In our Checklist series of interviews, we feature amazing people doing inspirational things in the world of fitness and the outdoors.
This week, we speak to British hockey player Shona McCallin about training, her kit, what she thinks is happening in the fitness industry and about being an ambassador for OPRO Mouthguards.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm currently a GB Womenâs Hockey player and OPRO ambassador - Iâve been a member of the team since 2013. I'm also an Olympic and European Champion and hoping to qualify for next yearâs Olympics in Tokyo.
What projects are you currently working on?
My main project is the goal of qualifying for Tokyo through a play-off at the start of November. Otherwise, off the back of graduating from university with a business degree, I'm just looking to keep learning and developing myself.
Iâve taken up a course in nutrition online as well as one focused on mental health. Itâs really important for me to keep mentally occupied outside of hockey.
What was the last thing you trained for?
The European Championships was the most recent competition as an opportunity to gain automatic qualification to next yearâs Olympics, but we do train all year round. Weâve got a few weeks break now before building up to the Olympic qualification game in early November.
What kind of schedule/program do you follow?
Training is set by the experts that we have at GB Hockey, so the strength and conditioning coaches and the hockey coaches â itâs all based on what we need as a team.
A typical week would include five hockey sessions and three gym sessions. Usually, the fitness side in incorporated in either the gym or the hockey sessions, rather than being something extra. The gym sessions will be a variety of things â could be speed-focused, power-focused, injury prevention-focused â whatever the athleteâs needs, theyâll be tailored to those.
The hockey sessions will be a mixture of sessions at ranging difficulties, based around more technical, tactical work. Theyâre all planned out to link together naturally.
I think for me my power is something I definitely want to work on. I think I have the ability to just keep going fitness-wise but Iâm not naturally a bigger player. I'm more slight and Iâd like to improve my muscular strength. If I didnât put in the gym work I probably wouldnât be able to handle the demands of international hockey.
How do you evaluate your performance of a training session?
For me, itâs about whether Iâve mentally and physically giving it my all. Then I come off the pitch satisfied that I couldnât have done anything else.
I think itâs easy to coast through sessions and for me, that would be a waste of time. Iâll look back at video from hockey sessions and see if there are any tactical elements that I can improve in.
We have the Olympic qualifiers coming up and will look back at training and performances at the Europeans to decipher what we need to work on and how we can improve.
Next year weâll be going out to Australia, New Zealand and Argentina for various games, but before the Olympic qualifiers we have some important tests that will help stand us in good stead.
What do you think will be the next big movements in health and fitness?
I remember when I was at school it wasnât really âcoolâ to be in the gym and to keep active, it was all about going out; I think the continuation of that is great.
Iâm also a big fan of the evolution of the functional side of training. Thereâs a lot of gyms popping up surrounding this concept where itâs all about movement rather than just machines etc. It keeps things interesting. I think technology is huge too - in sport it's booming.
You look around and everyone seems to have a smart watch â I think the use of technology in tracking sport, activity, recovery etc. will continue to explode.
What are the key items in your kit bag?
OPRO Power-Fit Mouthguard - Of course, you want to have fun out there competing but safety cannot be neglected! A mouthguard is a must-have and OPROâs range really are the best out there. Not only have I found they provide the best fit in terms of retention and comfort, but thereâs no compromise on protection too.
Jaybird Tarah Pro - Working out to music is so much better than working out without music! Iâve gone through so many pairs of headphones down the years because Iâm constantly losing them or getting them all sweaty. Iâve found Jaybirdâs headphones to be particularly durable in that sense!
Fitness tracker - A fitness tracker is a fantastic way to track your top-level progress and for me, it gives a great idea of aspects such as heart-rate training zones and the distance Iâm covering on the pitch within my sessions.
- Essential reading: The best fitness trackers
STX Lacrosse Ball - A lacrosse ball is a fantastic way to get into tight areas that are harder to target through the use of a foam roller. Find your trigger points and roll away!
Buy now: Amazon | $19.99
Face cleansing wipes and a hairbrush - After training itâs good to refresh immediately so you can start focusing on recovery - including proper post-training nutrition. Less technical it has to be said with these two, but nevertheless still ever-present items within my kit bagâŠ
What trainers do you use?
I use Asics FuzeX trainers at the moment as I find them to be a really good combination trainer. Theyâre not overly running focused with exaggerated cushioning and support, but theyâre not flat either.
Itâs a good balance for the running sessions that we do - a lot of straight-line stuff, but also changing direction and working on that agility. Lightweight and they come in some funky colors too.
What apparel do you use?
I love STXâs apparel in particular. A good pair of leggings also go a long way and I must admit Iâm a big fan of Under Armourâs range in that sense.
What one item of your gear would you implore someone else to use?
Itâd have to be my OPRO mouthguard. Itâs a must when youâre playing, and they offer some funky designs to match your personality. Theyâre all professionally fit and itâs easy to notice that quality by the fact that I often forget that theyâre even there. It gives you that confidence to focus on performing.
Whereâs the best place you ever trained or competed?
We recently went to Japan and the pitches were in some really picturesque places in the mountains. Competing-wise, the home European Championships in 2015 in London when we won was a pretty incredible experience. That was one of my first big major tournaments and you really canât beat a home crowd.
Whatâs the exercise you hate doing the most?
Probably really heavy strength stuff â when the reps are down to twos or threes. I really hate that!
Whatâs your ultimate workout song?
I donât really have one song I must admit but I do have a favorite playlist on Spotify. I think the playlist is something like Ultimate Dance Remixes! I like a bit of 90âs R&B too.
How many push-ups can you do in one go?
Probably about 35ish.
If you could compete/train anywhere in the world where would it be?
Somewhere with sunshine â letâs go with LA!
Whoâs your fitness/sporting hero?
I think Kelly Holmes is pretty inspirational â not only what sheâs done in sport, but also since she retired.
Is there any sport youâre really bad at?
I donât do stuff Iâm not very good at!
Whatâs your favorite post-competition/challenge meal?
Burger and chips.