Camille Grassineau competes for France in rugby across two formats and made her Olympic debut in 2016. She is known for her speed, fitness and athleticism.
As part of her preparation for major tournaments, Camille has exposed herself to hot conditions in order to help acclimatise.
Making yourself aware of how to beat the heat will prepare you for Tokyo 2020, and allow you to perform at your best.
AS ATHLETES FROM A TEMPERATE CLIMATE, IT’S NOT REALLY NATURAL FOR US AT FIRST TO BE TRAINING IN THIS WEATHER, BUT IT EVENTUALLY HELPS WITH YOUR BREATHING AND HOW YOU CAN PERFORM, SO IT’S VITAL.
I started my international rugby career over a decade ago, and in that time I’ve been fortunate enough to represent my national team in rugby union and rugby sevens around the world in many different conditions. I’ve been to multiple world cups across both formats, as well as competing at Rio 2016.
Getting ready for Rio
The Olympic Games were truly special and particularly so for us competing in rugby sevens, as it was the sport’s debut at the Games. Of course, we wanted to perform as well as possible, so we put a lot of work into our preparation.To try to acclimatise to the conditions in Rio, we actually went to a training camp in Martinique, the French overseas region in the Caribbean Sea. This was both closer geographically to Brazil than mainland France, and it’s a location that is similar in heat and humidity, which helped our bodies adapt to the conditions we knew were waiting for us in Rio.
As athletes from a temperate climate, it’s not really natural for us at first to be training in this weather, but it eventually helps with your breathing and how you can perform, so it’s vital.
Using facilities at home
Of course, for the majority of the year, our time is spent training in France. We’re lucky enough to have access to an “acclimatisation room” in one of our national training centres, where we can do physical sessions with modified heat, humidity and altitude simulation. This is a great way to have the sensation of a different environment before going abroad and feeling it for real.
In rugby, members of a squad often have different physical profiles which can make individualising our regimes a bit tougher, but we all train together when possible to adapt as a group to new conditions.
Preparing your body for Tokyo
If we do manage to qualify for Tokyo 2020, I imagine that we’ll be doing long preparation sessions and hopefully they will be able to take place somewhere near Japan to replicate the conditions. In the past, we did a training camp near Mount Fuji which was fantastic. We played against some Japanese teams and remembering this experience is important, too.
I think the key thing for the moment is to optimise everything in your control in day-to-day training. If you don’t have access to an acclimatisation room, you can do more intense preparations indoors to try to help your body get ready.
WE’RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE ACCESS TO AN “ACCLIMATISATION ROOM” IN ONE OF OUR NATIONAL TRAINING CENTRES, WHERE WE CAN DO PHYSICAL SESSIONS WITH MODIFIED HEAT, HUMIDITY AND ALTITUDE SIMULATION.