What is healthy does not necessarily have to be good for the body. In an interview, triathlon world champion Anja Kobs explains what is behind “individual nutrition”, how to find the right food and why it doesn’t just help in competitive sports.

Ms. Kobs that effective training also includes the right nutrition is old hat. You are now talking about “individual nutrition”. What do you mean with that?

Anja Kobs: In general, foods are always divided into “healthy” and “unhealthy”. But just because something is healthy doesn’t make it good for the individual. . For example, there are numerous intolerances that are often not obvious at first glance.

So is it just about intolerances or do foods also have different effects on different people?

Kobs: Definitely, and you have to find that out if you want to optimize yourself. As an example: The intestinal flora is different for every person and this plays a major role in the question of how different foods are absorbed and thus supplied with nutrients.

As a competitive athlete, you live from constantly optimizing your own performance. When did you discover this topic for yourself?

Kobs: I eat healthy anyway – at least that’s what I thought. But I’m not that young anymore either, so last year I had the idea to check whether I’m allergic to anything or whether I can’t tolerate certain foods. I then had a blood test done at Biobalance. It turned out that I have a few intolerances that I had not noticed before. Since then I have avoided these foods and that gave me a real boost in performance. I’ve also noticed that I’m less tired.

If you consistently fall short of your realistic goals during endurance training, it almost always has something to do with your diet. In our free webinar on May 19th, naturopath Nicole Staden will show you which methods you can use to find the right diet for you. In addition, the triathlete Anja Kobs gives tips for the implementation in everyday life. GET YOUR FREE TICKET HERE!

What exactly are you giving up now?

Kobs: For me, it’s dairy products that cause problems. I’m not lactose intolerant, but I have elevated antibodies against the milk protein casein. Since I stopped dairy products, I’ve felt a lot better. It wasn’t a big change for me, because I used to eat a mostly alkaline diet and you only eat a few dairy products anyway.

How do hobby athletes find the right diet?

Kobs: Try it. It’s best to do stress tests. Let’s stay with the example of dairy products. If you suspect them of being performance-inhibiting, then eat a lot of it for a week and then not for a week and compare your athletic performance and general well-being. A food diary is also very good, even if it is time-consuming and annoying for many. But just write down exactly what you eat and what your training sessions looked like for two to three weeks and then evaluate it.

That’s how I found out, for example, that beetroot is bad for me. It’s considered really great and healthy, but if I eat it and run a competition the next day, it sucks. I still eat beetroot because I like it, but not before competitions.

But how can a layman distinguish between random correlations and causalities?`

Kobs: That’s always difficult. A state can never be exactly reproduced in order to check it. When I felt bad for the first time after eating beetroot the day before, I couldn’t say whether it was the beetroot. So I did a stress test where I ate beetroot one day and did a hard workout the next day. I’ve repeated this a few times and always noticed that it just doesn’t work.

Finding out something like this is just as difficult in competitive sports as it is for laypeople. It’s always difficult to tell whether poor performance was due to diet, training, sleep or mental health.

At what fitness level should you even start thinking about the topic of “individual nutrition”?

Kobs: There’s a general recommendation that you should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to maintain your current level of fitness. So if you go jogging for half an hour every second or third day, you can get there with your normal diet. But anyone who goes beyond this WHO recommendation might have concerns. I always like to compare it to a car: if you put petrol in a diesel car, you can drive a few kilometers in it, but if you want to drive it longer, it’s over quickly.

What are the advantages of individual nutrition outside of competitive sports?

Kobs: You just feel better. Fatigue also plays a major role. Anyone who is constantly tired in everyday life is doing something wrong. And if that can be fixed with better nutrition, then you just feel better overall.

You yourself checked intolerances with a blood test. Would you give that general advice – even if you don’t think about competitive sports?

Kobs: It’s never wrong. Of course, if you feel 100 percent healthy, you don’t need to. But that doesn’t apply to anyone. So, if you always have some niggles, then such a test can help. After that you are smarter, can adjust your diet accordingly and benefit from a more pleasant well-being.

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