Helen Glover has ranked as the number one female rower in the world since 2015, so she’s kind of a big deal.
The 30-year-old is a two time Olympic champion and triple world champion. She won the first gold medal for Team GB at the 2012 Games with her partner Heather Stanning and the pair retained their title again in Rio 2016.
She is a badass; so it’s no surprise that her winning streak and champion titles come alongside a pretty gruelling training regime.
Glover rarely has a rest day, and even when she does she usually spends in keeping active in some way or another.
So what does it take for the number one female rower to stay on top? We chatted to Glover about her weekly workouts and what keeps her motivated.
Talk us through your week in fitness.
“When I’m in full-time training, I train two to three times every day. In the winter when we are working on our base fitness, this will normally consist of a long (100-minute) paddle on the water, followed by an 18km row on the rowing machine and then weights in the gym.
“In the summer, our distance reduces and the intensity comes up to sprint repetitions.”
What’s your favourite type of workout and why?
“I love lifting in the gym. It is so measurable and easy to see your progression.
“I always find the gym is where I surprise myself – at the end of a tough training block when my body is totally fatigued, it’s possible to get a personal best on one of the lifts and that’s a big mental boost.”
What’s your favourite way to spend your rest day?
“Very occasionally. We get a Sunday off every three to six weeks. If I have enough energy, then I love to spend it outside paddle boarding or climbing.”
What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule?
“I eat between 4,000 – 6,000 calories when I’m in full training, so thats a lot of food. I try to eat a high protein diet to promote repair and muscle growth, as well as lots of fruit and vegetables.
“I love starting my day with a smoothie alongside my normal breakfast of toast, avocado and eggs.”
What are your pre and post-workout snacks?
“Pre-workout, I like to keep it simple. Eggs, porridge and cereal are my go-to snacks. Post-training is usually a banana and a handful of chicken or another protein source. I have a huge sweet tooth and chocolate is my favourite.
“A benefit of burning so much energy is that you can eat chocolate with absolutely no worries!”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?
“I’ve learned to listen to my body. When I over-plan my meals, I’m not always getting what I need.
“Sometimes when training is tough I’ll totally revise what I had planned for dinner and cook something quick and simple so I can get straight to bed.”
Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going?
“Yeah, ‘Win on my worst day’ would have to be what I think about the most. I try to train to make myself good enough that if I have a bad day in racing, it would still be better than a competitor’s good day.”
Do you always have fitness goals you are aiming for?
“I find it really helpful to have fitness goals. After Rio, I knew I would take a break from training but it didn’t take long for me to look for another short-term goal just to keep me motivated to train.
“I think that signing up for a triathlon, run, or any sort of challenge is a great way to keep your motivation on track.”
What’s your ultimate workout track and why?
“I love training to music. It can be a very powerful motivator. When I was training for Rio I would put on the song ‘Feel so close’ by Calvin Harris as it gave me great memories of London 2012 and inspired me to try and repeat it in 2016.”
Glover recently supported Cancer Research UK’s The Great Row that challenged members of the public to complete a sponsored indoor row.