Professional athlete Hendrik Pfeiffer on healthy nutrition in competitive sports

Profisportler Hendrik Pfeiffer über gesunde Ernährung im Leistungssport

Runner and professional athlete Hendrik Pfeiffer swears by delicious porridge. Yeah - we think that's great! But what else can't be missing from a competitive athlete for a lot of power? We asked Hendrik and of course we’ll tell you.

Hendrik Pfeiffer, 28

Sport: Athletics (marathon)

Best times:

  • Marathon 2:10:18h
  • Half marathon: 1:03:17h
  • 10km: 29:10min
Greatest sporting successes:
  • Olympic qualification marathon 2016 + 2020
  • Eighth fastest German marathon runner of all time
  • German U23 record half marathon (1:03:40)
  • 2x winner Cologne Marathon (2017 + 2019)

Favorite flavor: 3Bears Porridge Fine Cocoa


If you want to maintain an active and sporty lifestyle, you cannot avoid a conscious and healthy diet. Athletes in particular can get a real energy boost through a good supply of nutrients and a few simple rules of thumb.

Plant Power - recharge your batteries with plant-based products

In my personal everyday life as a professional athlete, it is of central importance to eat regularly and to eat three main meals a day - morning, lunch and evening. This ensures a consistent supply of nutrients and prevents unhealthy food cravings. Variety is key: it makes sense to make the most of the variety of foods and focus on vegetables and whole grain products. In my experience, plant-based products offer greater added value than animal products because they contain lots of healthy fiber and minerals and do not put a strain on cholesterol levels and should therefore prevail.

Hendrik Pfeiffer Training Olympia 2021

Why is whole grain good?

The big advantage of whole grain products compared to foods made from light flour or processed sugar, for example, is that the long-chain carbohydrates in whole grain products are digested more slowly and thus consistently increase blood sugar levels. Inferior carbohydrates lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, which then drop rapidly after a short time and can lead to starvation, especially for people who are into endurance sports. When shopping in the supermarket, I always make sure to choose whole-grain options, such as whole-grain pasta or whole-grain rice, and for breakfast I choose products with whole-grain oat flakes - usually porridge , which goes well with healthy toppings such as fruit and nuts.

Light, tasty and nutritious

The combination of whole-grain and nut-rich bread with avocado and goat cheese, which can be wonderfully refined with pomegranate seeds, has proven particularly successful for me in the evenings. This means I kill two birds with one stone: The food is easy to prepare, very tasty and at the same time offers me the benefits of whole grain products in combination with the enormously diverse nutrients in the avocado fruit: vitamin B1 and B6, vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, Magnesium, iron, copper and lecithin – avocados are an integral part of my nutritional routine.

When do you eat before exercising?

Especially for people who do sports, the last major meal should be two to three hours before the activity, as the body needs a certain amount of time to digest.

Hendrik Pfeiffer Pocket Porridge

In order to avoid side stitches and a feeling of fullness, foods that are difficult to digest, such as fatty foods, legumes and raw vegetables, should be avoided before major physical activity. During intensive training phases before important marathons, I also minimize the consumption of carbonated water and juices, otherwise I often get heartburn. In general, water should make up the majority of your fluid supply and you should drink at least two, preferably three, liters a day.

First work out, then replenish glycogen stores

The more intense the physical activity, the more important it is to quickly replenish the depleted glycogen stores. The body is particularly receptive in the first two hours after exercise, so a rapid supply of energy can accelerate regeneration enormously. Easily digestible products that contain carbohydrates and proteins are valuable in this phase. Potatoes with protein-rich quark have proven to be helpful for me.

Hendrik Pfeiffer

I also rely on bananas and porridge to go” in the first few minutes after a heavy workout – either as pocket porridge or warm porridge in a thermos cup .

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