FitMag brings to you an interview with one of the most inspiring athletes on the Triathlon circuit today! In just 8 short years Rich Sumpter went from ‘drastically over weight student’ to ‘catch me if you can elite athlete’! Not many people achieve this kind of turn around so we were fascinated to find out how he did it! Not to mention the fact USN recently signed him up, so there must be something we don’t know about Rich!
Rich first of all thank you very much for joining us. As you know, FitMag is all about inspiring others and proving knowledge and it appears you do both very well!
Thanks a lot for having me mate!
OK, can you share with us your background in terms of knowledge and experience?
I love science (I’m a bit of a nerd!) and the human body, so Biomedical Science was the perfect degree to combine these two passions. My dissertation involved sports drinks and their effect on cycling performance.
That’s awesome, so we have now learnt you had the knowledge to turn your life around. How did you first get involved with triathlons and what inspired you to start?
I’d put on a ton of weight at uni (eating loads of fast food and drinking way too much alcohol), and my girlfriend (now wife) “lovingly” pointed out that I was FAT (17st and 5ft 6)! I really wanted to lose weight for my health so I entered my first triathlon in 2003. The result wasn’t great (I spent ages putting on socks and bike gloves in transition) but I loved every minute of it. Nine months later I entered and completed my first Ironman. I’ve come a long way in terms of weight and performance since then and now weigh around 10st - a much healthier weight.
If that isn’t love I don’t know what is!!! Joking aside that is very motivating, more people need to follow the same ‘just get up and do it approach’ I feel! Did you always plan to compete at professional level or was it just to stay fit initially?
Racing pro was never on my mind - at the time I was a million miles away! I am just very dedicated and motivated in training and competition, and this has resulted in some good results, including winning this year’s National sprint triathlon championships. Only recently have I had the fitness to compete with the pros, but I don’t feel that I have reached my potential yet.
So it has been a natural progression, based on your commitment and apparent genetic gift for this sport. So Rich tell us about a typical week of training for you? Does it change through the year? Has it changed since you first began in 2003?
I train around 20hrs a week on average, trying to include each discipline into each days training. During winter there is less pressure, and training becomes more fun, and I can also do other things like snowboarding and playing tennis.
I’m doing much more training then when I started, and I tend to mix up fast sessions with longer, easier ones. Recently I have started to incorporate core strength into my training.
Awesome! Let’s get on to my favourite subject, nutrition. In regards to diet, what do you eat on a day to day basis now?
I’d like to say that I have the perfect diet, but I don’t! If I could, I’d eat a hot curry every day! I do try to have a varied diet, incorporating a mix of fruit and veg, though it’s still hard to say no to a nice cake! Most of the time I do have a balanced diet, and understand the importance of getting carbs, protein and essential fatty acids into my diet.
A typical day is;
Breakfast - Granola with oat milk and lots of coffee! 2 scoops of USN 100% Whey Protein and USN Multiplex Vitamin & Mineral Complex
Training (Bike) - USN CytoPower in training
Recovery drink - USN RecoverXcell
Lunch - Salad, with quinoa and beetroot
Training (Run followed by swim) - USN Active sports drink
Recovery drink - USN RecoverXcell
Dinner - Pasta/Chicken & veg, or a curry! USN Protein Dessert for afters.
Before bed - 1 scoop of USN 100% Whey Protein
OK, so you are eating regularly which is always important for any athlete. How important is good nutrition in your opinion for any athlete on scale of 1-10?
Nutrition is a key part of any athlete’s regime. A good diet allows you to train consistently and recover fully.
Obviously your background lends itself to this, any inside tips?
Balance is key. You mustn’t deny everything, food is to be enjoyed, but moderation is vital. Getting the right mix of carbs, protein and EFAs will help get you to where you want to be.
Any tasty recipes you can share?
Pasta with green pesto, cherry tomatoes, salad onions and cheese.
Salad, beetroot, goats cheese, balsamic vinegar and quinoa.
Right, I have to give the first one a go and see just how impressive it is! My better half can try the second one because she loves beetroot and I don’t!!! OK, Recently you were blessed with the opportunity of signing with top supplement brand USN.
How important is a supplementation plan to any athlete on a scale of 1-10? And which products do you use?
USN make great products and I use those which are specifically designed for endurance racing. As an event can last from 1 - 8hrs there is a need to take on fuel during the race. Starting a run properly fuelled can make the difference in tight races.
The products that I mainly use are;
USN CytoPower - great for hard training, and also during races of any length
USN EpicPro - an all in one that can be used in longer races, and also as a recovery drink
USN RecoverXcell - makes an amazing difference to how quickly I recover from training sessions. Definitely helps to make subsequent sessions more productive.
USN Protein bars - a tasty treat for extra protein
USN 100% Whey Protein - great for recovery!
USN Multiplex Vitamin & Mineral Complex - Great for overall health and recovery
USN Protein Dessert - very tasty, yet guilt free treat after my evening meal!
Great stuff, so obviously the USN range serves you well!!! Anything else you would like to add?
A massive thanks to my wife Beth, without her initial comments, and support over the years, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Rich, thank you so much for sharing with us your experiences, knowledge and expertise! Fortunately, FitMag readers are able to look forward to more content from yourself! Best of luck with your future races mate!