Victoria Pendleton Talks Fitness And What She Likes To Eat Now She's Retired

Victoria Pendleton Talks Fitness And What She Likes To Eat Now She's Retired

HuffPost UK Lifestyle has a new crush: Victoria Pendleton. Yes, we're aware we have to fight off quite a few other admirers, but since she retired from sport, we're more interested than ever to find out what life is like for her.

What’s in your fridge today?

There are some very standard items but I love almond butter at the moment – I’m addicted to it. That’s my weakness – I’ve never been into peanut butter – and this is good stuff.

A couple of things that are always in there are olives and hummus, as snack food they are great. I just chop up some carrot sticks for the hummus and I can’t get enough. It’s a real guilt-free snack just in case you get a craving for something nice.

You've started to run - is this your favourite form of exercise?

It is at the moment. I’ve never been able to run before because as a cyclist, I was never allowed to do it for fear of injury and also it works out a completely different set of muscles. Cycling is quad based and running is for your hamstrings and calves.

I’ve really enjoyed doing something new and having no expectations of what I should achieve is just great. I don’t know what pace I’m running at and when I first started I thought: “Wow, I cannot run very far.”

On average I run about four or five times a week on a 5k loop with the dogs cross country, which I really love. I’ve always known my attention span is short – hence being a sprint cyclist – but cross country running is nice, I love looking at the horses and lambs and enjoy it more to running on roads. Because I’m very new to running I didn’t want to spend more of my time on hard surfaces, which also takes its toll on your knees. I love the clarity and focus running gives you.

Your shape looks strong - how do you maintain that strength?

At the moment, I’ve had a lot of time off the gym – I’ve had a year off weight lifting.

I’ve been doing body weight exercises and kettle bells – again – these are things I didn’t do while training for cycling because you do barbell techniques.

Now my focus is more on upper body strength and learning new techniques. I wanted to take up boxing training, there’s something that has always appealed to me, hitting pads and so on. In the past I’ve only done it for rehab reasons – that is on my list of things to do.

On average, what do you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Things have changed massively since I retired and I don’t need protein shakes or to eat 3,000-plus calories anymore.

I have granola in morning – I have homemade muesli – and yogurt with some fruit mixed in for breakfast. I love it – that’s like pudding for me rather than porridge which I find a bit heavy. It feels a little bit more luxurious.

I also have nuts and seeds - being vegetarian, I’m aware I need to keep my protein intake up or I slump and have energy highs and lows.

For lunch probably the kind of thing I’d have would be corn thin crackers, avocado, couple of slices of tomato and maybe some cheese – that’s a treat for me because as an athlete I would have to have carbs, carbs and more carbs. I love a good mezze situation.

For my tea – again, being vegetarian, I like making Thai and Indian food which incorporate stews and chickpeas really nicely, so I might make a dal or tofu curry. Then maybe a spoonful of almond butter as a treat.

What do you splurge on?

I’m still fairly new in my lifestyle as a retired athlete so the idea of picking and choosing things just for taste is still exciting. As an athlete you have a 10-meal repertoire and I had to plan everything the week before, and you work out how much protein and carbs you need.

I also only planned my food around nutritional content rather than things I fancied eating. Recently I bought Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, and I’m just enjoying the pleasure of looking at something and thinking I’d like to make it, which I wasn’t able to do before.

Favourite tipple?

I enjoy a glass of wine occasionally – maybe a couple of glasses a week. I’m not a big drinker but I did enjoy it in New Zealand which I visited recently with my mother and we were in Marlborough.

Your words of fitspiration for other men and women?

I think for me, the biggest thing about being fit and healthy is that I enjoy feeling strong and it makes me feel capable. It takes lots of hard work and effort to get there and it’s not always fun but it is worth it. A lot of the enjoyment is post exercise, when you experience the fulfillment.

If you want to change your body it’s hard but worth it. I was a very shy teenager, very awkward and I feel most of my confidence in my life has come from sport and being in sport.I feel very fortunate that I can explore that feeling of fitness and capability. I can do this. Everyone has the potential to feel like that – I think.

Victoria is involved with Samsung's new two-door refrigerator RF24. To see the contents of her fridge, click here.

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