Posted by Lisa Camilleri on

Q: Sima, after competing as a pro on the world squash tour you decided to change sports.  Tell us about this as well as the transition needed?
A: I love squash and I still play socially but to be honest I don't enjoy playing competitively anymore...I'd never imagined that I could go on living life with long stretches of absolutely no squash in my schedule but once you stop and reflect there are so many other sports to try and explore. I tried very hard for nearly 17 years to be the best player I could be, logistically it'd been always difficult but I didn't give up until the last PSA tournament that I played in 2014, I just couldn't get better with what I could put through and this was making me sad almost every time I played on professional tour at the later stages with more and more injuries because I just didn't have enough time to recover between sessions and full-time work. 
I always enjoyed endurance sports, I would go and have a great time on my long runs and bike rides. In 2014 after that last match, I still needed something to train for, I love competition but in my world the competition is always against myself, getting faster, lasting for longer times, taking the pain and making your mind and your body go that extra mile when you have nothing left to give...I just love these challenges...squash gave me the life I'd never regret, my friends, my profession and so many other things; endurance sports teach me life lessons differently, maybe on a more personal note...
Q: What are the main challenges training wise and competing that you face both in middle and in long distances?
A: It's always time! I try to train smart and save as much time as possible; all the mistakes I made during my squash training are actually helping me a lot now. I'm very lucky with my job which I'm so passionate about as well...on one hand having a physical job makes you stay fit, on the other when I need to start my own training after work it's sometimes a battle to overcome the constant fatigue and lack of proper recovery after hours and hours of training and work every week. You just need to push yourself, get out there and once you start it's all fine! I just love training, it keeps me alive...Also the fact that running or biking can take you places and help you explore, is exciting for me...I love to run or ride somewhere I'm not familiar with...sometimes I just take my bike, a backpack and a map, leave home and return a couple of days after...So basically just Time! And I know you'd still hear yourself saying this even if you have all the time in the world! Just never enough!
Q: What are your dietary requirements leading into as well as during a race?
A: I strongly believe that a great percentage of your life performance goes to what you fuel your body with, and it varies for each individual. I try to be as disciplined as possible with my nutrition, which is not very easy at work. It's now been nearly two years that I have adapted a low carb, high fat diet with minimum amount of gluten in my meals and it's working great for me. For the energy requirement I've trained my body to burn fat but if I need energy readily I do eat more carbs and they mainly consist of starchy vegetables, roast pumpkin, sweet potato and banana. Protein, fat and vegetables make the most of part of my meals. I don't really do much differently in build-up to a big race, maybe I stay away from any form of sugar (I love my chocolate and honey) from 2 weeks out of the race day. On the race day, which might be going to be more than 4 hours, I would eat a sweet potato and half an average size avocado with a cup of coffee for breakfast. My race fuel is mostly banana, natural fruit and nut bars (date, almonds, coconut etc) , hard boiled egg, baked sweet potato with a dash of salt...nothing fancy, sometimes only one of these options with adequate hydration can get me through the day. If I'm travelling elsewhere to compete and I'm unsure of the food, I will pack everything I need with me. I stick to my nutrition plan almost always, so it's more like a lifestyle choice, it just helps me perform better not only physically but across all aspects of my day to day living.
Q: You're also a qualified Physiotherapist for the Malaysian Institute of Sport.  Tell us a bit about that?
Yes, it's been about 2 years and half that I'm working at the Institute. I absolutely love my job and it's such a joy to work with top athletes. The world is a strange place, the first time I was at the institute was 9 years ago when I was playing in a couple of tournaments here in KL-and that's how we first met Lisa! You won the two of them playing against Amelia Pittock in the final if I'm not mistaken!!! 7 years after that I was appointed as the Malaysian team physio until this September when the role was handed over to my colleague, and now I work across 3 other sports...So I also started discovering and appreciating other sports and the athletes that I was less familiar or totally unfamiliar with...it's a great journey and I'm forever grateful for everything and everyone who helped me along the way.
Q: Good luck with you training and up coming races.  Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Thank you very much for all the support from the Backyard Birdies. Wishing everyone excellent health and a Merry Christmas!
Sima xx

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  • Thanks so much for your support! Glad you enjoyed the read:)

    Sima Padbod on
  • Fantastic answers Sima, I loved reading them. Your memory on when we first met is very good as well, and yes I did win 2 of the events in KL. That was the start of my 21 PSA title wins, wow! That seems so long ago no. :)

    Lisa on
  • I love reading blogs from your ambassadors. This blog was very inspiring, honest and I also learnt a lot from reading it. Thanks for answers Sima :)

    Kate on

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