Women in Sport .. Rochelle Gilmore

I have had this idea on the boil for a little while now.  So when I was given this opportunity I felt that it was something that I would really like to take up on.

Without further ado ... I introduce the first post in my new "Women in Sport" series!

What I am aiming to do with the "Women in Sport" series is introduce you each month to some Australian women who are successful in their own right.  These women have set goals, and with motivation, hard work and commitment have achieved them!

I am hoping to motivate and inspire you into making health and fitness a part of your life and in turn that will help to give you more energy and strength to face the daily demands placed on you by friends, family and work.  You may even learn to love it like I do!

This month I would like to introduce you to Rochelle Gilmore.  Rochelle is an Australian cyclist and she is most definitely an inspiring woman.  Rochelle won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and in 2011 whilst competing suffered a massive fall which left her serious injuries. 

Read my interview with Rochelle below ...


Along with many other elite athletes, you started sport and training at a young age.  You have been cycling for quite some time now.  How do you keep the love of your sport alive?

I honestly feel like I’ve really fallen in love with the sport in the past couple of years.  Until now, I’ve been living in my own little world with tunnel vision - all I could see was the finish line and the podium!  Now, I enjoy all aspects of the sport.  

There was a time when I would have said that I’m a cyclist because I’m good at it.  Now, I cycle because I love it! I’ve participated in many different sports from a young age so I feel blessed that this is the road I took when it came to decision time at the age of sixteen.  I certainly haven’t looked back.

Are there times when you just don't feel like training?  How do you overcome these feelings?  Do you have a particular "mantra" that gets you out of the house?

The only times that I struggle to get out the door are the days where I can’t get out of bed due to pushing myself to the limits the previous days.  These are the days where I need to listen to my body and take a rest.

In saying this, yes there are days when I don’t feel like doing my specific efforts out on the bike (just like anyone else).  In order to get into it, I visualise how much the efforts in a race will hurt.   This encourages me to dig deep and familiarise myself with pain. Visualising works well for me - sometimes I can actually feel my legs burn when I visualise working hard on a climb or in the final kilometres.  Scientists have proven this is actually physically possible, to replicate the sensations by visualising!

Being a professional your life is all about cycling.  How do you find a balance between training, competing and other parts of your life i.e. family, friends etc.  What is your favourite way to spend your time when you get the chance to relax?

I try to attend family functions, BBQ’s etc during the summer in Australia; otherwise my social life consists of catching up with friends and team mates on tour, and the occasional function with sponsors. I enjoy going to the movies or relaxing at home watching a DVD but I also try to do some kind of extreme activity after a substantial training block of two-three weeks, just to break things up and get the adrenalin pumping. This could be track driving, surfing, go-karting, sky-diving, water-skiing, snow-skiing jet-skiing or motoX riding. These are all sports that I’ve grown up doing so I consider them no more dangerous than my profession.

You had quite a serious accident in 2011.  You have since recovered and are now back on top of your training and stronger than ever.  How did you find the courage and motivation to get back on the bike and rise again to your current elite level?

Yes, I had a heavy crash at the 2011 Giro d’Italia on stage five, in the final 200m. I fell on large cobble stones sprinting into the centre of Verona with 50-100 women at 60km/hr. The fall resulted in a severe concussion, a fractured pelvis (two places) fractured vertebra and three broken ribs. I was completely immobilised for 40 days, and had to learn to walk again, in a pool first and then on dry land. Less than one year later, I am competing competitively again at world level.

Winning and competing was my motivation. It never crossed my mind that I might not compete again.

The amount of training that you do would mean that you have a pretty serious appetite.  How do you make sure that you stay on track with your nutrition to ensure that you are performing at your optimum day in day out?

Some people count calories, I just eat what I feel like when I feel like it. If I feel heavy I might cut down on carbs in the evening.  If I feel light, I might add in an extra meal.

As athletes we become very familiar with our weight, so it’s quite easy to control.  It’s not ideal for me to ever go hungry but at the same time, I need to eat healthy, low fat foods. Diet has a HUGE impact on performance and I’m motivated by winning, so I eat for performance.  If I get carried away with indulgences I will, without doubt, struggle in races.

So, even though I need to eat a lot, I need to get into the habit of eating healthy foods for performance.

Do you have any weaknesses when it comes to a particular food and do you allow yourself "treat/cheat" days?

Yes, and yes! My weaknesses are floury products like breads and cakes.  So, I do eat bread (dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar) during tours or the night before a race. I also enjoy a chocolate in the evening so if I’ve eaten well for a few days and my weight is where it should be, I’ll enjoy a few Lindt Balls in the evening. Bad but so good at the same time!

What does your current training / racing schedule look like?

A typical training week involves 20 hours of cycling, six hours of stretching and two-four hours of core stability exercises.  The cycling hours are a mix of endurance, tempo riding, repeat power or strength efforts ranging from three seconds to six minutes, sprint training and speed training; motor-paced riding at 50km/hr or high cadence roller sessions.  Then we add in a one hour massage!

Do you have any words of wisdom, particularly for women, who find they are battling with motivation and commitment in their training routines?

Do what YOU want to do and you’ll always be happy! It’s the only way to live.

I think Rochelle's last words are the ones that we all really need to live!  Remind yourself daily!
Thanks so much to Rochelle for taking some time from her busy schedule to answer some questions and reminding us that we are all individuals and if we love what we are doing it really does make it that much more enjoyable!


Fitness Food And Style said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

How fabulous!!!! Thanks for posting XxDani

Deb said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great interview! I loved Rochelle's attitude. Very pragmatic with her exercise and food. She does what she has to do and knows the repercussions of missing a training session or eating unhealthily.

Plus coming back from such an injury! Wow! Amazing!

Thanks for sharing!

Honeybee said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Such an inspiration. Thanks for posting this.