Posts Tagged ‘Joannie Rochette

Olympic bronze medallist Rochette truly inspirational

- February 28th, 2010


Rochette

Quebec figure skater Joannie Rochette delivered a gutsy Olympic bronze-medal performance this past week in the wake of her mother’s sudden death. She’s truly an inspiration to millions of Canadians.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Joannie last spring in the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Games.

In case you missed it, here’s my Keeping Fit feature on Canada’s skating star:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Edmonton Sun

Light on her skates

Joannie Rochette has the kind of “problem” that many people – especially rail-thin pubescent boys – can only fantasize about.

The Canadian figure-skating star has the propensity to pack on muscle mass with minimal effort.

“My body naturally tends to gain muscle easily and that’s not necessarily a good thing in figure skating,” she says.

joannie2“You don’t want to be too muscular because muscles weigh a lot. And you don’t need so much physical strength when you jump. You need to be light because when you jump you just transfer your horizontal speed to vertical. So it doesn’t really matter how high I jump off the ice. It’s mostly how quick I can be or my timing.”

By ordinary standards, Rochette is petite at 5-foot-3 and 110 pounds.

But the affable 23-year-old says she’s certainly not Lilliputian by figure-skating standards.

“There’s some even tinier than me,” she points out. “I’m more muscular. But you’ve got a body and you have to deal with it.”

Fresh off her silver medal victory in March at the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships – where the silver belle became only the second Canadian woman in 36 years to set foot on the world championship podium – Rochette is touring the country as part of Sears Stars On Ice.

The tour, which hits 12 Canadian cities in less than three weeks, wraps up tomorrow (May 12) in Vancouver. It’s her fifth Stars On Ice tour. After that, Rochette will take a much-needed break from the ice.

As she explains, there’s a fine line between training like a champion and leaving oneself susceptible to injury by overtraining.

“It’s important to take some time off to rest your body and recuperate from the long season, because I started my season in August last year and it’s over only now,” she says. “It’s a long season.”

The Quebec native has already had her fair share of nagging injuries.

“I’ve had a lot of shin splints in the past and stress fractures from running,” she says. “So now I have to be careful. But right now I’m stretching a lot, my calves, to make sure that I’m healthy and I can train. If I can’t run, I can’t work on my stamina. It’s hard. I tried biking, but it’s not the best for skating. I need to be careful with a lot of impact on the jumps, too, the toe picks on the ice. I need to stretch a lot.”

But Rochette doesn’t exactly take it easy. Au contraire.

dynamic_resizeDuring the season, she’s on the ice for about 15 hours a week, typically three hours a day.

“I take a one-hour break between each session to make sure that I recuperate before the next one and be at my max every time I go on the ice,” she explains. “So in between we do a lot of stretching and a little bit of off-ice jumping sometimes.”

Plus, she works out with a personal trainer three times a week for up to two hours a session.

Her varied training regimen — no two days are the same — includes sprinting as her trainer tries to resist any forward momentum by hanging on to a cord wrapped around Rochette’s waist, jumping rope and several exercises using a stability ball to work on balance and co-ordination. It’s all done in a non-stop, circuit-training style.

Dumbbells, barbells and fancy strength-training machines are rare in Rochette’s workouts.

“I work with my own bodyweight,” she notes. “That’s enough for me because I need to keep my weight under control.”

The five-time Canadian champion, who has been skating since she was six, will also toss in the occasional ballet training or dance classes for good measure.

After taking some R and R to close out this month, Rochette plans to rev up her training for the summer starting next month.

“It’s real important to get your stamina going at the beginning of the summer … to be in good shape the whole year,” she says. “We travel a lot. With jet lag, you need to get your stamina a little high.”

Despite her skating prowess, Rochette bristles when asked whether she’s ever played hockey.

“No, oh my gosh, no,” she says. “My father did, that’s how I started skating.”

She modestly shrugs off any suggestion that she might excel at Canada’s favourite pastime.

“No, I don’t think so,” she laughs. “I’m really bad with the hockey stick.”

For now, Rochette – who finished fifth at the 2006 Olympics in Torino – is focused on reaching the podium at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

“I’m just planning for next year’s Olympics and then I’ll see,” she says, noting she wouldn’t mind continuing to tour with Stars On Ice for several years after she eventually retires from competition. “I’ll take it one year at a time because I love doing shows, I love touring.”

Bon voyage.

rochette

Cary Castagna is a certified personal trainer through Can-Fit-Pro. If you have a story for Keeping Fit, e-mail Cary at cary.castagna@sunmedia.ca