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Non Evans MBE


Non Evans MBE

Non Evans is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring, genuine and gobsmacking-ly talented sportspersons we've ever encountered here at MuscleFood.

When we first looked into her sporting history we were left in a state of awe, admiration and slight shock that one person could accomplish so much in 39 years.

A natural born athlete, Non can barely remember a time in her life that didn't involve, or revolve, around sport. Non was born with her umbilical chord wrapped around her neck three times and since then has always been on the move.

She walked by nine months, ran by one year and by spent much of her childhood climbing trees, running laps in the garden and pulling her sister along on a bike tied to her trike in order to, "build muscles".

At the age of 10, Non took up Judo after a few years building up her strength with gymnastics and the rest, as they say, is history

She went on to compete in four Commonwealth Games for Judo, medalling in two, picked up rugby gaining 87 caps for her country and competing in the Delhi 2010 Commonwealths in wrestling. Oh and she's an MBE too!

And that's just the abbreviated list…

Her dream was to compete in the London 2012 Olympics, but a severe hamstring injury put paid to that desire and actually forced her into retirement, something, she says, was a struggle to contend with.

Non Evans Presenter

But as one door closed, many another opened and Non has now carved out a great presenting career in both TV and radio all the while juggling her full time position as a medical rep.

She also likes to share her personal sporting, training and nutritional knowledge with those looking to shape up, tone up or slim down through her website www.nonevans.com

While Non may be officially in retirement from sport, she's adamant she won't ever stop training and she continues to workout with the same fervour and passion that drove her career. After all, she enjoys the challenge!

She's a wonderful role model for any fitness enthusiast and possibly the most prolific sportswoman Wales has ever produced.

Here's her story…

Interview with Non Evans MBE

Your sporting history is extremely impressive – at what age did you know, decide, that sport was going the play such a huge role in your life?

Well, I think it was the day I was born. I was born with the umbilical chord wrapped around my neck three times and since then I've never been able to sit still! I was walking by nine months and, according to my Mum, I was running by one. I think I was born to do sport.

Non Evans

I wasn't a naughty child; I was a busy child and always a tomboy too. I remember climbing trees, playing with Action Men and wearing vest tops and shorts while my sister [Mair], who is only 13 months older than me, was playing with Barbie and was more of a girlie girl. The funniest thing is though, there are pictures of me when I was three or four with really toned arms and abs!

I used to play football during break with the boys and they all wanted me on their team. I also used to get my sister to time me doing running laps around the garden.

It's funny, though, because people always ask about the whole nature versus nurture thing and I genuinely think I was a natural born sports person. You just have to look at the difference between my sister and myself to see that. We were raised close together in exactly the same manner and while she had lovely long blonde hair and was playing with dolls, I was running laps [laughs].

You're obviously extremely talented when it comes to sport – but why have you done so many?

I dunno – it was by accident really, acrobatics was my first sport and my first love. I trained at it until I was about 10 years old but I got too big and had to stop. I went to a private school in Llanelli and, unfortunately, there wasn't very much sport there except cross country and a few tennis courts.

Luckily, though, just as I finished acrobatics, a judo club opened in Pontardulais and I said to my Mum and brother [Owain] I wanted to give it a go.

My first day there was like a real family affair with all three of us going. Owain and Mair hated it but I loved it as soon as I stepped onto the mat. I was naturally strong because of the gymnastics and I got a real kick out of throwing people into the mats.

It was obviously fate that I go to that Judo class because it became my true passion and I even competed in four Commonwealth Games with it, medalled in two.

Rugby

After the Manchester Commonwealths in 2002 I picked up Rugby and it completely took over my life. My weight lifting and Judo complemented the rugby perfectly; I just had to learn the skills. This was a great time in my life as I got to tour all over the world and play with a great group of girls.

Commonwealth Games in Delhi

Then, I retired with 87 caps. I knew I wasn't completely done with sport and when my old Judo coach called to say he'd set up the Welsh Wrestling Association and that wrestling was going to be in the Commonwealth Games, I knew it was time to put the tracksuit back on.

I was quickly hooked and qualified for the Commonwealth's in Delhi and placed fourth so I started to set my sights on London 2012 but then I picked up a really severe injury to my hamstring and that was that.

Although I've done a lot of different sports they all have common denominators and all complement each other.

Out of all the sports you've been involved in – which has been your favourite?

Rugby

Um – gosh – Judo is my first love because I did it from such a young age, but rugby gave me the most out of sport.

I travelled the world and got to play in a team whereas Judo is a lonely sport. It's all about the individual whereas rugby is a united team effort. It's also where most of my best friends are from and it lead to my becoming a TV and radio presenter.

