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Sam Brand

How Instant Pot fits into the lifestyle of an athlete

Hi everyone, I am Sam Brand, a Professional Cyclist living with type 1 diabetes. I race for Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all diabetic professional cycling team! To me the purpose of what I do goes beyond the wins and podiums; the result is also defined by the changes in the lives of my teammates and I, whilst showing what is possible with diabetes. I work every day in the hope of making one more person affected by diabetes, smile more, hope more and dream bigger. Diabetes doesn’t define me, but what I do with it does.

My sporting career started as a Triathlete at University, and after three successful years representing Great Britain at Age Group level, at both the European and World Championships – I took the decision to focus on cycling exclusively in 2016. Less than two years later, I signed Pro with Team Novo Nordisk, represented the Isle of Man at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and haven’t looked back since.

Being a professional athlete means my lifestyle is manic. I am here there and everywhere at what seems like 1,000,000 miles an hour – and I love it. My job is the best in the world. I’ve built my life and career around inspiring, educating and empowering those around the world affected by diabetes.

Cycling is a full-time job and I spend up to 7 hours on the bike each day, with gym and stretching work on top of that. As I am sure you can relate, time is precious in busy lifestyles!  But cooking with an Instant Pot has given me more time back in the day and become an important training tool for my lifestyle. The Instant Pot takes care of many of the day-to-day stresses that add up (such as cooking) and as I spend so much of my day on a bike, it is one of the kitchen appliances I could not be without. Nutrition is vitally important, in everyday life for us all, and with the addition of my training it is something I focus on as a major player. The Instant Pot has allowed me to really step up with this.

Between 2018 and 2020, I raced on every continent around the world (excluding Antarctica.) Alongside what I do on the bike, with every place we visit involves outreach events to help, interact and speak with local diabetic communities. This is my privilege and I adore it, and whilst I am all over the place with Team Novo Nordisk, my life has become more convenient with an Instant Pot at home – it really is a game changer. Whether that’s delay start for early mornings or keep warm function if training has overrun; or even just the speed it takes to cook nutritious meals; the functionality, reliability and consistency of the Instant Pot, gives me the opportunity to put my time to better use, rather than the task of cooking.

With my fast paced and frantic lifestyle, spending little time in a lot of places, using an Instant Pot when I return home, make life that much easier. This week, I’ve returned home after a block of European races in Northern Italy, and due to the current pandemic, means I am now self-isolating with the home comfort of my Instant Pot. To this day, my favourite meal of the day is breakfast. It always has been, before sport or before school, it is the start of my routine, and is my go-to recipe in my Instant Pot. Depending on my training load for the day ahead, this recipe calls for just 4 ingredients in the Instant Pot.

  • 40 – 70g Oats
  • 240 – 420ml Milk
  • Sprinkle Turmeric Powder
  • Sprinkle Cinnamon Powder

Depending on how many grams of oats I am using, I always stick to the 1:2 cup ratio of oats:liquid whether that’s milk, milk alternative or water… When cooking, I use the ‘Pot-in-Pot’ method, so add 500ml of water into the inner pot with the trivet, and mix the oats, milk, and powders into a suitable dish, placed on top. Secure the lid and select High Pressure for 10 minutes with a Quick Pressure Release. Then topped with some of my favourite porridge toppings:

  • 100g frozen berries & fresh raisins
  • 20g nuts
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons of crunchy ‘Home-Made Granola’ – (Recipe for this in one of my next blog posts.)
  • Honey/Agave Syrup to taste

When I have a super busy day planned, the ‘Delay Start’ feature is a lifesaver, meaning my porridge is cooked and ready in time for my daily wake up call, setting me up for a day on the bike!

As an Instant Pot Brand Ambassador, I will be bringing you along with me on my cycling and Instant Pot journey, with a series of blog posts including recipes, nutrition, and cycling stories.

Stay tuned for what’s next!


Follow what I’m up to on Instagram @samuelnealbrand & Twitter @samnbrand

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