‘Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose’: Paralympian’s inspiring words My fit life
In 1989 the Nott family were holidaying in Queensland when a car accident left Clare Nott, then aged three, paralysed from the waist down. A difficult start in life has never deterred Clare, and she has achieved enormous success as a wheelchair basketball player. She has played more than 140 international games since 2005, winning a Bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and Silver in the 2012 London Games. We spoke to Clare about her achievements, the challenges she has faced and what gives her the drive to tackle life head on.
What is your health philosophy?
Enjoy what you are eating. If you live a balanced lifestyle then you can treat yourself every now and then. It is always important to remember why you are fuelling your body when making meal choices.
What does your daily fitness routine look like before a big competition?
Leading into a massive competition like the Paralympics, training expectations would always ramp up. For certain training blocks I would be up at 5am to fit in either a gym or individual shooting session before work. I am a legal secretary from 8.30am to 5pm and, on some days, I would also have a team training session after work. During peak training seasons I would go to the gym three days a week, have individual shooting/skills sessions three days a week and team training two to three days a week. I’d also incorporated a physiotherapy and/or massage once a week, with Sunday my rest day.
What mental training do you do?
I don’t meditate or anything like that but I would always be sure to get any frustrations or challenges out by talking with my friends and family. Having a good relationship with your coach and management staff means you can take any worries to them and have their support. You learn over time to take in criticism without turning into a blubbery mess because learning from your mistakes is one way to make improvements. It is important to listen to the words and not the way they are said, because on the basketball court emotions can be amplified, voices are louder and words can come across as yelling.
What do you eat on a general day, during competition season?
Breakfast: A bowl of cereal or my favourite — avocado on toast with poached eggs.
Morning snack: Usually post training I’ll grab a banana and protein shake.
Lunch: If I’m at work, and if I haven’t brought in leftovers from dinner the night before, I’ll usually grab some simple Asian food from a local restaurant. Fresh rice paper rolls, or Singapore noodles are always a favourite.
Afternoon snack: Greek yoghurt – my fave flavour being apple, cinnamon and oats. I might treat myself to a chocolate or cupcake depending on how good I’ve been.
Dinner: I love cooking Italian meals especially bolognese. You can cook these in big batches and save them for lunch/dinner the next day. I also can’t go past a good medium rare steak with veggies. Broccolini and carrot with a balsamic glaze being my go-to veggies.
What’s your favourite healthy recipe?
I love making things in the Vitamix. It’s always satisfying creating my own pasta sauce by blending whole roma tomatoes, red capsicum and garlic and then letting it simmer to a thicker consistency. I then brown premium beef mince and a brown onion, then add grated carrot, grated zucchini, mushrooms, the pasta sauce and a dash of red wine. Serve on top of your pasta of choice with shaved parmesan.
What’s your food splurge?
Bruschetta and a woodfired pizza from Magna Pizza in Fremantle. And anything chocolate or Nutella!
Is there a motto that you live by?
“Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose!” I don’t really live by any motto but I think that is the best one so far.
What gives you the greatest joy – in your sport and also in life – and what are the most challenging aspects?
My greatest joy is knowing that the hard work you put in has helped out your team. I don’t work hard for individual awards and accolades. I do it for my team. In life my greatest joy is working hard so that my family’s future will be a good one.
My greatest challenge is when things you can’t control or people you can’t control get in your way, make things difficult and try to put you down. You can only do your best to get over those hurdles.
If you had one piece of advice to give aspiring Paralympians what would it be?
Don’t limit yourself to the stereotypical role indicated by your disability. Always challenge your abilities and always ask questions if you are unsure of something or don’t understand why something was done the way it was done. Sometimes coaches or senior squad members make mistakes or could use fresh innovative ideas.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
From 2004 to 2016 wheelchair basketball was the priority in my life. I was always working on improving myself for my team because as soon as one Paralympic campaign was finished I would then concentrate on the World Championship campaign and visa versa. I have actually been married for nearly five years now and I would really like to become a mother. So after the disappointing result of not qualifying for the Rio Paralympics that is my next project. I would also like to do some night time courses, such as AUSLAN or cake decorating.
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