23 year old hockey star Anna Flanagan has a pretty impressive list of credentials including Olympian, dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist, World Young Player of the year and one we felt needed to be added, “the definition of girl power”. She shared with WF her tips for fit women who want to perform at their best, achieve their goals and stay motivated.

When it comes to being at your best on the field and in training, what would you say are the three most important factors for you?

Diet- Eating a healthy balanced diet is a must. I look to my food to give me the energy I need for training, so incorporating iron-rich beef into my meals has been a really important change as I used to be iron-deficient. Also important to have a better body composition so I do not carry around the extra weight.

Recovery- When I was younger I was able to get away with a small amount of stretching and being diligent in warm down. Stretching has become crucial for me to be able to get up to full pace and improve my strength in the gym. It is an area I have had to work hard on as I did not put enough time into my flexibility.

Motivation- Being completely determined each and every session to get the best out of myself. It is something that ebbs and flows and when it is early or the end of the week I find it difficult to get myself up- but also know that there is no point going if I do not give 100 per cent. I always feel so much better after a session knowing I have made steps forward.

You’ve shared your experience with iron deficiency in the latest Australian Beef campaign. How did this deficiency affect your physical performance?

I was tired majority of the time. If I got through the training I was sleeping a lot in the day and also trying to juggle study. I wasn’t able to put in as much as I could due to the fatigue that also impacted upon the motivation to train. As I moved out of home young I needed to be educated on how to eat for performance and this included more red meat such as beef as part of a balanced diet.

Speaking of being tired, how do you balance training and all of your commitments so that you get downtime?

Downtime is hugely important for an athlete to mentally recharge. It is still a learning curve for me to find that balance, as with many people, but I am learning to say no more often to give myself that time and space that I need to perform on all levels. I love the outdoors so getting to the beach is always somewhere for me to reset.

For women like you who want to achieve their fitness goals while balancing a career, family commitments and financial pressures, what is your advice to them?

Believe in yourself, and have people around you that support your goals. The last thing you need is the best friend meeting you for lunch a fast food restaurant. Tell people your goals and get them to help you, when there are obstacles in your way, reach out and use the resources that will get you there. If a friend reached out for you of course you would help, so don’t do it alone and enjoy the journey, the hardships make it all that more worthwhile.