made you decide to start juicing?

Andrea Wentworth: I was wanting to just get more fruit and veg in my diet and felt juicing was the easiest way to do that.

Neil Martin: Did you follow a specific program, if so which one?

Andrea Wentworth: At first I just tried a few recipes here and there, but then after a few months I did [Jason Vale’s] 7lbs in 7 days and ever since I generally juice at least once a day but often more.

“A crunchy Braeburn apple tends to hit the spot where before I’d reach straight for the Cadbury’s”

Neil Martin: What have you found to be the biggest changes / benefits you’ve experienced since you started juicing?

Andrea Wentworth: I have more energy and don’t crave as much the things I used to like chocolate and white bread. My tastes have changed dramatically, a crunchy Braeburn apple tends to hit the spot where before I’d reach straight for the Cadbury’s.

Neil Martin: Since you started juicing what have you found most challenging and how did you deal with this challenge?

Andrea Wentworth: I struggled at first trying to transport juices with me to work etc if I was wanting more than one juice during the day. Now I have a juicer in work so it’s easy to do there, but before that I just had to be organised and either freeze them the night before and let them defrost in the morning or keep them in a sealed, dark bottle where they’ll last a few hours.

“I generally bounce out of bed in the mornings!”

Neil Martin: How has juicing changed your life?

Andrea Wentworth: I’m healthier and happier, I rarely get ill and generally bounce out of bed in the mornings!

Neil Martin: What has been your biggest juicing mistake and why?

Andrea Wentworth: Other than forgetting to put the container under the spout, none really, even if any concoction does’t taste great, it’s still juice so how wrong can it be?!

Andrea After Completing Ironman Mallorca

Neil Martin: Which do you think is more essential to health and wellbeing, exercise or diet and nutrition?

Andrea Wentworth: Definitely a combination of the two. Our bodies are designed to be fed with good, fresh and natural food and to move around on a daily basis. They compliment each other, so you shouldn’t just focus on one or the other.

“I train 6 days a week and some days can be 2 sessions”

Neil Martin: How much and what kinds of exercise do you regularly do?

Andrea Wentworth: I do triathlons, so mainly swimming, cycling and running but I also do weight training twice a week. I train 6 days a week and some days can be 2 sessions. It can vary between 8 hours and 18 hours a week.

Neil Martin: What do you eat / drink on a typical day?

Andrea Wentworth: This depends on my training load. A typical day would be:

Breakfast – either a green juice with avocado or homemade muesi with oats, hemp seeds, chia seeds, natural yogurt, manuka honey, seeds and berries.

Snack – banana or handful of nuts

Lunch – salad made with spinach, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, avocado, peppers, sundried tomatoes and either ham, tuna, prawns, chicken or salmon.

Pre-workout – usually a beetroot based juice

Dinner – stir fries made with salmon/prawn.chicken/beef and a lot of veg. In heavier training I will add either quinoa, wholemeal rice or sweet potato. Sometimes a veg omelette or a raw carrot & courgette salad.

(I’m not going to lie though, I am partial to the odd tub of Haagen Dazs or some Green & Blacks 85%…)

“I eat A LOT of bananas”

I have always trained with juices rather than energy drinks/gels. The Juicemaster Marathon Smoothie is great for longer bike rides, and I tend to have apple and beetroot juice with coconut water out on runs. I also make my own muesli bars with nuts, seeds, raisins, oats, honey and coconut oil and I eat A LOT of bananas.

I actually took my juicer with me in my hand luggage to Austria and to Switzerland, I up my beetroot intake the week leading up to an event and have lots of apple and ginger shots. I make my juices the night before the race and put them in the hotel freezer, by the time I get to my bike after the swim, it’s getting nicely defrosted.

“Nutrition is the 4th discipline of triathlon”

They say nutrition is the 4th discipline of triathlon, not just during the event but before/after training and on a day to day basis. You need to keep your body healthy and correctly fuelled to complete long, hard training sessions but also to enable fast recovery to repeat it day in, day out. Juicing is a key factor in helping me do that.

Neil Martin: Is your diet completely vegetarian / vegan?

Andrea Wentworth: No. I eat meat and have yogurt with muesli, milk in my coffee and I love eggs. I’d say fruit/veg makes up 80% of my diet though.

Neil Martin: What are your thoughts on caffeine and alcohol?

Andrea Wentworth: I have gone through phases of cutting them out completely, but I do have one cup of coffee a day (which used to be 4 or 5). And I do drink alcohol, but this tends to be enjoying sharing a nice bottle of wine, rather than spirits, shots and Jägerbombs.

“Don’t think of it as all or nothing”

Neil Martin: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about adding juicing to their life?

Andrea Wentworth: Start off just experimenting, don’t think of it as all or nothing. You can start off having the occasional one here and there, and you’ll probably find you naturally want to start doing it more and more as you see the benefits. If you add in the good stuff, it will eventually push out the bad! Try all sorts of different ones to get the full spectrum of the vitamins and minerals you get in different fruits and veg. You should aim to eat a rainbow every day.

Neil Martin: If you were stuck on a desert island with a working juicer and blender and an unlimited supply of just 6 ingredients, what would those ingredients be?

Andrea Wentworth: This is a very mean question – only 6?! These might not necessarily make my favourite juice, but in terms of 6 ingredients I wouldn’t want to live without, these would be them:

  • Avocado
  • Wheatgrass juice
  • Apples
  • Coconuts
  • Spinach
  • Ginger

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