Who Is Stephanie Millward?
Born in Saudi Arabia … and because it was so hot there, Stephanie Millward learned to swim at a very young age. Stephanie started capturing medals before the age of 5 and at the age of 8, she went to the junior Olympics in Riyadh (the capital of Saudi Arabia and won a gold medal. Despite personal adversities, Stephanie was destined for more gold. Her story is proof that dreams do come true and that anything can happen if you believe it enough.
Here is our ‘Spotlight Interview’ with Stephanie Millward
Trainer Z: Hello and thank you, Stephanie, for taking time out to share some of your positivity with TZelement MAG and our readers. Please tell us, what’s the one word you would use to define yourself, and why?
Stephanie: Kind … because I am a nice person who never says no to helping any charities or anybody. I like to see smiles on people’s faces!
Trainer Z: You’ve had to contend with your fair share of adversities and challenges in life. Please enlighten us on some of the personal adversities and challenges you have had to overcome?
Stephanie: 16 years fastest in the country at 100m backstroke, on way to Sydney 2000 Olympics! Year 2000, 17 years old – diagnosed with incurable illness Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I went black blind three times and paralyzed. Could not walk and definitely could not swim at the Olympics. Every part of my body gave up on me and I had to take my A levels with someone reading me the paper as I could not see the words. I got one E but failed the rest after being a mainly straight A* student. My parents got divorced and I blamed myself because I got sick. My life and my Olympic dream was shattered into a million pieces.
Trainer Z: What positive message could you share with someone who’s struggling with low self-esteem and/or social acceptance?
Stephanie: Put your hand on your heart and feel it beating. Your heart is beating just for you. Feel its power. Look in the mirror and see how amazing you are. Blocks and barriers are put in our way to make us stronger so keep on shining and let the world shine with you. You are amazing. The strength is inside you and imagine roaring like a lion. You are strong, you can do anything! Dreams do come true so keep on believing and keep on dreaming!
Trainer Z: Now let’s talk athletic career. What are some career accomplishments you are most proud of?
Stephanie: 2 gold medals in Rio Paralympics … finally achieving my dream and my lifetime goals. 10 Paralympic medals in total. Many world golds and even more European golds!
Trainer Z: What’s the best professional advice given to you, and by whom?
Stephanie: Swim your own race – Billy Pie (my coach).
Trainer Z: You’ve won 2 Olympic gold medals in Paralympic Swimming. Were there ever times in your training and pursuit of the gold when you felt like giving up?
Stephanie: No, never, I was too determined. I was always meant to get these golds, it was almost written in the stars for me to get them. I love training, which helps with the grueling sessions and I’m a morning person, so 4.30am mornings are not too bad. I have been chasing the golds since the age of 8 when I won gold at the junior Olympics in Rhyadd, so I was never going to give up before I got them!
Trainer Z: Do you have any regrets in relation to your athletic career?
Stephanie: I regret not getting to Sydney 2000 Olympics but I was struggling to see and struggling to walk instead. I cried all the way through the Olympics, so I didn’t even cheer for the team who had made it. It was out of my hands as I had been given another route in life, one to inspire the many. I believe I got MS to inspire everyone else with an illness as I proved that mind over matter always wins.
Trainer Z: If you could change just one thing about the Paralympics, what would it be?
Stephanie: One Olympics instead of Olympics and Paralympics. In Beijing 2008 Olympics/Paralympics, the message was One World, One Dream!
Trainer Z: What words of advice or encouragement can you give to aspiring Paralympic athletes?
Stephanie: Believe in yourself always. Dreams do come true and the whole country will cheer for you on your events. Good luck and enjoy!
Trainer Z: You’re a Paralympic Champion, you’re a motivational speaker, you’re involved with charities. 5 years from now, where do you see yourself in relation to life itself?
Stephanie: I am also an author (Paying the Price) and a life coach, and in 5 years time, I will also be in charge of my own business ‘Golden Smile’ which defeats anxiety and depression, and I will have created a charity helping children mainly. I will have set up an orphanage (named differently) so that everyone feels loved and are well cared for if their parents are too busy at work or if they lost their parents in some way. One world, One dream. I would like everyone to feel strong enough to follow their dreams and to keep believing in themselves irrelevant of what has already happened to them. I would love to help the world become a happier place full of love.
