Lizzie Armitstead goes by the mantra that having clearly-defined goals will help her stay one step ahead in her training.
That’s no doubt one of the reasons the 28-year-old has become one of Britain’s most successful road racing cyclists.
She won silver in her first ever Olympics Games in London 2012 and gold at the Commonwealth games just two years later.
She went on to win the British National Road Race Championships three times, in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and came fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
So how does a road racing champion train her body in shape to compete at such speed? Well to put it bluntly, 20 hours of training a week.
The cyclist has documented her journey to success in her new book ‘Steadfast’ to capture how she got to where she is today.
We chatted to Armitstead for the latest in our Fit Fix series about how she trains as a road cyclist and what she typically eats to fuel her regime.
Talk us through your week in fitness.
“Each week my training is different, even my nutrition changes depending on what phase I am in. An average endurance week will include at least 20 hours of cycling and a rest day.
“A more intensive week of intervals could be as little as 15 hours a week. I usually leave for training at 10am every morning after a breakfast of protein porridge.”
What’s your favourite type of workout and why?
“My favourite workouts are short and intensive, sometimes long bike rides can be boring so it is fun to suffer and finish a session quickly.”
What’s your favourite way to spend your rest day?
“I have rest days rather than easy days. I like to recover completely and not do anything to do with a bike for a full day. I love it when my husband [Irish cyclist Philip Deignan] has a rest day too and we enjoy lunch out and an afternoon on the beach.”
What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule?
“My lunch is normally a mix of protein and carb, like eggs and spaghetti. Dinner is protein and veg, normally fish and salad.
“I am a vegetarian so I have to pay special attention to my protein intake. I try to have protein at least four times a day, I eat carbs after training to restore my glycogen stores quickly. I eat when I’m hungry and try to have a balanced diet, I don’t like to do anything too extreme.”
What are your pre and post-workout snacks?
“I like to eat natural food on the bike rather than energy products. I eat every 30 minutes on the bike and drink at least a litre of water every hour.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?
“It’s okay to have those foods you can’t resist, mine would involve cheese and cookies.”
Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going?
“Be the best version of yourself as you can be.”
Do you always have fitness goals you are aiming for?
“Yeah, I am very goal orientated. I need to have a specific focus in order to stay motivated. But from an aesthetic point of view I don’t really have any goals, it is always performance related.”
What’s your ultimate workout track and why?
“I listen to anything, I really like using music, I am emotionally driven so any kind of music that makes me feel emotional is a good thing.”
‘Steadfast’ by Lizzie Armitstead is out 20 April (RRP £20) published by Blink Publishing.