Whether it’s at home, or away, My Muscle Chef has Whippet’s back
It’s a long way from Summer Bay to the frigid waters of the English Channel, but this Aussie’s epic 40-kilometre swim required focus, discipline and nutrition – exactly where My Muscle Chef excels.
Ryan ‘Whippet’ Clark may not have a familiar name, but his face is, with the 39-year-old kicking off his small screen career in the 1990s as Sam from Home and Away, later, ‘Whippet’ as he became known, graced our screens again on the hit show Bondi Rescue.
Whippet’s latest performance saw the professional lifeguard take on his biggest challenge, crossing the English Channel in support of Ocean Heroes, a not-for-profit that provides support to families with Autistic children.
To learn more, our Head Dietitian, Ryan Pinto, spoke with Whippet about his approach to tackling such a ‘meaty’ task and how My Muscle Chef supported his preparation for, and recovery from the near ten-hour, 40-kilometre open ocean swim.
So where do you start when preparing for a swim like this?
The first thing you need to realise is that while the English Channel is just 34-kilometres across, winds and swells can take you miles off course, so your training must reflect the fact that you may need to swim much further. I’ve heard of one swimmer that ended up covering 70km after being blown off course.
The second thing is that the Channel is cold, 17 degrees at best, therefore most aborted attempts are because of hypothermia, so body composition and fitness are crucial.
The third is preparation, you need to be physically and mentally fit. Having a good cause in the form of Ocean Heroes gave me the drive to succeed, while the nutrition supplied by My Muscle Chef gave me the confidence to know I was getting the right fuel.
Speaking of the right fuel, what was key to your nutrition in the lead-up?
Understanding what you are preparing your body for was key and it was here the My Muscle Chef team was great. Put simply, if you are sprinting you need fast energy – carbs, sugars and the like, whereas with a longer activity you need a good mix of carbs and fat. In my case, this was endurance so I had to carefully accumulate fat stores to ensure I could swim for up to 16 hours because even a simple crossing could burn five kilograms of fat.
Working with My Muscle Chef, we landed on a good mix of protein-rich meals and shakes to support my prep – my favourite being the braised beef ragu. These were supplemented by the protein shakes which were good for my recovery as they were much easier to stomach after a long training session.
How much of a challenge was sticking to a training regime?
To say it wasn’t hard would be a lie, success in elite endeavours needs commitment and focus. By completing the Channel crossing, I have become one of only 2,750 people to do so since 1875 and benefited a great cause in the process - this wouldn’t have been possible without the right mindset and support. Where My Muscle Chef helped was in giving me back time, by providing balanced, tasty and convenient meals – and time is something we can’t buy.
How do you feel now after the crossing?
I feel great, but I will admit that I’m not ready to trade an Australian beach for the English Channel and I don’t think I’m ready to give up my braised beef ragu anytime soon either.
In all seriousness though, it’s good to know that I have raised just over $80,000 for Ocean Heroes and I’d encourage anyone that can to contribute – it’s a great cause.