Trainer Z: Now let’s talk about athletic training and fitness. Share with us some specific details about your current training and/or workout routine. What type of forms of exercise do you engage in, how many days per week do you train, how much training time do you put in each day?
Stephanie: Wake up call 4.30am, drive to Bath (15-20 mins). 5.30 pre-pool exercises on poolside, 6-7.30am pool session, stretch after then drive home or go to the gym for 1-1.5 hours. 2-hour session in evening 6-8pm. 9 sessions a week including three mornings. 50,000m plus a week. 2-3 gym sessions, 2 walks, physio session once a week. Massage hopefully once a week.
Trainer Z: What specific training and/or fitness goal are you currently focused on?
Stephanie: Strength and power. My legs don’t work very well so we concentrate on arms and the power they can produce. We also concentrate on technique which allows us to go faster!
Trainer Z: Which body part/muscle is your favorite to work on?
Stephanie: Core!!! I love sit ups and have finished the sit-up bleep test three times!!! I need to design a new harder one!! I struggle with my balance so the core work helps this a lot!
Trainer Z: Which body part/muscle is your least favorite to work on?
Stephanie: Feet – I don’t have the balance to stand on one leg for long at all and don’t trust my feet to keep me stood up as they often fall to the side. I, therefore, I would prefer not to work on feet although am quite flexible so can put the bottom of my feet together in front of me and get my knees and head down to the floor. I am glad my feet don’t smell too bad!
Trainer Z: What genres of music do you listen to while you’re working out?
Stephanie: Anything!!! I love west life, Ed Sheran, Whitney Houston, will.i.am, or Macklemore!!!
Trainer Z: What foods do you generally consume within your typical training and/or fitness day?
Stephanie: The more the merrier!! I eat a huge amount of protein and depending on the type of training, eat carbs and fats. I add extras I shouldn’t have, for example, ice cream or chocolate just because I love them!!!
Trainer Z: What are some of your favorite go-to meals and snacks?
Stephanie: Lasagna is my all time favorite meal!! Although I do love chicken tikka masala!! My favorite snacks are bananas before a race, fruit, yogurts, or raw carrots!
Trainer Z: What words of encouragement can you share with people who struggle to consistently make fitness a part of their lifestyle?
Stephanie: 100 squats take 3 minutes! Everyone has time to do a tiny amount and it makes such a huge difference to your body as it tones your body, makes you feel more energized, gets your heart working and makes you more positive!!! I dare you to do 100 squats a day either all in one go or in separate slots of five or ten!
Personality and Lifestyle Questions for Stephanie
The questions and answers listed below will give us an insightful glimpse into Stephanie’s personality and lifestyle. How well can you relate to her?
- Extrovert or Introvert? Introvert (kind of!)
- Christmas or Thanksgiving? Christmas.
- Android or iPhone? Android.
- City Style or Country Style? Country Style.
- Shoes or Sneakers? Shoes.
- Pants or Dresses? Dresses.
- Cats or Dogs? Dogs.
- Lions or Tigers? Lions.
- Camping Out or Hotels with Room Service? Hotels with Room Service.
- Paintings or Sculptures? Oohh, sculptures.
- Coloring Book or Canvas Painting? Canvas Painting.
- Crossword Puzzles or Jigsaw Puzzles? Crossword Puzzles.
- Board Games or Video Games? Board Games.
- Card Games or Dominoes? Card Games.
- Checkers or Chess? Chess.
- Comedy Club or Music Lounge? Comedy Club.
- Live Plays or Movies? Live Plays.
- Air Hockey or Foosball? Ooh, Foosball.
- Merry-Go-Rounds or Roller Coasters? Neither!! Feet on the floor!!
- Candle Light Dinners or Picnics? Candle Light Dinners.
- Beer or Wine? Wine (prosecco).
- Coffee or Tea? Tea.
- Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt? Ice Cream.
- Apples or Bananas? Apples.
- Cherries or Grapes? Both! Cherries.
- Cold Cereal or Hot Cereal? Cold Cereal.
- Pancakes or French Toast? Pancakes.
Trainer Z: Thank you again, Stephanie, for sharing with us. Before you swim away, how can individuals, businesses, and organizations contact and/or connect\with you via website, email, and/or social media?
Facebook: Stephanie Millward MBE