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11 Olympic & Paralympic Athletes and Hopefuls Share Their Wellness Routines

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are sure to be a historic event. After they were postponed due to COVID-19, I think a lot of us are excited to see how everything will play out and to cheer on our favorite athletes. Plus, the Games are just so fun to watch—it's a big cultural moment for a few weeks, and I, for one, am excited for the memes, breakout stars, and being really invested in sports, which is something that I rarely do.

The Olympics are set for July 23 to August 8, and the Paralympics will be held from August 24 to September 5, so we're a little less than six months away from the events. That may seem like a long time for us non-athletes, but many Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls are really in the middle of it all, training and getting ready. We got a chance to chat with some of them ahead of the Games to see how they're doing, what motivates them, and what their wellness routines are like. Plus, what better way to celebrate International Women's Day than celebrating some badass female athletes? Take a look at what they had to say below, and to learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer on NBC.

Morgan Hurd, Gymnastics

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated by keeping my goals in mind and reminding myself that I don't want to have any regrets in the end.

What's your wellness routine like?

My wellness routine is all the things that I think are beneficial for myself. I have a skincare routine that I do in the morning and night, which helps me feel refreshed and clean. I also like to drink tea before bed to help me relax.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

I practice self-care by trying to do things I believe are best for me. This could be staying in to recharge, taking time for myself, doing things I enjoy such as reading, and listening to my body on what it needs.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

I don't necessarily have a personal motto, but I often remind myself to take things one step at a time.

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

Before a competition, I like to listen to music that gets me really amped up while I get ready. I like to have a light, energizing meal or snack. I do therapy on whatever body parts need it before I stretch and visualize my routines. I don't really have a post-competition routine besides having to scrub my scalp from all the hair spray! I have a small pouch filled with a bunch of tiny trinkets that I've collected over the years that act as my good luck charms.

Scout Bassett, Track & Field

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated by setting daily goals. You never really know the bounds of your self-potential, so I strive to do my very best each and every day and see where that leads. I am motivated by the constant goal of always wanting to get better and to improve.

What's your wellness routine like?

Diet and nutrition are huge for me in both the way I train and the way I feel every day. I've been doing intermittent fasting, where I don't eat my first daily meal until after my first workout. I also have started counting macros every day, which has been very interesting for me to dive into and allows me to stay accountable to myself. I'm really paying attention to what I'm putting into my body. We take one day off a week from working out or training. Otherwise, it's two to three workouts a day. Because of that, I prioritize sleep and recovery. (Nine to 10 hours per night is ideal.) I get a flush-out massage once a week, chiro once a week, and have a physio appointment once a week (acupuncture, chiro, cupping, etc). I have also really enjoyed the stretching and yoga courses on the Peloton app! And Epsom salt baths two to three times a week.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

My weekly wellness tip is a self-care treat once a week—a cheat meal, getting my nails done, reading for enjoyment, or literally just doing nothing at home.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

For a motto, something that always resonates with me is, "Never give in." Each and every day, I strive to live by these words and encourage others to stay hopeful and stay persistent in what lies ahead.

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

The night before a race, I pick out my outfit and pack my bag (nutrition, hydration, tools, etc). For the morning of, I try to wake up early, have my coffee, make a healthy breakfast—have a slow morning. I get to the race at least two hours before to listen to music or motivational podcasts (a self-affirmation practice). I warm up about an hour before the race. My superstition is that I'm an even numbers kind of girl, so if we do a warm-up exercise or drill, it needs to be an even number. After a race, I fuel with protein, and if it's a good outcome, I treat myself with a nice meal. I also always try to wear something red on me when I compete (my good luck charm).

Kendra "Keni" Harrison, Track & Field

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated by remembering my goals that coach and I set for myself. Remembering the overall goal allows me to continue pushing myself to be better than I was the day before. In this sport, if you aren't willing to put in the work and constantly make yourself better, there's someone else out there who will, so you always have to ensure you stay motivated to give it your best at practice and in competition.

What's your wellness routine like?

My wellness routine revolves around training and taking care of my body, physically and mentally. On the physical side, I train hard five days a week, with a combination of sprinting, lifting weights, and hurdling. Hurdling days are my favorite because I love working on the technical aspect of my craft. On the other two days, I recover and rest, which is essential for my overall wellness, as it allows my body time to heal and grow. I also ensure that I eat right and get essential nutrients. Mentally, I take care of my wellness by hanging out with friends, working on crafts and projects, and overall giving myself an outlet to take a break from the track and remember the other parts of life besides competition.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

Self-care is a huge part of my routine. I listen to my body when I have indications of soreness or injury and ensure I get treatment, massage, training, and rest that work on the weak area before it becomes a bigger problem. I also enjoy doing yoga to work on my flexibility and get my body ready to conquer the hard training that day.

