Two-time Olympic gold medal winner, Victoria Pendleton MBE, is arguably one of the most celebrated athletes Great Britain has ever produced. On paper, she’s the epitome of what sportsmen and women dream of, having accomplished a lot of things at such a young age. Today, at 36-years-old, even though she’s retired from the sport of cycling, the native of Stotfold, Bedfordshire still finds ways to compete; this time on a different saddle.
Victoria Pendleton found a new passion in horse racing. Back in March 2015, she announced her intention to become a jockey with the aim of competing at a host of high profile events. Pendleton made her spirited debut five months after, racing and claiming second place in the Betfair Novice Flat Amateur Riders’ Handicap at Ripon Riding Royal Etiquette.
From there, Pendleton’s stock rose. She went under the tutelage of renowned horse trainer and journalist, Paul Nicholls, who also regularly contributes expert tips on Betfair and its extensive coverage of the Grand National among other events. The following year, along with her thoroughbred, Pacha Du Polder competed in other major events such as the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham, where she placed fifth. This, according to her, was “probably the greatest achievement” of her life.
In hindsight, Victoria Pendleton wouldn’t have been able to get this far without proper discipline when it comes to her diet and her training. During Pendleton’s 2014 interview with Poorna Bell of The Huffington Post, she revealed how she regularly eats healthy snacks like almond butter and olives. She also advised readers to chop up carrot sticks and dip them in hummus for another guilt-free snacking option.
Being a vegetarian, Pendleton regularly consumes either homemade muesli or granola bars or mixed fruits with yogurt for breakfast. Lunchtime normally features something like corn thin crackers, avocado, and a few slices of tomato and cheese. For dinner, Pendleton loves making Thai or Indian food heavy with vegetables, as well as other forms of protein. These cuisines also underline savoury flavour profiles.
During her cycling career, Victoria Pendleton wasn’t allowed to run as her trainers advised her against it. It was because the exercise mainly focuses on quad muscles, while running is mainly for hamstrings and calves. Also, her coaches didn’t want her to be at risk of any injury. Now since she’s retired, she puts in a lot of roadwork for cardio, jogging four or five times a week.
In terms of strength and conditioning exercises, Pendleton does body weight and kettlebell training. Her focus is to build much-needed upper body strength in order to endure the rigors of horse racing. She’s also into boxing, which perfectly combines power, speed, and cardio.
All in all, Victoria Pendleton isn’t just one of those retired Olympians who savour life after sport and give up their strict exercise and diet routine. She represents athletes who not just find different passions outside their usual ventures, but also take care of their bodies by eating right and training well. Be sure to visit Fit Bites’ blog section for more lifestyle tips, celebrity features, and healthy recipes.