How a pro athlete trains at Christmas

27 January 2016 by
First published: 22 December 2015

I would love to say I am on total chill mode over the Christmas period, but in fact it’s just the opposite. I will be flying home to the UK in the middle of December (from my role of teaching surfing and fitness in the Canary Islands), and it will be pretty much non-stop from the time I get to London. I have some exciting meetings, shoots and promotional work lined up in London in the first few days. It’s always interesting spending time here – having just come from a little island that could not be more opposite to the hustle and bustle of the big city. I do apologise in advance to all the Londoners who will have to put up with my many questions on taking the underground.

After this I’ll be heading down to the family home on the south coast. As I will be separated from my beloved ‘mermaid duties’ for a while over Christmas, I will use the time away from surfing to work on other aspects of training and prepare my mind and body for the year ahead. I find that a break from surfing can sometimes really fuel my passion and focus to get back in the water and work on my surfing performance so much.

As long as I keep my body (and mind) active I feel I have so much more confidence once I get back into the water than if I completely took time off and did no training at all. I do try to rest and recover as much as possible over this time, as I know it’s just as important, but as I have so many projects on the go for the New Year it’s really difficult to do this.

The festive season is also one of the only times of the year when my family are all together (all seven of us siblings and my amazing mother), so I try to spend as much time with them as possible. We usually all end up going training together, or putting in some good hours at our family pub, which is always fun!

The Christmas period and lead-up to the New Year is when I really start to get my goals and plans in order for the year ahead. My schedule and plans are constantly changing and evolving throughout the year and I’m always thinking of new business ideas, which usually get written down or started but then before I know it I’m sitting on another plane ready for the ‘pre-flight safety demonstration’. When I’m home over this period I have very little distractions and can really focus on working on and completing these things.

While I’m in the UK I will be training at the beautiful David Lloyd Club on the Port Solent Marina, which has the most beautiful views over the boardwalk and marina. I feel really uneasy and anxious if I don’t see the sea on a daily basis. I miss having the feeling of salt water on my skin, so I will be clocking up some serious training time in the beautiful pool. I know it’s not the sea, but it’s water at least.

My run-up to Christmas will include a mixture of pool-based training, Pilates, spinning classes and some studio-based training. I like to keep my training sessions exciting and dynamic, so they include a good mixture of core strength and balance, upper and lower body strength, flexibility, stretching and yoga. I like to train with a more surf-specific approach in mind. But the only form of training I will be doing on Christmas Day will be eating and resting!

The period between Christmas and the New Year will consist of three or four training sessions a week, which will be the build-up to a very exciting celebrity fitness challenge that I feel honoured to be asked to host. It will be starting on 4th January and I would love you all to be a part of it.

My celebrity fitness challenge will be run in conjunction with David Lloyd fitness clubs and the British Heart Foundation. This challenge is to encourage women and girls of all ages to take part in sport and exercise, regardless of their abilities, and to help build their confidence through exercise. Ironically, the beauty of the fitness challenge is that it probably requires less time to complete than putting on a pair of trainers to go and train.

It can also be done anywhere and at any time – so there are no excuses. I will be releasing more details soon, but I can assure you it is a challenge not to be missed and is for a great cause.