Olympic rower and mum-of-three, Helen Glover, talks about nutrition, wellness and finding balance in later life.
What’s the ‘In Bioglan Balance’ campaign about?
‘It’s all about finding balance in our busy lives, which fits well with where I am in life now. When I was a full-time athlete – and only a full-time athlete – I didn’t have balance. But having to juggle training with my children made me reassess the balance in my life and question what makes me want to be a better version of myself and, therefore, the best mum and the best friend.
‘It wasn’t until I started working on the campaign that I realised how much I’ve shifted towards finding balance in my life, rather than being that intensely focused athlete.’
How did you find balance in your life?
‘Even after taking a break from rowing after Rio, I still didn’t find balance. I wouldn’t do a triathlon; I’d do an Ironman. I wouldn’t go kayaking; I’d do a 24-hour kayak challenge. I was still in that headspace where I had to push my physicality all the time, and in my spare time, I would either train or rest with a purpose.
‘But having children forced me to slow down, and I’ve found that to be a good thing. Now, the way I spend my downtime is more thoughtful, and I listen to myself and my body. I can’t go for a five-hour bike ride with the kids, so I’ve had to look at activities we can all do together.’
What activities do you like to do now?
‘I love paddleboarding because it allows me to step into more of a wellness headspace where I look around me and chat to people on the banks as I go past. I can get a couple of my kids on one paddleboard and my husband [TV wildlife expert Steve Backshall] can take another one. It’s quite literally “balance” because you’re working on your core.
‘I’d say it’s also as good as meditation. I find it calming and I don’t think about whether it’s exercise or not, or where my heart rate’s at, while I’m doing it. It’s more about enjoying the way my body’s moving and appreciating that I’m lucky enough to be able to do this.’
Would you say your nutrition has changed much?
‘So much! When I was on the rowing team, I had to eat between 4,000 and 6,000 calories a day, which is almost too much food. In my early 20s, I ate all the cakes and chocolate to get through the day, but after the London Olympics in 2012, I addressed my diet.
‘Breastfeeding my twins for a year while in full-time training made me think about my nutrition even more, because they were taking everything they could from my body and I was expecting my body to train three times a day. I suffered from low iron levels as a result, which led to a stress fracture in my ribs.
‘Now, alongside an Iron supplement, I take the Bioglan Women’s Multivitamin (£9.49 for 60) because it’s a great one-stop-shop that helps me with hormonal balance, energy metabolism and immune function to keep my body healthy.’
Olympic Rower Helen Glover has partnered with supplement brand Bioglan for its first series ‘In Bioglan Balance’, alongside influencer Mat Carter to show how she finds balance in her busy life. To watch the series, visit @bioglansupplements on Instagram.
Words: Joanna Ebsworth | Lead image: Nick Andrews