Olympian Tim Foster on health and fitness

Olympian Tim Foster on health and fitness

Olympic gold medallist Tim Foster has teamed up with the British Pharmacological Society to share how to have a healthy body without the use of drugs.


Hi there, I’m Tim Foster. I hit the headlines in 2000 when I achieved my dream and won gold at the Sydney Olympic Games.

Since then, I’ve been coaching the British and Swiss Olympic rowing teams.

Like many sportspeople, I began rowing as a teenager. It was an exciting journey. But there was also a lot of pressure. Pressure to be taller, stronger and leaner. Pressure to be the best, whatever it took.

Today, those pressures are spreading beyond sport. Adverts, magazines, music videos and the growth of social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat mean all young people – not just young athletes – feel pressure to look a certain way.

Which can mean they turn to drugs or supplements.

A drug is any chemical you take that affects the way your body works. This includes positive as well as negative effects.

Illicit or illegal drugs are a groups of chemicals that are banned by law or the World Anti-Doping Agency.

A supplement is something you take as an extra dose of vitamins or minerals to boost your diet.

Some illicit drugs and supplements out there claim to offer shortcuts to the so-called “perfect body”.

Do you want the good news or the bad news?…

The bad news is that, as I know from my own experience, the only way to achieve this is through hard work. In my case 18,000 repetitions, a healthy diet, and determination.

The good news is that you can get everything you need to stay fit and active from food.

Admittedly, it can be a little extreme if you want to be an Olympian! 8,000 calories a day just to maintain body weight.

But the point is, I didn’t need illicit drugs or supplements to compete at the very top. And I certainly didn’t need any drugs or supplements to win an Olympic Gold medal.

Still not convinced?

This scoop of protein powder would cost you £1.35 and provide 20 grams of protein.

But you could get the same amount of protein from food – a pint of milk for 50p. And even more protein from a tin of tuna for 62p.

Remember: You might hear people, possibly friends, people in your class or in the years above talking about how a drug or supplement worked for them, but it is important to check with an expert before you take anything new. Olympic athletes know that experts can help you stay on the right track – your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will know about different vitamins, minerals, and any type of medicine you might need to keep you healthy. But if you think you do need any medicine – from painkillers to asthma inhalers or everything in between – ask your doctor or pharmacist.