A Day in the Life – in Athlete Lockdown, with Taag Chair Amber Keegan


Name: Amber Keegan
Studying: Phd (bio-inspired nano-sized silica) 
Sport: Swimming
And: Amber is Chair of the TAAG (Talented Athlete Advisory Group)


7:15 Get up, stick the kettle on and have porridge (today it’s blueberries, raspberries and peanut butter). Make a tea pot (today T2’s Chocolate Chai) and have some ‘me time’ whilst it brews. Currently this is bird-watching out of the window and reading Eddie Jones’ autobiography or sometimes I attempt a 5-minute sketch! I’m rubbish at drawing but I find it relaxing and like to get out of my comfort zone. I always avoid being on my phone first thing in the day though.

7:30 Yoga for half an hour to get my mind (and body) in the right place for the day. Today my legs are a little tight so it’s a restorative practice focusing on my hip flexibility. The Down Dog app is fantastic for personalised yoga for people of all levels and you can focus on areas that are individual to you (no endorsement, just a useful resource!).

8:00 Start work. Obviously I can’t do any labs at home! That means I’m doing a lot of literature reviewing at the moment. Today starting by reading a couple of papers about using nature-inspired processes in chemical engineering. I like to do simpler activities like reading and making notes in a morning to ease me into the day.

11:00 Snack time (today some fage yoghurt and blueberries), a little break (today to water my plants and do some colouring in). And time for another cup of tea, of course! And because I’m stuck at home I might practice some handstands (a fun goal for the end of lockdown is being able to do a handstand)!

13:00 Lunchtime! Today that’s homemade pesto on toast with fried eggs and courgettes (fancy-sounding, but quick and simple. Extra time at homes means extra time to try new things). My Ninja food processor (to make the pesto) is one of my most prized possessions though. Over lunch today I’m attempting to memorise as many countries as I can! My little sister is setting my family daily challenges and I don’t live with them anymore but it’s great fun to be involved.

14:00 Some form of aerobic exercise, a run or a cycle. I’ve cycled the past two days so today was a (rather slow) 10K run through the gorgeous route of Endcliffe and Bingham Parks to Forge Dam in Sheffield. Although I’d rather be in the pool, I do love running and being out in nature.

15:00 En route home, time for some gym (focusing on arms and core and finding ANYWHERE to do pull-ups). The local park is normally pretty empty, and a lifeline for a lot of people who live around me that don’t have a garden. Today a couple of dogs came for a pet in-between pull-ups sets, so that was a bonus!

16:00 Home, a thorough hand wash, a protein shake. I’ve had a lovely long break so it’s time to crack on with some work again – writing my own literature review or learning how to model reactions (with another cuppa of course).

19:00 or there abouts I finish work for the day. Then tea, today ikea veggie balls, mash, ikea gravy and lingonberry jam (I can’t wait to be able to go to ikea again)! Tonight I also had pudding of rhubarb crumble and custard which really cheered me up. Although some days it’s really nice being at home, times are pretty tricky right now for everyone. As someone who struggles with mental health, I’ve really had to pay attention to how I find ways to keep myself healthy and as happy as possible. Rhubarb crumble, taking time to do things I enjoy and video-chatting with friends are excellent methods for me. The TAAG are currently working with TASS on some resources for you all right now, from mental health to workouts, to ways to fill your days, so keep an eye out for those over the coming weeks and please get in touch if you want to get involved!

19:30 A little bit of TV, at the moment I’m watching an hour of David Attenborough most days, or some Parks and Rec if I’m in need of a giggle.

20:30 Just enough time for a card game or, today, a weekly pub quiz over video call with some friends. I miss these wonderful humans and am very excited to see them when all of this is over.

22:00 Almost bedtime, but first I practice some Slovak with my boyfriend and then I translate a page or two of (Slovak) Harry Potter before bed to him! He’s from Slovakia (and speaks fluent English), I’m from England and (very slowly) learning the language. Harry Potter is a book series that I read countless times as a child so it’s easier for me to piece together what words might mean (as some of it is lodged in my long-term memory).

22:30 When he’s had enough of me butchering simple words and I’m exhausted from struggling through simple sentences it’s lights out! Dobru noc (goodnight)!