Now presenting on ITV4 as well as dabbling in a little punditry on the IPL (Indian Premier League) in India, Isa Guha laid down her bat this year as a member of the England women’s cricket team – all whilst studying for her MPhil in Neuroscience! We chatted to the sporting superwoman to find out how she stays in shape, and what she hopes for the future of women’s sport!
What are you up to at the moment?
I’ve recently retired from playing cricket, but have been presenting for the IPL on ITV4 as well as punditry on the IPL in India.
You have played professional cricket since you were seventeen, how did you keep in shape while you were playing?
Cricket is quite demanding as not only do you have to train for your specific skills in batting, bowling and fielding but you have to be physically fit in a number of ways. In 2002, the ECB formed links with the EIS for the women’s programme which meant that we had access to some of the best S&C coaches in the country on a weekly basis. While playing I was doing two weights sessions, two functional conditioning sessions, two speed/endurance sessions and one longer interval every week. It is important to be match fit as well and I made sure I got three bowling sessions in a week throughout intense cricket phases. There is also now a full-time employed S&C coach and physio who work together to make sure the girls are as fit as they can be.
In sport obviously you can’t help but get injured occasionally, but is there anything you did to try to prevent anything serious?
I have been pretty lucky with injuries until last year where my back was seriously affected. To manage it I had to spend more time in the gym than ever before. As a bowler it is important to have a strong core as you are putting your body through a lot of stress.
Sport is stereotypically a bit of a man’s world, do you find that?
It is but that is something that I have accepted. It frustrates me when women don’t get the recognition they deserve or compare us to the men’s game but that is simply the way it is. Sadly this is the case for the majority of women’s team sports. Some people still don’t realise that in 2009 we won the ODI World Cup, T20 World Cup, whitewashed the Aussies in an ODI series and retained the Ashes all in the same year. We were the best in all formats of the game making us the most successful team in England.
You appear to be a bit of a superstar across multiple fields and are now doing a PhD in Neuroscience. Do you find that knowledge has helped your sporting career at all?
I feel that doing the PhD has gave me something else to focus on so that I was not continuously thinking cricket, and it definitely helped me understand more about my diet as well.
Did you have to be pretty careful about your diet?
We had a nutritionist who gave us guidance and regular calliper testing. I thought more about my diet in the last couple of years just to maximise training. I used to get really tired having to go and sit in a lecture or go straight to work after a fitness session but protein supplements and snacks really helped with that. I just got a bit smarter with my daily food routine and noticed a real difference.
What would you say to encourage other young girls to pursue sport?
Anything you want to pursue involves hard work, determination and passion to beat off competition and get to the top. The most important thing is that you enjoy what you are doing.
What so far, as we are sure there will be more – has been your career highlight?
Winning the World Cup in Sydney 2009; when I started playing for England in 2002 we were ranked 4th. The journey to becoming No 1 involved a lot of blood, sweat and tears so that made winning even sweeter.
You have mentioned that you spent a lot of time on the road, what are your travelling essentials?
My iPod, a good book, and my mascara
What are your must-have products?
I’ve always had a skincare routine at night but it’s usually face wipes and any old face cream. I have started to think more about skincare and make sure I have a good facial scrub and eye cream. Usually the make-up artists are pretty good on television to cover up any blemishes!!
You have mentioned that one of your goals is to have given something to women in sport – what do you think you would like that to be?
I’d like to help the women’s game move forwards not just in cricket but all sports. Although support is better than ever there is still a lack of attention when it comes to women in sport. I’d like to help women get the recognition they deserve and make it easier for them to do what they love.
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