A Day in the Life – In Athlete Lockdown with Fencer Billy Shepherd

Name: Billy Shepherd
Studying: Biology at the University of Nottingham
Sport: Fencing
And: Member of the Talented Athlete Advisory Group (TAAG)


9:00am – Wake up (yes, it’s late, but in student land, this is early….), get a cup of tea and go on my laptop and check my emails etc.

9:45am – Uni work. I have online exams in June and three pieces of coursework due this month, so there’s lots of work I need to get done.

10:30am – Breakfast. I’m really lazy/boring with breakfast, and usually have porridge, or overnight oats, with chia seeds, fruit (frozen blueberries and blackberrys, or a banana) and Skyr yoghurt. I’ve recently discovered (with the help from my nutritionist, Jodie Redgrave) that cold yoghurt on porridge is a game-changer, it tastes great and increases the protein content of this meal.

The reason I eat breakfast later in the morning is that I’ve found it helps me snack less later in the day.

10:45-11:45am – Studying. This is when I’m most productive, so I try and do the work I find the most difficult.

11:45am-12:30pm – Run. I usually go for a run, unless my body is telling me not to (the last thing I want is to do injure myself), in which case do some core and flexibility work. I do interval training or a 5K when I run. Today I did a 5K, but paced it badly and went way too quickly in the first kilometre, which I paid for in the last two kilometres. I have become a bit addicted to Strava recently, I enjoy looking at my friend’s workouts, giving them kudos and commenting on their workouts. The app helps bring a sense of community (much needed at this time) and has helped my own motivation (usually I’m not a runner, but I’m really enjoying it at the moment).

12:30-1.00pm – Cooldown. I usually listen to podcasts when stretching as it’s relaxing and ensures I do a proper cool down. I’ve been listening to Chris and Rosie Ramsey’s podcast (which I don’t think I can name on here) which is definitely the best podcast I’ve listened to.

1.00-2.00pm – Dinner (I’m back up north, so it’s not lunch) and a rest. I’ve been focusing on increasing the amount of vegetables and protein I eat. I’m enjoying trying out different recipes at the moment, I recommend red lentil salad, with carrots, peppers, onion and tomato. I sometimes add Feta, Ham, chicken and/or avocado (mostly depending on what’s in the fridge – one of the perks of being home).

2.00-4.00pm – Revision. This is usually helped by coffee or tea (not addicted, promise) and a snack.

4.00-6.00pm – Relax. Usually, I watch TV and I try to do some lighter work after I’ve had a decent break. I am doing a photography module (biological imaging) at the moment, I might take photos and/or edit them.

6.00pm – Tea. I usually cooked by my parents (another perk of being home!)

7.00-8.00pm – Footwork. Three times a week I do a Zoom footwork session with two of the national coaches – Olga and Oana. They run a footwork and fitness session with many other fencers around the county. This is great as it keeps me motivated and keeps me in touch other fencers.

8.00-9.00pm – Training. I usually do some extra work, quite often an upper body workout and some injury prevention work.

9.00pm-Midnight Relax and go to bed. I usually watch some more TV or read (I’ve been getting more into reading recently).

I think it’s important to say, this is an example good day when I have lots of energy and feel good. I vary what I do depending on how I feel, how my body feels and how much work I have to do.