When she is not working in the office as a product development executive for Gencor Pacific, Mariko Hill is playing elite level cricket for Hong Kong team. The former national captain (for three years) has travelled the world competing against the sports best players for more than a decade.
As a world-class athlete, Hill offers her perspective on the role of nutrition in training, performance and recovery.
Insider: How important is dietary management to your training and performance?
Hill: Dietary management is very important, particularly when it comes to an elite level. As practitioners say, “A good diet can be the difference between a gold and silver medal.”
Macronutrient composition also needs to be tailored according to your sporting demands and genetics. Therefore, it is crucial to understand one’s body and how it utilizes different energy substrates to perform at its best.
We all know that good nutrition can enhance sporting performance. Therefore, having adequate energy —primarily from carbohydrates—is necessary to train and compete at peak level.
Insider: What supplements do you take and why?
Hill: I take supplements from both a recovery and performance perspective. I also take certain supplements depending on context (e.g. if injured). Some of the supplements I take as part of my daily/competition regime:
- Whey Protein Isolate: A great source of protein to provide all essential amino acids and ensure good recovery, as well as maintain and build lean muscle mass.
- Creatine: Source of energy to replenish depleted ATP. This has been essential as part of my daily supplement regime to increase strength, speed and energy. More research is also emerging on the benefits of creatine for brain health, particularly concussions (although I don’t get concussed in cricket!).
- Curcumin: Specifically our branded Hydrocurc. Curcumin is listed on the International Olympic Consensus Statement, proving it to be a beneficial ingredient for muscle recovery—specifically reducing delayed onset muscle soreness.
- Omega-3: Almost the “holy grail” of supplements. From heart health, anti-inflammatory, cognitive health and recovery, a good dose of EPA/DHA has been part of my daily routine.
- Levagen+: This is only used during times of injury. Particularly when in pain, headaches or having sore throats, it has helped reduced these symptoms, allowing me to manage my training loads.
- Caffeine: Perhaps the most studied ergogenic. This is normally in the form of coffee before a match. Enhances my cognitive performance (alertness and reaction time). I may have caffeine gum in my bag if ever needed.
Insider: Do you get sports nutrition info from social media, and do you have advice for other female athletes in this area?
Hill: I only get sports nutrition information from accredited Performance Nutritionists. There is so much content out there nowadays that athletes must be aware of the risks of following an “influencer” who does not understand the real science behind nutrition and giving general fitness/nutrition advice. I also have a BSc in Nutrition, ISSA [International Sports Sciences Association] certification and stay up to date with the most relevant scientific research by attending global sports nutrition conferences and reading review papers.