Rebecca Adlington 10 minutes chat with London Mums
- Mums Tips
- Mumpreneurs & Mums at work
- Published on Wednesday, 06 July 2016 11:00
- Last Updated on 05 July 2016
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
If there’s one person I personally look at as a role model for a driven mumpreneur is Rebecca Adlington and I am honoured to have interviewed her for the London Mums magazine Summer issue. Read the full heartwarming interview in our latest print magazine.
Recently she was involved in the London 2016 LEN European Aquatics Championships as a coach and presenter and now she is heading to Rio to be a commentator during the Olympic Games.
In between these big jobs she has managed to inspire children leading a campaign from Disney, Change4Life and the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) that sees the launch of themed family swim sessions at hundreds of pools across the UK as well as new 10 Minute Shake Up activities inspired by the new Disney·Pixar blockbuster, Finding Dory. Rebecca was joined by her colleague and British sporting champion Tom Daley. Together they encourage children to ‘just keep moving’ like Dory in the super funny film. The charitable initiative which runs from 22nd July until 4th September aims to make exercise fun and help children get the 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity they need each day.
Double Olympic champion (2012) and new mum, Rebecca has opened her heart to London Mums about her sporting career and her work after retiring from competitive swimming as well as her experience with motherhood. I am proud of this interview and hope it will inspire a lot of families.
Q: Rebecca, what inspired you to support this campaign?
RA: Since I stopped competitive swimming a few years ago, I understand how tricky it can be to fit exercise into a busy routine – and also make it fun. As a mum, it’s even harder. But I’m passionate about inspiring the future generation to get active and that’s why I’m supporting this summer’s campaign from Disney, Change4Life and the ASA. The summer holidays can seem really long but there are loads of great ideas to get kids up and about with new 10 Minute Shake Ups, and what better way to spend time together than enjoying a family swim session where you’re learning key skills.
Q: At London 2012 you won 2 Olympic medals. Can you tell London Mums magazine an exclusive anecdote about your London 2012 Olympics?
RA: For the London Olympics I had 4 suitcases full of kit, so I tweeted a picture of my bags with all my belongings out everywhere. I wrote a caption about being there at the Athlete Village in the Olympic Park and the next day, a newspaper printed my picture and wrote “Adlington Trashes Olympic Room”. I couldn’t believe it!
Q: In the lead up to Rio Olympics a lot of pressure is put on athletes to bring back a medal. What is your recipe for success in sport?
RA: Just hard work. I worked so hard and let the swimming speak for itself. There are a lot of athletes who say a lot of stuff but I just kept my head down and let the swimming do the talking. Any time that I felt doubt or pressure, I just remembered all the work I had done in the pool and used that as confidence, and I knew that no one else in the world was working as hard as I was, and that gave me a massive amount of confidence. I think that the athletes at this year’s Olympics just need to remember what they’re doing and focus on that, and look back on the good sessions that they had and perfecting what they did in training. I had a great coach and we had a great relationship; we worked so well together because we kept the communication open and really worked as a team.
Q: You retired a few years ago from competitive sport. What will you be doing during Rio 2016?
RA:I will be flying to Rio during the Olympics to work for the BBC as a swimming pundit. I absolutely love doing live TV and I am there to give my expertise and background of the sport. I am not there to judge and put the athletes down, as that doesn’t help them nor does it help the audience watching. I will be helping people understand how the athletes may be feeling after their races and why they may be feeling like that.
Q: Last June you gave birth to your first child Summer. What are your views on body image and the pressure mums are facing to get back into shape straight after pregnancy?
RA: I think for myself, it was my first child, so I didn’t feel the rush to get back into shape. I didn’t feel like anyone was pressuring me to get my body back. I’m still not back to what I was before I gave birth, and that’s fine. When you have a baby your priorities change. As much as I love working out and going to the gym, I don’t work out every single day, I work out three times a week and that’s it, because the rest of the time I want to be with my daughter. I think it just happens over time; when she starts nursery I will have a bit more time and I can get back into the gym more, but my body is not a priority when I can just take my daughter swimming or take her to a class. I just feel that my focus is on my child and being the best mum that I can be, rather than worrying about getting my body back. I didn’t start losing weight until about 4 months after I gave birth. I put on 4 stone during pregnancy so I just took my time with it. I still have some weight to shift but I don’t feel any pressure with that. That will happen when it happens, and I need to stop loving food so much in order to do that!
Q: How has your view on life changed since having a daughter?
