Paralympic swimming champion Harriet Lee is getting married - and sharing her journey down the aisle exclusively with us
Every four years I strive to be in the best shape of my life, for the biggest sporting event. Standing on the block, I have to be the biggest, strongest and fastest. About six months out from a Paralympic Games I change the way I eat and train and it turns out the preparation for my wedding is no different.
In the off-season, when I'm not training, my body fat percentage goes up, so that has been my first target now I'm back in training, increasing the intensity or distance each session. I’m not a morning person and normally just grab a chocolate milk before training but have re-introduced a proper breakfast to give my metabolism a boost.
My second target was to tone my arms, and lowering my body fat will give more definition as I want to make sure they look firm and tight. So in the gym I've increased the weights and lowered the repetitions. I know many women struggle with this concept, for fear they will look too manly, but for the short period of time I’ll be doing it, alongside the fact I neither eat enough calories nor have enough testosterone in my body, I know my body will not adapt to give me bulging biceps.
By starting so early, I simply need to just maintain steady training and my current diet. Consistency is key.
Whilst all that has been positive and I'm happy with the results so far, I know every girl has their body hang-ups - and every bride more so! And we have more determination to change them. As you can see above, I'm working on some but I know I won’t be able to change my whole physique.
I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to swim and gym for 30+ hours a week since I was 18, allowing me to maintain a low body fat percentage and a slim waist. I even get to eat carbs 24/7! All that training has had an effect on my body and whilst the good out weigh the bad, I still get that niggle, my hang-up... My big, broad back and shoulders. I’m an inverted triangle!
But instead of worrying about losing my shoulders to make me look 'better', or panicking that it will affect my performance in the pool, I’ve decided to embrace them. I’ve found a dress that works with my shape, that I'm comfortable with. I would give you more details but I don't want to ruin any surprises. (I know Mr P secretly reads this!)
My health kick seems to have rubbed off on Mumma and Pappa Lee as well (although under slight protest from the latter). Three months out they have started increasing their activity levels my going for evening walks as well as cutting out a lot of rubbish from their diets and both are looking much better and have so much more energy because of it.
Good luck with your fitness regimes: try and keep it consistent and if you’re not sure, get some advice. Not everyone can train like an athlete but as my parents have seen, it’s the small changes that can make a difference!