Keri Anne Payne – Rio 2016 Olympian Interview


In the run up to the Olympic games in Rio I thought it would be great to get some fitness tips from an actual Olympian! Keri-Anne is an amazing open-water swimmer who has been training hard in the run up to Rio 2016, (you may recognise her from her gorgeous Max Factor, Links of London, and Oral-B adverts which ran during the 2012 London Olympics.) I asked this beauty about her training tips, workouts and what she thinks of the fitness movement in the UK. She may look like a supermodel but she is really a hard working athlete, and is my Motivation Monday!

Images via &

Keri- Anne, how did you get started on your Olympic journey?
My older brother was already swimming by the time I came along. I idolised him and wanted to everything he did which was swimming. From the first time I jumped in (fully clothed!) when I was 3 years old I loved being in the water and decided swimming was what I was going to do. I’m so lucky that along the way I managed to be successful at doing what I love.

What is ‘Open Water swimming” and how does it differ from other Olympic swimming competitions?
Open water is exactly that swimming in any space of open water from rivers to lakes to the Copacabana. Open water swimming has opened up my eyes to some spectacular scenery around the globe. My event, the 10k take me roughy 2 hours but I love racing the 1 mile events too. There are so many brilliant events popping up all around the world encouraging people to take up open water swimming!

What is the best thing about your job?
Traveling the world, swimming in spectacular seas and meeting some really cool people along the way.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career?
Winning an Olympic medal is an incredible experience and one I will never forget. However my proudest moment was walking out to my race at The London Olympics seeing and hearing 30,000 people cheering for me was a real ‘goose bumps’ moment. Four years precious I had to explain to people what open water swimming was and then to have all those people there watching this so called ‘minority sport’ is to me what the Olympic legacy is.

How exciting was London’s 2012 Olympics?
Being an Olympian during the London 2012 season is what I think rock stars must feel like all the time. The noise from the crowds and the reaction of people when you tell them your an Olympian was crazy, I’ve never experienced a year like it! The best part was the parade through London and seeing so many people lining the streets was awesome!

In 2012 you got asked to model for MaxFactor with legendary photographer Rankin, how was that experience?
So much fun! I really enjoyed that whole experience. I was in Rankin’s studio with his ‘Olympic style’ hair and make up team who are all top of their fields was brilliant. Initially being photographed by Rankin was a little daunting because I’m a swimmer not a model but he was so good at making me feel at ease and I was really happy with the final shot, another experience I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

How does it make you feel to see so many fitness models on Instagram?
I’m am passionate about helping people lead a healthy & more active lifestyle and with social media, Instagram especially, it’s a great platform for inspiration. Everyone has something slightly different to share or a routine that’s good for difference aspects of your body. It’s really exciting that so many people are so interested in being fit and healthy!

What do you do to train and keep fit outside of the water?
I do a lot of core yoga style work outs this has been hugely helpful for my injury prevention routine. I also try to run a couple of times a week and as a training squad we do a few cardio style high intensity sessions in the gym. All of which I love but I must admit I feel the most inspired to go to the gym when I get a really cool new pair of gym leggings.

What are you most excited about doing at the Rio Olympics?
I cannot wait to swim in The Copacabana again! At the Olympic test event last August I remember whilst in the midst of the race I looked to the left and saw The Corcovado, arms outstretched looking at me and I got shivers instantly! I also can’t wait to see the show that Brazil puts on for The Games I’m hoping for a real Carnival atmosphere.

Are you looking forward to trying all the Brazilian food?
I’m a huge foodie and love getting inspiration from different countries and cultures, I recently made a feijoada at home – it was so yummy. I can’t wait to try an authentic one.

Why do you think recently people are starting to become more fitness conscious?
I think with social media being such a huge part of people’s lives they are becoming more conscious of the amazing and diverse world of sport and fitness. I’ve seen a huge trend in people taking up incredible challenges like open water swimming and doing it for charity which makes people feel good and gets them fit at the same time which is amazing.

How important is food when it comes to maintaining your fitness?
For me it’s as important and going to the gym in the first place. The right nutrition will make it easier to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Disregarding nutrition can undo all the hard work people do in the gym or in the pool. Eating the right food at the right time will ultimately help you reach and maintain your body goals.

Can you please describe for me the perfect post-workout meal?
It’s important to have something nutritious straight after your workout, I usually have a berry or peanut butter smoothie. This instantly replace what I have lost whilst training. High protein snacks are usually best. When I get home after a hard session in the pool my perfect post workout meal is a salmon and prawn fish pie with sweet potato mash. The perfect combination of protein with slow release carbs and it’s quick to make.

What is your favourite Super-Food?
Chia seeds are really amazing little things- they actively draw out toxins in your body when you eat them. I usually have them with my smoothies, in my protein balls & with my granola. Another super good is actually a super spice – turmeric. The yellow ground spice not only looks pretty but is packed with tons of health benefits including my favourite meal to add turmeric to is my lamb tagine.

What is the one thing you can never train/exercise without?
A plan! Heading to the pool or the gym without planning out my session always results in a wasted session. Planning out my week with my swimming or gym coach ensures I know which day/session I am focusing on a specific skill or part of my body. The power of planning makes all the difference.

Sun or snow?

Trainers or heels?

The pool or the beach?

Gym leggings or gym shorts?

Tanning or swimming?
Tanning whilst swimming!

Don’t forget to follow Keri-Anne’s adventures on her website, where you can get swimming lessons in the worlds most beautiful locations from her and her husband David (also a professional swimmer.)

Her Instagram is @kerianne_payne