Frequently asked questions
Do you have a question for me? Maybe the question was asked before. You can find an overview of the frequently asked questions here.
Did you always have those muscles?
Gymnastics give you significant muscles. Because I started very young, I have had big muscles since that age. But, before I started with gymnastics my biggest bulge was my belly.
Beside your gymnastics, do you have another job?
I am still studying and with the training and the sport obligations, my days are full.
Did you have to give up anything for gymnastics?
Anyone who wants to be a top athlete has to give up many things. From a very young age, I trained every day. My friends went out to play, and I usually couldn’t, because I had to go to the gym. You really need to be motivated and give 100%.
The free time I have left after school and training, I usually spend giving interviews, meeting with my sponsors, or giving demonstrations. Despite my busy schedule, I will always make time to relax. Otherwise, I would burn out. My favourite pastime is sitting on the couch in front of the television.
When did you have your first win?
I often won, even when I was young. The silver medal at the horizontal bar during the European Championships in Slovenia in 2004 was my international breakthrough.
Do you have any other hobbies apart from gymnastics?
If you don’t drink enough before or during exercise, does this affect your performance?
Yes, I would feel tired and sluggish.
Do you eat or drink in between exercises? If so, what?
Sports drinks, like an isotonic AA Drink, fruit and granola bars.
Do you feel hungry after exercising? If so, what do you eat?
Yes, recovery drink from AA Drink and fruit.
Has your diet changed since your performance became better?
After 2004 I started to become more conscious about my diet.
Do you follow a certain diet? Or do you eat certain things, or not?
No saturated fat (biscuits and deep-fried food).
What do you eat during a day? Do you eat at specific times?
Varied food with sufficient carbohydrates and proteins, well before training and shortly after training. Five times a day.
Do you do strength training? And if so, what kind of strength training?
Yes, twice a week, with dumbbells and weights.
How many hours a week do you train?
At the moment (2014) 25 hours per week.
If you cool down, what do you do and what is the benefit?
A cooling down is necessary to eliminate waste products and to release the tension on the muscles.
If you warm up, what do you do and what is the benefit?
Gymnastic exercises are often explosive, so you need to properly warm up, otherwise you risk injuries.
Do you have to surrender much to become this good?
Yes, primarily free time, because you have a tight (training) schedule.
What is your training schedule?
Standard is four times two daily periods, twice one daily period and one day off per week.
Which muscle groups did you train primarily before you became as big as you are now?
Shoulder and chest muscles.
Does it make any sense to continue if you have a serious injury?
Training helps to recover from injury and the challenge remains!
When you are suffering from a minor injury, how often do you use a painkiller during training?
When you are suffering from a minor injury, how often do you use a painkiller during a competition?
Hardly ever, I try to prevent that from happening.
Did you ever suffer any injuries? Of what?
Usually limbs and shoulder.
How often do you suffer from light injuries, injuries that don’t stop you training, but are still present?
You have to listen to your body and don’t force anything. Experience teaches you that.
You are troubled by a chronic injury, but the trainer/coach wants you to perform, because it is an important competition. The staff advises to have an injection (e.g. cortisone), so you can perform without pain. What do you do?
Those are hard decisions. It is important to know whether an injection can lead to longer-term damage. A thing like this is always decided in consultation with the medical support team.
You suffer a more serious injury, this is when you are in real pain during training and you feel it is not good for your body. What do you do?
Stop immediately, recover first, do not force anything.
You are troubled by an accumulation of fluids in your body due to an injury. Do you use anti-inflammatories?
Only in consultation with the attending physician.
Are you ever nervous before a competition? If so, how do you deal with that?
Before a competition I am nervous, this evokes a healthy tension, because you need to be sharp. As soon as I get to the gymnasium, I am able to concentrate and focus on my exercise.
Do you have a specific way of focussing?
I focus on what I have to do and think about that.
Do you have a tip for me to become the best I can be?
Make sure you enjoy what you are doing.
In how many competitions do you participate in a year?
What would get you out of bed in the morning?
A day of windsurfing with strong winds and bright sunshine.
What is your secret to winning gold?
There is no secret, really. Just be disciplined and live like a top athlete. What is really important, is that you have to train well and often. Only then you can become the best. It is true. The further you go, the better it becomes. But you have to have the ambition to become the best. You can only reach it by training every day. Otherwise, it will not happen. But trust me, if you get this far, you don’t want to go back.
What drugs could one use and what effect do they have?
You should never use drugs, you will wear yourself out and cheat on other athletes.
We have been to sportstad to gather information and received the drugs chart, we are wondering whether a top athlete cannot use any of the medication on the list?
In certain cases, such a medicine can be used with a medical certificate.
Do you have an example of how much money there is in practising this top sport? (sponsoring)
A lot is arranged and paid for by the KNGU. You pay for extra food, travel expenses and sport necessities. If you are an A athlete, you receive a stipend to support yourself.