My training never stops over the summer. In fact the summer is the best opportunity to build on general fitness and flexibility Ė all of which will put you in a much better place when the season starts again. Strong fitness also helps to prevent injury, which is a very important consideration.
A typical week day in the summer would start at 7.30am with a quick recording of the heart rate just to make sure its not to high. (If it is, it might be a sign Iíve been overdoing it, or that Iím coming down with something, so need to ease off.)
After a good breakfast, bowl of porridge and maybe wholemeal toast, I allow over an hour for digestion before embarking on my first of two training sessions for the day.
Over the whole day I will put in five hours training in total over these two sessions.
The first session is cycling for two hours out on the road.
Then in the afternoon at around 4pm, Iíll go to the gym and do a workout. I mix squats with deadlifts for around two hours and follow that with an hour working on my core muscles and balance Ė which is very important for slalom. For this I do sit-ups and use the fit ball for balance.
If I am lifting heavy weights in the gym in the morning, the later session would concentrate on core and balance and vice versa. Flexibility is key to include in your training schedule and one of the areas I must really make myself do as this can prevent injury in training, and release some of the muscle tension built up from the day.
I work out for five hours every day, but take Sunday off to give my body time to rest and allow me to spend time doing other things, catching up with mates or just chilling out.
If you are training a lot, a good diet with all the nutrients your body needs is essential. Itís not about restricting calories at all. For me, I need to eat as much as I can when I can. But that food I eat needs to be good, low in saturated fat and sugar, but high in protein and complex carbohydrates for strength, stamina and energy.
I eat at least four meals a day, supplemented with some protein drinks. A lot of people can get obsessed by how much to eat, when and how many calories etc. But really itís a case of eating sensibly and well and as long as itís not going to hamper my training and gives me the right nutrients then most things are fine for me.
Luckily my mum Shirley takes care of that for me and sheís a great cook, so I generally eat whatís put in front of me. Itís not always the kinds of food you might choose Ė but you have to eat well to keep in great shape.
My diet varies as well depending on what Iím doing. When I was coming up to the Etape Caledonian bike ride, I knew I was going to push my bodyís energy stores to the limit Ė so for the three days prior event, I made sure I ate plenty of carbohydrates Ė like potatoes, pasta, rice and bread, so I knew I would be able to push myself for that bit longer.
Favourite high carbohydrate dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese.
If Iím concentrating on weights, eating the right amount of protein, like meat and pulses and eggs, helps my body with muscle growth.
Favourite high protein dinner: A good old English mixed grill with a grilled chicken breast and a small slice of steak served with a big salad and boiled potatoes.