Rebecca Adlington talks returning to exercise after giving birth, goal-setting and more in Rise With Us
Watch the first episode of Rise With Us on Sky Sports Mix at 8pm on Tuesday, listen to the podcast, look out for bespoke videos on the Sky Sports YouTube channel, and take part in a workout, in partnership with Fiit, using the Fitness App on Sky Q
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 11/01/21 6:41pm
In the first episode of a new Sky Sports show, Rise With Us, Rebecca Adlington joins Hannah Wilkes and talks about returning to exercise after giving birth, goal-setting, and being kinder to yourself.
Rise With Us is a new series that will be available to watch on Sky Sports, stream on the Sky Sports YouTube channel, and can be listened to in podcast form.
The programmes speak to top athletes and fitness experts to find out what makes them tick and keeps them motivated as they go about their daily lives.
We'll be digging for insight into some of their biggest achievements but also looking at their little everyday wins to get ideas and tips to help us all rise up to our day-to-day challenges.
Each episode will have an accompanying 10-minute workout video in partnership with Fiit, which will be on the Fitness App on Sky Q.
In episode one, double Olympic champion Adlington speaks to Wilkes, with Judy Murray, Hannah Cockroft, and Alice Living all featuring in the coming episodes.
"I'm not a natural gym-goer at all," Adlington said to Wilkes during the first episode. "I think everyone expects you to be able to just transfer sports and be really good at everything.
"Swimmers are like fish out of water - on dry land, we don't know what to do! I've definitely found my feet a lot more and now I absolutely love my classes and the gym that I go to [when I can].
I put my hat and goggles on, and I just gently plod up and down; I don't go for it, I don't want to race or do anything like that, I just swim, think and clear my head. It's more for my mental health that I swim, as opposed to my physical health.
"I know so many people who retire from their sport and don't really do it, because they're sick of it. I'm really lucky that I've found that love again.
"Instead of using swimming as an exercise form, it's my meditation. For me, swimming is like my yoga. I leave my phone in the locker, nobody can talk to me for 30 minutes, and I feel a little bit untouchable.
"I put my hat and goggles on, and I just gently plod up and down!
"I don't go for it, I don't want to race or do anything like that, I just swim, think and clear my head. It's more for my mental health that I swim, as opposed to my physical health."
With the current restrictions in England, and swimming pools not being readily available to all, Adlington also shared that HIIT workouts are something else that she does regularly, with the sessions being able to take place in your home.
"I love doing a session that's quick and in short bursts. I find them easy to manage with being a mum and my daughter does a lot with me," she said.
"She always asks me if she can exercise too! We don't need weights, there's nothing about it which makes me think she's in danger by doing it... so, I really like it that we can do it together.
"It's really quick as well so I don't get 'mum guilt' either! Short, sharp, quick, and perfect."
Adlington's daughter, Summer, is now five-years-old, and Britain's most successful swimmer has announced that she's now pregnant with her second child. The 31-year-old goes on to discuss with Wilkes how she returned to exercise after giving birth the first time.
"Everyone said to me that the weight would fall off, and I was waiting and thinking, it's not falling off! I did not expect how hard it was to lose weight after I gave birth," she admitted.
"So many people said that it just would naturally come off after a couple of months, and if I was breastfeeding it would... but it was such a challenge.
It took a long time; it took a good year or 18 months really, until when she [Summer] started going to nursery a bit. The thing was if she was napping, I wanted to nap! I was exhausted.
Rebecca Adlington on returning to her pre-pregnancy shape
"I gave myself that period [of time]. In exercise, you're so used to setting a goal; I must exercise three-times-a-week or do this or do that. I found that you just can't do that as a new mum.
"I couldn't promise that I would be able to workout three-times-a-week, let alone promise that to anyone else because if she had a bad night, I'm not going to exercise the next day, exhausted.
"My daughter was a terrible sleeper, she didn't sleep through the night until she was about a year old," Adlington added.
"For me, it was so important to get her schedule right and get that sleep element right, because you just can't function if you can't sleep. We eventually found that pattern and eventually I went back to the gym and started working out, and now I absolutely love it."
"Managing two kids is going to be a different challenge," she said.
"I am definitely not going to put so much pressure on myself to feel like I need to lose weight. I think, when you have the expectation [that it will happen quickly] I was left feeling really deflated about it.
"I'm not going in with that unrealistic expectation. I know now, it's not going to be easy, it's going to be a challenge. I know to just be a bit kinder to myself and do it when I feel like I need to, not when I feel like I should."
One element Adlington goes on to speak about in the episode is the exercise of goal-setting, and how it can be an incredibly useful tool.
"It's important to always have those goals, no matter what they are. Your goals could be business, personal, fitness... to have those in sight keeps you focused and they keep on giving you purpose and drive," she said.
"Goals help you on tough days. We all have low days, don't we? I think they pull you out of those low days.
"I always have goals and I've found it really important. I don't know if that comes from sport?
"I think everyone needs goals, whether you're from a sports background or not, to be honest. I just find that they really, really help me stay motivated as to what my vision is as well. So, I set them all the time.
"I don't like to make New Year's Resolutions or anything like that, because I feel like you don't stick them. Instead, realistic goals, whether that's in business or in my personal life, I always set every year because I just think they help me."
Watch the first episode of Sky Sports' brand new series Rise With Us with Rebecca Adlington from 8pm on Tuesday on Sky Sports Mix, on YouTube, and On Demand.