LIFESTYLE

Rio 2016: Six Team GB Women Athletes On Their Nutrition, Fitness And Wellness Ahead Of The Games

'I do up to 11 sessions of training over six days.'

05/08/2016 15:27 | Updated 11 August 2016

During the months leading up to Rio Olympics 2016, athletes have been undergoing gruelling training schedules to ensure they’re on top form for the games.

Team GB sportswomen been training more than 10 times a week, using the focus of Rio to keep them motivated.

But training isn’t just about an athlete’s fitness’ levels - it’s also about the food they eat and how they take time out to relax.

We caught up with six Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Rio this summer to learn exactly how they prepared for the 2016 games. 

Helen Glover, 30, Rowing 

Glover is an Olympic champion, triple World champion, quintuple World Cup champion and triple European champion.

Quinn Rooney via Getty Images

What is your training schedule like ahead of the games?

We keep a fairly full schedule up until about 10 days from the games, where we start to taper and recover. Until then, training is usually three sessions a day, training every day. We cover lots of miles on the water. A session on the rowing machine or lifting weights in the gym is normally the last session of the day.

What do you eat on a day-to-day basis to keep yourself fuelled?

I always start the day with a smoothie. My fiancé Steve is very good at making me a proper breakfast before my first session. At training I will have a second breakfast once I’m off the water. Lunch is a little more substantial than the average sandwich - we often have chicken and rice with vegetables. I will snack throughout the afternoon and supplement my weights session with protein gels from Science in Sport before a dinner of bolognese or something similar.

As an athlete, there are ups and downs and intense stressful periods - how do you keep balanced and motivated?

There are plenty of ups and downs. Most of your down-time is spent tired from training and it’s important to keep the big goals and smaller goals in perspective. Some days the draw of Rio is what inspires me, and on other days being able to beat a personal best in the gym is what gets me motivated.

Jordanne Whiley, 24, Tennis

Whiley was the youngest ever National women’s singles champion in wheelchair tennis at the age of 14.

Clive Brunskill via Getty Images

What is your training schedule like ahead of the games?

I train Monday to Friday from 10am to 3pm. The timings don’t change, just the content will. I do more match play and fine tuning ahead of games.

What do you eat on a day-to-day basis to keep yourself fuelled?

I’m not on a strict diet, I just eat healthy. As we burn a lot of calories over a long period of time. we mainly eat carbs and protein meals.

As an athlete, there are ups and downs and intense stressful periods - how do you keep balanced and motivated?

It’s necessary to have a hobby outside of sport (mine are singing and gardening) to keep you sane! I just remind myself of why I’m doing all this and that’s enough to motivate me.

Ellie Simmonds, 21, Swimming

Simmonds competed in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, winning two gold medals for Great Britain aged 13. 

Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Getty Images

What is your training schedule like ahead of the games?

I swim nine times a week for two hours a session. I also do two gym sessions and two core sessions as well each week. Sundays is my day of rest - so I do 11 sessions over six days. I love doing gym sessions, I have a great trainer and he makes it really fun so that I really enjoy it. 

What do you eat on a day-to-day basis to keep yourself fuelled?

Just healthy, balanced food and I can treat myself. I probably treat myself once a week or less leading into competitions because I have to focus. I have to give my body the best energy and the best fuel possible. In general, my diet is balanced so I try and get two fish a week, red meat and loads of vegetables, fruit and salads.

As an athlete, there are ups and downs and intense stressful periods - how do you keep balanced and motivated?

I try and lead a normal life outside of the pool, so catching up with friends, shopping, laying on the sofa watching films - just trying to be as normal as possible to get my mind away from the swimming. But, I think I naturally gear myself up for major competitions like the Paralympics. You just have to focus.

Amber Hill, 18, Shooting

Hill has won three gold medals in a major international competitions, including the ISSF World Cup series and the European Games held in Baku. 

Tom Pennington via Getty Images

What is your training schedule like ahead of the games?

My schedule consists of training on the range three to four times a week and working out in the gym four to five times a week. I’ve also been competing in competitions around the world including Cyprus and Qatar which counts as training. 

What do you eat on a day-to-day basis to keep yourself fuelled?

I don’t have too much of a strict diet but I obviously try to avoid all the bad stuff which includes high levels of sugar. For me, it’s more important that I am fit and healthy so it doesn’t help me to eat unhealthy food. I feel great when I’m healthy so it means I’m pretty good, but obviously I allow myself the odd chocolate treat now and then!

As an athlete, there are ups and downs and intense stressful periods - how do you keep balanced and motivated?

Working out makes me feel so positive, upbeat and motivated. In addition to this I have a great support network surrounding me including family, friends and my sponsors.

Laura Trott, 24, Cycling

Trott, who has an OBE, is the most successful rider, male or female, in the history of the European Track Championships.

Dan Mullan via Getty Images

What is your training schedule like ahead of the games?

It really varies. During the ‘strength’ phase of training, it can be anything from two hours on the track in the morning and then two in the afternoon. During ‘race’ phase, I’ll do 9am-12pm at the gym, then I’ll pop home before going back to the track from 2-5pm. We do leg presses, leg extensions and upper body but it’s mainly leg-based workouts to get stronger and bigger legs. 

What do you eat on a day-to-day basis to keep yourself fuelled?

It’s really protein heavy. We eat a protein source every two to three hours, so that can be anything from drinking a pint of milk, to eggs to meat. In the morning I might have a bowl of Special K but then I’ll have three eggs with it. At lunchtime it’ll be something like avocado on toast with eggs and with a pint of milk probably. We snack during the day, mainly on energy balls made from oats and honey. Then I’ll just have a standard evening meal, like homemade curry.

As an athlete, there are ups and downs and intense stressful periods - how do you keep balanced and motivated?

For me it’s about focussing on the next thing, if I have a crash in training I have to focus on Rio and getting myself fit for that. I unwind by taking the dogs out for a walk or spending time on the sofa with my fiancé Jason. I love doing nothing because our lives are so busy.

Siobhan O’Connor, 20, Swimming

O’Connor has represented Great Britain at the FINA world championships and European championships, and England in the Commonwealth Games.

Clive Rose via Getty Images

What is your training schedule like ahead of the games?

My usual training schedule consists of 10m, two-and-a-half hour pool sessions a week. On average I will cover 6km per session. We also have five land sessions a week: this involves three weight lifting gym sessions and two conditioning sessions. I also have physiotherapy sessions and Pilates to help with injury prevention and stability. Training is really tough.

What do you eat on a day-to-day basis to keep yourself fuelled?

The key focus is to make sure I eat enough so that I am well-fuelled and well recovered. I eat lots of fruit, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates. I do have one guilty pleasure though – Ben’s cookies! I absolutely love them but I save them for treats following good competitions and heavy training blocks. I also try to make sure I eat food that is good for my gut and for my health.

As an athlete, there are ups and downs and intense stressful periods - how do you keep balanced and motivated?

A key method for staying relaxed for me during these periods is to include a good balance of time away from the pool. I make sure I also find time to relax with my family and friends. I’m a big foodie, so I like to go out to eat and try new things. Equally I love a day lying in bed watching films. In those particularly gruelling training blocks, I relish the opportunity to do nothing but watch TV! As for motivation, there’s no better feeling than seeing your hard work paying off and achieving your goals and dreams. It’s these feelings that I strive for and I focus on during training. Being part of the Sky Sports Scholarship scheme really helps motivate me. The team are always on the other end of the phone for great advice or to spur me on when I need some encouragement. 

 

Amber Hill is part of the Christopher Ward Challengers Programme, which aims to support up-and-coming athletes achieve their ambitions.

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