How to Train Like Toyko-Bound Olympian Genevieve Gregson

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Genevieve Gregson (née LaCaze) is a runner, two-times Olympic and World Champs finalist and in a couple of days, will be competing in her third Olympics in Tokyo. Gregson specialises in the 3000-metre steeplechase and is an Australian record holder in the event. To reach the great athletic heights that Gregson has requires a lot of determination and discipline, as well as a healthy lifestyle.

POPSUGAR Australia was lucky enough to chat to Gregson ahead of her appearance at the Tokyo Games to find out the role training and food plays in her success. Gregson was raised on a cattle farm and knows the role beef plays in her own healthy lifestyle, so it makes sense that Gregson has partnered up with Australian Beef to highlight the importance of a balanced diet.

This is everything you’ve always wanted to know about how an Olympian trains and what it takes to be at peak physical fitness. And, Gregson reveals just how you can tackle your training to improve your own health — even those currently in lockdown!

Training like an athlete

“As a distance runner, my training takes up a lot of my life. I train at least once a day, however throughout the week I will also add two to three weight lifting sessions, some double runs in the afternoons and sometimes some cross-training (pool or bike). All my main running sessions are in the morning and can be anywhere from one hour to two-and-a-half hours long from warm-up to warm down. 

“Due to my body having some injuries over the years, I do often resort to less impact training like pool running or biking. This is great for my aerobic capacity and also allows my body to have a rest from the pounding of running all the time. I sometimes add a few hours a week of cross-training as a method to stay healthy and fit.”

Eating like an athlete

“I don’t look at my meal plan as ‘strict’, however, I am very conscious of what I eat in regards to fuelling. Due to the high volume and intensity of my training as a female athlete, my main focus is on keeping my minerals and vitamins high in my diet. Therefore I have a major emphasis on protein, iron, zinc and essential nutrients in my meals. I have found making sure I have red meat or Aussie beef in my diet a few times a week is the best way to stay on top of this and keep a fresh balanced diet, along with having plenty of vegetables and fruit. 

“I am a creature of habit so to keep the process simple, I usually make a hearty sandwich after a hard training session with plenty of salad and lean meat. I rely on protein to fill me up after I have exerted myself in training so beef is a great way to do so (and tastes great!), to make sure I am recovered for the next training day.”

Mental health matters

“I think the most important part of what I do is to enjoy the journey. When training and competing at the highest level in such a gruelling sport like distance running, it is crucial to find simple pleasures in the task at hand.

“Training may be difficult at times and very mentally and physically challenging, however, I thoroughly enjoy pushing myself to new limits and seeing what my body can accomplish. I enjoy setting goals and I love the feeling of being healthy and fit as a job. Mentally, I am my best self when I can wake up every morning and train hard towards a goal so I make sure I allow myself to enjoy small victories along the way.” 

Staying motivated in lockdown

“The best advice I can give to those trying to train and stay motivated in lockdown is to create a routine! I had to do a two-week hotel quarantine last year and I knew that the best way for me to approach it mentally and physically was to plan my days around a rough schedule. This included:

  • A wake-up routine with a fresh and nutritious breakfast to make me feel ready for the day. 
  • Plenty of pilates or yoga to get your body activated and moving.
  • At least one session a day that made me sweat and detox
  • Most importantly, healthy planned meals so you don’t eat when you’re bored or snack on junk. 
  • Eat hearty meals, like red meat to satisfy cravings and not leave you hungry and wanting junk food. The more satisfied you are from the right foods, especially protein, the better your mind and body will feel each day and in essence, keep you motivated.”

Visit the Australian Beef website to find healthy Aussie beef recipes packed with protein and essential nutrients.

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