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Q&A With Australian Olympic Rower Chris Morgan

What’s New in Fitness recently caught up with Aussie Olympic Rower, Chris Morgan.

What are your 2016 goals?

My Goals for 2016 are very ambitious:

  • Goal 1: make the Olympic team in the Mens Quadruple Scull.
  • Goal 2: row the best race of my life to win Gold in Rio.

Can you talk about your training schedule approaching 2016? What’s a typical day like, for you?

A typical day for me looks like this:

  • 4:45am: Wake up
  • 5:00am: Cycle to the rowing shed (25km)
  • 9:30am: Cycle to Work
  • 10:00am – 4:30pm: Work
  • 4:30pm: Cycle back to the rowing shed
  • 5:00-7:00pm: weights and cardio
  • 7:00-7:30pm: Cycle Home
  • 7:30pm: Have Dinner, watch TV, Go to bed and get ready to do it all again.

Now that the Olympic trials are approaching, I am going on high altitude camps and moving to 3 sessions a day. If trials go well, I will then relocate interstate to begin full-time training with the crew until Rio.

My work will then have to slot around this around this where possible. Thankfully I have been well supported by my employer, Nanosonics, who have transitioned me into a consulting role going forward.

How do you hope to empower every day Australians to focus and achieve their own dreams?

Most people are stronger than they realise. The hardest part is usually taking the first step. I hope that I along with other elite sportsmen and sportswomen set a positive example of what can happen when you follow your dreams.

On a more day to day level, I always try to share my insights and experience with everyone around me. I try to encourage and share in their dreams whether they are work colleagues, friends or aspiring rowers. I like to surround myself with people who are also striving to complete their goals and to play a part in that is very satisfying.

How do you overcome the days when you just do not want to train?

If I don’t want to train because I am just too tired, I look at where I am in my training program and ask myself how much energy I have to give. Sometimes you need to know when your body has had enough and when it needs to recover. I have made the mistake of ignoring this through the years, and it comes back to bite you, usually in illness or injury.

If I don’t want to train because it just seems too comfortable in bed, or too cold outside then I just need to motivate myself by remembering what I am training for and why I love it. I love my sport, I love the challenge it brings and I have goals that I have set for myself. I want to achieve these goals, not for money, not for fame, but for myself and my own satisfaction. I know these goals require more than just a 99% effort, they require everything from me. My goals motivate me to push through those temporary discomforts and when I achieve results, I am more satisfied knowing that I pushed myself. Although that doesn’t mean I’m not dreaming of going back to bed during that training session!

What supplements and vitamins do you take to compliment your diet and training?

I have been using both BioCeuticals and IsoWhey products since before I began rowing, they allow me to push myself to the absolute limit, and I notice a difference in myself and my body when I am not using them.

I use IsoWhey Sports products to get the most out of my training session. I alternate between Refuel and Rebuild or High Carb Protein and my post work out recovery drink contains either Glutamine Powder or BCAA. The IsoWhey Sports Electrolyte Formula or the Ultimate Endurance get me through my training and sometimes for more intense sessions, I use IsoWhey Sports Energy Gel to increase my performance.

Of a morning, I have a ritual of supplements that I take for maintenance. I Take Ultra-MuscleEze, multi-vitamin, coQ10 enzyme, and fish oil, I cannot speak highly enough of this selection of BioCeuticals products.

What originally inspired you to begin rowing?

I was in 3rd year university; I was enjoying being social and wasn’t so focussed. I hadn’t been doing any organised sport for a couple years, and I wanted an outlet to get fit and have fun in a team environment. Luckily for me, in orientation week, the local university rowing club was holding a competition where the person who had the fastest time on the rowing machine won a carton of beer, which was all the motivation I needed!

I didn’t really aim to become an elite rower, it happened accidently. I was lucky that whenever I was set a challenge and I completed it, there was someone there to suggest that I take it further. The next year I was winning gold at the World University Games, and the year after was on the senior national team.

Can you give us a small insight into what it actually takes to make it to the Olympics?

There are a lot of things that are important to success when it comes to elite sport. These include talent, dedication, sacrifice by both you and your support network, educating yourself how to train smartly and not just hard and some luck. Being one in a million means there are 20 others like you in Australia alone. Not only do you need to do everything better than everyone else but you have to do better than yourself constantly taking everything to the next level and beating your personal best. If it is possible to give more, chances are someone will do just that, you need for that someone to be you.

What is your best advice for achieving a fitness related goal? What advice do you have for young Australians who want to make it to the Olympics one day?

I have a simple but important message to give to young Australians hoping to achieve their goals- don’t get ahead of yourself! Enjoy the process!

It is really good to have a dream, but a dream should not be confused with a goal. A goal should be challenging, but achievable and you should be able to see be a clearly defined path ahead of you to reach that goal. Most importantly you should set goals that you can achieve more often than not but that also challenge you. Setting up a goal that takes too long to achieve or is too hard to achieve is more likely to frustrate or discourage you. Establishing a positive feedback loop is a great way to help keep you motivated and start you on your way to achieving your goals.

As I stated above, I never actually aimed to be an Olympian. Initially I would’ve been happy to just make a state team. It was only when I realised what I was able to achieve that I set my sights and goals higher.  The harsh reality of things is that there are countless people who dream of the Olympics, but only a few will make it. The greatest tragedy in sport is that so many of these amazingly talented people fall just short and then walk away disappointed and unsatisfied, even though they still achieved some truly great performances.

The main message that I want to give to everyone is to enjoy the sport they do. Enjoy the daily challenge it brings and embrace that challenge with every ounce of your being. Continue to challenge yourself and you will get the most out of your sport and your performance. This is your best chance to one day find yourself at the Olympics.

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