NOCCO CLOSE UP WITH CHARLIE RAPOSO
The British alpine ski racer Charlie Raposo believes that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. And he should know. After having dedicated over 10 years of his life to reach his ski racing goals, he is one of Britain’s top alpine skiers as well as being in the top 50 in the World. Besides his dedication, two important factors are behind his success. His ability to deal with stress and failure – something he did’t always master – as well as his rigid training routine. Get an insight on both in this issue of NOCCO Close Up UK.
What made you take up skiing and what do you like the most about it?
– I actually started to ski relatively late in my childhood, but I instantly fell in love in with it. My step dad had a chalet in Switzerland, so I spent the holidays there and that’s when things really kicked off for me. My parents could not get me off skis – I would literally spend hours and hours going up and down the mountains! Skiing gives the feeling of freedom and I love doing an individual sport.
“I LOVE THE SPEED,
IT REALLY GIVES ME A BUZZ”
Why did you choose this type of skiing?
– From the very beginning I had a love for speed – it really gives me a buzz! There are very few sports where you can get the same level of exposure that you do in ski racing at a young age. I love being able to push myself to the limits and build my skills.
How do you deal with the fact that there aren’t any mountains here in UK?
– It’s actually great because I get to travel a lot and see new places! I am able to do all of my physical training in the UK. Skiing requires you to be an all-around athlete, so during my off season I do two gym sessions a day, six times a week, to build an aerobic base and really improve my conditioning.
What have you had to sacrifice to be able to pursue a carer as a professional skier?
– Although the partying is out (mainly!) and my diet has to be near-on perfect, I don’t consider there to be any sacrifices as I honestly love what I do. I wake up every day excited to improve my performance. I feel like skiing gives me a great balance in life and I enjoy challenging myself every single day.
How do you find the motivation and energy when you are traveling a lot, away from family and friends?
– It is sometimes tough, but I speak to my family and friends a lot when I am away. I have a huge support system around me who really push me to be better. But I enjoy my routines where I wake up, ski, workout, eat, sleep and repeat.
Have you had any down moments in your career?
– Definitely. A year ago I questioned if this is what I really wanted – a career in ski racing. My drive has changed a lot as I have grown up. It is always important to remember why you are doing it, and that’s because I love it. I think a lot of people compare skiing to other professional sports such as football, but there is not as much money in this sport unless you are at the very top, so it makes it a real battle to get to that level and make it work financially.
“I SUFFERED WITH SICKNESS BEFORE EVERY RACE IN 2017.”
Are you nervous before a race? Do you have special routines?
– Yes! I used to suffer with sickness before every race last season as I just could not control my nerves! It was a big issue and we couldn’t figure out why. Fortunately I have been able to tame that and it doesn’t happen anymore. At the start of every race I now tell myself “you have nothing to lose”. I have learnt to manage my nerves by not overthinking the outcome. At the end of the day, “what will be, will be…”. I try not to put a lot of emphasis on performance goals, rather focus on what I need to do in the present moment. It’s important to trust the process.
How do you feel about failing?
– Most people are afraid to fail. I have a lot of unique experiences of failing. In skiing you fail a lot more times than you succeed. Failing is an interesting thing. It can make people sink or swim. A lot of people are so afraid of failing but all you can do is reflect on yourself and why things happen. You can prevent failing in the future.
“YOU ARE YOUR BEST COACH, BOTH AS AN ATHLETE AND IN LIFE.”
– I have learnt a lot from failing. At times when I have failed, I sit down and think, what went wrong? I like to reflect and give myself time to grow and prepare better for next time. At the end of the day you are your best coach, both as an athlete and also in your personal life.
What types of exercises do you practice in the gym?
– Skiing is a sport that requires you to be an all-round-athlete. I need to be physically fit and also strong. I do a lot of strength training with a focus on lower body, and I do a lot of compound movements and ensure that everything is proportionate. At the end of the day, it’s important to do exercise that you enjoy, and not only be focused on the results. My training schedule is pretty full on…I do 1-2 workouts a day, 6 days a week. I always make sure I have one rest day a week to ensure that my body has enough time to recover.
WORKOUT LIKE A SKI PRO!
This is one of my favourite lifting movements. It incorporates a lot of different body movements into one, and while ones power is important, due to how technical the movement is, doing it right is going to make a big difference in how much weight you can lift. This is my go to lift the day before a race to get the muscles firing.
Strict leg Romanian deadlift
Strict leg Romanian deadlift is a compound lifting movement that provides a lot of isolation to the hamstring. While strengthens the hamstring and the back, it also helps to increase mobility with a heavy load on the muscles
It doesn’t get anymore generic. Squatting is a go to in any ski racers physical training program. Gotta get that ass big.
What keeps you motivated?
– The feeling of winning. The feeling of getting the job done is what makes all the sacrifices worth it. I’m very competitive and I love pushing myself to be better. There is always room for improvement and I have always had an inner feeling to keep going. There is nothing as satisfying as setting out to do something difficult and executing the plan.
“THE FEELING OF WINNING KEEPS ME GOING.”
Any favorite motivational quotes?
– I have two favorites. The first is “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” and my second favorite is “If you want to go somewhere you never been before you have to work like have you never worked before.”