My daily training in China

Alanis Siffert
February 26, 2024

Here I am back in China, in Yuxi, at the beginning of 2024 where I train for four months from January to May. Dive with me into my daily life and discover the atypical facets of China.

Yuxi is located in the Yunnan province in southern China, 90km south of Kunming. The name means “jade stream”, a precious stone that gathers all the qualities of the surrounding environment and makes them shine with historical and cultural richness. The city is home to 2.5 million inhabitants, 32% of whom are from different minority ethnic groups with their typical customs. The region is surrounded by a multitude of mountains and is home to China’s deepest freshwater lake.

The sports center is located at an altitude of 1680m. I train there with my coach Brett Sutton and the Chinese national team, my Swiss teammates Max Studer and Julie Derron as well as Panagiotis Bitados from the Greek team. We share all training sessions and teamwork helps me push my limits and improve in all three disciplines. The atmosphere is very pleasant, and I enjoy giving my best every day.

The sports facilities are incredible with two swimming pools of 50m and 25m, two athletics tracks, and a large gym for our treadmill and indoor cycling sessions. The surrounding mountains allow us to train in perfect conditions for cycling with numerous steep roads. The weather is very pleasant with a mild and dry climate. On average, the temperature ranges from 8 to 10°C in the morning and rises to 25°C during the day.

Every day I wake up at 6:25 am and start my day with a 1.30 to 2 hours swimming session. Later in the day, I have two sessions, one in late morning and one in the afternoon, either cycling or running. For meals, we eat after each training session at the canteen, where there is a buffet with a wide selection. Chinese dishes are delicious and have very diverse flavours with many different spices, some of which are quite spicy. There is a wide variety of different vegetables, and on the meat side, the Chinese eat everything. This means that in a chicken or duck dish, you will find both legs and the whole head. Being curious, I tasted it, and I must say it’s neither good nor bad because there isn’t much to eat, rather gelatinous fat tissues. Knife and fork do not exist at the buffet, so it’s time for chopsticks. At least one advantage is that you eat more slowly, but being on my third stay in China, I am now used to it.

” 龙头马尾 « Lóng tóu mǎ wěi » “

━ CHINESE NEW YEAR WISH ━

On the evening of 9th January 2024 we celebrated Chinese New Year. With all athletes we made dumplings. This consists of a piece of dough wrapped around a filling of minced meat and vegetables, cooked in boiling water. After making hundreds of dumplings, we all ate them together: they were delicious. It was a lovely team sharing moment and it was very fun to do. However, it requires some technique so that the dumplings have a nice shape.

Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and starts on 10th January 2024to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. Each Chinese year is associated with one of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. All doors are adorned with red and golden decorations symbolizing luck and prosperity with wishes and dragons to ward off evil spirits and make way for good fortune. The celebrations last for 15 days where fireworks and firecrackers never stop ringing day and night. I have never seen so many fireworks before, now I understand why we call them “Chinese firecrackers”. In families and among friends, red envelopes are distributed with money as a symbolic value to bring luck for the new year.

Chinese culture is very rich, and Yuxi city is a popular destination for contemporary Chinese musicians. It is equivalent to Vienna for masters of classical music. We visited Nie Er’s museum who was originally from Yuxi; he composed China’s national anthem called “March of Volunteers”. We also had the chance to attend a traditional Chinese music concert. The instruments were very impressive with a multitude of different traditional Chinese string instruments that we are not familiar with having various shapes producing unique sounds. The melodies were beautiful portraying Chinese culture.

I’m going to train in China until May and take advantage of this opportunity to take part in several races in Asia.

Alanis Siffert

Alanis Siffert

My name is Alanis Siffert and I was born on 21.11.2001. I live in Villars-sur-Glâne (Fribourg), Switzerland. I am full of joie de vivre and I like to share my good humour with those around me. In life, I always look at the positive side of things. I love challenges and especially if I start to do something, I do it until the end. Being in nature makes me feel free and I love to observe the beautiful landscapes as well as the wild animals.
Alanis Siffert

Alanis Siffert

Professional Athlete

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