WE’RE TALKING TO… Helen Glover MBE
The No.1 female rower in the world, 32, tells us how pregnancy is changing her outlook on life.
1. YOU’VE WON GOLD MEDALS AND SMASHED WORLD RECORDS. WHAT’S NEXT?
‘I’m still deciding, because I’m having a baby in late July, and that’s a massive life change. I haven’t officially retired from rowing as, physically, I still have a lot I can give to sport, but my mind is open to the possibility of a career change, which feels exciting. I did a half Ironman last year and qualified for the World Championships, so maybe I could do that, but I don’t know how much energy I’ll have to dedicate to training for something like that once the baby has arrived. I get a real thrill from competing, but I also love sport just for the sake of it.’
2. HAVE YOU HAD TO ADAPT YOUR WORKOUTS WITH PREGNANCY?
‘I have, but I’ve just listened to my body. My instincts as a rower were to push on no matter what when I was hurting, but that’s been flipped on its head. As soon as something feels uncomfortable, I back off. Because I was so strong before I got pregnant, I’ve been able to continue weight lifting and gym work, although I’ve stopped any high-impact work. I’ve been doing a lot of walking with my new rescue dog, though. He’s only a puppy and can’t walk very far, so we head out, come back and both have a nap! It works really well.’ 114 Health&Fitness // coachmag.co.uk
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3. WHAT’S YOUR NUTRITION PHILOSOPHY?
‘I love food, and would never banish anything from my diet. Eating healthily is key, and my staple diet includes lots of fruit, veg and fish, but eating for enjoyment and satisfaction is also important in moderation. I’m a total chocoholic, and I think one of the biggest reasons I keep doing so much training is so I can eat a chocolate bar after a workout. I was really looking forward to seeing if I had unusual cravings during my pregnancy, but I didn’t get any so I was a bit disappointed! I craved sugar a few times, but that’s normal life for me.
4. YOU MUST PUT YOUR SKIN THROUGH A LOT. HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF IT?
‘I ignored it, until I realised 10 years of being on the professional rowing circuit equated to a decade of sun and wind damage. But for the last two years, I’ve used Pretty Athletic products, which are designed for active women who are constantly sweating or showering. I couldn’t do without the Workout Glow: Hyaluronic Vitamin Tonic (£17.50; waitrose.com), which you just spritz on and wipe off to cleanse and hydrate your skin; then I add SPF.’
5. HOW ABOUT A CAREER IN ADVENTURING?
‘I’d love to forge a career from it! My husband [TV wildlife expert, Steve Backshall] and I have taken on some big challenges together – including a 24-hour kayaking endurance race for the Wildlife Trust. Sport and adventure were my two passions growing up – sport was the thing I could make a pathway with, but adventure has always been my outlet. After training, I like paddle boarding or climbing…’