One of the greatest privileges to come from writing this blog is the epic 1-on-1 exposure to world-class professionals operating in the health & wellness arena. From Elle Macpherson to Steffi Graf, I’ve recorded my Interviews on a special section of FitnessOnToast.com, and today I’m thrilled to reveal another fascinating insight into the life of a top-level British athlete, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, of heptathlon fame! Katarina hosted a class with my friends at BRITA which amongst other things, touched on the importance of optimal hydration – a topic I’ve written about several times on this blog; with a gruelling 7 components to master for her athletic discipline, I wanted to understand how she approaches this incredibly broad ask, and how she tailors her lifestyle to the task! She took attendees through a seriously demanding Switch7 workout for an hour, building on Hydration, Speed, Power, Strength, Agility, Stamina and Recovery. Click MORE to read our full interview…
Research by BRITA has revealed that 68% of fitness fanatics believe that their current exercise routine isn’t challenging their body, and 44% admitting they don’t understand when to hydrate optimally. A whopping 34% admitted they only hydrate once the workout is over! I spoke to Katarina about her hydration habits and her training regime more broadly. These are her responses;
F.O.T: How do you ensure to stay hydrated throughout the day?
I’m constantly drinking so it’s never really been a concern for me. It’s second nature I guess… And by the way, I don’t mean “that kind” of drink – something soft; water, juice, an energy drink etc.
How much water do you typically drink per day and how does that differ depending on training?
I try for at least 1.5 litres a day. In Montpellier, it’s been more because of the heat. It’s really important for everybody to hydrate throughout the day, no matter where they are. I usually carry my BRITA fill&go Active bottle with me which is great as means I can easily get a drink and hydrate. I make sure I drink enough water throughout the day but especially before exercise. Most people don’t and in fact, over two-thirds of people are confused about hydration when exercising.
What sort of physique – and indeed mindset – do you think you need to be a heptathlon? How does that differ from other disciplines?
In the heptathlon, there’s such a wide range of physiques that it is very difficult to say what physique you need or what is ideal. Although we are doing the same event (heptathlon), my physique may mean I’m strong in one of the disciplines but not so good in another whereas another athlete may be the exact opposite, be really strong in the discipline that I’m weaker at and be weaker at a discipline that I’m stronger in and both be good athletes. All heptathletes have different strengths and weaknesses which is what makes it so interesting and enjoyable.
How do you train effectively for so many different disciplines at one time, and does that present an increased risk of injury?
It comes down to a lot of planning. My coach sets the training plans so I go by what he says but there is a lot of structure to each of my training sessions. I have a timetable which says that one day I will work on my hurdles and high jump, for example, then the following day we may do sprint endurance training and weight training. It’s all planned out so I can train as I need to be without overdoing a certain aspect and becoming more susceptible to risking injury.
What type of training do you do aside from actually working on each particular sport?
For instance, do you do weight training in the gym and if so what kind of exercises do you do and how often? Yes I have two gym sessions a week which target almost every major muscle group in the body – think of the major compound moves, squats, cleans, deadlifts etc. Other training that’s different to track are hill runs which really work on speed endurance and push your lactic threshold.
Do you do any type of rehab training and if so could you mention what that would involve, perhaps a short key routine you do a lot?
I do a rehab session every Monday, which targets injuries I’ve had in the past. For example hamstring rolls on a yoga ball or foot drills in the sandpit. That aside, it is taking the right precautions as part of a regular routine – stretching properly, having ice-baths, getting in the correct nutrition to aid recovery.
How often do you get treatments and massage done?
Maybe twice or three times a week
If you could only perform one exercise again in your life, what would it be?
Probably running – I strangely enjoy which is handy considering I’m an athlete.
When you’re preparing for an event, do you have lucky charms or superstitions?
Just get my music ready – I make sure my playlist is how I want it to be. Other than that, I like to get everything in for that event in order and organised ahead of time so my bags are packed and I am ready.
What does a typical day in terms of meals look like (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks). How many calories do you consume roughly leading such an active lifestyle both for on- and off-season?
Maybe around 2000 calories. Fruit/porridge/protein smoothie for breakfast. Avocado and eggs on toast for lunch. Red meat or chicken or prawns and rice and veg for dinner. I will snacks on extra protein – I use SiS Whey20’s and bananas / more fruit.
Who are you female role models?
Serena Williams – she’s amazing. Nothing more to add.
How was the Rio experience?
Fab. I’m lucky in a way as my event is usually the first two days of athletics so once that’s done I get a chance to relax, go out and explore. If I get a chance to go back and explore more of South America I definitely would. I think everybody knows I love animals, I’m fascinated by them so would love to have the chance to see how they live in their natural habitat.
Do you ever struggle with motivation and if so what gets you up in the morning when you really don’t want to train?
The thought of being ready on competition day. You don’t want to go into the biggest test of your life thinking you’re underprepared / not given it your all which I think is true for most aspects of life.
Have you ever had a massive setback in your professional career, and how did you come back?
Everyone has setbacks, it’s just life. When you get over setbacks you become a proper adult.
Workout or Lie In? Lie in (not the answer you were expecting)
Yoga or Spinning? Yoga
Skiing or Swimming? Skiing
Trail or treadmill? Trail
Lazy beach holiday or active adventure? Lazy beach
LA or UK? UK
Protein or Carbs? Carbs
Blueberries or Strawberries? Strawberries
Coffee or Herbal Tea? Coffee
Blended smoothie or fresh juice? Fresh juice
High Heels or Trainers? Trainers
Heavy weights or Body weight? Body weight
Solo or Group Workouts? Solo
Occasional treat or total dedication? Occasional treat
Your favourite workout tunes? Anything Kanye!
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