Former Olympic swimmer and TV personality Giaan Rooney can now add designer to the list of ever-growing achievements. We chatted to the former athlete to get the scoop on her new active wear range for Target, Giaan by Spalding, as well as her fitness, health and beauty regime.
What made you decide to create your own range, rather than just being the face of another brand?
I was lucky enough to have Spalding and Target approach me to create the line. It has been incredibly exciting for me because I have developed so many ideas over the last 10 years that have now been achieved. I believe that more so than ever, active wear is becoming more leisure wear. So many women these days, myself included, need their active wear to be far more flexible. To take us from the gym to coffee with girlfriends, picking kids up from school or even supermarket shopping. So I needed my range to achieve this, while still being functional and stylish.
What are your favourite pieces from the range?
It’s hard for me to pick! But the piece I tend to reach for the most is the Vertex Spliced Tee with a cute crop underneath. I also love the Vertex Pant. They’re as comfortable as pyjamas but look good enough to wear outside of the house!
It was full on. Very simply, it was six hours a day, six days a week, for 50 weeks of the year and 10 years of my life.
Wow! So your training has obviously changed a lot since you’ve retired?
I never swim these days. Instead, I have figured what works for me in terms of what I enjoy and what works for my body shape. I’m a big walker, especially getting out with the pram and the dog to power out around 5km a few times a week. I also love Pilates. I wish I knew about Pilates when I was a swimmer, because of how much it has helped with my core strength. Both pregnancy and post-baby it has also helped me tone up. So for me, it ticks all the boxes!
What about your diet? How has that changed?
Food has been a big learning curve for me. When I was an athlete I was eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. I was burning if off so quickly, refuelling was extremely important. So it was a shock when I stopped swimming, my body was still craving the same type and amount of food. Now, I don’t follow any diets. I enjoy healthy food but the main thing I have to concentrate on is portion size.
Can you talk us through a typical day on your plate?
For breakfast, I usually alternate between a bowl of homemade bircher muesli with berries, yogurt and nuts or a boiled egg with a slice of avocado on toast. Then for lunch, my go-to is a sandwich or salad. My afternoon snack is always a piece of fruit or some cheese on plain water crackers. Dinner, we’re definitely not a meat and three veg family! We love to be adventurous, particularly healthy style Mexican.
Oh yum! What is your favourite dish to make?
My healthy nachos for sure! Just brush some wholemeal pita breads with a little bit of oil and toast them in the oven. I’ll use turkey mince, which is a great alternative to beef mince, as it is lower in fat. I cook that up with seasoning and as many veges as I can, such as, zucchini, broccolini, carrots, capsicum, mushrooms, onions and garlic. Then I’d serve it with avocado, salsa and a little bit of goat’s cheese.
Do you have any beauty secrets?
I don’t do much to my hair and I think that’s its strength. After years in the chlorine it was so damaged, so now I stick to my natural colour. Maintaining my eyebrows are also high on my priority list, because I find they frame my face well and it’s one less thing I have to think about.
What’s your favourite way to relax?
Do you have a personal motto or quote that resonates with you?
Absolutely! Growing up I had the quote “The harder I work, the luckier I get” plastered to the back of my bathroom door. Still to this day, that resonates with me. It’s very easy to be envious of other people, but if you want something, go for it. For me, hard work is the be all and end all.