Ever wondered how the golden girl of the velodrome stays in tip top Olympic condition? We asked her everything you need to know (and more!)
What's your fitness regime away from the track?I do core exercises at home and I've quite recently started going to Pilates, which I absolutely love. It's not high impact but I feel a really positive stretching effect. I do lots of stretching using a foam roller and balance work using stability cushions but most of my work's done at the track or in the gym.What's a typical training day at the track?I arrive at the gym at ten o'clock in the morning and workout until 12:30, I start off with a gentle cycle on a stationary bike, then I do power cleans and squats and then move on to my upper body, so pull ups and bench-presses and I finish with a core workout. Then it's lunch, protein shakes, plenty of Gatorade and training on the track for three hours. It's mainly short intense bursts, with full recovery between - that way I get maximum power output. People might watch and think 'she's not doing much' but it's very high intensity and full recovery.Cyclists obviously need strong legs, but why is it important to get a full body workout?If you're weak in the middle your technique will be a bit wobbly so you'll waste energy you could be using to propel yourself forwards going left, right and everywhere else. You need to be as efficient and fast as possible so you need to keep everything controlled and rigid. What do you eat for energy?I really struggle to put weight on and nutritionists are always saying 'Vicky, you need more muscle mass'. The problem is I can't have a massive lunch because I have to then go into a training session and push myself to the limit so there's no time for the food go down. I take lots of supplements so it doesn't feel like I've eaten a huge volume of food but I get what I need for energy. Protein recovery shakes are important and I drink a lot of high carbohydrate drinks. It's really important to get my B vitamins to help release the energy too. My biggest battle is getting enough of the right calories in the day but I have to eat, it's a part of my job.What are your food indulgences?I love pudding! I find it very hard not to have something sweet after my evening meal, it just doesn't feel complete without a bit of chocolate, or a couple of biscuits. I like baking as well, and once you've made it you've got to try it! I make this amazing sponge cake, cut into layers and spread with apricot jam and Grand Marnier then covered with dark chocolate. It's like a giant apricot Jaffa cake. Aside from cycling what other sports are you into?Growing up I used to play a lot of hockey, I did a lot of running; cross country in the winter, athletics in the summer, and I played women's rugby. I was always cycling but I was also a girl guide and an adventure scout so I loved outdoor pursuits - I used to do a lot of climbing and kayaking. I'd love to be able to go skiing now but I can't because of the danger factor, in 2013 I'll be on the slopes for the whole season! What's your power song?I always listen to The Prodigy if I'm having a low motivation day and need something to get me going. I probably listen to The Fat of the Land more than any other album that's ever existed. I've always been a big Foo Fighters fan too so there's plenty of Dave Grohl on my playlist. How do you deal with the expectation leading up to 2012? It's hard - I came second at the world championships last year but after winning a gold everyone says 'what went wrong?' and I'm thinking 'it's a silver medal at the world championships, how many silver medals have you got?' I have to appreciate that people don't necessarily understand how hard it is to produce consistently perfect performances. We're only human, you have good days and bad days, and I can't take criticism personally. In previous years nobody knew what we were doing so they didn't care - in November 2007, before winning gold at the 2008 Olympics, I completely flunked out in the World Cup but nobody knew because no one was watching. You just have to keep things in perspective, shrug your shoulders and think 'I tried my best and that's all I can do'.
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