Ms. Namita Nayyar: You started at a very young age of six years at Rivera TI in competitive bike racing and reached the pinnacle of success by winning MTB XCO World Cup Championship, U23 World Championship and getting World Ranking No.1 at 21 years age. Tell us about your journey that took you to where you are now in the world of competitive mountain bike racing and what factors you consider were responsible that made you achieve that?
Ms. Jolanda Neff: When I did my first mtb race ever at the age of 6, I for sure didn’t think about World Championships or any big races. I probably didn’t even think about the next race yet but about the next day in kindergarden! Honestly, mountain biking was always my dearest hobby and my favourite leisure activity to me but never something that I thought would one day become my profession.
It was a development step by step – the races got bigger, I kept winning, I trained more, everything got a bit more professional. But still, I went to the normal school without any special treatment from the teachers and I did the same program as all the other students. It was in 2012, when I had finished the compulsory school and wanted to start university, that I had such a stellar season that I got an offer from a professional mtb team to turn pro.
And that was where I really had to make a decision and I decided to put all my energy for the sport and go for it! The year 2014 showed that it was one of the best decisions of my life. The fact that I had more time for training and especially regeneration made it possible for me to improve and get to the top of the world level. It takes a lot of hard work but you must make sure you enjoy what you are doing, and I love riding bikes, and I think this is exactly the reason why I am successful: I love what I do.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: What exercises comprise your fitness regime or workout routine you shall like to share?
Ms. Jolanda Neff: In any situation in life and especially in competitive sports it is important to have a strong core. Also if you are working in an office it will give such a good feeling to have a strong core, just because everything like walking stairs or sitting gets easier and makes you feel more confident. It takes little to achieve it and gives you a lot! Just do a set of push ups (as much as you can – you’ll improve quickly!) every morning and some abdominal crunches. I promise, it will make a difference! And maybe you’ll even discover a six pack on your belly after a while…
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Do you take some special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?
Ms. Jolanda Neff: I don’t have a nutrition plan but I find it very important to eat healthy. My mum is a diplomated nutritionist and her knowledge is very helpful. Still I am a lot on the road without her advice and so I need to know by myself what is good to eat. It is game changing! A simple advice to everyone is: just drink water. Pure, clean water. I drink it all the time. Of course you can have coffee and tea as well, but leave all the sugar bombs and soft drinks away and you’ll start to feel much lighter and happier.
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