Mentally, I use meditation as an outlet to help me cope with the daily stresses and anxiety that can occur. It can be difficult to always be mentally tough and self-confident both on and off the track, so I've had to work at becoming more resilient. Meditation helps, and I also talk regularly with a sports therapist that guides me through handling my thoughts and anxiety.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

"But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded" (2 Chronicles 15:7). This encourages me on all levels because I know the value of hard work and what can be achieved. I've had many instances in my career where a race didn't result in the outcome I was expecting, and I've had to continue fighting even when the easiest path would have been to just give up.

What's your pre- and post-competition routine?

My pre-race routine centers around calming my nerves and getting rid of any anxiety. I write in my journal and listen to gospel music. It reminds me that there are things out there bigger than just me and my race I'm about to compete in. Understanding where I fit in and remembering the talent I've been blessed with helps restore some mental balance before I compete. After competition, I like to look back at the race and see where I could make changes or what areas I need to work on to improve for next time. I'm always striving to make the most out of the talent I've been given, and analyzing what I can work on helps keep that goal in mind.

Mallory Weggemann, Swimming

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics / USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

My biggest motivating factor is knowing that what I am fighting for is so much bigger than me—I truly believe when we understand our "why" we are able to lead with purpose. Some days are exhausting. Some beat me down, and I wonder to what end am I chasing this dream, but then, I remember how much I love what I do and that, through it all, I am able to do my part to pave a path forward so our future generation doesn't have to ask, What about me?

What's your wellness routine like?

For me, wellness is a holistic approach. Yes, staying hydrated is important. Fueling my body correctly for my sport is vital for my performance, but I have found the power that exists when we slow down and find gratitude for the moment we are in. For me, my wellness routine consists of appreciating my body for the journey it has traveled—waking up each day and practicing gratitude, forcing myself to slow down and be intentional in the moments I am in, and, ultimately, giving myself permission to meet myself where I am at instead of being some version of who I feel I am supposed to be.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

The biggest thing I have learned over the years is to give myself space to be—laugh, cry, process—whatever it is that I need to honor where I am at in my journey. Suppressing emotions doesn't do any good in the long run, so I have worked really hard—whether it be finding solace while hovering the black line as I swim, meditating, taking a recovery bath, finding comfort in the pages of my journals, or taking the time to cook dinner in the evening for my husband and I. Each day, it looks different, but I try to be tuned in with my emotions and not just rush past them.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

I am limitless. This year, I wrote my book, Limitless, and I found, throughout the writing process, Limitless isn't just a title, but a way of being. It is the understanding that, whatever circumstances you face in life, you are more. So this year, "I am limitless" has become my affirmation as a reminder that, when we honor our journey, we are all limitless.

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

Music—it all comes down to music for me. You will never see me on the pool deck without my headphones on. Although, I also have little traditions with my community. My mom always gives me a thumbs up before each race, my coach gives me a double whistle, and my husband is always in sight as a steady reminder that he is with me in that moment.

Katherine "Kate" Nye, Weight Lifting

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated by remembering my "why." I keep my goals in mind, mostly the Olympics, and use them to fuel my training. Practicing consistency is always important to staying on track as well!

What's your wellness routine like?

I love to start every day with a high-protein, energizing meal. Eating well is huge for feeling well, at least for me! I also use massage therapy and PT to stay healthy at least twice a month. Praying, spending time with my husband and dogs, and just relaxing are other ways I like to promote wellness in my life.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

I practice self-care by listening to good music, reading, and taking time to just chill out on the couch! Also just listening to my body when I need to take it easy and reminding myself that it's okay to not be at 100% all the time.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

I don't know where it's from, but my mom always said, "Have a clear head, a kind heart, and thick skin," and I've always loved that!

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

Pre-competition, I almost always eat chicken and rice and drink some Pedialyte. I also have two specific flavors of Amino Vital nutritional supplements for competition days. Rest is very big for me before I compete as well, to practice visualization! Post-competition, I really just like to have a good dinner with all the important people that were able to be at the event.

