Zara Dampney
Zara wears Speedo Solid Rippleback Swimsuit, £21

Most of us are packing away our cossies until next year, but not Olympic beach volleyballer Zara Dampney who’ll be training in hers year round. She caught up with Fitphernalia to share her tips

When Zara and her doubles partner Shauna Mullin represented Britain in the 2012 Olympics (the first time a British team have been in the Games), there was more focus on the girls’ skimpy outfits than their performance. ‘It annoys me. When you look at other track and field athletes they wear really similar outfits, so I don’t see what all the fuss is about,’ she says, ‘I feel comfortable in what we play in – we’re often in warm conditions and you don’t want sand getting stuck in your clothes and weighing you down.’

While they were disappointed not to get a medal, they’re already in training for Rio – and their next shot. And Zara’s confident she knows what it takes to do well.  ‘I feel that all the most
successful athletes are very self aware. They know what makes them tick, how they think, how to get the best of themselves. If you can do
that you’re going to have the edge over other people.’ So what gives Zara her edge? I found out…

THE MOVES: I’ve been following a swimming programme recently,  set by Karen Pickering [former Olympic swimmer and Speedo ambassador], instead of doing my usual running as cardio training. It’s kept things interesting and because it’s no impact it’s a really good option as I get older. I’m a convert and I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my body, I feel my metabolism has increased, and my VO2 Max has gone up [a measure of the volume of oxygen your body uses during exercise, which is a mark of fitness. Zara’s increased by 10% after following the 6-week programme].

THE TECH: We save our training programmes on Dropbox. After a conditioning session we’ll enter what weights we’ve lifted and how we felt mentally and physically. Then our coach can have all that information to look at straight away, even if we’re abroad. If we’re feeling tired, she can see right away what we should change.

THE FUEL: I drink a lot of almond milk, as I’m lactose intolerant. A shake made from that, oats and raspberries is my ‘go to’ for protein and energy.

THE MINDSET: I try to be ‘in the moment.’ My psychologist is very up on mindfulness – the idea is that you notice your feelings, accept that they’re there but then let go of them and get on with the task. I find that really works for me, rather than trying to ignore worries.

Finally, I asked Zara what she doesn’t have the edge at (because no one is perfect right?) ‘What am I rubbish at? I’m really messy. I can never be bothered to hang up my clothes.’ We know the feeling.

VITALS: Zara undertook a six-week Swim Fit programme with Speedo, speedo.co.uk, @SpeedoUK; @Zara_Dampney; @Karen_Pickering


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