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Q&A with Olympic swimmer Michelle Coleman

Michelle Coleman is an Olympic swimmer from Sweden who specializes in the sprint freestyle and backstroke events. She currently holds several records including the current Swedish national 50-meter backstroke, the 100-meter backstroke, and the 200-meter backstroke.

We spent some time talking with her to find out what drives her as an elite athlete, her daily routine, and how she uses supplements in her everyday life.

Puori: What are the biggest achievements in your career?

Michelle Coleman: Going to the Olympics and becoming a finalist in Rio (2016). Achieving a World Championship silver medalist in the 4x100 meters (2015), winning a medal at the European Championships (2014) and being a National record holder in Sweden (2019).

Puori: What is your next big goal?

Michelle Coleman: Going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

I always try and optimize my recovery by being selective as to what I eat, how and when I eat, and how much I sleep. When I am feeling unwell with a cold I try and do a lot of cooking with high antioxidant foods like black rice, garlic, blueberries.

Puori: How do you manage to stay healthy – and what does healthy mean to you?

Michelle Coleman: I find that the key to health is finding balance. Pushing my body to the limits but also making sure it has the time and possibility to recover through food and nutrition. So, I always try and optimize my recovery by being selective as to what I eat, how and when I eat, and how much I sleep. When I am feeling unwell with a cold I try and do a lot of cooking with high antioxidant foods like black rice, garlic, blueberries. I also use an extra amount of ginger and turmeric to help boost my immune system.

Puori: Apart from swimming, how do you keep yourself fit?

Michelle Coleman: Alongside swimming, we go to the gym about 3-4 times per week. I really enjoy Pilates and Yoga as well.

Puori: What do you feel are the biggest challenges in achieving a healthy lifestyle?

Michelle Coleman: Well, the hardest part is finding food and supplements that are good and clean. Also, to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle you need knowledge on how to do that, and I think that was the biggest eye-opener for me. I thought I knew a lot, but actually, there was so much more to learn.

Puori: What role do supplements play in your daily life?

Michelle Coleman: I take supplements every day. Either it’s extra nutrients like magnesium and omega-3, but I also boost my dietary plan with extra protein before and after my training sessions. So, it really helps me to keep a good, balanced and healthy diet.

Puori: What does a ‘clean’ product mean to you in your daily life?

Michelle Coleman: Well before I started eating a green plant-based and cleaner diet, I thought I knew what it felt like for my body to be “good and strong”. But, after going to a more plant-based diet, as well as choosing clean and pure supplements, I realized how good one could feel. Honestly, you can’t explain the feeling to anyone really, but once you’ve tried you really understand. I just feel more in harmony with my body.

It’s like filling a petrol car with diesel. It will ruin the motor. It’s exactly the same as putting the wrong fuel in our bodies. 

Puori: Why do you think clean products are important when it comes to food supplements?

Michelle Coleman: Everything we eat and put in (and also on) our body affects us. It affects our performance and how we function. And I think we need to fuel our body in the best possible way for it to function in its full capacity. It’s like filling a petrol car with diesel. It will ruin the motor. It’s exactly the same as putting the wrong fuel in our bodies. 

Puori: How did you first come across Puori?

Michelle Coleman: I follow Stina Troest (Danish runner) on Instagram and saw that she posted a lot about the products, that’s how I first came across Puori. 

Puori: What are your favourite Puori product’s and why?

Michelle Coleman: PW1 is my favourite. I use it almost 2-3 times a day. Haha, I am quite dependent on it. I use the chocolate one after every swim session I do, so morning and evening. Then I use the vanilla flavour for my "pre-gym" snack. I have it in my smoothie. I use 1 scoop of powder, with 1 dl oat yoghurt, 2dl oat milk, 1 frozen banana, and frozen blueberries. It’s the perfect thing to have before the gym, it doesn't make you heavy but still fuels you up with energy and plenty of protein so you have the optimal conditions to perform.  

Puori: How do you maintain balance in life?

Michelle Coleman: Wow, it’s taken me a long time to try and find that. But for me, it’s important to have “me time”, just time to relax and recover. But I also find it important to have a balance between sport and university. To have something that I get to focus on outside of the pool. Also trying to be honest with myself about what I can handle in a day. Before, I always planned too many things during the day, and it always ended up in a disaster. So now I try and be more realistic in what I can do!

Puori: What gives you energy?

Michelle Coleman: Training, honestly being active is the thing that gives me the most energy. If I feel tired just taking a walk makes me so much more efficient. But I also do allow myself to rest. But otherwise being with friends and family gives me good energy and puts me in a good mood and helps me achieve balance.  

Puori: Do you have any thoughts on what the future will hold?

Michelle Coleman: Well I know I want to be creative and work with people, but where exactly that is going to put me, I don't know. All I know is that I’ll keep on swimming for as long as I enjoy it!

Puori: When do you feel the best?

Michelle Coleman: After completing something I thought I couldn't, like a training set that I never thought I would make or racing a time I never expected. It’s the moments when you surprise yourself that really give me a boost.

Puori: Who or what inspires you in your daily life?

Michelle Coleman: Well pushing my limits really motivate me, trying to see how far I can go. I know it might sound a bit "typical" but it’s true.

My water bottle... I try bringing it everywhere. Firstly, because I don't support the use of "single-use" plastic items for the environment. For that reason, I avoid using plastic cups and bring my water bottle with me. But also, because I really want to try and optimize my recovery by hydrating properly.

Puori: What do you always have in your bag when you go to the gym, to the pool or in a café?

Michelle Coleman: My water bottle... I try bringing it everywhere. Firstly, because I don't support the use of "single-use" plastic items for the environment. For that reason, I avoid using plastic cups and bring my water bottle with me. But also, because I really want to try and optimize my recovery by hydrating properly.

Puori: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Michelle Coleman: Happy, caring, creative

Puori: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

Michelle Coleman: That I have dual citizenship, for both Sweden and New Zealand. A lot of people don't know that!