I THOUGHT I would start sharing some of my own experiences of my time as a professional judo athlete.

I would laugh with my friends on our WhatsApp groups when we were catching up and say, "Just woke up from a wee nap and I am off to Austria this weekend." "Aww, Steph, I wish I could do that, that sounds so good."

I used to laugh and say it might sound good, but I used to try to explain that it's not easy what I do day-in, day-out, and I might be travelling three out of four weekends a month worldwide, but they are not holidays!

I did a hard, full contact sport and fought for a living; on top of that, I was in a weight-controlled sport, so had to maintain a weight close to fighting weight and then lose weight for those competitions worldwide.

It was a lot of sacrifice and pressure that only people in that judo bubble really understood! Although I must reinforce, I was living my dream life, although my days were strict, disciplined, and tough!

So here you have it, a day in my life as a professional judo athlete:

6.45am. Alarm goes off.

6.54am. Alarm goes off again. 'Och, really? OK, better get up and see what today will bring.

First thing I did each morning was check my weight, remembering my fighting weight was 57 kilograms, although a good weight to sit at whilst training would be approximately 60kg.

For me, this was the toughest part of my sport, the fact it was weight-controlled – however, this is the fairest way to split judokas up for competition, but it wasn't easy!

Weight fluctuates, it's natural. Some mornings I would be 59kg, other mornings 61kg. When I was on the heavier side of 60kg, I would think, 'Oh no, can't really have breakfast or much to drink this morning before training'. Why, you might ask? It is because we would be weighed every morning before training by our coaches to keep an eye on our weights and, if we weren't maintaining a good weight, would help us seek nutritionist support and help us if required, which I totally get, but it used to annoy me as I knew the pressure of a daily weight check with my coaches affected my morning prep for training.

I would sigh with relief when I was on the lighter side of 60kg, as it meant I could grab a bowl of porridge with a banana and head off to training with a satisfied tummy and no anxiety.

7.45am. I'm in my car leaving my flat in Dunfermline heading to the Scottish judo training centre at Ratho, Edinburgh, for a 9am training start.

9-9.30am. On the judo mats ready to begin our pre-hab session with our strength and conditioning coach. This would be exercises focusing on strengthening our knees and shoulders, as these are the most common places judokas get injured. We would also use the foam roller and stretch out our achy bodies ahead of the training day ahead.

9.30-9.45am. Football warm-up. This was always fun! Our coach would split us into two teams, and we would play football as a warm-up. Now I can’t speak for everyone, but I also think that is arguable! I do not have much experience with playing football so you can imagine 20 judokas chasing a football about a small judo mat and just punting it back and forward and grappling or barging into each other in the process.

As I said, we were judokas, not footballers, so this was an anything goes game! Sometimes, us girls would hand-ball, so we adapted the game to ‘scoop ball’, a game of football and you could use both your feet and your hands to pass and shoot goals. It was great and a game I think would be hugely successful! I bet you're curious about it and would like to see it in action, even try it out yourself!

9.45-11.15am. Judo technical session. This is where we would practise our judo throws, hold-downs, arm-locks and strangles. On average, you could do between 100-200 throws – sounds fun, doesn’t it? The catch? You will also be thrown that number of times as your partner takes their turn! But we are all working on perfecting our techniques and areas of focus, so we are prepared and ready for our next competition!

11.15-11.30am. A wee break. Change out of a very sweaty judo suit and into gym gear. Rehydrate after judo, eat a banana and cereal or protein bar and get ready for the gym session.

11.30am-12.30pm. We would then have either a strength or conditioning session. The strength session would be weights consisting of bench press, back squat, cleans, deadlifts, pull ups, etc, or we would have conditioning sessions which consisted of hard and painful rowing sessions! But it was what we needed to do to get fitter, stronger and ready for our next competition and towards our goals.

12:30pm. Back in my car on my way home for lunch and a rest. I would usually phone my dad and update him on how the morning training went.

1.15pm. Time for a well-earned lunch. Usually something along the lines of an omelette, chicken salad or wrap, yoghurt and a wee Freddo to satisfy my sweet tooth!

2pm. I’m sat on my sofa with the TV on, relaxing, selecting a film for the afternoon. Then I would lie down and let my eyes close and enjoy an afternoon nap helping my body recover. This nap would usually last on average between one to three hours. My body was tired!

5pm. I’m up feeling fresh and happy with my nap. I’m preparing dinner ahead of my judo session that night. Dinner would usually consist of either chicken, beef, pork chop or gammon and then a small portion of rice or pasta and the rest of the plate filled out with veg, followed by a yoghurt or jelly for dessert.

6pm. I’m packing my judo bag and putting my judo bottoms on, filling up my water bottle and getting ready to leave for training.

6.30pm Back in my car and driving back to Ratho for my two-hour judo randori (Japanese for fighting) session. This is where we practise our competition fighting and pull everything together.

7.30-9.30pm. Randori. Some nights we would have 10, five-minute fights standing and then five, five-minute fights on the ground before finishing off with some golden score till the end. Basically, fighting it out to be the last one standing almost. Make no mistake, this session was tough!

We would be split into two groups for the standing fighting and those five minutes between fights went fast and consisted of filling up water bottles and taping up small niggling injuries; usually fingers, wrists and toes, to give them support.

9.30-9.45pm. Stretch and relax – training is over for another day!

9.45pm. Happily jump in the car, phone dad on the way home discussing how my fighting went that night and areas that I felt were good and bad.

10.30pm. Home, sweaty judo suit straight into the wash and I would jump into a nice hot shower! Grab a cup of tea, unwind a little watching some TV whilst waiting for my judo suit wash to finish.

11pm. Bed! Finally, my body is sore, I am tired but happy with the good quality of training I put into the day and thinking about tomorrow because soon I would hear that alarm and then it’s up and repeat!

So that would be my daily routine Monday-Friday whilst training at home in Scotland.

Now you know what a day in the life of a judo athlete looks like, do you think you could handle it?