I've been really excited about this one! I had the absolute honour of interviewing Dani Rowe 🤩 If you don't know her, you now will. She was awarded a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics 🇬🇧 She's also an Ex-pro cyclist 🚲 and a mother to her adorable toddler Ted Rowe 💜 A woman that's completely bossing motherhood along with being a co-owner of @roweandking. Dani, you are doing it all, and we here at Mamamade are rooting for you ✨ Read on as we chat about all things Dani Rowe, family, Olympics, mental health, recommendations, and so much more.
Hey Dani! Tell us a bit about yourself...
Hello! I'm Dani 😊 I'm 30yrs old, from Southampton originally but now living in Cardiff with my husband Matt and little boy Ted. I used to be a professional cyclist, winning Olympic Gold in London 2012 on Super Saturday! I was a full-time cyclist for ten years and ended my career at the end of 2018 after achieving everything and more than I had ever dreamt of. We had our baby boy Ted on 17th September 2020 and have had the most amazing journey with him so far! I'm now working for Eurosport as part of the commentary team, whilst coaching as part of my cycle coaching company 'Rowe and King'.
You're an Olympic Gold Medalist and an ex-pro cyclist, so it's safe to say that exercise and fitness are part of your daily life! Did this change once you found out you were pregnant with Ted? How did you feel?
No, it didn't change at all! Exercise is so important for me, both for my physical and mental health! I exercised right up until the week before Ted was born. I ran until I was about 25 weeks pregnant, then used my indoor bike and walked most days. I feel lucky my body allowed me to do this and I just made sure I listened to my body throughout!
It can be very hard to imagine life after becoming a mother; some women can feel that it holds them back in a way. Were you mentally prepared?
Becoming a mother was something I had thought about for a long time which I think really helped when Ted was born. I knew my life was going to change, and I decided not to return to professional cycling. Having prepared for the change helped me mentally, but I still have tough days. Being a good team with your partner is key! We make sure I have time to exercise, which is something that I need to be the best Mum I can be!
Did being pregnant have an impact on your career?
No, because I had already ended my cycling career and we were actually in lockdown due to the coronavirus!
What was the most challenging part of training as a mother, in what way did your body support or challenge you, in the beginning, and even now?
At the beginning of pregnancy, I felt nauseous but thankfully could still do some gentle exercise! I also suffered from some pelvic pain, so I had to stop running at about 25 weeks. I still felt so grateful to my body for allowing me to do so much whilst growing a baby! I was lucky to have a really good recovery, so I didn't experience many challenges getting back to regular exercise! Women's bodies are amazing!!! I've just completed the London Marathon and absolutely loved it.
What is one of the most important pieces of advice you would give to a woman wanting to continue exercising throughout her pregnancy?
That you absolutely can!!! And to just listen to your body.
How soon did you start exercising again once Ted was born, and how did you know it was the right time for you to start again postpartum?
I started walking within days, and I was back on an indoor bike after about four weeks. It's really personal, and I was lucky to recover very quickly! I just knew my body was ready for it. I had stopped bleeding and was itching to do someone a little more than just walking!
We know that there is a huge amount of pressure for women to "bounce back" after birth. Did you feel the pressure of this unrealistic expectation? How did you overcome it?
I didn't feel too much pressure although, I was lucky I didn't have to wait very long. I also really enjoy it, so the pressure wasn't there. Growing and having a baby is such a huge deal, and I would just tell all women that what they have done is a miracle and to be kind to themselves!
What five tips would you give to our Mamamates who are looking to get back into their fitness routine after having a baby?
Take your time
Teamwork with your partner is key!
Anything is better than nothing
Fuel your body
Enjoy it and do what you fancy! No heroics
How does Mamamade fit into your schedule as a family?
It fits PERFECTLY into our schedule! We are a super busy family who really cares about health. Mamamade fits in when time isn't on our side! We do a lot of travelling, so it's ideal for busy days!
And last but not least, which three Mamamade meals or snacks are little Ted's favourites?
Lentil Shepherds Pie
All the porridge!
Mamamates, I hope you enjoyed reading this interview with Dani Rowe 🥰 and If this blog has resonated with you, please share your thoughts with Mamamade on our Instagram or Facebook group. So, if you haven't already, check out her Instagram @dani_rowe_mbe! 👀
I want to say a big thank you to Dani for taking the time out to answer our questions and giving us an inside into your lifestyle and journey so far. As a mum from Cardiff myself, it has been a pleasure to have this opportunity, and I hope that we inspire some mums within and outside of the Mamamade community!
Himanshi @ Mamamade