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12 training tips from Team SB Elite

posted on Tuesday, 25th August 2015 | find under Tamara
With so many inspiring ambassadors working with Sweaty Betty, we jump at the chance to peel back the layers of their success and learn the secrets behind their most extraordinary performances. Here are the headlines you need to know on your journey to greatness…

Sweaty Betty global ambassadors

Clockwise from top left: Susie Wolff, L Boogie (centre), Stef Reid, Jess Taylor, Jess Varnish

Get to know your body clock

“I am a morning person and I always stick to the same routine when I wake up so my mind and body recognise that it’s time to perform,” says F1 driver Susie Wolff. “First I drink a vitamin juice, then without delay I do whatever training session is planned for the day. It could be a HIIT workout, neck training, Pilates or Cross Fit – what’s important is I do it first thing.”

Make time to meditate

Track and field Paralympian Stef Reid schedules a few moments of reflection into every day: “It’s important to check in with yourself. Think about what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling that way, why you’ve committed to the things on your to do list, and whether you’re living out your values.” For some, like Olympic triathlete and coach Michelle Dillon, meditation is best achieved in movement: “Running helps me get in tune with my feelings and body – I clock up at least a few miles every day to focus my mind.”

Stick with the meals you trust 

It can be tempting to change up your nutrition before an event as a last ditch effort to boost your performance, but what’s most familiar is usually best. Heptathlete Jess Taylor’s go-to pre-race breakfast comprises half a grapefruit and poached or boiled eggs on toast: “I know how my body responds to this meal and not having to worry about nutrition or energy means all my attention goes to the race itself.”

Let the mind rule the body 

There’s clear consensus among Sweaty Betty’s top ambassadors: mind is king. “In a sound body rests a sound mind. Both go hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other,” says Wolff. Celebrity personal trainer Lauren Goldberg (L Boogie) adds that a strong mind drives a strong body: “Speaking from experience, the most beneficial thing you can do in a competitive scenario (against yourself or others) is think positively and envision the result you want.”

Nail your one 1RM squat

We asked what one exercise our ambassadors never miss out. Reid left us speechless and inspired with this answer: “If there is one word I could eliminate from the English lexicon, it’s ‘thigh gap’. I have never met a world class athlete who has a thigh gap – instead the empty space is filled with mind-blowing muscle power. If I had a daughter, my advice to her would be ‘worry less about your thigh gap, more about your one rep max squat.” Off to the squat rack…

Make choices, not sacrifices 

“I absolutely love what I do and enjoy every day I spend training and working. I’ve made choices along the way to achieve this, but I would never call them sacrifices,” says Varnish. “Yes, there will be disappointments and difficulties,” adds Wolff. “But every one of them makes you stronger as an athlete and a person.” 

Be goal-oriented

“The only motivation I need is my drive to get better and better,” says British track cyclist Jess Varnish. “Every day presents an opportunity to achieve something more than the day before – and those daily goals are just as important as the long-term ones.”

… And resilient

Taylor’s coach calls her The Blonde Warrior, and for very good reason. “As a heptathlete, resilience is key because it’s very unlikely I’ll perform my best across all seven events,” she says. “But resilience is crucial in all areas. Some of my biggest successes have come during times of greatest personal struggle. This year in the Spanish National Championships, I spent all my time between events in the hospital with my dad, who had just suffered a stroke. He told me to keep going and I had to stay mentally and physically strong to stick it out.”

Sweaty Betty Michelle Dillon

Michelle Dillon enjoying the journey

... But don’t forget to enjoy the journey

“I maintain a general rule to stay committed to my goals, but recognise that well-timed breaks and the odd treat are just as important for morale and motivation. Having fun along the way is essential if you want longevity in your career and your training,” says Dillon. Reid agrees: “I have a square of dark chocolate after every meal simply because I love it. And I have a weekly coffee and cake date. I believe in committing 100% to both the goal and the journey – the two have to be interlinked.”

Surround yourself with quality support 

Recruit supporters who say it as it is. “My coach is incredibly knowledgeable, has a great sense of humour and doesn’t sugar coat it when I have a bad jump,” says Taylor. Get comfortable with constructive criticism, and welcome input from people who know how to push you further.

Dare to be different 

“Don’t always follow the flock. Dare to be different. It is so easy to get stuck in routine or over-occupied with all the small daily tasks. You need to keep sight of the bigger picture and aim for the goals that are unique to you. What do you want to be known for? What is your point of difference?” says Wolff.

Empower others in the process 

On her journey from professional gymnast to professional trainer, L Boogie learned a thing or two about empowering others: “If we don’t have our health, nothing else matters, and supporting others to make healthier choices is the best way to give back to the fitness community.” 
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