Name: Natasha Jonas
Occupation: Olympic Lightweight Boxer
How has your recovery from your recent foot operation been going?
The foot has heeled well and recovery is going really well, but it feels like a long, slow process to me. I'm a person who trains 3 times a day, 5 days a week so for me be doing arms and abs sessions once a day is a big difference to what I'm use to. I am at camp (GB training) this week for 3 days, training twice a day going through a loading period so I'm getting there.
What training do you do outside of the boxing ring to improve your speed?
A lot of our training is set out for us and we follow the programme, but if was to do extra training for my speed outside of the boxing ring I would do sprints, fartlek running, plyometric or ladder feet drills. I do think I benefit from Crossfit and circuit training sessions as they can contain a lot of explosive power movements over a short period of time.
What is your favorite explosive upper body exercise outside of the boxing ring?
Crossfit helped me out a lot with the technique of many Olympics lifts, especially when it came to cleans. I once had a programme in camp before the Olympics which contained hand cleans, that seemed to never end. I can't say I have a favourite but they're ones that I'm best at technique wise and relative to my weight, I got quite good at them.
What is your favorite explosive lower body exercise outside of the boxing ring?
I tend to be better with my lower body but I can't say I have a favourite lower body exercise. I think I would have to go with tuck jumps. They're explosive, powerful leg movement and burn if done for long enough. Very beneficial for a boxer.
Is there an exercise used especially by boxers that only few people are aware of?
We do an exercise where you are in a kneeling position, your legs are behind you, your hands can't touch the floor and you have to jump to your feet. At 1st I couldn't co-ordinate myself but then I finally could do it. I liked that I could see the progression and that they do actually get your legs. For all the same reasons as a tuck jump these are beneficial to boxers.
Do you have any tips for people that want to train twice a day?
I would recommend that anyone training more than once a day should keep themselves well hydrated and to make sure there's enough rest time in between sessions so that the body can have time to recover. If and where possible a power nap doesn't hurt.
What exercises would you do if you could only train one hour two times a week?
If I, as a boxer was only able to do an hour I would do a session that works out my whole body. So crossfit, kettle bell class, circuit sessions are ideal for me. But if I was to choose and individual exercise it would be swimming. There's a lot of stuff that can be done in the pool to restrict movement to concentrate on a specific body part, make harder, make easier etc. The water and your body weight itself acts as resistance, it's a full body workout, there's minimal stress on joints and muscles (which makes it great for recovering from an injury) and it's gets the lungs, well at least it does for me.
What is your view on periodisation in training?
Boxing at any level in most cases is very periodised. The ideal time scale building upto a bout is 8-12 weeks, as international athletes we don't always have the privilege of time. As competitions you're always looking to do your best in any competition but we are also aware of which are the 'important' competitions. Our training programmes will reflect this, we're always building up to big competitions.
What is your favorite healthy food to pack for lunch?
We are a weight defined sport and even when we're training we still have to be within a % of our boxing weight. For me lunch is a time to carb load and I have a new found love for sweet potato.
Is there a sport supplement that you recommend?
I believe you need to know what you're taking and for what it's purpose is. If I'm honest I use to think a lot of supplements where mind over matter before I became a full time athlete, it was only then that I could appreciate the benefits of them. Running upto the London 2012 Olympic qualifiers was a busy, physically demanding time. We had a competition every month and training was really intense. After much discussion it was decided that we should start using BFN beta-alanine. For me it really worked. However, it's really important when in your programme you start to use this as your body does need the natural adaptations you get from built up lactic acid ect. This needs to worked out as it does take some time to get into your system and has the strangest tingling sensation side effects.
What is your number one tool for fighting ice cream cravings?
Ice cream cravings are hard to overcome, but I usually get the craving for sweet things at night. Before bouts when I'm on a strict (ice-cream free diet), I would either have frozen sugar free dilute juice cubes to hand or simply go to bed.
What is in your opinion the most efficient way to recover from training?
Not everyone always has the time but in my opinion a recovery shake and a power nap is the best way to recover after a hard session. Maybe that's because I just love sleeping!
Do you already know when and where your next boxing match will be?
It's not known exactly when I'll be fit to box. As long as everything goes to plan I should be fighting fit come the spring. I'll start the slow process of getting fit after the Xmas break.
Where can people follow you online?
I have both a Facebook and twitter account and I also have my own website www.natashajonas.co.uk
First Ever British Female Boxer in the Olympic Games
Bronze Medalist from the 2012 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships
Ranked #5 in the AIBA world rankings.
Natasha Jonas photos by Neil Gavin, Steve Read and Rankin.