After last weeks Q&A with Nile about keeping fit and training hard, we thought it was about time we got to know a bit more “Behind the Scenes” details on our world class Gymnast.
What’s the story with the ‘shorts flips’ – how did that come about?
I did that for Instagram with my mates, Ash and Luke. We love to create cool and entertaining things for social media and that video just went viral! It was shown all over the world with millions of views. I love being creative and this is just an expression of it.
You’re a great inspiration to many young aspiring gymnasts – what do you believe the sport can bring to young people in terms of discipline, life skills and self-belief?
Well everything you have just listed. I believe Gymnastics is the greatest sport in the world and it can change your life whatever age you are. It teaches you all sorts of amazing life skills and can give people a feeling of confidence that never leaves them. Physically it is also an incredible sport because it works all of the body. In fairness that’s why gymnasts have pretty decent bodies!
What first motivated you to take up the sport?
My mum & dad just took me to a gymnastics club when I was 4 because I was clumsy and they thought it would help teach me balance and spacial-awareness. I just fell in love with the sport immediately.
“I’m grateful for the injuries I have had because they have developed me as a person and as an athlete.”
How do you maintain that motivation – especially during periods when you’re laid off through injury?
It’s a good question. I love what I do and I’m obsessed with being the best. But I try and concentrate on enjoying each day and each training session. That way I don’t get bored because I just make the most of each moment. Each training session is an opportunity for me to try and perfect a new skill. It’s just in my blood. I love it.
When sportsmen reach levels of excellence it can be difficult for them to keep ‘grounded’ and not lose focus – how do you keep in touch with the day-to-day requirements of training and family life?
I think it’s really important to have good people around you who will always keep you grounded. I have a very close family and spending time with them always reminds me what’s important in life.
“The worst excuse someone can give is that they have no time.”
Has the Commonwealth Games gold been the biggest thrill you’ve had in your career to date would you say?
That’s a difficult one. My Bronze Medal at the Rio Olympics was absolutely huge as well; but the Commonwealth Games was amazing. I don’t want to rank them, they are both great!
You’re a big fan of social media, with many fans on it too – what is it that you enjoy about platforms such as Instagram? How do you use it for your own performance or personal benefit?
I just view social media as a brilliant way for me to be creative with content and see if people enjoy it. You get such an immediate reaction that it’s brilliant. My numbers have grown a lot over the last year but I don’t tend to worry about that, I just like putting cool stuff out there for people to hopefully enjoy.
Away from competition how do you switch off – any favourite sports outside of gymnastics?
I love vlogging! My YouTube Channel has grown really big now and I love filming and editing awesome content for it.
So many athletes use music for motivation these days – what do you listen to in as part of your training and to get into the zone – also what do you like when you’re switching off?
I love House and Drum & Bass when I am training. It gets me in the mood! I don’t really use music to switch off.
“I have a very close family and spending time with them always reminds me what’s important in life.”
How did you celebrate Yorkshire Day! (Aug 1)
I celebrated with 4 hours of training, a 2-hour photo shoot and 5 hours of video editing! Haha, maybe a typical Yorkshire Day is grafting!
What’s your go-to cheat day meal?
I don’t like the phrase ‘cheat meal’ because it implies you are doing something wrong, which is not true! Rewarding yourself once in a while is not bad! But my ‘Go-to meal’ is steak and chips, and ice cream for dessert.
How do you deal with demotivation?
When someone asks me how I stay motivated, I say how does someone not stay motivated when you’re doing something you love and enjoy!
“I try and concentrate on enjoying each day and each training session.”
What’s the best tip for someone to keep exercising when life gets in the way?
The worst excuse someone can give is that they have no time, we can always find time if it is important enough!
What have been the pitfalls or downers?
Injury. For example, I had major ankle surgery early in 2017. Working your way back from injuries is never easy. But I always say that those set backs make you stronger and that has definitely been the case with me. In some ways, I’m grateful for the injuries I have had because they have developed me as a person and as an athlete.
How do you balance work, exercise and play?
My work, exercise and play is gymnastics; so I have it all there in one!
“I say how does someone not stay motivated when you’re doing something you love and enjoy!”
What is your go-to healthy meal when cooking in a rush?
Omelette! Also, the only thing I know how to cook!