Rugby has definitely given me the most overall.

Could you tell us a little more about the hamstring injury that put paid to your Olympic dream in London 2012?

I've had injuries my whole life. I snapped my leg in half in France playing rugby and I was told I'd never play again but I came back! With sport you always run the risk of injury and the hamstring one really was a biggy. It essentially stopped my sporting career in its tracks.

My whole life I had something to aim for - and all that suddenly stopped. I struggled with retirement, especially as it was forced, but I soon realised that I could use my personal experiences to help others. I don't physically train people but I offer advice and tips to help them reach their fitness goals, and I get real job satisfaction from passing on my personal knowledge like that.

I struggled with retirement, especially as it was forced, but I soon realised that I could use my personal experiences to help others.

So it's bittersweet really, without the injury I probably would have gone to London 2012 but because it did happen I got to commentate at the games instead!

What was it like being on the other side of the side lines at the games as a commentator rather than a competitor?

Commentating London 2012

It was one of the toughest things I've ever done in terms of the hours and pressure. All the sports were on the red button, which meant I was commentating all day. There were absolutely no pre-records and I was working solidly for 16 days from when the arenas opened to when they closed.

I commented on the weightlifting and wrestling so when I did get a short break in between the events I was preparing for the next bit! It was tough but to be a part of one of the best Olympics ever been was incredible.

I'm also going to be commentating at the Glasgow Commonwealths this year and I can't wait to get back into it!

For the general public, what advice would you give those who maybe want to get fit and get into sport but haven't taken that first step yet…

First of all, people need to realise that you don't have to play sport to be healthy. For myself, now I enjoy the exercise, it's fun! It is strange not training for anything in particular but there's nothing better than getting up and going for a walk in the sun.

For those looking to get fit, if you're really overweight just get up and go for a walk in the morning – you're burning calories and you'll feel better about yourself.

I think we should really showcase the wonderful sporting talent there is in the UK and get children interested in it from a young age.

Anyone who gets one of my training plans always begins the day with a walk or a run and they love it. It not only sets you up for the rest of the day but generally makes you feel better. They also eat healthily because when you're healthy on the inside it will show on the outside.

Non Evans

I love sport and it is brilliant, but not everybody wants to play sport, however, I don't think there are enough role models in sport, female role models in particular. I think we should really showcase the wonderful sporting talent there is in the UK and get children interested in it from a young age.

What three things should people focus on if they want to go through a complete body transformation?

  1. The biggest thing people do wrong is they don't eat enough. They maybe have breakfast, sandwich, come home crave sugar and crave all the wrong things. You should focus on the correct foods and correct carbs eating little and often.
  2. Do one piece of exercise 3 times a week
  3. Cut the alcohol

What do you think is the key to being healthy/fit?

Wanting to do it yourself. You need to have that want and determination to change, to make a change.

There's no point in moaning about the fact you're carrying a few extra pounds if you're not willing to take the steps to change it. Nobody but you makes the transformation happen.

A good first step is asking for advice but then it's up to them whether they take it and act on it.

Nobody but you makes the transformation happen.

What's your training schedule like at the moment?

Non Evans in the gym

I still train everyday but it's very different now seeing as I'm not training for a specific reason.

When I was training for rugby I lived in Cardiff and I was always in the gym or on the pitch with the girls. I had to really push myself to my limits in terms of lifting weights and training as well as technically as I was a kicker.

But now, I live in Swansea by the coast and go for walks and runs, I also gym and lift weights and generally try to keep myself healthy and looking good. I like this freedom of being able to do what I like!

I don't think I could ever stop training, I enjoy it and I do something every day. Plus if people see me looking healthy it'll inspire others to do the same.

How important is having the right nutrition when working out?

It is the key.

People often say to me, "I train every day and I'm not seeing results…" and my answer is always, "what's your nutrition like?"

Nine times out of ten it's because they're not eating the right things! I always tell people it's 70% nutrition 30% exercise. If they don't eat the right things they're never going to lose the bodyfat and be the shape they want.

Although I don't like calling it a diet, because it's not a diet – it's healthy eating, it's a lifestyle. If you stick to the healthy lifestyle, you will see results.

I always tell people it's 70% nutrition 30% exercise.

What's been your greatest sporting achievement?

One of the greatest ones was kicking the winning goal in the 6 Nations David and Goliath Battle between Wales and England. The English girls are pretty much professionals so it was like an amateur team against a professional and I got the last kick of the game.

