Pieter-Jan Hannes

The secret weapon in the diet of Olympic athlete Pieter-Jan Hannes

Pieter-Jan Hannes wants to shine in August at the Olympic Games in Rio. In addition to hard training, this 1500m runner from Antwerp has a secret weapon up his sleeve in terms of nutrition.

“Red palm oil”, Pieter-Jan Hannes reveals, is his secret to running. “Preferably Malaysian Extra Virgin, that is natural and sustainably produced.”

Pieter-Jan started using red palm oil four years ago. “Antwerp nutrition guru Peter Lamberts recommended it to me, he told me that, unlike other fats, it does not create waste when heated, that it contains more vitamins than most vegetables and fruits and actually it is better in a varied diet than its alternatives. At the beginning it seemed strange to be eating saturated fats. But now I know that Peter was right because it has recently been proven that the old theories on saturated fats, which claimed they are unhealthier than unsaturated fats, are not correct. ”

Since Pieter-Jan has been using red palm oil, his training is increasingly going better. “It’s not going to happen overnight of course, running five seconds faster by using red palm oil. But I used to be ill four to five times a year and could not continue the training. It is now already more than two years later and I haven’t had to skip a session because of the flu or bronchitis. Because I stay healthy longer, I can train more and I’m getting better. ”

Thanks to his improved health, Pieter-Jan will arrive with determination to Rio, where the 23-year-old man from Antwerp hopes to reach the final on the 1500 meter. “Last year I was already close to the final in Beijing. A final at the Olympics is possible, although the 1500m is an unpredictable race. Everything is possible.”

Read full article in Flemish here.

By Pieter-Jan Hannes

Pieter-Jan Hannes is a gold medal-winning Belgian athlete, specializing in middle-distance running. He won the European Under-23 Championships in 2013, as well as qualifying for the World Championships.