Olympian Beth Tweddle may have retired from professional gymnastics, but that doesn’t mean she’s turned her back on the sport.
Having competed since the age of seven, Tweddle helped reinvent British gymnastics and became one of the “greatest of all time” in her category.
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and three-time World champion was given the MBE for her services in 2010 and retired in 2013.
She’s now the director and ambassador of Total Gymnastics – an academy providing gymnastics classes around the UK – and chooses to mix-up her workouts, including her favourite class: Zumba.
For the latest interview in our Fit Fix series and to mark Women’s Sport Week, we chatted to Tweddle about what workouts she enjoys and how she stays motivated.
My Journey 🌏
What do you credit to your success in your fitness journey?
“Having goals and having a great support network around me to help on those days when you are feeling a bit down on yourself.”
What’s one of the most memorable moments in your career?
“There are so many to choose from but I would definitely have to say the London 2012 Olympics. It was such an incredible experience to be able to have an Olympics on home soil.
“The amount of support that the Team GB athletes had was unbelievable. I have such fond memories from that competition and to be able to stand on the podium in front of a home crowd in my last ever competition was brilliant.”
What has been your lowest point and how did you get past it?
“I guess there are always low moments and it is how you react to those moments that make you the athlete that you are. My biggest disappointment was the Beijing Olympics in 2008 where I came 4th.
“I was devastated by that result and that’s the only result that has ever taken time for me to get over. The help and support from my family and friends was what got me through it. It took a bit of time and a holiday and then I was back and ready to go in the gym to work for the next event.”
My Training 💪
Talk us through your week in fitness.
“My training is very different to what it used to be. When I was an Olympic gymnast, I was training for 30 hours a week in the gym and my whole life was focused around that.
“Nowadays, I try and mix it up a bit and not be too strict so that I start to hate going. I try not to do the same workout each time. Some weeks I can go five or six times and some weeks maybe only two or three.
“The past year has been completely different as well because my gym work has been worked out in conjunction with my physiotherapist due to my accident [while filming TV show ‘The Jump’] last year. I am still guided by my physio as to what I can and can’t do in the gym. I like to get my workouts done first thing so I can enjoy the rest of the day.”
What’s your favourite type of workout and why?
“I really enjoy Zumba so if I can get to a class then I will and I also enjoy taking my bike out with my fiancé. It’s something that we can do together at the weekends. If you enjoy something you are more likely to want to keep doing it.”
Do you have rest days?
“Yes, even during my gymnastics career it was really important to get the rest days in to let your body but also your mind rest. I just like to catch up with family and friends as I spend a lot of time away from home working.”
My Food 🍳
What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule?
“I try not to stick to the same foods and mix things up so that I don’t get bored. I try not to snack but it doesn’t always work out that way.
“If I know I am going to be out all day and won’t be able to get access to good food, I try and make something to take with me so preparing it the night before, that really helps me. I prefer if I can to have my main meal at lunchtime and found that really helped me when I was training as well. It perks me back up and allows me to concentrate on what I have to get done.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?
“I think for me it is not restricting yourself things. As soon as you tell yourself no, it means you want it more. Find something that works for you as you are means you’re more likely to stick to it.
“Also what works for one person is not necessarily going to work for another.”
My Motivation 🙌
Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going?
“No, I am naturally a motivated person anyway so if I challenge myself to something I will just get on and find a way to do it. If people are struggling I would suggest goal setting, that works the best for me and make sure when you set the goals they are realistic.”
Do you always have body goals you are aiming for?
“Not always. I think sometimes it is nice to be able to relax and not just live to an aim. Other times, yes, I will set myself goals. I think it is different now that I am retired. When I was a gymnast I was constantly setting myself goals.”
What’s your ultimate workout track and why?
“This sounds really boring but I don’t really have one as such. I have never been the biggest fan of music, so just happen to have the radio on or the music channel on when I am in the gym.”
Beth is Ambassador for Your Life, the campaign to boost the uptake of maths and physics A Levels. Your Life has launched ‘Future Finder’, a free web-app for teenagers linking today’s A Level subject choices with tomorrow’s jobs: http://futurefinder.yourlife.org.uk.