LIFESTYLE

Eniola Aluko Defied Critics To Become One Of England’s Most Successful Footballers

'Success can be a lonely place at times.'

26/07/2017 16:21

Chelsea Ladies and England forward Eniola Aluko has impressed fans on the pitch since her international debut aged just 17.

The 30-year-old Nigerian-born footballer made her Team GB debut in London 2012 for the team’s first match in Olympic history. 

In 2014, she became the first woman to appear as a TV pundit on BBC’s Match of the Day, positioning herself as a female role model in the sport.

And two years later, she made her 100th cap and was named FA Women’s Super League’s top scorer with the Chelsea Ladies.

Aluko puts down her roaring successes to pure determination, despite admitting she’s felt discouraged dealing with people who don’t want to see her succeed.

″Success can be a lonely place at times,” she told HuffPost UK. “Opposition and jealousy is a given when you are successful.”

We spoke to Aluko about getting through the tough times, and how she trains and eats in a week for the latest in our Fit Fix series. 

Eni Aluko

My Journey 🌎

What do you credit to your success in your fitness journey?  

“Success is just being able to embrace the hard work and understanding that you have to have a mindset to go through when it gets hard, so that you come out of the other side fitter, stronger and mentally resilient.”

What’s one of the most memorable moments in your career and why? 

“Winning the FA cup with Chelsea at Wembley in 2015 and winning player of the match. I was so nervous leading up to the game and on the day I gave everything I had. I was substituted at 85 minutes to a standing ovation from the Chelsea fans. That will always live with me.”

What has been your lowest point and how did you get past it?

“There have been a few times when I get discouraged with the other side of the game many people don’t see, which is dealing with people who just do not want you to succeed.

“Sometimes those people can be teammates or coaches which makes it tough, but I’ve learned that when you reach the top of the mountain, it’s better to have a smaller circle that you trust who want the best for you rather than a bigger circle that don’t.”

Getty Images via Getty Images

My Training 💪 

Talk us through your week in fitness.

“My fitness schedule depends on whether I am in-season or off-season. In season, we tend to do a really tough team session twice a week and then taper off with more technical stuff towards game day on Sunday. Off season, I train six times a week and do a lot of interval training to replicate my fitness needed as an explosive quick striker.”

What’s your favourite type of workout and why? 

“High intensity interval sessions that replicate what I would do in a game. They’re not pleasant when I am doing them though, because they are really tough and get my heart rate to maximum.”

What’s your favourite way to spend your rest day?

“I have one day off a week and tend to spend it relaxing at home, shopping, cinema, spending time with family or friends. If we have extended days off I tend to travel and have a city break somewhere in Europe for two days. I often travel to Berlin or Paris.”

Getty Images via Getty Images

My Food 🍳

What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule? 

“I follow a nutrition plan that focuses on what I should eat before and after training, including lots of good carbs like sweet potatoes and proteins such as eggs, chicken, fish. Water is really important too, I am getting better at drinking lots of water a day.”

What are your pre and post-workout snacks? 

“Pre-workout I don’t tend to eat very much because I prefer to train on a very light stomach. If I do eat, it’s usually natural yoghurt with fruit or protein pancakes with fruit.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?

“I’ve learned that you have to be as disciplined with food as you are with training. I’ve also learnt that the key to a nutritional diet is preparation of meals in advance especially if you have a busy lifestyle.”

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My Motivation 🙌

Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going? 

“I am a spiritual person and believe that I was given a gift from God to play football and inspire many people all over the world on and off the pitch. Whenever I get frustrated with what I do, I always remind myself of this amazing purpose.”

Do you always have goals you are aiming for? 

“Yes, endurance fitness for me doesn’t come naturally as I am a fast speedy player with a different energy system to a long distance runner. So my goals are always to be excellent at speed endurance i.e. being able to sprint repeatedly without too much fatigue.”

 What’s your ultimate workout track and why?

“I am more of a playlist person that likes to listen to a variety of songs when I workout but recently listening to Giggs or Kendrick Lamar gets me pumped up during a workout.”

Watch England v Portugal in the UEFA Women’s Euro live exclusively on Channel 4 on Thursday 27th July. You can join the conversation using #Lionesses and for more information visit http://www.channel4.com/programmes/uefa-womens-euro-2017

Fit Fix’ is a weekly dose of fitspiration from leading athletes and fitness fanatics. Each week we chat to stars about their weekly workouts, the food they eat and what keeps them going. 

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