Allysa Seely, Triathlon

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

Motivation can be tricky, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. I am a very intrinsically motivated person. I find motivation in working hard and seeing even the most minor improvements. I also find motivation from having races on the calendar. Since I haven't had the opportunity to race in 18 months, I have had to curate motivation in other ways. To keep my motivation up during this unique time, I have made sure to incorporate my favorite workouts more frequently—running my favorite hill route while aiming to hit a specific time, hitting the trails more than the bike trainer, and swimming my favorite sets once every four weeks for time to measure improvement. With all of that being said, motivation is something that naturally rises and falls, so when motivation is lower, I rely on discipline and dedication to show up and get the work done I need to do to accomplish my goals.

What's your wellness routine like?

My wellness routine involves setting time aside for whole-body wellness. This includes physical acts, such as recovery from training, providing my body with the appropriate nutrition it needs, and rest to ensure my complex disability remains well controlled, but also time for a mental break from the stresses or sport, chronic illness, and a hectic life.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

My self-care routine is always changing based on what I feel I need the most. I take the opportunity to speak with a sport psychologist who helps me to manage some of the intricacies in my career. I use aromatherapy to calm my mind and my body; I spend time with my dogs, friends, and loved ones who are always there to support me. I bake, and I have recently picked up crochet as well. Each of these activities helps me accomplish the same thing: time and space to take a break and give my mind and body what it needs to be able to perform at its best in every training session and race.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

I have a few phrases or affirmations I use. When training gets really challenging, I remind myself that the hard work now is what will accomplish my dreams on race day by saying, "This is what gold is made of." Right now, after a challenging year of illness and injury I often tell myself, "Eyes on August." This reminds me to relax and that it is a process to rebuild. That one workout, one race, one day's outcome does not matter as much as the morning of August 28 will when I will toe the line, aiming for my second gold medal in the Paralympics.

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

I am not naturally superstitious, so I do not have a physical good luck charm. Rather, I carry my good luck charms with me always in the form of the memories of the people who have supported me and helped me grow into a fierce athlete and woman. My pre-race routine is pretty boring: I wake up, have breakfast, check all of my equipment a final time, head to the race to check in, do my standard warm-up, and head to the start line. I don't have a specific post-race routine, but it typically includes anti-doping (i.e., drug testing), a few moments to talk with my mom and the memory of grandma while doing some active muscle recovery, then showering, packing up, and heading out with teammates for a meal.

MyKayla Skinner, Gymnastics

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Harry How/Staff/Getty Images

How do you stay motivated?

There are days when I just want to quit or give up, and that's when I have to remind myself why I started. I stay motivated by reminding myself that, to get to where I want to be, it's gonna be hard and that it will all be worth it in the end. To make the Olympic team has always been my dream, so this is my last chance to be all in.

What's your wellness routine like?

I go to a trainer twice a week to work on strength and endurance.

I'm not the best at cooking! Now that I'm married, I've been learning how to cook better. My husband and I love making Home Chef because it's healthy and easy.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

I have a mental trainer that I work with. He gives me so many things to try and keeps me motivated.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

You got this!

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

Before competing, I always try to eat something healthy that will give me enough energy to last through the competition. I always do my makeup first, then hair. I can't compete without a scrunchie and ribbon in my hair. I feel like I'm superstitious when I'm doing certain things while I'm getting ready, but they aren't always over the same thing. It seems to be different every time. It's kinda hard to explain. But after the meet, I always want to get my leotard off ASAP and to celebrate with friends and family at dinner! My sister Chelsea has always been my good luck charm, but when she can't be there, then it's my husband, Jonas.

McKenzie Coan, Swimming

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

I always remind myself why I'm pushing and working so hard. Every day, I wake up and imagine myself on that podium in Tokyo, and I feel like I can do anything. I also think of how I could influence or inspire someone else with a disability to go out and pursue their dreams—that gives me all the fire and motivation in the world to keep going!

What's your wellness routine like?

I'm a very routine-oriented person, so eating right, having a solid recovery plan after every workout, and ensuring I'm getting enough sleep are super important to my training regimen. I always say the work I'm putting in in the pool has to be supplemented by good habits outside the water to take care of my body.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

Mental health is so important because I can go swim six to seven days a week, up to 10 sessions in the pool per week, working my body to the limit, but if my mind is not in a good place, then I'm not going to swim fast. I have my sports psychologist that I work with every week, and we're continually looking for ways to improve my mental strength and soundness. I also try to escape swimming by reading or meditating. That way, I can read my mind and come back to it refreshed and refocused.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

Growing up with a disability like osteogenesis imperfecta, people always tried (and still do occasionally) to dictate what I'm capable of. I was told I was too fragile because I might break a bone trying something or that I was too weak to swim. My parents always said to me that I know inside what I'm capable of, and so I always say, "The only limits that exist are the ones you allow to exist or let others dictate for you." To me, it's a great reminder that, no matter the obstacles or challenges in front of me, I can pursue anything I put my mind to.

