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This nutrient has several different functions within the body. First fat works as an insulator and protector of our major organs. It also aids in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as assisting in hormonal regulations. Most importantly for athletes fats are the long-term energy source.

There are three main types of fat: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products such as butter, beef, pork, lamb, poultry and partially hydrogenated oils. These fats can increase the risks for high cholesterol, heart disease, and arterial disease.

Only about 30% of an athletes’ fat intake should come from saturated fat. Mono and poly-unsaturated fats are found in corn oil, vegetable oils, canola oil and olive oil. These are considered the “GOOD” fats because they can help lower cholesterol, and reduce the risks of coronary heart disease.


Eat to Compete. Chapter 4: Protocols for Developing Diets and Meal Plans; Timing Meals with Event Protocol, pages 136-37.

Gatorade Sports Science Institue. Sports Science Exchange : Round table ; “Sports Foods for Athletes : What Works ?” Volume 9(1998) number 2.

Lafayette Sports Medicine. “Nutrition Handbook”.

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