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Renee McGregor – Performance and Clinical Dietician

Photo credit: Renee McGregor

Renee McGregor – Performance and Clinical Dietician


Last updated: 03-Feb-17

By James Eacott

Renee who?
For those few endurance athletes who do not know Renee, let me make a little introduction. Renee is a performance and Clinical Dietician who, combined with her personal love of ultra running, decided to study sports nutrition at post-graduate level.

She’s since become a member of the Sports Exercise and Nutrition Register and has worked with the likes of Aly Dixon and Louise Damon (elite long distance runners), elite triathletes and uber-ultra runners Holly Rush, Robbie Britton and Lizzie Wraith. Renee also worked with the 2012 London Olympic gymnastics team as well as two medal winning programmes at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

I’ve heard her speak at events and conferences on numerous occasions, often at the University of Bath, where she delivers insights into sports performance, sports nutrition and endurance training. Renee often features in magazines like Outdoor Fitness, 220 Triathlon and Trail Running Magazine.

In short, she really knows her stuff!

What she can do for you

Although Renee works with a seriously high calibre of athletes, she also puts a lot of time into helping anyone – average Joes included, like me – with their nutrition, and it was with little hesitation that I approached Renee to look over my current nutrition plan as I prepare for the 2017 season.

Before we met, she sent through forms about my history in endurance sport, current diet trends, goals and aspirations and do on. I was to complete a comprehensive food diary to return to her so she had time to digest the information before our meeting.

One of my problems, despite training frequently and consistently, is that I struggle to shed the few kilograms needed to get down to ‘race weight’. Understanding how much I train and what my current eating habits were like, it didn’t take Renee long to discover that even though I was probably eating enough to fuel myself, the timing and type of food didn’t work totally in my favour. Turns out I hold protein in too high regard and could do with shifting the balance to some better carbohydrate sources.

A lot of nutrition, I now know, is about timing. If you train once or even twice per day, the importance of not only what you eat, but when you eat is greatly increased. I hadn’t realised this. I’ve often try to push a second session out without really catering for it. And it’s not just a case of necking a gel 20 minutes before you expect your body to go again – it’s about preparing your body 24-48 hours in advance of the training you’re planning on completing.

I am fascinated by endurance sports nutrition and I digest articles regularly on the subject, but I came away having learnt some useful nuggets that I’m convinced will make a noticeable difference to my performance. Don’t just take my word for it – look at some of her testimonials.

Renee is easy going, relaxed and very approachable. Regardless of whether you’re a middle of the pack ultra runner or a world class athlete, she can help you optimise your performance for very little outlay.

5 Nutritional Nuggets I Learnt

  1. Periodise carbohydrate intake according to your training demands and prepare well in advance for harder sessions. It can take 24 hours for carbohydrates to reach your system.
  2. One or two fasted sessions per week are fine, but make sure they’re low intensity (best done first thing in the morning before breakfast).
  3. Make sure you’re getting enough protein. Particularly for female runners, ensuring you digest adequate protein is crucial for optimal recovery and consistent training. Aim for 1.5-2g per kg of bodyweight.
  4. Hydrate. Particularly in these chilly months, when it’s not easy to glug down litres of cold water, keeping hydrated is crucial.
  5. Keep it interesting. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is tough in this day and age of processed, sugar-laden food and making your diet interesting can feel nigh on impossible. Invest time trying new recipes and discovering new foods – it’ll be worth it in the long run, and will make keeping on track that much simpler.

Renee the Author

For those unable to get to Bath or meet up with Renee personally, you must check out her books. She’s published three that are extremely useful:

  1. Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success: Delicious Recipes and Nutrition Plans to Achieve Your Goals
  2. Training Food: Get the Fuel You Need To Achieve Your Goals Before, During and After Exercise
  3. Fast Fuel: Food for Triathlon Success: Delicious Recipes and Nutrition Plans to Achieve Your Goals

I’ve read both the Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success and the Training Food books and they’re superb. Rather than feeling like you’re being preached to, Renee empowers you to make your own nutrition choices. I came away from both having a much better understanding of what effect different foods have on my body, and how to utilise different foods to ensure I can train consistently and race at my peak.

The recipes are easy to follow and accompanied with great images. For someone who’s a fairly boring cook, they’re brilliant to add some variety to the kitchen while giving me the confidence that I’m still getting the right balance and amount of nutrients.


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