Athlete spotlight: A day in the life of Helene Fossesholm

Helene Fossesholm skiing in Idre (SWE) earlier this November. Photo: Emilie Kristoffersen

 

The ambitious and talented Norwegian junior, who routinely beats several of the established World Cup racers, sets her aims high on several arenas, including academics as well as athletics. That requires discipline and diligence on a detail level every day.

We caught up with the 18-year-old in the meat of the hardcore prerace season to see how she juggles her commitments in order to achieve her goals while still maintaining a good life balance.

How was your fall training and what are your first races this season?
“So far, the fall has been awesome. I’ve had a good balance between completing my workouts as planned and getting sufficient recovery, and I’m really looking forward to competing again. The FIS season opener at Beitostølen in the end of November will be my first events this season.”

Related coverage: Eyes on the future – Helene Fossesholm 

What does a typical day look like for you, now at the start of the cross-country racing season?
“I usually get up about 7am, eat breakfast and drive to school, which starts at 8:15am most days. On days when I start a little later, I try to do a quick workout before school in addition to the regular afternoon session. So, some days I train twice a day, and some days only once. It depends on how busy my academic schedule is, and the homework load. When I do two sessions, I try to get out as soon as I can after breakfast, so I have time to get ready for school after the workout. These early workouts are often strength sessions. After school I do my main workout. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work out with my ski club. On the other days, I schedule workouts with some of the other skiers in the club that we do on our own. I always have dinner after my afternoon workouts, and then just go to bed. Usually lights are out between 9:15 and 10pm.”

What do you eat in a typical day?
“For breakfast I usually have a couple of slices of bread with ham and cheese, or I make oatmeal. For lunch I typically bring sandwiches with a variety of fillings from home. I rarely buy lunch in the school cafeteria. Dinner is a hot meal at home, and it varies a lot. I eat pretty much everything, but some of my favorite foods are fish and root vegetables. I always have dinner after my afternoon workout, so that means it can get pretty late, like between 8 and 9 pm. If I need a snack between meals, I usually eat fruit. Apples and bananas are my favorites.”

How do you manage to get your homework done, with dual workouts on many days and racing or training camps on the weekends?
“I am super diligent about school, and I actually do most of my homework at school, between workouts and meals. I always try to be ahead of the game, so I don’t usually get stressed out if something unexpected comes up, either with school or outside. But if I feel like the schedule gets too crammed, academics always take priority over training. However, that rarely happens, since I usually have a good grip on what’s coming up.”

And, as if chasing Olympic medals in one of the world’s most demanding and technical sports wasn’t enough, Helene is also among the best mountain bikers on the planet. This summer, she earned the bronze medal at the 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Quebec, Canada.

Read more: Fossesholm medals in her first World Championships