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

I've actually had the same pre-race routine since I was an age-group swimmer. I'm very superstitious, and I absolutely have to have Cheerios with peanut butter (sounds weird, but it's so good!), and my toenails have to be painted pink because pink is my power color. My toes are the last thing I see before diving in the water for a race—it makes me feel so strong and confident!

Melissa Stockwell, Triathlon

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

My kids motivate me the most. I want to be the best I can be for them so they can see firsthand that, with hard work, dreams can come true. I'm also motivated knowing that what I do now will matter when the time comes. Every early morning swim, bike, or run is one step closer to being on the podium in Tokyo.

What's your wellness routine like?

We train 16-18 hours a week, and for this 41-year-old body, wellness is a must! I take care of my body with the amazing sports medicine team at the Olympic Training Center. I also work with a top-notch nutritionist and sports physiologist that work to make me the best athlete I can be. A big part of my routine is the athlete/mom/wife balance, and family time always rejuvenates me for the next training session. So making the time to get that in is essential.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

Self-care is so important. For me, it's spending a few minutes every day on my own with just me and my own thoughts. Sometimes, that time falls in the pool, on the bike, or on a run, but it’s these times that keep me going.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

When times get tough, I like to tell myself that I haven't come this far to only get this far. I love to push myself to get faster, to be the best athlete I can be, and see how far I can reach.

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

I used to eat a bag of gummy worms the night before a race because I had a great race years ago, and that's what I had done the night before. I have since changed that to just a few gummy worms! I have a mini dinosaur in my tri bag from my son that I keep as a good luck charm, and I have a picture of my family on my bike. Post-competition, I like ice cream and some food my nutritionist normally would not approve of!

Cat Osterman, Softball

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

I've always been motivated by trying to be better than yesterday. Now, being part of Team USA again, I am motivated to be my best for the women I am playing with. I don't want to have any regrets of not working hard enough to perform for them.

What's your wellness routine like?

I lift three days a week, throw four to five. I'm older, so my routine changes with my family obligations, but I am doing something five to six days a week.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

I'm fortunate to have time at home to myself quite a bit, so I've developed a good morning routine that sets me up for a good day. I also read a lot, which is my escape from anything stressful.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

If what you did yesterday is a big deal, you haven't done anything today.

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

I don't have pre- and post-competition routines. I turn on my mind for competition when it's time to warm up. Prior to that, I listen to whatever the team is listening to and just hang out. If my parents are in the stands, I always give my dad a fist pump for good luck.

Brooke Sweat, Beach Volleyball

11 Olympians and Paralympians Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo:

Courtesy of NBC Olympics/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

I am so blessed to be doing what I do. I love what I do. However, I still have those "bad days" when things get tough and I start to question myself. That's when I look back at all the hard work I've put into this and how far I've come. I'm not done yet. I've still got big goals to achieve!

What's your wellness routine like?

We usually practice five to six times a week in the sand, and I'm in the gym three to four days a week on top of that. I love pushing my body and enjoy the tough workouts! With all that I put my body through, daily nutrition is a key part of my wellness. I have a nutrition coach to help me stay on track and make any necessary changes based upon how hard I'm going in the sand and the gym.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

Finding an outlet outside of volleyball is also important for me. I like to shut my "volleyball brain" off for a bit and just spend time with my family—playing with my little nieces and nephews. My faith and relationship with Jesus are a huge part of my life. It is my life. Because of this, I have that true inner peace that goes with me everywhere and through everything.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

"Be still." Just a reminder to enjoy where I'm at and know that the Lord is with me.

What's your pre- and post-competition routine? Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

No special routines for me. Pre-competition, I start getting my body moving in the hotel room before leaving for the venue. At the venue, I start warming up about 45 minutes before we play. After competition, we will meet with our coaches directly after our match is over. We will discuss what worked and what didn't work, what we need to focus on moving forward. While we are having this discussion, I will stretch and cool down a bit.

Next up, Allyson Felix on the Postponed Olympics, Training During COVID, and Self-Care

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