A day in the life of an athlete - Greg Rutherford

We all have different careers and unique day-to-day activities, but having a normal day job and a routine makes our days similar to each other. What’s interesting though, is finding out what those people who do things a little differently do every day. We connected with Olympic gold medal winner and Greg Rutherford MBE to find out what a day in the life of a professional athlete is like.


Most people would expect me to spend all my time practicing long jump, but the specific jumping side of my training is a lot less than people think. I only go running down the track and jump once or twice a week. The rest of the time I’m doing a mix of fast running, plyometrics, and weight lifting. As soon as I wake up, I do an abs and press-up workout in the morning.

I like going into the woods and using nature’s creations for workouts, like a plyometric workout involving jumping onto stumps of trees.

I do a lot of hill sprints in the woods near my house. I will take a section of a hill and do around 30-50m sprints or on my traditionally hard Saturday session maybe 100-120m in conjunction with some speed work. Running up hills or steps builds strength and plyometric power in the legs which leads to a faster sprint down the runway.

When I go to the gym, I mainly do Olympic lifts. I’m a big fan of power cleans and I do single-leg step-ups onto a box. If I am doing power cleans it could be 8 sets of 2 for pure power or 8 sets of 10 to work the body into a fatigue stage, it’s all about building explosive speed and power for the jump. I also do leg raises while hanging from a bar, in order to stabilise my body under tension to develop core strength.



I enjoy cooking, but as an athlete, I tend to eat lots of chicken and steak, which can get quite repetitive, so I always fill up the condiments cupboard to ensure flavour variation. Often for lunch or dinner I will have meat with different veg.

I follow a relatively low-carb diet and I stay away from sugar as much as possible. My diet is high in protein, healthy fats, salad, and veg. In the morning, I might have eggs or a shake made with protein powder, a dollop of peanut butter, ice, water, and Greek yoghurt, so it is high in healthy fats and protein. I never go for long runs so carbs aren’t very important to me.

On a heavy lifting day, I might add some gluten-free pancakes with peanut butter and honey for a natural form of sugar. I’m not coeliac but I have found that going gluten free does help. I put on weight easily so I have to stay on top of my snacks, but if I’m hungry I might have a can of tuna or a protein bar.


Linked to DNAfit results:

My DNAfit results showed a lot of the things I believed in myself, it’s a great tool for reinforcing the thoughts and feelings I have about myself. I always thought I’d be pure power and my DNAfit test proved that I am and that’s a big aid in training. I don’t think since taking the test I train differently as such, it’s reinforced the views and values I have in regards to training.

Now I understand my body better. I can walk away from a training session not fearing I’ve done the wrong sort of training. The results have shown I have increased injury risk, which has also been shown from the amount of injuries I’ve have during my career, so now I know to taper down on my training and not over do it as it will be more detrimental than positive.

Do the test yourself and find out what your body needs.

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