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What was the biggest challenge you faced at 19-year-olds? For double Olympic taekwondo champ Jade Jones, she was busy preparing to take home her first gold medal.
Indeed, she walked away from the London 2012 Olympics with first place in her weight class. Fast-forward to 2021 and she’s since bagged another gold for Team GB from the Rio 2016 Olympics, while she’s now in training for Tokyo 2021. What a woman.
So, would it surprise you if we told you she didn’t wake up until 8am and had a nap every day? Read on to find out exactly how the Under Armour athlete’s average day pans out…
8.00am: Journalling and breakfast
‘I wake up at about 8am and do a bit of journaling. Without fail, I’ll always get a text from my mum telling me to have a good day, too. Bless her. She’s the one person I’ll talk to every single day, but I don’t use my phone much at all – my average screen time is 1 hour 30 minutes!
‘Then I’ll head downstairs for breakfast – usually porridge, cereal, an omelette, or fruit with yoghurt. I don’t have to track my macros and can eat as much as I want, but in the lead-up to a competition like Tokyo, my nutritionist will set my meals, and when it comes to cutting, my calories come down big time. The lowest they’ll go is 800 per day which, on top of training, is really tough. The news is always on in the background in the mornings, too.’
Women’s Health caveats: Extreme calorie restricting is not recommended outside of extenuating circumstances like Jade’s. Instead, focus on the quality of your diet.
9.00am: Training round one
‘On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I train for five hours a day – two and a half in the morning, and the same in the afternoon. The early sessions are always kicking, sparring and the fighting side, before a weights session or conditioning after lunch. Wednesdays are a half day, and we get weekends off, but I’ll go for a run or do some yoga then instead.
‘In my kit bag, I’ve got my pads, arm protectors, leg protectors, kick pads, a towel, toiletries, snack and a water bottle. Under Armour’s ISO-Chill range is my go-to for activewear.’
‘I’m quite boring when it comes to lunch – just meat, carbs and vegetables. I have a major sweet tooth though, so I sometimes treat myself to chocolate, sweets or a bit of cake, although I have to cut these out when the time comes since my sport is a weight class.’
See Jade’s full day in food here: What I Eat In A Week By Jade Jones
12:30pm: Nap and recover
‘If I’m not in need of physio, an ice bath or a sports massage, I’ll have a nap between training sessions one and two. I try and rest as much as I can. Besides targeted treatments and putting my feet up, it’s also mad how different your recovery is if you eat a balanced diet and have a good amount of protein at the correct times – 20 minutes after a training session is optimal.’
Women's Health explains: Research shows that the ‘anabolic window’ of 15-60 minutes after a workout is when your muscles will benefit most from the protein you consume.
2pm: Training round two
‘It’s back to training for another two and a half hours. We’re quite far away from the Olympics at the moment, so this is when we go harder for longer. Once we’re in Tokyo, we’ll literally have one session per day for an hour – it’s about being short and sharp and the fastest you’ve ever felt. That’s why everyone likes competitions, because they’re so much easier than the training.’
‘I arrive home at about five o’clock and tend to have a bit of work to finish up before I can relax for the rest of the evening.’
‘I live with my friend Bianca in Manchester, so we have a gossip and a chat about our days, or watch Netflix. Then I might have a nice bath with candles.’
‘I have my last meal of the day at 7pm, which is normally the same as lunch – meat, carbs and veg.’
10pm: Snack and sleep
‘I always have a snack at about 10pm, before going to sleep at 11pm. I aim for eight hours kip, but I try and get a little bit more and probably manage nine on average. The last thing I’ll do at night is set my alarm for the morning, apart from when we have weekends off. When we do, I’ll visit my family who live an hour away in north Wales, along with my pet Pomeranian.’
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