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An Interview With Olympic Rower Jeanine Gmelin

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Name Jeannine Gmelin
Location Zürich, Switzerland
Goal #1 eat to perform, #2 better my power to weight ration #3 get a little leaner
Sport (if applicable) Rowing (women’s heavyweight single scull)

Q: Why did you decide to join Team WAG?

A: Before I competed in the Olympics in 2016 I was already asking myself what changes I can make to get out the most of the next quadrennial. I compete in the heavyweight category, which means I do not have to be at a certain weight, but I am really small compared to all the tall girls around me, so I have to have the best power to weight ratio. I heard about WAG for the first time on Instagram and I tried to figure out as much as possible about the program. The amazing results I saw from professional athletes, as well as “normal“ people, were the reason I finally decided to give it a go. And it was one of the best decisions I could’ve made.

Q: Was there anything about the program that surprised you?

A: To be honest I was surprised by how much influence it can have not only on your performance but on life in general when you fuel your body properly. As an athlete, I always thought I was "on the healthy side.” I was not completely wrong with what I ate but I had no idea about the macronutrients of certain food and ended up realizing that eating healthy does not mean that you are fueling your body properly. Working with my amazing coach Kate Hart and being a part of such an awesome community was also kind of a nice surprise. They both had a huge impact on my experience with WAG so far. Kate because she always has advice for me and I could not ask for more encouragement and the community simply by showing vulnerability, sharing the struggle, the success and helping each other - that is really inspiring to me. What I absolutely love about WAG is that it is not only about losing/gaining weight. It is about growing, evolving, striving and learning in every aspect of life.

Q: As an athlete, your training schedule is intense and varied. How have you managed to stay on track while balancing all of your commitments?

A: I try to look at my nutrition like I approach my training. I’m always trying to do my best. On some days my best is less than on other days but to me, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about the road between now and your goal and all the experiences along the way. I always have some snacks around that I know fit my macros so when my schedule gets busy that helps me a lot. I learned to plan ahead and to accept that I sometimes cannot have the fancy food or have to eat a lot of the same stuff, but in return, it helps me to get closer to my goal (an Olympic medal).

Q: How has your performance in the gym been affected by tracking, if at all?

A: We do not have too much in the terms of benchmark workouts but we do a lot of weight training and our number one test to measure improvements is a max 2k on the Concept2 rower. My weights in the gym have gotten stronger, before Christmas I PR’d my 2k at the lowest body weight in 6 years and all of the bodyweight workouts such as pull-ups, push-ups and even running have gotten a lot easier. I have a very good general feeling about my body and in my opinion, my body is working much more effectively since I fuel it the right way.

One big advantage I could notice outside the gym was my energy level, which has been much higher and I feel less tired than I used to.

Q: What has been the biggest change you've made in your lifestyle since joining?

A: I look at food a lot differently. Food used to be something to enjoy, something I used to reward myself after a hard training day or training week. A lot of activities with my friends were related to food as well. Food is still playing a big role in my life but having the tools to control what and how much I put into my body has not only changed the way I look at food but also how I deal with it. I see it as something that helps me reach my goals and live a healthy life. I did not lose a lot of weight but my body composition has definitely changed and I really like how my body looks. Through WAG I learned to love my body with all its imperfections because it helps me to be the Olympic rower I am.

Q: What advice do you have for other people considering hiring a nutrition coach?

A: I could not have done it without the help of Kate, especially in the beginning since all the information was a bit overwhelming. In my opinion, it is very helpful to have someone on your side to guide you through the process and give you advice on how to approach your nutrition goals. You still have to do the work on your own but knowing that all my questions are answered by someone who has a lot of knowledge makes it so much easier for me. Even though as an athlete I am used to being consistent, the accountability has had a big impact.

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Posted by Chavanne Cazayoux

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