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desiree-henry

Desiree Henry: “Sport Is A Place Where You Learn How To Feel Comfortable In Your Skin”

3 MIN READ • 23rd July 2021
Daniella Gray by Daniella Gray

We spoke to the young Olympic hopeful about mental preparation, biggest inspirations and relaxing with her sausage dog.

What’s your daily routine?

“When it comes to my training and diet, I love a routine. I take seven Solgar vitamins every morning and that includes things like zinc, calcium citrate, vitamin D and iron tablets.

“I’ve had two knee surgeries, which is why taking these vitamins – calcium citrate in particular – is so important because they support the health of my bones and teeth.

“Then, if I’ve got a sprint session, I’ll have a three-egg omelette with a handful of spinach, as well as some chopped up bacon and I may have a croissant or maybe some fruit on the side. After training, I’ll have a recovery shake and my go-to lunch, which is grilled salmon, some mashed sweet potato and some asparagus. Staying hydrated is also really important, especially this time of year, and I also love a good cup of tea or a coffee in the morning to help keep me going.”

Can you give us an example of your workouts?

“The intensity of my training is very high because it’s competition season, so I’ll double-up my sessions three times a week. In the morning, I’ll come in and do a sprint session, which has so many technical elements. There are cameras at different angles watching my movement and checking the biomechanics to see where I can improve my technique.

“After these short, fast sprints, I’ll go outside to do longer running sessions, where the emphasis is still on fast movements. My gym workouts focus on explosive and fast movements, where I’ll be lifting extremely heavy weights quickly and throwing them up in the air. My training can be quite tiring, so when my coach asks: “If you aren’t doing this what would you be doing?”, I respond: “Probably sleeping!”.

How do you relax and switch off?

“When I’m not training, I love to relax with my sausage dog, Henry – he’s a lot a fun and very energetic! In the evening, I’ll my Solgar Magnesium Citrate, because I’ve found that helps me to relax and unwind completely.

“Working so intensely during the day gives me an extra push to completely relax because ultimately, recovery is just as important as the workout. If I can’t unwind and relax, then it’s going to have a detrimental effect on my performances the next day. So when I wake up, I feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to go again in the gym and on the track.”

Do you think it’s important for young girls to participate in sport?

“Sport has so many benefits and, if we just take away the physical element, it’s an opportunity for young girls to learn how to work as a team, and how to motivate themselves and others. Girls may be conscious about [how they look] but sport is a place where you just learn how to feel comfortable within your skin, because if you’re able to run fast or throw far, you’re able to look at your body and appreciate it even more.”

Who inspires you?

“The American sprinter Allyson Felix is one of my main inspirations, as she was one of the first female athletes that I can remember watching on TV. She won an Olympic medal at 18-years-old and so as a young girl watching her perform, it made me think ‘wow, this lady is just so young, and yet achieving something great at such a high level’.

“Now, and in the future, I hope to emulate her success, as she’s one of the most decorated athlete in athletics. It’s amazing for a female athlete to have a child, come back and still be able to compete on a world-class stage; it just shows that having a baby isn’t the end of your story. There’s still so much more to achieve and it’s really inspiring for people like me.”

How do you mentally prepare for something like the Olympics?

“When you’re in the best shape possible, you naturally have a sense of confidence and reassurance that everything’s going to be okay, and you’re in a position to give it everything that you’ve got. Now, I’m just doing the best to ensure that my body is in the best physical shape as possible, so that when I stand on that start line, I’m in complete competitive mode, knowing that when I go out there, it’s going to be a good performance.”

What do you hope to have achieved by this time next year?

“I hope to be able to say that I’m a two-time Olympian. With having two knee surgeries since my first Olympics in 2016 compared to where I am now, it would just be an incredible title to have for myself, and be able to show I can overcome everything despite the crazy hurdles and bumps along the road.”

Desiree Henry is an ambassador for Solgar Vitamins & Supplements (solgar.co.uk).
Meet the writer
Daniella Gray
Editorial assistant

Being able to write about everything that's important to me (exercising for mental wellbeing and delicious food, of course) to help people meet their health goals is pretty special. Before emails, I'm usually in the front-room with a dumbbell and on weekends, there's nothing better than the Kent countryside for a leisurely stroll.

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