As part of WOW Month, we hear from some of our colleagues on their top tips for fitness and wellbeing. This week, Robin French, Billing Specialist and Obstacle Course Racing athlete, tells us what he enjoys most from fitness, eating clean and gives some tips for beginners.
What do you enjoy most about fitness?
Fitness for me is my haven, a way to make myself better each day, and a place I feel I can be anything I want to be.
It is also about the community, being around like-minded people whether I am personal training or with a training buddy, sharing the sense of joy and achievement after a workout, run, swim is quite infectious.
Do you have any tips for beginners? How to get started?
Having a training buddy is the best way to start, they push you, encourage and motivate you, but also make you accountable as you do not want to let them down.
To get started try setting goals, sign up to a 5k run, a short triathlon, join a club, search forums, even have your family, friends, kids join you, try various sports/activities.
Always start off easy, never go to hard, too fast, or too heavy. I would absolutely advise to get a coach or a PT at the start, so as you learn correct techniques limiting the risk of injury.
What makes a good athlete?
I can only describe what I feel makes me a good athlete…
Resiliency: Being able to take the losses and the ability to learn from them. I have had many injuries and having the mindset to pick myself up again starting from the ground up is something I have had to try and master, as without resilience you lose motivation.
Focus: A strong athlete must be able to focus on their goals and the big picture, which helps them stay dedicated to their training.
Self-Confidence and Self-Discipline: You need to be able to believe you can win, with the discipline of not getting overly confident, knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
Competitive Spirit: Successful athletes enjoy winning, and it is likely that they will be competitive even in areas outside of their sport, especially work, they have that drive to do well. It also helped having two brothers, whereby running for a bus would be competitive.
Passion: To be good and have longevity you must be passionate about what you do.
What are your key nutrition tips?
Eat clean, whole foods is always best and plenty of water. I very rarely eat processed foods, especially in the run up to a race/event. Experiment with foods during training, never at a race or event.
I went on to a plant-based diet 5 years ago, and I did this by trial and error, cutting out foods, then training, seeing how I felt during and after, how I recovered, and I felt a predominantly vegan diet gave me my best results.
What's your favourite food for energy/nutrition?
I absolutely love vegetables, mainly dark greens, but you always need a well-rounded diet. An ideal diet comprises 45% to 65% carbohydrates, 10% to 30% protein, and 25% to 35% fat.
Top tip for mental well-being
- Having a healthy mental well-being is key to any success. Sports became my safe place because I struggled for most of my childhood/teenage years with my mental well-being and sports definitely helped keep my mind healthy.
- Do what makes you feel good!
- Motivational Podcasts whilst you train/work!
- If you're on social media, make sure that what you see when scrolling is positive.
- Whether you have a small circle or a large circle of people in your life, again make sure it is positive, but also GIVE. Encourage, motivate and help people, as this releases endorphins that make you feel good.