Commonwealth Games: Sister judo duo

Natalie and Kirsty Powell

Judo sisters Natalie and Kirsty

Sisters Natalie and Kirsty Powell are both competing in Judo at this years Commonwealth Games. Though perhaps wisely, not against each other!

Kirsty is competing today, and old sister Natalie will be giving it her all on Saturday. Fingers crossed for something shiny!

We had a chat with Natalie to find out more about judo, nutrition and, er, times tables! Enjoy…

First, tell us a bit about yourselves!

We both grew up in Beulah, a little village in Mid Wales. We currently live in Cardiff and train full time at Sport Wales National Centre. I (Natalie) study Biomedical Science at Cardiff University and Kirsty has recently qualified as a PT Instructor.

How come you both got into Judo?

I started judo at the age of 8, because a few of my friends were doing it. Kirsty started a couple of years after me when she was 6. We both went to our local club in Builth Wells, Irfon Judo Club.

What is your training like and do you train together?

We both have a similar training schedule. We train three times a day Monday – Friday and often compete at weekends.

The average day starts with a strength/conditioning session, followed by 90 minutes technique and 90 minutes Randori (free practise) in the evening.

We’re both in the gym everyday. Our gym sessions consist of conditioning two times a week and weights three times a week, but this varies depending on what training phase we’re in.

Conditioning sessions are no longer than 30mins and involve short bursts of maximum effort.

As Kirsty’s a junior and I’m a Senior our competition schedules and training camps often differ.

The Commonwealths will be the first competition this year that we have attended together.

What is your diet like?

Judo’s a weight making sport, so diet is very important.

Kirsty and I have very different diets as she competes in the U57Kg class and has to diet to make weight, whereas I compete at U78kg and ideally need to gain weight.

We both stick to three meals a day and snack in between. Snacks include things like yogurt, nuts, fruit and the occasional chocolate bar.

Timing of meals is really important. Meals are arranged around our training programme to optimise energy levels and also recovery rates.

I find high protein and carbs particularly important after weights sessions, in order to optimise muscle gain.

As for supplements, I use Maxi Muscle protein daily and also use recovery bars and energy gels during training camps and competitions.

What events are you competing in at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games?

Kirsty is competing in the U57kg category (today!)  and I’ll be Section 3 – competing in the U78kg category on Saturday.

What do you hope to achieve at the the games?

We’re both going for Gold in Glasgow!

Who are your Judo heroes?

I don’t really have a Judo hero, but I always admired Denise Lewis as child. Kirsty’s sporting Idol is Federer because “he’s determined and inspires me to do better.”

Are there any athletes you’d like to meet in Glasgow?

Theres quite a few people I’d like to meet in Glasgow, I’m not sure If they’re going to be there but I’d like to meet Andy Murray, Jessica Ennis and Usain Bolt.

Apart from Judo, what are you other individual talents?

I recently learned to juggle and Kirsty is a keen pianist. We both really enjoy netball and badminton but sadly have little time to play at the moment. Kirsty also claims she’s a master of “times tables”.

Boxing or MMA – which is better?

I think MMA is better than boxing because it incorporates such a large range of martial arts, including boxing, which makes it more exciting to watch. Elements of MMA such as the newaza and the throwing element transfer well to judo. I know a few ex Judo players that have transferred across to MMA, which gives me a bit more interest.

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