The famous and sympathetic judoka, Teddy Riner, gives us his secrets to practice his sport well, but also to keep in shape and in a good mood.
Ten world championship titles, two Olympic gold medals: Teddy Riner’s record is impressive! Beyond the feat, the athlete with exceptional physical qualities does not compromise on the values of solidarity and sharing. Meet.
Is it better to be tall and strong like you to become a good judoka?
Teddy Riner – Contrary to what one might think, measuring 2 meters and weighing 130 kilos do not necessarily represent assets! To successfully knock an opponent down, you have to be good at attacking, quick to move around and know how to keep your guard. The important thing is to be quick, agile and reliable in the execution of the gesture because, opposite, the opponent does not give you a gift! It is also essential to keep in good physical condition so as not to sag. Added to this is the importance of cultivating a good mind: not to doubt your abilities and not to be impressed.
At what age can you start practicing this sport?
Teddy Riner – There are baby judo lessons available from 2-3 years old. But, personally, I discovered this sport at 5 years old and it is in my opinion the right age to start since we have acquired good psychomotricity. As a bonus, children are naturally dynamic, willful, and they are not afraid of falling. Starting as an adult can be a bit more problematic because, even if you learn to fall without hurting yourself, you can have more apprehension. We no longer behave like a daredevil! That said, whether you are young or a little older, the important thing is to find a good teacher, one with whom you feel comfortable, with whom you want to work and improve …
Why would you recommend this activity?
Teddy Riner – Judo is a complete sport par excellence. On the physical level, it maintains all the musculature, because it solicits the whole body: thighs, calves and buttocks when moving; arms and shoulders during attacks; center of the body to keep its balance. It is also beneficial for the back, because all the muscle chains are strengthened. And as you learn to fall, you never hurt yourself: in fifteen years of practice, I have never suffered from back pain. With judo, we also increase our cardio-respiratory capacities, because we work on endurance, power and speed. Finally, you improve your balance without realizing it.
And your sense of conviviality, have you inherited it from your practice?
Teddy Riner – Absolutely! Judo helps develop the moral qualities of respect and acceptance of others. It is good for a child to be brought up with this in mind! We find ourselves facing someone against whom we have to fight, but also to whom we should not hurt. This sport requires a lot of the neurons, because it is necessary to anticipate the attacks of the adversary and to develop strategies. I am convinced that this activity gives particularly confidence in oneself, develops courage, allows to channel one’s energy… In short, judo is the school of life!
How did you manage to continue your training during the particular period of confinement?
Teddy Riner – If I could not practice on the tatami – and if I found the time long! – I nevertheless did a lot of sport: cardio, weight training… I spent between four and five hours a day! I varied the pleasures with weights, dumbbells, a bicycle, a weight bench … It allowed me both to maintain good physical condition, but also to avoid gaining too much weight during these two months at the House. Besides, I even lost some!
Are you watching your diet?
Teddy Riner – I pay particular attention to my general lifestyle: I make sure I sleep about eight hours a night and, if my schedule allows it, I take a nap in the early afternoon. I also avoid alcohol and I prefer a healthy and balanced diet: fish, meat, vegetables, starchy foods, fruits… I do not forbid myself anything. I have a good bite of the fork and I am a very big foodie: I easily fall for sweets, I just avoid excess … My sin? The pancakes. After a workout, I prepare a few of them: it’s both a source of slow carbohydrates and a source of pleasure. Nothing like it to perk me up!
What do you think of online judo lessons?
Teddy Riner – This format does not allow judo to be practiced in the traditional way since it is obviously a contact sport. However, I find Internet classes to be a good way to train while working out exercises. All this can only be a bonus for combat in real conditions. More generally, online sport is a good way to stay in shape. That’s why I accepted the partnership with the BasicFit fitness channel: I show HIIT sequences (short, high-intensity efforts interspersed with recovery periods) online and deliver bodybuilding advice in a podcast.
How do you deal with stress before a competition?
Teddy Riner – I always start with a session of ” automotivation »: I tell myself that everything is going to be fine, I tell myself that I am ready, I avoid putting pressure on myself and leaving others the possibility of stressing me. In addition, I have acquired a habit that cuts me off from the surrounding world: since I was 14, I put on headphones and listen to the music of the moment, preferably songs that move. I find myself in my bubble and, in this way, the pressure does not reach me anymore.
How do you keep your zest for life?
Teddy Riner – This joy of living, it is anchored in my head, whatever the problems that may arise. I make sure not to turn everyday annoyances into dramas. I try to take some distance from the vagaries of life and I tell myself that whatever happens, there is a solution. This philosophy allows me to keep smiling… for example, when I learned about the postponement of the next Olympic Games!
My ritual ” soothing »
« I start the day by stretching all areas of the body: arms, shoulders, back, thighs… In this way, I gently loosen all the muscles and joints. It relaxes me so I can better exercise afterwards. Performed at night, these stretches also help me get to sleep. »