Allyson Felix, now 30, is an Olympic sprinter. She won her first silver at age 18, and has taken another silver since. She is a three-time world champion, and at the 2012 Olympic Games, she won the gold medal. In an interview prior to her trip to Rio de Janiero, Allyson shared her tips for getting and staying healthy and competition-ready.
Allyson cites sleep as essential. She says:
I definitely get a lot of sleep. I would say I probably get around eight hours, and I get more sleep while I’m training just because it’s so important for your body to recover. If I can get a nap in I will, it re-energizes me and helps me handle the training load.
She’s a firm believer in cross-training and stretching:
I’ve done Pilates before, and I’ve tried different things here and there, but in the off-season I try to stay completely away from the track. I might get on a bike ride or go inline skating, but I don’t do anything too intense just because I want to give my body a rest.
I do the same stretch routine I started in high school. I do it before I train and before every competition. I go through stretching my upper body and lower body and make sure I’m stretching the hamstring and areas where runners are prone to injury.
She sticks to her morning routine:
I do a bit of visualization, but that’s probably as close as I get. With my races, I find that if I put together the perfect race in my mind it helps me when it actually gets time to that. It’s part of my morning routine. While I’m drinking a cup of coffee – usually Folgers – I’ll sort of do that visualization.
She uses a particular mantra:
There’s a quote by Steve Prefontaine that I love: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” That centers me and just makes me grateful for the ability that I have.
Instead of supplements, she relies on diet, and for a very good reason:
Everything I eat is really balanced. I started working with a nutritionist and chef about two years ago, just testing to see what my body was deficient in to help me sustain the work I’ve put in. I’m heavy on protein. A typical meal after training is usually salmon, broccoli, brown rice, and fruit. Nothing too crazy, I just make sure everything is in moderation and enough to replenish what I’m lacking.
I don’t take supplements. Our testing is so strict, so I’m super paranoid. That’s why my nutrition and diet are so important, because I’m facing athletes who do take supplements. So I have to make sure I’m getting all those nutrients through my food.
She makes her skin care a priority:
Since I’m in the sun so much, skin care is important to me. I just make sure I’m putting sunscreen on. I love facial wipes and carrying those in my bag and making sure my skin is clean and moisturized. I don’t wear makeup when I train. If anything, I might put on a tinted moisturizer with SPF in it, but that’s as much as I get into when I’m on the track.
Allyson loves being strong:
I feel beautiful when I’m feeling strong. That gives me confidence. When I’m feeling my fittest, I feel my best. After a great workout, I have those feelings.