Many of my friends from Ohio and other Northern locals are envious of my Winter life in the Tropics of Miami, but my daily life is far from relaxation on the beach! Fitness, Training and Focus on Smooth Transitions are keys to making the demands of my teenage life bearable and are leading the charge towards victory in my Olympic Campaign for Rio 2016.
Sure, living in Miami all winter means that I never have to worry about putting layers upon layers just to walk out to the car. I am never seen in woul socks and Sorel boots and the only salt I have to lug around is the stuff that is crusted in my hair and embedded in my ears after a long day of practicing on the Atlantic Ocean. That doesn’t mean that I get to spend every day laying around on South Beach catching rays and enjoying the scenery of Northern tourists pasty skintones.
I am working on becoming an Olympic athlete. In the sport of sailing, the average Olympian is around 35 years old and in 2016, I’ll be only 19. That means that I am competing against people that are nearly twice my age, people that have spent more time sleeping than I have been alive. To be able to compete, I have to stay focused on my fitness training and on transitions from one activity to another.
Fitness training is not always the first thing most people think of when they think of a sailor. More often the image of a party at the club and relaxing while spending time with friends is associated with sailing. In the highly competitive landscape of the US Sailing Team and the single birth at the Olympic Games, everyone has to give it their all and fitness training is pretty much at the top of the list of importance in our campaign.
Sailing a high performance boat requires a lot of physical exertion. We race on a 17 foot boat with an 8 1/2 foot beam and 411 square feet of total sail area to manage in breezes up to 30 knots! We sail at speeds above 20 knots which means that there is not a lot of time for thinking and the pressure in the sheets at all points of sail require continual effort to squeeze every ounce of speed we can get transferred from the sails to pull us forward as the blades foil to lift us out of the water. Then you add in all the tactical decisions that have to be made in split seconds and the calculations on what the fleet around you are about to do and it becomes vital that we maintain our fitness training for optimal performance.
The US Sailing Team provides us with access to our purpose designed Training and Physical Therapy center in Coconut Grove, Florida. Chris Herrera and all the staff at the Training Center provide daily monitoring, support and often required rehabilitation for the bumps, bruises and injuries that could put a catastrophic end to our campaign if not for their dedication, focus and follow through when it comes to our fitness training and focus on healthy lifestyles.
My training program is focused on increasing mass and strength while increasing flexibility. Anyone that does any amount of weight training knows that as you get stronger the body becomes more rigid. Being able to rapidly move around my boat without transferring any energy to the sails or foils, all while keeping consistent pressure on the sheets requires a high level of strength, acuity and tremendous flexibility. The team at the training center is awesome at creating a diet plan and strength conditioning plan while increasing my flexibility. There is no way around it, these guys are the best of the best! In the past two months, I have been in the gym daily for workouts, to receive therapy on injuries and to track my diet of 5600 daily calories. The results so far have been tremendous and I am just beginning to realize that fitness training is more of a lifestyle than something that has to be done each day.
I have found that in the sport of sailing, along with everything else in life; you earn rewards based on your level of commitment to hard work. The more effort you put into your success, the more successful you become. There is no one individual that is more dedicated to success than me. There is no team working harder than Katie and I. The Teen Sailing Team is determined to succeed!
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Success comes at a cost. The coaching, travel, equipment and regattas we need to win Olympic Gold are expensive. Can you help us in our effort to become the best of the best? Check out our Tackk for a new boat and support the Teen Sailing Team today.