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Olympics star Kerri Walsh talks healthy living

Linda Melone, CSCS, is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and certified personal trainer based in Orange County, CA. Visit her website at www.LindaMelone.com.

Eat and exercise like an Olympian

Think you have what it takes to make it into the Olympics? Try on Kerri Walsh's routine for size. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and volleyball superstar trains on the beach (we could think of worse workout environments!), does Pilates, runs track and lifts weights two times a week. And that's just the beginning.
Kerri Walsh

Here's what Walsh tells SheKnows about living a healthy lifestyle and how she's preparing for this year's Olympics in London -- with tips on how you can ramp up your own healthy eating and exercise routines.

SheKnows: Can you give us a brief rundown of a typical week's worth of workouts?

Kerri Walsh: [Laughs.] It's my job to be fit and healthy. I eat well and practice the three ABC's -- I eat well, sleep well and hydrate. On a daily basis I'm training on the beach for two to three hours. I do Pilates twice a week, a track workout once a week and I lift weights twice a week. On top of that, I do brain training called Neurotopia to help me deal better with stress and help me focus better. I also do physical therapy. I'm literally doing things from head to toe. On top of all that, I do try to get enough rest, which isn't easy with two little boys.

SheKnows: How do you eat to have enough energy for all this activity and training?

Kerri Walsh: I work with a nutritionist, who is also my trainer. Most importantly, I make sure I have a good breakfast. Without it, I'd be in trouble. I wouldn't have enough energy to last throughout my day. I've been eating multi-grain Eggos with almond butter and agave (a natural sweetener) and honey, which gives me my grains, protein and fruit -- everything you need to start off your day. From there I try to eat clean. I need simple carbs when I'm working out, which includes Gatorade -- It allows me to have that quick burst of energy. I used to avoid simple carbs, but complex carbs (whole grains) don't help me as much as simple carbs when I'm in the heat of battle.

SheKnows: How do you time your food intake with your workouts?

Kerri Walsh: It's different when you're competing, but I try to eat 1 to 1-1/2 hours before I work out. Nothing crazy, but I'll have the breakfast I described, and if I feel I need more I'll have more simple sugars when I'm competing. I make sure to have protein after I'm competing to repair the muscle damage afterward. It's kind of trial and error. I realize my joints are more creaky when I eat dairy, for example. It's something everyone needs to try on their own.

SheKnows: Do you have any other favorite food combinations?

Kerri Walsh: I like salads with salmon and goat cheese on top, protein shakes with natural whey protein and fresh berries.

Sounds delish. Thank you, Kerri -- we'll be cheering you on at the London 2012 Olympic Games!

More on health and fitness

Winning diet tips from gold medalist swimmer Natalie Coughlin
Fitness expert Denise Austin: Get energy!
Top 5 high-energy foods

Photo credit: Matthew Hines/WENN
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