The Intense Preparation Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings Is Undertaking Before Rio
With her eyes set on another Olympic gold this Summer, volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings has been following an intense training schedule in preparation for the Games. On the heels of announcing her partnership with KT Tape, the 38 year-old mother of three recently chatted with us about her workouts, eating habits, and mental focus.
"It's been an emotional, physical, and mental growth since the last Olympic Games," said Walsh Jennings. After winning the 2012 gold medal in London, her longtime teammate Misty May-Treanor announced her retirement — something Walsh didn't see for herself anytime soon.
With hopes of a fourth gold medal, Kerri found a new partner in April Ross. The two athletes are each other's biggest motivators, said Walsh Jennings. "Every day, [we] challenge each other. I admire her and I respect her. I want to rise with her. I feel like we're doing it together." And they are definitely doing it! The dynamic duo currently tops the US women's team and is earning medal after medal at international competitions.
Walsh Jennings's eternal drive for improvement in all areas helps propel her to be a better athlete. "I am really committed to just growing and evolving my entire life." She accredits much of her success and strength on the court to motherhood. "My children have taught me so much," she said. "The mommy in me wants to be an amazing role model for my kids. The Olympian in me wants to be a hero." Walsh Jennings continued, saying that it's her three children that take her passion for the game to the "next, next, next" level.
To see what the next level looks like for an Olympian, go behind the scenes to see how KWJ trains, check out more about her happy mommy life, and find out what she's learned that's helped her ascend to the top of her game.
The beach is her sanctuary.
"I am on the beach five to six days a week training for two to three hours with my partner, my coach, [and] other teams we compete against."
Her go-to workout for the body, mind, and soul!
"I do Pilates three times a week; twice in the studio, once on the beach."
Her fuel for "chasing dreams."
"It took me a long time to accept the fact that I don’t feel great when I eat a lot of certain things. To me that’s processed food, starches," Walsh said. "If I’m going to have carbohydrates, I will have the right kind and just be mindful of that stuff. It’s up to you to make the right choices, so I’m just really mindful of what [food] I have around."
Her favorite food!
"I am often asked, 'What is your favorite food?' This is a really difficult question for me to answer because I truly love a wide variety of food. However, avocado toast is consistently at or near the tip-top of my list."
Her extra support before and after the match!
"I get taped before every match for my shoulder to have support," Walsh said. "After the match, after the day of play, I will get retaped to make sure my body can recover to the best of its ability."
Her source of empowerment before the game.
"The only thing I do consistently is have my music and find five to 10 minutes of quiet," Walsh said. Her music of choice? Sade. "I am a very amped person, inherently and naturally charged and ready to go, so I need to chill a little bit. Music helps me out. She brings me peace."
Her mental training and emotional composition.
"I always have at least one 24-hour day of doing nothing physical. That’s hugely important for your nervous system. Learning this in my wise age."
Her love for the game makes her unstoppable!
"I feel like I am on a warrior's journey. When you are chasing big dreams in life, you want profound things that mean something to you. Challenges are going to come up and you’re going to have to deal with them."
Her kids are her biggest blessing.
"Before I had my kids I was like, 'this feels trivial,' because I’ve been playing for so long. All of my eggs are in one basket and it’s all very self-centered. Self-focused. They gave me that perspective and that balance I was missing. And then it took my game, my desire, my passion for the game to the next, next, next level. I’m hugely indebted to my children."