triathlete Team GB triathlon

Andy is a strong swimmer and uses this to his advantage during triathlon racing. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete and three decades in the fitness industry.

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

Events this year have been few and far between. Unfortunately, International and European Age Group races were cancelled, however I was able to squeeze in a middle distance event in the New Forest towards the end of August.

The event was organised with strict social distancing protocols and the swim starts were set up at 30 second intervals. I have a swimming background and usually I focus on the standard distance races where the swimming is a more significant proportion of the race. The weather wasn't kind to us on the day and we raced in the rain through the beautiful New Forest, and despite taking a tumble on my bike I was able to complete the course in 4 hours 49 minutes. I was pleased with my efforts and managed an overall 15th place, and recorded the fastest swim time and achieved a first in my age group.

During September I competed in a Be Endurance open water event at Herts Young Mariners Base in Cheshunt. My race was two laps of 750m and I managed to fight off the threat from the young club swimmers, who swam in my slipstream for the first 1k. The last few hundred metres were tough but I had created a sufficient gap between second place and myself to come home first.

Throughout the winter, I usually enter a few duathlons, in an attempt to keep up some race sharpness, however, after the recent government announcement, I suspect I may need to wait to race again until 2021.

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

I was a very active youngster and won several 3-legged races in the cub scouts. Like many boys of my era, my first love was playing all ball sports and I played football for my junior school at a very young age. At the age of 11, I had an unsuccessful trial at my local swimming club. Despite the assertion from the swim coach that I'd never be able to competitively swim a mile, I went on to swim for Team GB against the world record holder 10 years later.

What are your training goals now?

My two goals for next summer are to win the European and World Championships in my age group, however at this moment it's time to focus on the process of training twice a day. As a more mature triathlete, I'm working on my strength and staying fit, healthy and injury-free.

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

As a young child, I remember banging my head on the floor if I didn't get my way. Fortunately, I show a little more emotional maturity now I'm 59 years of age and I channel my determination in a less painful way.

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

Even though I wanted to be the first man on the moon and was a little disappointed when Neil Armstrong beat me to this achievement, I wish I'd had more support from my school teachers. Despite the encouragement of my parents to be whatever I wanted to be, there were few teachers in my school years that believed in my sporting potential. I had two stand-out swimming coaches who supported me to achieve my potential as a competitive swimmer. I only wish that my school teachers had shown a little more understanding of how I should best combine my education and sporting goals.

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

I don't follow a specific nutrition plan. On the whole, I eat a healthy and vegetable orientated diet. My main weakness is chocolate!

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

I'm a firm believer that motivation comes from within. First and foremost, clients need to take responsibility for their own emotional and physical well-being. I build on a person's strengths to provide them with the confidence to change things or stick to the plan, even if they occasionally slip up. Whilst goal setting plays an important part in setting out the direction of travel, I think it's important to try and enjoy the journey.

Talk us through your training regime.

My weekly regime includes an 80% and 20% blend of low to high intensity training. I incorporate some VO2 max threshold interval work with low level level endurance heart rate training. During the season, I'll introduce more race pace sets and have a little more rest, particularly leading up to races. On the whole, I train for between 15 and 18 hours a week. This may climb to around 22 hours a week in the late Spring and drop to 12 hours a week in the autumn. Each week I swim for 4 to 5 hours, bike for 8 hours, run for around 2 to 3 hours and 2 hours of S&C.

How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

I listen to podcasts, however, I've worked in the fitness industry industry for over 3 decades so I stay abreast of new developments and ideas through the trade press and media.

What are your top 3 trainer tips?

  1. Keep your weight under control without losing muscle mass and strength.
  2. Incorporate S&C and mobility work.
  3. Ensure you sleep for a minimum of 8 hours a night.

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

Chocolate ... seriously all types of vegetables!

Why work with Sundried?

I'm passionate about the planet and the environment and love the eco-friendly range of Sundried products.

Favourite fitness quote:

"Be the best you can be."