Fit Fix: Victoria Pendleton On Being 'Gym Smug' And Why She Enjoys The Hardship Of Discipline

'I love the way working out makes me feel.'

Victoria Pendleton is a prime example of someone who is well and truly in love with fitness, health and everything that comes along with it.

She won nine world titles as a track cyclist, including gold and silver in the 2012 Olympics, before making her competitive debut as a jockey in 2015.

And there’s nothing stopping her trying new things this year, either.

“Who knows what’s out there?” she told The Huffington Post UK. “I have fallen in love with a new sport, so think of all the other things out there that I could be missing out on.”

As a woman who enjoys that “gym smug” feeling and thrives on commitment and discipline, Pendleton is giving us serious inspiration for our workouts.

To launch our new series ‘Fit Fix’, we asked Pendleton about her training, nutrition and motivation.

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Talk us through in your week in fitness

“I ride three racehorses six days a week from Monday to Saturday. I’ll spend 40 minutes riding each horse, so I’ll be at the yard for about three hours every day.

“I have a gym at home. I live in the countryside so it’s hard to get to a gym easily. I have a double garage that has a lot of stuff crammed in it and a Pilates reformer in the living room.

“If I’m racing, I don’t do much more than two additional sessions in the afternoons, whether that’s Pilates, mountain biking or on the watt bike. I do walk my dogs each morning as well for two miles.”

What’s your favourite type of workout and why?

“I do really enjoy being in the gym with other people, because I love learning new stuff. I’m not embarrassed to look like a wally trying new things and I don’t mind giving it my best shot. If I’m naff at it, I don’t mind.

“When it comes to the gym, I don’t have a lot of inhibition, because there’s no purpose to it. It’s an environment I feel very comfortable in. I underestimated how being in a gym would make me feel after I retired because that’s my place of work, but I really enjoy going back in and getting stuck in.”

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

“I don’t sit still. I’ve never been good at just stopping and relaxing. Beach holidays are my worst nightmare. I’d just like to do everything - give me a new sport to try and I’ll give it a whirl.

“I do try and rest on Sundays, unless I’m racing, but I’ll usually find some exercise to do. I like the way it makes me feel, so for me it’s something that’s a gift to myself. Taking half an hour out of your day for your body is really important. That’s my time to be mindful, to think and decompress and not be chaotic.”

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

“I have recently starting using The Mindful Chef, which is a delivery recipe box that does a vegan option, because I eat a lot of vegan food at home. I’m not a strict vegan but I would say I’m 80% vegan. I was getting bored of what I was cooking and it was an easy way to find cool and lovely recipes.

“For breakfast, I make muesli in big batches. I buy a bunch of nuts and seeds from a health food shop and have it with fruit and almond milk. I’m a creature of habit. For lunch, I’m likely to have crackers and avocado.”

What are your pre- and post-workout snacks?

“If I’m feeling short of energy, I get a massive spoonful of almond butter and eat it off the spoon, I cannot get enough of it.

“Quite often when I’m making my muesli and have all the nuts chopped up, I mix it with dates and then roll it in coconut and make energy balls.”

“Overall, I actually really enjoy the food I eat, I never feel like I’m depriving myself of anything. If someone offered me something greasy or fried, I just wouldn’t want it.

“The most important thing is if you really crave something, go and have the absolute full fat amazing version of it, don’t try and do a diet version, because if you deny yourself stuff you just feel bad.”



Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going?

“I don’t use the word motivation, it sounds like something mystical that can float in and out and you don’t have control over it. It’s more like commitment. You’re either committed or you’re not and that’s a choice.

“I am quite disciplined and enjoy the hardship of it. I love that feeling you get afterwards: the endorphins, feeling really gym smug, then going home and being able to enjoy a normal meal. You can live guilt free. Nobody wants to lead a guilty life.”

Do you always have fitness goals you are aiming for?

“This year, I am going to actually get reasonable at yoga. I know that sounds lame, but I am stiff. My career as a cyclist didn’t have a lot of flexibility work so flexibility is a weakness for me. I also want to do a handstand push up this year and learn to surf. I would love golf and tennis lessons, too.

“Who knows what else is out there? I have fallen in love with a new sport, so think of all the other things out there I could be missing out on. I’m going to try be more spontaneous and enjoy myself.”

What’s your ultimate workout track and why?

“I had different playlist for different competitions and stages. Personally, there are so many tunes that have a lot of meaning to me. I really enjoy listening to the Foo Fighters ‘Pretender’. I also can’t really imagine my life without Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s ‘Collision Course’ album. The tunes were the ones I listened to pre-Olympic in Beijing.”

Victoria has teamed up Barclays to launch Budget Bootcamps – short, effective classes to get your body and bank balance in shape for 2017. Register to win a place on a Budget Bootcamp session with Victoria in central London on 29 January by visiting Barclays Twitter and Facebook pages.

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

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