Dr Nic Gill, low carb, low sugar and the, All Blacks

I wrote this little piece up for Facebook, and its ended up viral – mainly because the All Blacks won the World Cup. So here’s more permanent version. Enjoy.

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Many of you might know that we are in the final stages of getting our new book “What The Fat? Sports Performance” ready for publishing. It’s all about getting Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb, Healthy-Fat. We show you how to switch on fat burning and unlock your potential in a sporting and exercise context.

We’ve just put the E book up for pre-order on Amazon.

We have profiled 10 athletes – from Olympic to World champions – looking closely at what they eat and how they train. This week we want to start showing you a few of these profiles. Because we are in the middle of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, we thought we’d start with the strength and conditioning coach for the NEW ZEALAND ALL BLACKS; Dr Nic Gill.

Dr Nicholas Gill is a super high achiever. He’s extremely well qualified and credentialed in applied strength and conditioning. In Southern Hemisphere professional sport it doesn’t get any bigger than All Black’s rugby. He’s been with them as world champions and as the current world number 1 ranked team for the last four years.

Not only does he have it together academically (he supervises doctoral and master’s students at AUT), and professionally, but he also gives Ironman triathlon racing a crack. He’s pretty competitive and does it all fat-adapted on LCHF.

Check out what he has to say about ‪#‎LCHF‬ working for him in the athlete world below.

Athlete profile: Nicholas Gill

Occupation(s): Strength and conditioning coach New Zealand All Blacks rugby, gym owner, Associate Professor AUT Sports Performance Research Institute.

Sports: Elite rugby strength and conditioning coaching (All Blacks), Triathlon – Ironman last two years on LCHF with added carbs during event 9.57 and 9.51 aiming to go under 9.30 next time (personal challenges).

Nic’s favourite breakfast: Poached eggs!

What Nic has to say on changing his diet:

“Two and a half years ago I started experimenting with the Warrior diet based on the book ‘The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse for High Energy, Explosive Strength, and a Leaner, Harder Body’ by Ori Hormekler. The book appealed to me, and it meant eating pretty much whatever I wanted but in a retracted eating window at the end of the day. It’s based on primal/paleo and anthropological principals.

“I also noticed that I was often eating not because I was hungry but because of habit. I think that’s a big one for people to understand – habit not hunger driving your eating.

“After a while I discovered that the more fat I ate at night the less hungry I felt the next day and I was able to control the cravings and just generally feel better. The warrior diet transformed into LCHF with some intermittent fasting thrown in. That’s really the best diet for me. The advantages of metabolic flexibility are huge. I’m not forced to eat because I’m hungry. And in the rush of work and life I can choose to eat when I want to, not when I need to.”

“That’s about it for me. I stay high on fat, and low on carbs pretty much the whole time, except in triathlons where I have some carbs. I eat whole healthy foods. The only thing I avoid is milk. It upsets my stomach, so I’ve replaced it with cream.”

On the All Black’s nutrition environment;

“The movie ‘The Sugar Film’ has influenced the players quite a lot I think. Most of the guys now understand that we need to get the sugar out. We’ve come a long way. I would say we are in a low-sugar environment. That’s a big change. We now have nuts on the sideline after training, not lollies. I wouldn’t say we’ve made it all the way to high fat, but we have healthy fat on hand when we need it. We (the team) go through 6-7 tins of coconut oil a week. We travel with peanut butter and nut butters for the guys to use in smoothies and wherever else it can fit in”.

“I’d say most professional sports teams are now at least low sugar, lower to low carb. That’s not always high fat, but its healthy fats. Nutrition for sport is really changing fast.”

Author: Prof. Grant Schofield

I am Grant Schofield, Professor of Public Health at Auckland University of Technology and director of the university's Human Potential Centre (HPC) located at the Millennium Campus in Auckland, New Zealand. My research and teaching interests are in wellbeing and chronic disease prevention especially reducing the risk and eventual mortality and morbidity from obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. I live by the motto "be the best you can be" and have a strong commitment to peak performance in which I also do consulting work. I’ve been interested in human health and performance for my whole career. I started in psychology, went into sport and exercise psychology, then into public health, especially physical activity, then obesity. There have been some twists and turns along the way, which are the reasons for why I do what I do – you can read about those in my first blog entry. I want to know how we can be the best we can be. This crosses disciplines such as biology, medicine, pubic health, and productivity management. The cornerstones are nutrition, exercise, sleep, neuroscience, psychology and wellbeing. In my blog, I cover these topics under the broad heading of the Science of Human Potential.

10 thoughts on “Dr Nic Gill, low carb, low sugar and the, All Blacks”

  1. Great to see that the All Blacks have seen “that Sugar Film”, and are changing to LCHF. However, I really would like our teens to see that film too in schools. There is a school pack, but not accessible in NZ. Will it be, I don’t know. I do know that many school in Aus have seen it. It is still controversial and contradicts the health curriculum, which is based on the food pyramid, so not sure if the govt will allow it, even though parliament has seen it too. It’s the kids that are most at risk as nearly all the high sugar laden processed foods are marketed to kids. It’s time for change for a healthier country, not a sick country.

  2. I’m an American and I had never heard of the All Blacks. But three weeks ago, I was cruising You Tube looking for fun things to watch. I found the rugby game between NZ and England. Rubgy is a vey exciting game to watch, fast paced and wide open for sudden changes in fortune. I watched half a dozen old All Black games. Now, I find out they are LCHF. I’m definitely a fan, now.

  3. when you eat whole cane sugar in the form of jaggery (also called panela or rapadura in latin america), you will notice the night and day difference between refined sugar and whole sugar. the jaggery has got fat, nutrients and maybe even some fibre, which make all the difference.

    if you can’t find jaggery, try finding rapadura at a place that sells Brazilian foods.

  4. Hi Grant, my eyes lit up and heart starting pumping a bit faster reading this article. Would love to touch base with you and see if there is anyway in which we can work together?

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