It was a penalty and when I saw it sail over the posts I knew we'd won. We won by 16 points to 15 and it was easily my proudest moment.

You received an MBE for your services to sport in November 2011 – how did you react when you found out you were a part of the honours list?

Non Evans receiving her MBE

It was brilliant although it was initially bittersweet as it wasn't long after I retired and they only ever hand out the honours once your sporting career is in retirement! So it was like the end of an era.

I am so, so, so proud, though to be the first female rugby player to get an MBE. It was brilliant and a very proud moment in my life.

Even though you've retired you're still super busy, what do you do to chill out?

I suppose walking relaxes me. I live right on the coast so I wake up to the sea and smell of salt and I just have to get out there, it gives me time to think.

I find it very difficult to sit down and relax but I walk along the coastal path, take photographs and print them. I'm actually making a calendar of all my walks.

What's next for you?

Non Evans

I'm currently in the process of having my website redone because people are always asking me for advice and I love helping them.

I'm also hoping to run some camps in the next year or so; where people would come down for a weekend and get a fitness overhaul by learning how to be fit and healthy then go home with a training and meal plan to help guide them on their journey.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

One thing – I love MuscleFood. I recommend it to everyone and every person who's ordered think it's absolutely wonderful. I haven't been to a supermarket for my meat since!!


Judo

  • Welsh Champion 1990 to 2002
  • Commonwealth Games/Championships x 4: 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002
    1. 1994 – Silver medal
    2. 1998 – Silver medal
    3. 2002 – 4th place
  • British Students Champion 1992-1996
  • World Student Games 1994.
  • First female to compete at 2 separate sports at one Commonwealth Games: Judo and Weightlifting 2002

Rugby

  • 87 Caps for Wales. Retired December 2010
  • 64 tries for Wales – World Record International tries
  • Scored 463 international points for Wales.
  • Top points scorer in World and Welsh International Women’s rugby
  • Top points scorer of all Home Nations in 2007-2009 Six Nations
  • Welsh International player of the year 2003 and 2009
  • 16 Caps for the Nomads (British Lions)
  • Only Welsh player to have represented ‘The World 15’ against New Zealand 2003 (2 testes at Eden Park)
  • Wales and Barbarians 7s Team 2002-2008
  • Touch rugby 45 Caps
  • European Touch Rugby player of the year 2008
  • Welsh touch rugby captain 2004-2007
  • Nomads: 2 tests v South Africa 2008
  • 10 seasons with Clifton Ladies winning English
  • Premiership twice and Cup 3 times.

Power Lifting

  • Welsh/British Champion 1996-1999
  • World Youth Champion 1997

Wrestling

  • Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Champion 2010 - Wales and GB
  • Delhi Commonwealth games 4th place
  • First person to compete at 3 different sports at the Commonwealth Games.

7s Rugby

  • Dubai 7s champions 3 times – Wooden Spoons
  • Samurai X 1, Dubai Semi Finals x 2 Wooden Spoons
  • Dubai plate winner with Rugby Ecosse
  • Hong Kong 7s Plate final with Wales
  • Amsterdam 7s Champion with Wooden Spoons x 2
  • Samurai x 1, semi final Wales x 1
  • Played UK 7s circuit for 8 years.

Media Work

  • Currently Report and Present weekly items on Scrum V BBC Wales
  • Pundit Real Radio Sports Phone in
  • Pundit Jason Mohammed BBC Wales Phone in
  • Co-Commentating on Women’s Six Nations for BBC Network 2012
  • Co-commentator for BBC on Weightlifting and Wrestling at 2012 Olympics
  • ITV Wales – Rugby World Cup Pundit 2007
  • 1997-2000 – Presenter Y Clwb Rygbi S4C
  • 2000-2002 – Sports editor and presenter Real radio
  • 2010 – Welsh Superstars Presenter with Jonathan Davies
  • 2010 – Celebrity Mastermind
  • 2011 – Autobiography: Published in November 2011. First book by a female rugby player “Against the odds”

Rugby Writers Award

  • Awarded a Life time achievement award by UK Rugby June 2011 - First ever Female.

MBE

  • First Female Rugby Player from Wales. Awarded MBE for Services to Sport

Sports Hall of Fame

  • Honoured into the Welsh Sports hall of Fame May 2012 - First ever Female Rugby Player.

Charity Work

  • Present awards and speak at schools 10-15 times a year
  • Motivational Speaker
  • After dinner speaking
  • Ambassador for Wooden Spoons charity
  • Ambassador Mothers of Africa Charity
  • Ambassador for Fields in Trust Charity
  • Boxing for Fighting Chance Dubai May 24th 2013