yoga Sundried activewear ambassador triathlon

Louisa is an ex-professional triathlete who now works as a physio and yoga teacher. She talks to Sundried about life in the fitness industry.

Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up. 

I don’t compete anymore but I was a professional long distance triathlete. My first long race was the European Championships in 2004 where I finished 1st in my Age Group and 8th overall.

I then did my first Ironman in Lanzarote in 2005 and came 3rd (although the first woman tested positive for EPO but we were never upgraded in position). I qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona but due to an accident I didn’t go. Despite trying to get back to pro racing, my injuries included a fractured skull and moderate/severe brain injury which meant I just couldn’t get there.

I re-thought life and retrained as a physio and now I'm a yoga teacher too. I love life.

Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

I was very active as a child, always out and about and although I wasn’t very good, I loved sport and fitness.

I took up rowing in 2000, then did a triathlon and won it. I did some races and the Scottish coach asked me to the national centre and after spending some time training, he asked if I would go professional. At that time, I was offered redundancy or another position at work (I was an exercise physiologist/lifestyle coach working with F1 drivers and teams and CEOs). For me it was a no-brainer to follow the most amazing dream of being a pro athlete.

What are your training goals now?

To be fit physically, mentally and emotionally and to be strong and happy.

Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

I was a total metal head!

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

Listen to your body.

Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

I’m vegan and have been vegetarian/vegan since I was 16. I'm careful to eat a well-balanced diet containing all essential amino acids and other nutrients hat are harder to get from plant sources. I eat regularly and take time to eat mindfully when I can.

What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?

Most clients are motivated to get better as they want to get back to the things they love. If they’re struggling, I tell them this is what’s going to get you back to your sport. You need to be strong and have control in certain areas, dependent on sport, or the body may well breakdown. I tell them why and give examples so they understand. 

For example, the importance of calf raises for runners. I explain what the muscles do, see how many they can do, and then ask them how many steps do they take on a run. If they can only do 10 single leg raises and run 10k, something's gotta give!

Talk us through your training regime.

In the morning I practise yoga and do some mobility and breathing exercises for 20-30 minutes to wake up the nervous system and get moving properly. The rest of my day consists of walking the dog, cycling to work, a full day of work, and then cycling home. In the evening, I do some form of strength training such as lifting weights, strong yoga, or a short run drill and shuffle session.

The aim of my training is to feel connected and make sure I'm moving correctly, that I'm strong in the right places, to increase muscle and bone density, and to feel better physically and mentally. I get outside as much as possible in the mountains and fells.

How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

I do lots of reading and sign up to training courses.

What are your top 3 trainer tips?

  1. Do pre-hab and mobility to keep the body strong and mobile.
  2. Breathe correctly.
  3. Listen to the body; it whispers before you hear it scream. (I love this quote).

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This is a tough one! Either carrots or dark chocolate.

What do you like about Sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?

I love Sundried's ethics. The clothing is long-lasting but most importantly the ethical garments that are fab but biodegrade quickly for when they are no longer of any use, even as a cleaning cloth.

Favourite fitness quote:

"Pain is temporary, quitting is forever."