FOR Olympian Sarah Lindsay, there is one quality above all others you need to succeed at the Games.
“Resilience,” the 41-year-old former speed skater, three-time Olympian and nine-time British Ladies Champion tells Fab Daily.
“It’s that ability to give more than you think you’re capable of, get back up when things go wrong and dig in for the long haul no matter what.”
Now a personal trainer to the stars, including DJ Nick Grimshaw, singers Ellie Goulding and Mel B, and presenter Christine Lampard, Sarah spends her days helping others get in shape.
And she has devised our very own Fab Daily Olympic training plan, below, to help readers get sporty ahead of the Tokyo Games, which open on Friday.
But which of her celebrity clients does she think is most likely to follow in her footsteps as an Olympian?
Piers Morgan, that’s who!
“Piers could definitely have been an Olympian,” reveals Sarah. “He’s the most competitive man on the planet and you need that streak to make it to the top of any sporting field.
“He’s driven, has bags of self-belief, is massively resilient — and tough too.
“If I tell him he’s had a good session, his reply will be, ‘I know’.”
Piers, 56, enlisted the help of Sarah after revealing his 2021 resolution was to weigh the same as his TV rival Eamonn Holmes, who dropped from 18st to 15st.
The former GMB host, who dramatically quit following a row over comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex, revealed he weighed 16st after a gruelling work schedule and lockdown saw his weight creep up.
‘5AM STARTS, VOMITING AND UTTER EXHAUSTION’
Vowing to get in shape, he said: “My resolution is to weigh the same as Eamonn Holmes by the end of 2021.”
And if the presenter’s Instagram posts are anything to go by, his workouts with Sarah at one of the three Roar Fitness gyms she owns in London are doing the trick.
Posting a snap last month, a trim and sweaty Piers praised his PT, dubbing her The Torturer.
He wrote: “Savage session with @roarfitnessgirl, but she assures me I’ll be ripped and emaciated by the time I’m back on TV again. Great to see gyms back open again and can’t recommend this place highly enough.”
To which, Sarah replied: “Well, I LOVED every minute. How can punishing Piers for an hour be my actual job?”
Given her impressive sporting career, Sarah, who started speed skating at the age of eight, is no stranger to punishing herself.
And with a European gold medal and two world silver medals under her belt, the Team GB coach knows exactly what athletes including heptathlete Katarina Johnson Thompson and sprinter Dina Asher-Smith are feeling ahead of the opening ceremony of Tokyo 2021 on Friday.
“There’s so much that goes into getting ready for an Olympics,” says Sarah. “There’s prehab which works on your general fitness, there’s strength-training, gym work, injury-prevention work, cross-training, cycling, running — and that’s all before you get to training for your actual sport.
“There’s psychological work, technical work, video analysis of your sessions, tactics, technique, 5am starts, vomiting and utter exhaustion.
“It doesn’t sound great but, honestly, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Four years of training and a snapped boot lace put me in a daze. I forgot my whole strategy
And you cannot rely on luck.
“I made sure I was the best I could be,” Sarah says. “I sacrificed so much, I didn’t go out with friends, never went to the pub.
“It was all about working hard and being the best.
“I knew I had a talent for the sport but knew in order to do that talent justice I had to work very hard and give everything I could.” Spotted at a figure-skating class aged seven, Sarah has ridden the highs and lows of a professional sporting career.
And she says unfortunate things — such as England missing three penalties in the Euro 2020 final — can happen to anyone.
“Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka are all human,” she adds.
“Amazing people make mistakes. It happens even with the best prep in the world.
“What matters, and where professional sportspeople can thrive, is making sure you take from the failures and grow from them.
“That’s where the resilience comes in. No one wins all the time, it’s impossible.
“So when the worst happens and you miss a penalty or fall in a race, you have to nurture that failure, reflect on it, debrief and then move on, taking the lessons with you. I’ve had disastrous races where there’s been a really bad fall, and while it’s unnerving, you have to move past it, wipe the blood off your blades and line up for the next race.”
Since starting Roar Fitness in 2015, Sarah has employed the same discipline and work ethic she had as an Olympian.
“There’s so much crossover and so many transferable skills from training professionally to building a thriving business professionally,” she says.
“You have to have that determination and resilience and you have to be willing to work harder than the next guy — that’s the only way to succeed.”
Even amazing people make mistakes . . . you fail, then move on and take the lessons
And succeed she has, with three packed-out London gyms.
While Sarah doesn’t compete professionally any more, having retired at the age of 29, she still uses a mantra her brother gave her before her first Winter Olympics, in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“He’s always been there for me and never missed a race,” she says. “At my first Olympics I was petrified.
“But Matt always used to say ‘Dr Pepper’ to me. It became our thing because the tagline for the drink is ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’
“He’d shout it from wherever he was in the stadium as an encouragement to go all out, give it everything and realise that by the time you’re on the start line, you have to give every last fibre of yourself to the race and take risks.”
It was a trick that got Sarah through some of the toughest challenges she faced.
Minutes before the start of one race at the 2002 Games, her boot lace snapped — for the first time in her career — just as she was lining up
“It put me in a tailspin because it takes five minutes to unlace and lace it back up and the skaters were starting to line up,” she recalls. “I managed to get it done and get to the start line but my entire plan went out of my head.
“Four years of training for that moment and I couldn’t remember any strategy.
“I was in a daze when the stadium went quiet for the start of the race, then from the other side of the stadium I heard the huge shout — ‘Dr Pepper it’.
“It centered me, calmed me and I made it to the quarter-finals.”
It might be too late for most of us to get the coveted Team GB jersey like Sarah, but she believes Piers and all her clients can ‘Dr Pepper it’, whether it’s at work or at the gym.
So try our very own Fab Daily Olympic training plan, devised by Sarah.
And her advice for anyone giving it a go? “Find your extra gear and you’ll surprise yourself. The sets and reps are for beginners so if you’re finding it easy, add on a rep or two, and then a set when that becomes easy.”
BY the time you finish, you want to feel warmed up and not too out of breath – but also that your heart rate is raised.
IMAGINE an exaggerated run and leap up as you bound. Think long strides, not at your top speed, and lots of air time in between each step.
STANDING on one foot, hop from one to the other as fast as you can while crouching down in a semi-squat. Your aim is to be light on your feet and fast.
STEP off a ledge, step or bench and immediately jump up and in a different direction. The aim is to improve your reaction time, making the time from landing to take-off again faster.
THIS works the chest, triceps and shoulders. Bring a weight down to your chest and back up again to fully extend your arms. It should be a fluid movement, not stop-start.
REST days are important but it is vital you do not just lie down doing nothing. Self-massage is a good way of stretching the muscles, so invest in a foam roller and roll the length of your body along it gently.
THIS move is about small but constant adjustments. Hold a plank but rest your hands on a ball or Swiss ball. Alternate single arm and leg lifts to keep the body as still as you can. A great way to work your core.