Five minutes with Victoria Pendleton

On cycling and her coffee obsession

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ELLE took time out to talk cycling, personal training and the new Fitness First Home Run scheme Victoria Pendleton is championing…
 
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What is Fitness First’s Home Run?

It is an opportunity for commuters and Fitness First members to be guided on routes home, around home or via Fitness First clubs, with a bag carrying service [a van takes your bags from start to finish]. It's a good way to practically get from A to B in an environment with other people. When you’re running in a group I think the time flies by and you cover a lot more ground. It’s easy to do and there’s the social aspect to it too. It’s a great opportunity to run home rather than getting the tube!

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What are your tips for getting fit?

Little and often. If you’re really pushed for time just do a little but keep it regular. There’s always a way you can squeeze exercise into your daily lifestyle, if you really look at it. And for example, running to and from work is a good way to fit exercise in.

Consistency. This is what really brings visible results.

 

Be committed to healthy eating. If you really want to see a difference then cut out sugar. Wheat or sugar is always a good place to start. Try and drink more water; that always helps, especially if you’re somebody who likes snacking - focus on drinking more water rather than eating. Keep yourself busy and active. I personally find that if I’m bored, that’s when I eat.
 

 

What do you eat for breakfast?

At the moment, home made muesli for breakfast. I roast nuts and seeds and mix with dried fruit, cranberries, Montgomery cherries and apricots chopped up into little bits and mixed with oats. I eat it with unsweetened almond milk. I’ll also have a vegetable juice and coffee. I love coffee! I love the process of making coffee, I love the smell, grinding the beans in the morning, I love that.

You’re training to be a personal trainer, have you discovered any new forms of exercise?

Loads! I’ve really been getting involved with sand bells. I started off with kettle bells, as they’re a bit more mainstream. But sand bells – amazing – they’re harder to injure yourself with, you can really throw them about, and you can do some really great functional movement with them. I love TRX as well, it’s challenging - it makes you shake - so I’ve enjoyed that.

Do you think more women should play sport?

Yes. I believe that if everybody tried enough different sports and exercises, they would find something that really clicks, that feels good, that they enjoy… If you’re competent at something you tend to get more from it. I think there is limited opportunity, and school is often your only experience, unless you have sporty parents. But otherwise a lot of people are left with a bad taste in their mouth, because their only experience is PE, which is not always very inspirational. For example climbing is fun but not many people do it, if you’ve got a good traversing wall nearby - it’s great strengthening and conditioning, and quite mentally challenging. I had a go at fencing a while back and apparently I have good skills - I was like ‘brilliant, I’ve done fencing!’ which is something I’ve never had a chance to do before.

Any advice for anyone wanting to get into cycling?

Get a great bike. Invest in some breathable kit. Ride with other people, the biggest thing about cycling is mainly confidence, and whether you feel comfortable and in control, so challenge yourself, ride in a group, rope your friends in. If you’re going to spend a lot of time on the bike take food and drink with you. Know your gears; a lot of people are scared to use all the gears and they just stay in one or two and don’t know when to use them. Choosing the right gear before you get to a hill, for example, in anticipation for it can save a lot of energy. Always carry a spare inner tube in your back pocket, two levers and a pump or you can be in trouble! Don’t think that if you’re training for an event, that spinning isn’t a great option as well, because the intensity of a spin class and the repeated interval nature of it actually gives you quite a lot of aerobic and endurance gains but in a very short block of time.

Victoria Pendleton is launching Fitness First Home Run, the guided, sociable and safe way to get fit and get home with like-minded runners, complete with a unique bag carrying service. To learn more about Fitness First Home Run or to register for a run season, visit: www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/homerun