INTERVIEW pt2. GB rower Debbie Flood talks nutrition, her favourite place to relax and how getting a new GB kit feels like Christmas

Debbie Flood, second left, with her GB team-mates. Photo: supplied

Debbie Flood, second left, with her GB team-mates. Photo: supplied - Credit: Archant

‘My plan was to row for two years and then become a vet. I rowed for 15...’

For the second part of Madeline Hurley’s interview with GB Olympic rower Debbie Flood, Debbie talks about her diet, what it’s like to be on the GB team and what the future holds…

Madeline: What is the best thing about being on the GB team?

Debbie: I would say the two best things, apart from the friends I have made, are that I have had amazing opportunities to travel the world, and also the kit. I loved getting new kit every year; it’s really cool to be able to wear your national colours and track-suit and your racing kit. It’s like Christmas!

Q: What is your diet like? What age should you start a diet for training? Are any unusual foods or drinks you had to eat??

A: So because we trained so much we had to eat a lot. I would eat 5-6,000 calories a day which is about two to three times more than the average person would eat but it’s a balanced diet so I can still have nice things.

It’s also hard to train on a full stomach so sometimes we would have to drink energy drinks.

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We have a nutritionist who comes round with us to go to different places around the world and they will make sure at the hotel or the chef at the venue is cooking things that we are used to because even when you go to the Olympic Village there would be food from every different country.

When you have finished your training session you should always try and eat something within 30 minutes after because that’s when your body wants to take on all the nutrients and that needs to be either proteins or carbohydrates depending on the type of training.

If you are burning more calories you should be eating more calories. You need to maintain a healthy body because if you want your body to perform, you need to be putting in the right fuel so you need to be healthy.

It should be a balanced diet. You shouldn’t cut something out entirely like you shouldn’t cut out fats because fats are essential in moderation. People associate the word diet with eating less but that’s not always the healthiest thing to be doing. It depends on the person and it depends on the sport.

Q: If you could go back in the past would you change anything in your career?

A: No. I trained for two years because my life plan was to finish school then row for two years and then go to the Sydney Olympics and then I was going to become a veterinary surgeon.

Even though I was disappointed about not going to the Sydney Olympics it wasn’t the right plan for me, even though at the time it wasn’t what I wanted I wouldn’t change that. I didn’t row for two years; I ended up rowing for 15. I think you learn along the way and that is part of life.

Q: Where is your favourite place to go if you went on a break?

A: Often I just wanted to go home, because we did travel the world quite a lot. If that big major event was in Europe or somewhere close I would normally come home because I liked spending time with my friends and my family which is something I didn’t always get to do when I was rowing because I was training all the time.

But, if the big event was far away like in New Zealand or Japan I know I might not be coming to these places again in the future so we were allowed to extend our flight tickets and I would stay there.

Q: Is there anything exciting coming up for you in the future?

A: I retired after London 2012 Olympics and I have had the opportunity to trial for Rio 2016 Olympics. I hadn’t intended to originally as I was officially retired. I might be in the team I might not be. I don’t know yet but I’m back for full time training now.

My other piece of advice to all school pupils is that you all have a particular gift and ability. It may be sport, it may be a subject, it may be as a great leader or researcher, it may be that you are an amazing listener or carer. Find that ability and gift that God has given you and follow that passion by working hard through the ups and downs of life.