A Chat with Team GB’s Louis Smith

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Danio launch at Cannon Street”s Nuffield Health gym (if you haven”t been there, go check it out – the building is incredible!). Danio is the latest yoghurt offering from Danone – high in protein, low in calories and all in all, right up my street. I confess, I sampled all six flavours on the day (not just a spoonful from each – six full size yoghurts), which means I can confidently verify their tastiness! The strawberry, raspberry, cherry, blueberry and peach were all pretty good, but for me, the passionfruit was the big hit and (as you may have seen on Instagram) I went out and bought large volumes of it the following week.

Not only did I get to indulge in a yoghurty feast, but I was also lucky enough to participate in a nutrition workshop with TV Dietician Nigel Denby, followed by a gymnastics flexibility workshop with Olympic silver medallist, Strictly champion and Danio spokesperson, Louis Smith! Let’s say that my  flexibility was lacking – I could do the push-ups and core work all day long, but ask me to do a box splits… nuh uh. Even Louis said afterwards he was feeling a little sore, but then again, he did go beyond the remit of the workshop to humour us with back flips, handstand push-ups and a brutal iron cross.

Not about to miss a chance to get the input of such an inspiring athlete (and dancer!) – and knowing you’d all be mad at me if I came back empty handed – I subsequently arranged a mini interview with Louis, who kindly agreed to share his top fitness tips! Here’s what he had to say…

If you were limited to only three functional strength exercises, what would they be?
That”s a tough one, but I would have to say planche pushups, squats and tricep dips

How many hours per week do you train in the off-season, versus your peak season?
I”ve taken a break from full time training at the moment, but I train when I can. That means that some days I”ll fit in about two hours of time at the gym, and then others I won”t manage to fit it in at all. Per week, I”m getting about 7 hours of training in when possible. When I was working on Strictly, I wasn”t doing any of my traditional gymnastics training which was typically 32 hours a week in the gym.

What’s your favourite post-workout meal?
After a hard workout, I really need something high in protein for muscle growth and repair. I really love the new Danio yoghurt – each pot has at least 12g protein, plus a tasty layer of fruit on the bottom.

If any, which health or energy supplements do you use?
My diet is full of [enough energy-boosting] natural ingredients at the moment.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being super-restrictive), how strict is your diet during your off-season?
When I”m in the off-season like I am now, I would say my eating”s around an 8. I like to keep healthy, but I don”t deprive myself of the occasional indulgence like a meal out with friends or a dessert.

You”ve clearly maintained an incredible commitment to your sport…
What”s your top tip to my readers for staying motivated?

Little rewards definitely keep me motivated – whether that means gifting myself a night out with friends after a really hard week of workouts or indulging in foods that I wouldn”t normally allow. I find that setting goals and rewarding myself for meeting them and exceeding them, is the best way to keep motivated. Most importantly, you have to enjoy what you do. Having fun in my sport has always kept me motivated.

Wise words indeed. And to those of you who will now be incorporating planche push-ups into your workouts, I want to hear how you get on with them! Managing just one is officially on my 2013 goals list…

More pics and a video to come so stay tuned (and see Louis in action!)

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