After her gold and silver medal success at the London Olympics, nine times World Champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton has been enjoying some well-deserved time out from the sport and is currently fronting Fitness First's International Fitness Week. MyDaily caught up with the star in London to find out about her tips on getting fit, life after the Olympics and her obsession with beauty.
Doing exercise is your job. What advice would you give to girls who hate the idea of going to the gym?
If you really want to get a fitness routine and you struggle, I would suggest roping friends in. It makes it so much easier and once you've committed to a plan, it's hard to leave your friends hanging! Don't think that you have to stick to the same routine either. There might be something different out there that you enjoy more, plus the post exercise feeling is well worth it! Lay your clothes out, pack your bag the night before and if you arrange to meet someone at the gym – you're less likely to make an excuse and get out of it.
What's the one exercise you would recommend for improving fitness?
I'd say try exercise classes. I love spinning because it's quite a social thing and it's a brilliant lower body and core workout. I actually enjoy the really loud music and the man shouting at you! But then I do love the gym. I hated being stuck in the Strictly studio – I feel confident in the gym and I didn't feel confident on the dancefloor!
Do you ever get those days when you just can't be bothered though?
As an athlete it was never an option – it was my job and if I wasn't going to get out of bed, then there was someone in Russia or China that was. I really enjoy food though and I like eating things without worrying about it, so I think the exercise is worth it if I don't have to restrict myself or feel guilty.
Since you started your career, how do you think the perception of women in sport has changed?
I'm very lucky in that there isn't a huge deficit in the male and feel opportunities in cycling and there are a lot more females in track cycling now, but I can't say it's down to me. There were a lot of female role models at the Olympics which has really helped with aspiration. The women really did hold their own and I knew it was going to be a great year for the girls. Obviously in team sports like football, cricket , rugby – they really struggle to compete with their male counter parts. Men like to watch men which I don't understand and I think if more girls watch girls that will help. We don't really know any of the personalities in these sports because they don't get the media attention that they deserve. It's going to take generations before things change.
What have you been up to on your time off since the Olympics?
I've been on holiday since January! I've been skiing, I went to Australia. Seven months of catching up with family, just chilling.
We've seen you on the red carpet this year too. Who are your favourite dress designers?
Stella McCartney has to be one – she did so much with Team GB. I'm very lucky that I've been leant lots of lovely dresses and to be invited to two Burberry shows – amazing! Paul Smith is another designer of choice. I love all those three for different reasons, but I don't have wardrobe full of designer! Most of it is high street with the occasional bit of designer is there.
What about beauty, how do you look after your skin post workout?
I have lots of beauty products in fact, I have a small addiction. I read magazines from the back to the front - I look at the beauty pages first and then get to the fashion section. I'm really enjoying the Balance Me products. They're British made, which is exciting and exercising really dries your skin out so I love all the oils and moisturisers.
What would you like to do in the future?
I really would love to work within sport or health and fitness. I'm very passionate and I do have a small area of expertise but I need to do some study as my knowledge is cycling specific and I'd like to broaden it to have more balance and understanding. I would like to design my own cycling clothing too. I've been dressing in men's extra small my whole life – there must be a better way! I don't know if I'd be any good at it but I'm just working it out. I'd love to do something more creative.
Victoria Pendleton launches International Fitness Week powered by Fitness First which runs from the 11th March – 17th March 2013. Download the free 7-day guest pass from www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/internationalfitnessweek2013 @FitnessFirstUK #IFW