Ann and David have lived and trained as ultra-distance athletes for more than 10 years. During this time, we have struggled to balance our busy work life (Ann as a corporate attorney, and later an advocate; David as a full-time student and later a teacher) with a stringent training regime, with the result that we often fueled our running with “healthy” ready-meals, protein-shakes, sugary drinks and coffee. The more we ran and the harder we trained, the less sustainable this kind of eating regime became.

In 2016, Ann finally committed to pursuing her athletics dreams. She signed up with a coach and was quickly put on an eating plan designed by her coach in which fat was banned, carbs were restricted and Ann’s primary source of nutrients became lean protein, including copious amounts of whey protein isolate. Eating ceased to be enjoyable, and food became simply fuel for Ann’s training; a toxic mindset that resulted in her cutting meals when her training hadn’t gone exactly to plan.

Following this trend, it wasn’t very long before Ann’s body entered a state known as “low energy availability” (i.e. a state of chronic calorie deficit) and thereafter RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sports). This resulted in Ann developing a stress fracture in her spine, chronic gut distress, inhibited thyroid function, depression, interrupted menstruation and, eventually, burnout… just in time for the 2019 Comrades Marathon.

David and Ann Ashworth

While working with biokineticist Tim Pearson to rehabilitate her back and a separately fractured fibula, Tim recommended that Ann start seeing Christine Rice, a registered dietitian based in Sunninghill, Johannesburg. By then it was clear that unless Ann allowed her body to heal and started fuelling it effectively, her running career would soon be over.

Christine Rice has helped Ann regain a healthy relationship with food and has shown us that if we focus on eating whole foods, healthy fats, adequate carbs and lean protein or protein alternatives, our bodies have everything they need to perform at their best. Acutely aware that many athletes, men and women alike, fail to appreciate the importance of balanced eating and the incorporation of nourishing meals into their diets (as opposed to simply topping up on supplements), Christine and Ann decided to launch athlEAT™; a sports nutrition and eating plan specifically geared to assist people just like us: hectically busy, time-sensitive, “hangry” athletes.

athlEAT™ aims to provide you with an athlete-appropriate weekly eating plan, as well as balanced dietary and supplement advice, to ensure you’re taking in everything you need to thrive. We’ll also share with you our favourite recipes, food pairings and snack options to keep you focused on your performance goals throughout the week.

athlEAT™ aims to save you time in the kitchen without sacrificing your high-performance nutrition.  athlEAT™: you are what you eat!