What is special about Kilian Jornet’s diet?

Kilian Jornet is a professional sportsman with a striking evolution. He has an extraordinary curriculum as mountain racer (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Cavalls de Vent, TNF Australia..) and mountain ski (World Champion Overall, European Champion Vertical Race…) and at the same time, it is surprising to find out his simplicity and life philosophy. All together it is a very impressive life story.

In this interview, I have tried to find out Killian Jornet´s diet. Without doing an exhaustive work I intend to divulgate the information obtained about his diet. In times where extravagant and miraculous diets are so popular and easy to find in internet forums, libraries, sports shops, and all type of media,….I believe that Kilian´s simple and normal diet has taken him far, and this will make us all think how important it is to train, eat and hydrate oneself adequatlly and also rest sufficiently. There are no secrets to it, there is just inteligence, willpower and a privileged genetic compound. The New York Times recently published an article about his life where it is very well explained who is Kílian Jornet.

Killian Jornet’s physical facts:

  • Date of birth: 1987
  • Height: 171 cm
  • Weight: 56 kg
  • Body fat: 8%
  • VO2max (maximum oxygen consumption): 85 ml/kg/min (exceptional)
  • Lung capacity: 5,3 liters (normal)
  • Anaerobic threshold: 190 ppm (exceptional)
  • Maximum cardiac frequency: 203 ppm (normal)
  • Cardiac frequency at rest : 36 ppm (exceptional)
 

THE INTERVIEW

Do you plan your nutrional strategy to face  both the mountain ski and mountain races competion seasons? If you dont, who does it for you?

I improvise and I dont follow any nourishing guide, I believe that I eat quite well and in a balanced way, whatever there is available at home or in the country where I am. I eat little meat because my mother is vegeterian and I have never eaten much of it.

How often do you drink during a race? Do you wait until you are thirsty or do you do it systematically, whether you are thirsty or not?

In short races I drink little in order not to carry weight but just enough to be able to eat my gels diluted in water. In long races, I keep drinking before I am thirsty, I try to hydrate myself, but as I dont drink much when I train I cant drink much during racing to avoid digestive problems.

Do you train while fasting? Can you explain why?

Many times. It is mainly due to my habits, it takes me sometime to activate myself and eat in the mornings therefore many times I leave without breakfast. It has nothing to do with training but rather because of my habit of not having breakfast.

Do you take some type of nutrition complements to prevent joint or muscular injuries? Which ones?

Not many, sometimes I take iron when I am low, other times spiruline and if it is a race with lots of heat I take salt/sodium during the race.

Do you modify significantly your diet depending if you are in your mountain ski season or mountain race season?

No, what it makes the change is the climate. During the winter its more pleasant to eat warm and fatty things (cheeses, soups..) and in the summer fresh things like fruit…

A 24 h summary of your diet. Can you also include information about the training ( schedule, time and aproximate intensity)

Uf!, it depends a lot on the day. Some days I have breakfast, others not, days that I eat poridge, days that is bread and Nutela, lunch the same. If I had breakfast or the morning training has been light I dont eat or maybe I will have some bread with oil…Dinner yes, pasta with vegetables, rice…

If you have a race starting in the morning (lets say at 7.00h) tell us what do you eat the night before

Pasta and maybe a piece of chicken or vegetables

How many hours you rest the night before?

It depends on the race time start, but usually 7-8 hours as allways.

What do you eat in the morning when the race takes place and at what time?

Between, 2,5 and 3 hours before the start, a slice of bread with “Nocilla” or a piece of Gatosport (energetic cake)

During a race, what is more important for you: a good hydration or a good diet?

Both things

Once the race has ended, what is more important for you (by level of importance)

  • A good re-hydration – 3
  • A good diet – 1
  • Stretchings – 5
  • Massage – 4
  • Rest – 2

What is your favorite fruit?

It depends on the season, wild fruits (lingon-naions) apple, peach, pineaple,…

What is your favourite dish?

Pizza.

Is there some food you dont like at all?

More those to do with meat, porc trotters and ears

What sweet do you like best?

All!, Chocolate

Which dry fruits do you eat more during training or racing?

Almonds, dates and peanuts

Sweet or salty

It depends on the heat, but more sweet

Dark chocolate or chocolat with milk?

Chocolat with milk

Do you train with music? Choose three songs that you remember have been with you for a long time or significantly specials nowadays:

Bach, Sonata Do Major,
Now, “Quart Primera
Sunday Bloody Sunday

COMMENTS TO THE INTERVIEW

Killian´s feeding habits are very normal, have nothing extraordinary. He eats following a mediterranean diet pattern, without following a strict planification and using very conventional products. Doing so, he attains an optimum physical preformance, safeguarding his health. With a very natural way he is able to reach a sport performance that very few people in this planet are able to achieve and still having the necessary rest to allow his body  to recover. It is important to note that he is an exceptional case, its a sum of his genetics, his phisical/sports developement since his infanthood and his willpower,..

When he says “I believe I eat quite well and balanced” we understand that he is conscious that he is doing it well enough. Following a normal diet, very rich in carbohydrates, enough protein and fat, and covering adequately the vitamines and minerals requirements he is able to take his organism to the maximum performance, therefore safeguarding him of injuries and helping him to recover from the emaciating training sessions and extremely tough races he participates in.

To train fasting is dangerous unless one knows its personal limitations and is aware of what it means suffering an hypoglycemia in the mountain environment and the nasty consequences for one’s health. Kilian is a professional that devotes his life to sport and knows perfectly well the signs of his organism and is totally conscious of his limit. Amateurs sportsmen that wish to train fasting must remember that Kilian has explained that he does it more as an habit than a diet strategy to improve his performance. It is necessary to take as many precautions as possible, and its better if advised by an expert of sportsmen nutrition

Kilian states very clearly the importance of hydration. Its essential in any sport, but specially in ultraresistance races in order to attain a good performace, recovery and prevention of injuries.

Talking about hydration, some days ago I was talking to a friend that had just participated in an ultratrail in humid and cold conditions few days before. He was telling me that he loathed himself because he did not take the necessary precautions to hydrate enough . He ended the race with tibila tendinitis, a typical injury in this sport. You will have, my friend, to take care and miss several races during the forthcoming months if you want to recover properly from this injury. Probably is not all due to the insufficient hydration but to prevent many of these injuries hydration is and important protection factor.

I also take the opportuniy to remember the interview I made last October to Nuria Burgada, Kilian´s mother in El Piscolabis. Nuria answers questions about the eating habits of him and the familiy during his childhood.

For Kilian:

I want to thank you for the kindness you had with Piscolabis, by answering the questionnaire where you share with us your feeding habits and also about some other aspects of yourself. Note that the film I like best is also Dersú Uzalà and that I love Bach (I go crazy with the Goldberg Varaitions (BWV 988) played by Glenn Gould. Kind regards, Killian. I am sure will meet someday in the mountain

Àlex Pérez Caballero | Sports Nutritionist-Dietitian | © El Piscolabis. May 2013

alexperez.dietista@gmail.com

Spain-01France-01images

Thanks to Johnny Caragol to collaborate in the translation to english.

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