Olympic Beach Volleyball Star Kerri Walsh-Jennings Shares the Snack She Always Keeps Courtside

published Jan 25, 2020
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When I got the chance to chat with beach volleyball powerhouse and four-time Olympic medalist Kerri Walsh-Jennings about the stuff that makes her feel her best, the very first thing that I, a consummate professional, did was fangirl. “If you go to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, that will be your sixth (!!!) time competing in the Games …that’s more than two decades.” I gushed, shocked by the realization that I’ve watched her destroy her opponents for more than three quarters of my life.

Without skipping a beat, Kerri said, “I want to change that “if” to “when.” In my mind it’s already happened.”

You heard her, people! Not if but WHEN Kerri Walsh-Jennings competes in the 2020 Summer Olympics (for the sixth time in her beach volleyball career), she has her unshaken confidence and relentless work ethic to thank for getting her at least halfway there. But what else has helped her stay at the very top of her game? Here are five things.

1. A morning coffee ritual.

The thing that gets me out of bed is my French press coffee. I put in Primal Kitchen Collagen Creamer which is great protein for soft tissue, hair, and nails. I use Laird organic coffee beans. I start my day with some healthy fat, protein, and caffeine.

2. A day of feel good food.

I don’t usually eat until after my first workout. Breakfast is usually a green salad with two eggs over medium on top with avocado oil and balsamic vinegar. Lunch is after another workout and I’ll have grilled salmon. Then dinner is more meat and potatoes to get the starch and protein that I need to fuel myself.

3. Visualizing success before a match.

I got rid of all of my superstitions which is a beautiful thing, and I worked really hard to do that. Before a big match, I meditate and visualize things I want to do on the court against my opponents. I work on my breath — expanding my mind, focus, and lungs, so my capacity is greater when I hit the court. After I meditate and visualize the match, I put my music on and start gearing up. I’m in love with Freddie Mercury. I also have some Katy Perry and Maroon 5 on my playlist. I’m all over the map music-wise.

4. A courtside snack.

When I’m on the court and we have a time-out, I will literally reach into my bag for a Sunsweet prune. It’s a quick hit of sugar and healthy energy which helps my brain focus more. I’m currently on an added-sugar cleanse. In my younger years, I’d probably grab something more sugary — I was pretty casual and careless about my nutrition but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more mindful. I’m a better example now for my kids who are young athletes themselves. They have their first volleyball tournament this weekend. It makes my eyes water!

5. Post-match hydration.

Ideally after a match I’m happy. I usually debrief with my team and we go over what went well, what we can improve upon, and how we want to move forward. Then I refuel and rehydrate. I’m a big fan of putting chia seeds in my water — I think it helps me absorb it more.

Thanks so much for sharing, Kerri! Follow Kerri on Instagram and cheer her on during the road to Tokyo 2020.

Welcome to Feel Good Five, where we ask people to share the stuff that helps them feel their best.