Own Your Mornings: Q & A With Samantha Charlton, Olympic Athlete & Nutritionist

As My Food Bag’s in house nutritionist, a long-time high performance athlete and a member of our 6 Week Restart Wellness Panel, we caught up with Sam and asked her a few questions on what she’s loving at the moment and how she owns her mornings!

Are you a morning person? How do you own your mornings? 

I certainly am a morning person! I wouldn’t have said I follow a set routine, but on reflection, there are definitely three things I’ve made a habit of, and I know these play a big part in setting up a positive start to my day – food, connection & movement.

Food has always, and will always be a priority for me! I love breakfast, and getting in a nourishing meal before I head off for the day is a non-negotiable for me. I like to mix it up, but it’s usually eggs, avo & toast or a smoothie packed with fresh fruit, veg and peanut butter!

Most mornings before work, my husband and I have a coffee together at our local café. We find that if we both have busy days at work, we can come home pretty exhausted and ready to crash. We have come to really value the chance for some quality connection to start our day. 

Lastly, morning movement is a real priority for me – but this isn’t always a planned training session or workout! Sometimes it’s as simple as getting off the train a stop earlier, and getting in a half hour walk to the office. 

What are you loving at the moment? 

Pilates! Being a high-performance athlete for the past 12 years means that high intensity exercise dominated my training and daily movement for a long time. Whilst I love the challenge of hard cardio, I am also learning to love slower, more controlled movements (and coming to terms with how difficult these really are!). It’s been a very humbling experience starting right at the beginning, but I now appreciate how important this type of exercise is for my body and mind – it’s not all about thrashing yourself! 

What are you eating at the moment? 

I’m one of those people who will thrash a food or meal for a period of time and then move on to the next – but something I never get sick of is toast and toppings! Sounds simple, but you can create a delicious and balanced breakfast, lunch or dinner. My current favourites are spicy peanut butter with tomato and sauerkraut, or boiled eggs with avocado and marmite. I also love mashing up leftover roast vegetables like pumpkin and topping that with some cottage cheese & dukkah. 

How do you practice mindfulness? 

Consistency with mindfulness is still very much a work in progress for me. I’m a very ‘busy minded’ person, so I find taking time to purposefully slow down quite challenging – I’d say I’m more of an ‘active relaxer’. For me, walking is a very peaceful activity that I really enjoy and a time I find I can slow down my thoughts and enjoy and notice what is around me. Lately I’ve been really trying to engage in some more purposeful mindfulness, and on my morning train commute I try to spend the first 5 minutes of my journey listening to a guided meditation. I don’t always remember, but that’s okay! It takes time to build habits.

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