8 min read
Tom's Movember Challenge: 60 Miles for Men's Mental Health
On November 27th, Nuzest ambassador, Performance Nutritionist and athlete Tom McClure will be running 60 miles in aid of Movember. A mission to help remove the stigma around men's mental health and get more men talking about how they really feel.
Did you know?
We lose 60 men to suicide each hour, every hour across the world.
Approximately 3 in 4 (75%) suicides in the UK are by men.
1,233 men aged between 20 and 34 died by suicide in the UK during 2018. Almost 24 men per week.
4,903 men died by suicide during 2018 in the UK. More than 13 men per day.
The idea for the global men’s health initiative Movember began in 2003, the foundation hasn’t stopped growing since. Movember has funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world.
We caught up with Tom ahead of the big challenge to find out more about men's mental health, his training and how nutrition plays a large role in mental health.
We are honoured to be supporting Tom on such an important cause. You can donate here.
What about the Movember cause resonated with you?
Globally, 1 man dies by suicide every minute of every day. The rate of male suicide is alarmingly high: 3 out of 4 suicides in the UK are by men.
Throughout the month of November men are encouraged to grow their moustaches to raise awareness and spark conversation for men’s health issues, particularly prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
For me, life can be tricky managing my anxiety, stress and anger levels and grief as these can have a negative effect on my physical and mental health.
This is where the charity has inspired to speak out, have open and honest conversations with others and raise the awareness of the struggles that men face everyday in their lives.
Why is it important for men to open up and talk about their mental health?
8 out of 10 (83%) of British men find it helpful when people ask if they’re having a difficult time - yet nearly half (46%) say no one has checked to find out how they are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research.
Men are seemingly taught from an early age, either by cultural referencing around them or by direct parenting, to be tough, not to cry, and to ‘man up’. It can be be very difficult to admit you are struggling as a man.
Stronger social connections can reduce the risk of suicide.
Life can throw us curveballs. Yet even when things seem tough, there’s a lot we can do to look after ourselves and others. Trust your instinct. Remember, often people say "I'm fine" when they’re not, so don't be afraid to ask twice. You can use something specific you’ve noticed, like, "It’s just that you haven’t been replying to my texts, and that’s not like you."
How can people get involved with Movember?
You Grow (a Mo!), Move (60km or 60miles, across the month) or Host (a fundraising event!) – solo or in a team!
Head to the Movember website for all the information you need to get setup, find an event near you or learn more about the areas the charity is active with.
With the money people raise, the charity delivers groundbreaking health projects across mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer – 1,250 projects so far!
How are you training for the 60 mile challenge?
Training for this specific event started back in April, slowly increasing my endurance, while still training for overall strength concurrently. I typically run 4 times per week. My shortest and most intense runs (e.g. intervals and speed sessions) take place at the start of the week, with my longest and less intense sessions at the end of the week.
A typical week in the gym will include 3-4 strength based sessions, focusing on improving leg strength and muscular endurance. I also focus on maintaining a strong upper body and core - important to support a superior posture, therefore improving running gait and efficiency.
These sessions essentially help me to proof my body for the miles I put it through across the week. Looking back, I fell back in love with running again during the first lockdown. It gave me time outside, where I could appreciate the world around me. Running helps me to make me more resilient, alongside improving my physical and mental strength.
Our bodies were born to move from A to B, I like the fact running is about me vs me, proving to myself what I am capable of when having a goal to chase after!
Do you think nutrition contributes to mental health?
Whatever you goals, it’s important to understand and remember the principles that underpin a good nutrition plan before getting lost in the details. Ensuring that I am eating the right amount, of the right foods, consistently to support my daily energy requirements. Focusing on good quality protein and at least 3 different colours (from fruits and vegetables!) at every meal. Adequate hydration every day. Enough restorative sleep.
Your brain, like other organs, responds to what you eat and drink. It needs several vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy. If you deprive your brain of these essential nutrients, it can’t function properly.
Aim to eat a wide variety of foods that are rich in essential nutrients, such as:
- Vitamin C: citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables
- Vitamin D: salmon, cod, shrimp, eggs, and fortified products
- B vitamins: red meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables
- Magnesium, selenium, and zinc: nuts, seeds, whole grains, green vegetables, and fish
- Carbohydrates: whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, quinoa, millet, legumes, and starchy vegetables, such potatoes, corn, peas, and winter squash
- Tryptophan: lean red meat, poultry, eggs, and beans
- Phenylalanine: lean red meat, chicken, eggs, dairy products, soybeans, and seeds
- Omega-3 fatty acids: salmon, trout, tuna, beans, walnuts, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cantaloupe, chia and flax seeds