What makes you feel healthy?
There are only two things that make me feel healthy: a clean diet and vigorous exercise. Whenever I feel sluggish or tired I clean up my act. I cut out sugar from my diet and I sweat it out in the gym.
How would you define your relationship with food?
I’m not an emotional eater and I generally eat whatever I like in moderation, although the worst time for me, like most women, is during my period.
I tend to get cravings for anything extremely salty or extremely sweet (usually chocolate) so to make sure I don’t go crazy I never keep these things in my house. If I want something badly enough then I’ll have to get off my bum and go and find it (this usually involves burning calories so it’s justified).
What do you believe are the cornerstones of a healthy, balanced diet?
Eat fresh. If it doesn’t grow in the ground, on a tree or if it wasn’t alive – so don’t eat it.
“I try to eat alkaline foods as much as possible as I believe that the digestive system is like any other muscle – it requires rest and recovery in order to function effectively.”
Do you follow any specific way of eating?
I exercise the 80/20 rule: I eat clean 80 per cent of the time and go crazy 20 per cent of the time. I switched to being dairy-free after the Olympic Games in 2012 as I suffered with ulcerative colitis. This really helped and I haven’t looked back since. I try to eat alkaline foods as much as possible as I believe that the digestive system is like any other muscle – it requires rest and recovery in order to function effectively.
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?
I limit the amount of carbohydrates in my diet as they make me feel sluggish and I experience energy dips during the day, not to mention the bloating and weight gain. My aim is to try to maintain steady blood sugar levels by snacking on low-glycemic index foods like apples and almonds.
Does your diet change throughout the year?
I love a slow-cooked chicken or beef stew in the winter and I always steam my vegetables. However in the summer I normally eat raw vegetables and salads as the temperature warrants something more refreshing on the palate.
What do you think are the most nutritious foods?
I could not live without avocado. I normally eat half an avocado a day, either on toast or rice cakes or in a smoothie; it’s the ultimate superfood and an amazing source of omega 6 – my hair is a lot thicker and healthier since eating avocado regularly.
“My hair is a lot thicker and healthier since eating avocado regularly.”
What is your food routine?
I eat three main meals and two snacks. I follow my own advice as per my online weight-loss subscription plan (www.thepodiumeffect.com) and it keeps me in shape all year round.
I love hummus; I could eat it with anything – it’s delish!
Are you a breakfast lover?
I love breakfast, I really enjoy making it for friends and my favourite is two eggs scrambled with turkey bacon.
I love sweet potato fries!!
What would be your biggest piece of advice for people looking to kick-start a healthier diet?
Check out my online plan at www.thepodiumeffect.com. For just £39.99 you get a 60-day workout and diet plan; our transformations are insane!
“Not everybody eats healthy 100 per cent of the time, that’s just unrealistic!”
Do you have a healthy role model?
No, I think you have to find what works for you and don’t listen to the nonsense. Not everybody eats healthy 100 per cent of the time, that’s just unrealistic! I love chips and I would never give them up!
How do you stay on track when you travel?
I always take a huge bottle of water with me and when I fly I only eat protein.
When you go out to dinner, how do you navigate the menu?
If you eat out once a week, just enjoy yourself. If you eat out more that once a week then go for fish and always pile your plate with vegetables.
Does your interest in leading a healthier lifestyle cross over into other parts of your life?
As a Fairtrade ambassador, I always look for the FAIRTRADE mark when buying products. I think it’s great to give back to local communities to ensure quality and sustainable produce for the future.
Do you cook every day?
I cook most days but I never spend more than 30 minutes; I’d rather be working.
What is your go-to meal on a busy day?
You can never go wrong with an omelette!
How did you learn to cook?
My mum owns a hotel and her home cooking has always been amazing, especially her West Indian food.
What’s your shopping routine?
Never online; rarely supermarket; mainly local where possible.
Coconut oil, hemp seeds, salt and pepper, honey.
Which ingredient was your greatest discovery and how did it transform your cooking?
Coconut oil makes everything taste a lot lighter.
What’s your exercise routine/schedule?
I run three times a week and I go to the gym to lift weights twice a week.
Do you power up for exercise with specific foods?
I normally have soy yoghurt before exercise as I don’t like to feel too full.
Do you like trying new exercise classes/trainers/trends?
I create them! I love it when people enjoy my workouts; it’s the best feeling in the world.
Describe your workout wardrobe…
Sports Luxe; it’s the same stuff I would wear to a nightclub!
Have you noticed changes to your body and health as a result of exercise?
Since retirement, my body is a lot more slender I have lost a lot of muscle tone and I feel more feminine, still strong but more feminine!
What is your greatest motivation to work out when you are feeling sluggish?
I want to feel like I did when I won the Commonwealth gold medal.