How to fit in exercise: Mountain bike champion Catharine Pendrel's secret

The Canadian athlete from Fredericton will be competing in the London 2012 Olympic games. She shares with Chatelaine her not-so-guilty pleasure and award-winning advice

Catharine Pendrel mountain biking

Andre Forget/CP Images

Age: 31
Sport: Mountain biking
Trains: 4 to 5 hours a day
Hometown: Fredericton

Catharine Pendrel has been hooked on mountain biking ever since her brother introduced her to it in her senior year of high school. She tears up the gnarliest trails without fear or hesitation. The rough rider finished fourth in Beijing in 2008 and won gold in the 2011 World Championships.

Why this sport: “Cycling takes you places. It teaches you about experiencing the journey, not just the destination.”

Top workout tip:
“Forget crazy, long workouts. Make time to exercise frequently and consistently.”

From waiting tables to conquering trails: “I worked in a variety of jobs, including waitressing, before I committed to professional cycling.”

Diet: “I like to cook. I’m experimenting with different whole grains, for more energy, texture and variety.”

Pre-workout meal: “A bowl of oatmeal with berries and seeds or nuts mixed in.”

Not-so-guilty pleasure: “Protein bars with a good mix of vitamins, minerals and fibre — they’re sweet and satisfying.”

Energy boost: “Rather than zap my energy, exercise improves it. Once I hit the 12-minute mark, it’s like turning on a switch. I think, ‘Oh yeah! I’m actually having a great time!’ “

Secrets to her success: “Visualizing the finish line helps me dig deeper during intense workouts.”

Her award-winning advice:
“Make small but meaningful goals. Setting checkpoints along the way keeps you on track.”

Get more Olympic motivation here.