RA: Life is completely different! I am now much more of a worrier. I never thought I was a maternal person but now I am always worrying about Summer – what can I do for her, who can look after her if I go away for work? In the past, I could just say yes to everything, whereas now I can’t; I need to think about what’s best for my daughter. Becoming a mother makes you a lot less selfish I have my ‘mum-head’ on and I’m always wondering if she’s OK. I would say that I am really ‘mumsy’ now. I don’t worry about petty stuff in my life anymore. All my focus is on her. Whenever I’m feeling a bit stressed, she’ll just smile at me and my heart melts, and I don’t think about the stressful things anymore.
Q: What are your biggest challenges as a mum in the public eye? How do you balance your work life and your family life?
RA: One of the biggest challenges is balancing work and motherhood. I definitely feel guilty being a working mum. A lot of new-mums will take 6 months maternity but I only took 2 months. I love my work and I want to give Summer the morals and realisation that you’ve got to work to be successful and get to where you want to be. My parents both worked when I was growing up and I don’t want Summer to become lazy and think that everything is handed to you on a silver plate. I never felt I missed out because my parents worked.
Q: You are a self-professed “foodie”. What is your diet during an average working week and over the weekend?
RA: Before I retired from swimming, food was my fuel. I ate really well but huge portions of everything every single day. My mum and sister would cook things like lasagne for me and I didn’t eat bad food, as I needed to fuel my body with goodness. Since retiring, I’ve had to adapt to not eating large portions, which was tough at first, but now I eat normal portions and good food. Summer loves sweet things so she eats a lot of fruit.
Q: What is your favourite cuisine and why?
RA: I don’t have one favourite type of cuisine. I love Thai, Italian, Chinese, and Indian…anything!
Q: What is your favourite restaurant in London?
RA: I actually can’t think of one in London! My favourite two restaurants are in Spain and Sydney.
Q: If you were Queen of Britain what would you do first?
RA: I would get rid of all the traffic on the road. I hate it, it breaks me.
Q: What is your parenting style?
RA: I am definitely bad cop; I’m a bit stricter than Harry. I’m the one who has to say “no” to her more. I make sure that she has everything that she needs. I’m more practical – if harry asks ‘why is she crying’ then I go through the list of possibilities with him. Whereas Harry just loves playing with her and having fun.
Q: Where do you like to take your daughter in London?
RA: We live in Manchester so we don’t go too frequently but Harry’s from London so we go when we can. We love going to the parks and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is great fun with so much to do.
Q: What is the London attraction that you love the most and why?
RA: I just love the big parks. You can be pushed and shoved in the crowds of London one minute, and then you are suddenly in a huge park with such open spaces. Also, I’m a coffee snob so I absolutely love all the coffee places in London.
Q: Who is the person who has inspired you the most throughout your life and why?
RA: My mum. She is superwoman. My hero. She has done everything for me and has been so selfless. She has given up her whole life just so I can live my dream. Whilst doing all that, she was looking after the house and my two sisters too. She gave my sisters just as much care and attention as she did me; I don’t know how she did it.
Q: Do you have a famous celebrity crush?
RA: Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor. He’s just beautiful.
Q: Where do you like to go on holiday with your young family?
RA: I love holidays! Any of the Greek islands – I love the food and I love the people. I also adore Italy too. Anywhere that’s hot and has great food, I’m there!
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
RA: Rubbish TV… after a long day, I love just watching something trashy like Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Q: If you weren’t a swimmer, what other sport would you have chosen and why?
RA: That’s so hard. I’ve done swimming since I was 3 so I don’t know any other sport. I had to do netball and cross country in school but they never really appealed to me. Maybe tennis? It’s the other sport that I like watching the most. I love watching and going to Wimbledon, it’s just amazing.
Q: What would you recommend to parents wanting to get their children into competitive sport?
RA: I recommend that they do their research. I’m from Mansfield and there isn’t a lot that goes on there. We’ve never been around anyone who comes from sport so my parents had to research everything from where to take me for training to what to feed me etc. Knowledge really helps and not being too pushy. My parents never pushed me, it all came from me. I’ve seen pushy parents and I just feel so sorry for the child as they clearly don’t want to be there. It never ends well being a pushy parent. When I was 12, parents just handed me to my coach and let him take the reins and trusted him to know what he was doing.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
RA: I would like to be remembered as someone who was always nice and friendly, someone who has done some great things in her sport and somebody who has inspired others.
Q: What are you up to next?
RA: I will continue to do mentoring for other swimmers and I will be cheering Team GB at Rio 2016. I am soon flying to Rio to do punditry for the Olympic swimming. I am so excited as I’ve never been to South America. I really can’t wait to be a spectator rather than a participant – it’ll be a whole new experience for me.
Finding Dory – Just Keep Moving with Tom Daley
Finding Dory – #JustKeepMoving with Rebecca Adlington
Finding Dory film by Disney Pixar – Kids’ first reactions
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums