Meet The Queen's Elite Athletes - Nathan Timoney
13th, Mar 2023
Kingsbridge Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic works in partnership with the athletes, coaching staff and fitness teams at Queen’s Sport, Queen’s University in Belfast. As we approach the final semester we wanted to shine a light on some of the students and Elite Athletes that we are delighted to support.
Next up is Nathan Timoney, second year Business Management student and elite athlete rower at Queen’s. Nathan is the second eldest of 7 and has loved rowing from the moment he took up the sport with aims to row for Ireland at the Olympics!
Are you a morning person and if so what’s the first thing you do when you waken up?
Yes, first thing I would do is drink a litre of water and have a cold shower.
What’s your favourite meal time of the day and what are you most likely to have on your plate?
Breakfast, overnight oats has become a habit of mine plus pancakes and eggs. I aim to eat up to 6 - 7k calories a day on heavy training days. If I’m low on calories, protein smoothies are a hack, but I also top up with granola and yogurt quite regularly.
Is nutrition important to you and if so do you take any health supplements daily?
Yes, absolutely. I get my bloods tested a few times a year and based off the results, my nutritionist or doctor would prescribe or recommend vitamins or supplements specific for any deficiencies I may have. Currently I take creatine, iron, and vitamin D supplements. I also regularly take protein and carb supplements post sessions, I can never go without Kinetica’s Oat Gainer post sessions!
How many times a week do you train?
I train from 14-16 sessions a week, every day for most of the year especially coming into racing season from March to September, however, we do take the odd day off during the winter season. On a heavy week, training is distributed usually from twice a day with longer aerobic sessions in the mornings and shorter higher intensity sessions in the evenings. Sessions on the water can last up to 2hrs and 30mins. I also have three strength and conditioning sessions spread across the week. From one perspective it sounds crazy but your body does adapt to the load over time.
Have you ever been injured through your sport?
Yes, I had a back injury in 2020 (Disc Herniation) but thankfully resolved now.
What do you do to relax?
My go to is playing guitar or anything that’s beneficially productive. I can’t stand doing nothing but during Uni I don’t really have much time besides rowing and study anyway. On rest days, we would prioritise recovery so we would go for cold immersion dips, saunas, or catch up on sleep.
If you didn’t like rowing so much, what other sport do you think you might excel in and why?
Hurling! Love it, I played for Fermanagh when I was 18 for a few years but decided to give it up when I got injured to focus on Rowing. I will definitely go back for a year. I also took up cycling when I was recovering from the injury, probably the best thing I was introduced to and is now incorporated into my training program.
How many hours sleep to you get on average and do you think this is enough?
I aim for 7 to 8 hours. If I go below I can feel the consequences.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s a common quote but my dad would always say… "Work hard in silence and let your success be your noise!"
Over the next 12 to 18 months what are your overall objectives whilst being on the Elite Athlete Programme at Queen’s?
To qualify the Irish Men’s Four for the Olympics. To qualify we need to place within top 7 at the World Rowing Championships this year. We came 8th last year behind Germany by 100th of a second. My teammates were Ross Corrigan (former EAP athlete and from Fermanagh), Jack Dorney (from Cork but studying at Harvard) and John Kearney (UCC). The first step is to get selected which will be decided around June/July.
Who are your biggest influencers in Sport and in Life?
In rowing, it would have to be Hamish Bond - 3 times Olympic gold medallist from New Zealand. Mind of a champion with incredible resilience and dedication to the sport.
In life, it would be my Dad. Always looking to drive me on and the first person to get me back on my two feet. The work ethic and commitment to giving everything 100% is unmatched regardless of how bad a day may be, a mindset I aspire to have.
How did you hear about the EAP Programme at Queen’s?
I heard about the EAP program through previous athletes that had been through the programme such as Ross Corrigan and Philip Doyle. The EAP process wasn’t too challenging in terms of eligibility and reaching the criteria however important requirements were having a strong academic focus and a high performance sporting background. The process is enjoyable and you are introduced to the panel at Queen’s sport who work closely with you from day one once you are on the program.
How do you find the support from Kingsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic and being able to avail of Athlete Profiling?
The support from Kingsbridge is exceptional. The EAP program opens a door of opportunity to take advantage of the services available with Kingsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic. Availing of athlete profiling is hugely beneficial as an athlete seeking to assess and measure valuable data to help train more efficiently and effectively. The strength and performance testing procedures are very interesting as they are good approaches to identifying any weak imbalances or discrepancies in your strength that could lead to injury. Physiotherapy itself is obviously integral for any athlete so even when I have no niggles, I would work with physios frequently for injury prevention.
What are you looking forward to and what is in the pipeline for the remainder of the year?
In terms of plans for the coming season, the next major competition is the Senior European Championships in Slovenia in May. Many of us are trialling and competing for seats so getting selected will be the first step. In the rowing world there are also three international world cups during the year, two of which will be competing at, one in Italy and one in Switzerland around June/July.
The ultimate competition will be the Senior World Championships in Serbia later in September so regardless of how selection and results go for us in the events beforehand, all eyes will be on this event as it is the Olympic Qualification Regatta. Training has been very solid with positive signs of progress compared to this time last year. I am currently on a three week camp in Italy with the Irish team which as always is an incredible experience as part of our rowing careers.
And finally, what is the end goal?
An Olympic Medal! We are in a time where Irish Rowing has excelled over the last few years and it’s a privilege to be a part the team currently. I love rowing because it is a unique sport that takes sheer toughness to train and compete in, every day is a test mentally and physiologically and is a constant battle of tolerance. I think that is what makes a winning feeling in rowing incomparable to any other sport.
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