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Take 5

Natalya Coyle is an Irish double Olympian in Modern Pentathlon which comprises five sports – running, swimming, shooting, horse-riding and fencing. She competed in the London 2012 Olympics and Rio 2016 Olympics. She recently graduated college with a BA in Business and is Aramark Health and Wellbeing ambassador for Ireland.

What sort of exercise do you do to keep in shape?

As a full-time athlete I would train approximately 20-25 hours a week. This includes four runs, four swims, three fencing trainings, four shoots, one horse-riding lesson and two gym sessions. My typical week is broken up into endurance (run and swim) and power (fencing and gym) days. I get physio, nutrition advice and physiology from the Irish Institute of Sport.

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

As I am training so much it’s more about trying to get enough quantity of food in. I would eat approximately 3000-4000 calories a day. I rely on a lot of carbs to get me through long sessions and pasta, rices and sweet potatoes would be a go-to of mine! I also love vegetables and I try to pile them high on my plate. I really believe in balance though and I love some chocolate or something sweet in the evening.

Do you take any natural supplements?

Yes, a multivitamin and iron supplement. I also love kombucha during the day. As an athlete I am drug tested regularly so I am very cautious of what I take. I try and get as much out of food as I can before I try a supplement.

Do you ever worry about your health?

I have blood tests regularly to make sure everything is going ok. If I am feeling especially tired I will ease back on training instead of pushing myself too hard.

How do you relax when you are not in the public eye?

Modern Pentathlon isn’t quite the celebrity sport so I fortunately don’t have to worry about that. I love to try new food and coffee when I am off training and catch up with friends and family. I can be a bit of a sloth when I have a day off so sometimes the TV and a cup of tea is enough!

Do you have any health tips for Rude Health readers?

• Find a sport that you enjoy – this will make it so much easier to get out there and do it! There’s a sport out there for everyone – you just need to try lots and find the one for you.

• Try to get family and friends involved – everything is made easier when you have a friend to do it with.

• Encourage everyone – it can be nerve wracking trying something new, so encourage and congratulate!

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