Three-time Olympic Gold medalist and one-time Olympic Bronze medalist – the most decorated Pro Beach Volleyball Player ever – and arguably one of the best female athletes in the World, Mrs. Kerri Walsh Jennings, spent three days with us at the XPT Experience in Malibu this past October. Afterward, we had some questions for her. Here’s what she had to say…
What does your typical daily fitness regimen consist of and did you learn anything new you can incorporate in your training from the XPT Experience?
KW: My typical regimen over the past 15 years has included weight training, Pilates, a lot of beach volleyball training—obviously, I’m a fan—I do cardio and agility work, either on the beach or on the track, I do brain training, with or without my sports psychologist to work on my neuro-agility, I do rehab for whichever body part needs rehab, I have been working with a thoracic mobility specialist, so those have been my staples for a long time. The thoracic mobility specialist is somewhat new over the past two years.
My husband and I went to XPT a) because we love Gabby & Laird and b) because we’re always so curious to see what the leading edge people are doing and we just have so much respect for Gabby and Laird and Brian and their whole team, so we were so excited to go and learn from them. It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite from the week because it was all just so amazing, truly, and I don’t say that lightly. What I do plan on taking away from it and adding to my regimen was the breathing; it was just game changing for me. It was just so powerful in so many different ways, for my brain, for my body, just for my entire being through and through. The breathing training was really special. Click here to learn more about XPT Performance Breathing…
And then the pool workout—Gabby’s been trying to get me into the pool for so long and I never made it work. It was such a humbling experience but it was also so empowering and just makes so much sense for my goals in life, really, are just for sustained excellence and to keep improving. I can’t keep beating up my body and so this is such a great way to minimize the impact on my body since you’re in water and it’s just better in that way, but you’re also able to workout dynamically and efficiently and very, very actively.
One of my favorites of the weekend was a Gabby’s HIGHX workout. It was on the last day for us. It was ridiculous and I’ve been following her online but to experience it—it was so fun and so challenging but doable and the music was insane. And Gabby is so inspiring so it was awesome to do that.
How do you stay motivated and keep up your busy schedule with so much energy?
KW: I love what I do, I love doing what I do and I love feeling good. So, feeling good to me is being fit, being healthy, being active, being around people I love and chasing my dreams, alongside people I love. So that’s kind of my life in a nutshell. I don’t need any external motivation; it’s all very internally driven because I’m really fulfilled by doing what I do.
Gabby Reece, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Casey Jennings and Coach Marcio Sicoli.
Any packing suggestion for participants in the XPT Experience? What would be 3 things you’d recommend they take?
KW: A bathing suit, a good open-minded attitude, mostly to allow yourself to be uncomfortable, because you’re going to be uncomfortable but it will take you to wonderful places. I mean, literally, you need to just show up with a good attitude and a bathing suit and you’re set. They take care of everything. I guess maybe a pair of workout shorts.
It’s just such a special experience. I really recommend the whole weekend to everybody. Like, I don’t care if you’re 90 pounds overweight and you feel like you’re stuck and you want inspiration. Or if you’re a young kid who is curious about what the experts are doing, or if you just want something fun to do—or whatever you’re looking for in life, this is a well-worthwhile commitment and an investment in yourself, because it’s just a game changer.
Talk to us about sharks. You were a little apprehensive about getting in the ocean for the SUP sessions with Laird. What changed your mind and what was that like?
KW: I grew up in Northern California in Santa Cruz doing lifeguards and it just crushed me, I watched Jaws too many times and it was really big fear of mine my whole life. I’ve been talking to my sports psychologist about it for about 5 years and he’d say that you’re not ready yet for so many years, and a couple of months before XPT he’s like, “This is ridiculous, you need to confront this.” So, a week before XPT I went out into the open water with him. It scared the hell out of me, but I feel like I made progress.
Kerri and Gabby chatting before she paddled out.
It was just something that I told myself I had to do to a) experience the experience of being out in the water with Laird and the group and b) just to keep forward momentum. And it was just extremely comforting being out there (in Malibu) with my husband who was right there by my side for the most part, and then I’m paddling 15 feet behind Laird. And everyone was checking in on me the whole time, so I was never alone. Gabby promised me I’d be in good hands and I never doubted that. So I just couldn’t not do it.
Kerri on her way into the ocean.
I’ll do it again. My husband loves surfing and I really want to be able to enjoy these things with him. And my kids, I don’t want to give them my fear so I just need to get over it and I just need to keep doing it and that’s how I’ll get over it. So it’s wonderful. The Malibu paddling was just ten times more intensive than I’d done a week before with my sports psychologist, so I feel if I just keep going out there that I’ll just keep getting better.
Gabby has spoken out a lot on body image, especially with young girls, and as a fellow strong, tall woman, what advice would you give to young girls who are facing these issues, especially in the teen years?
KW: This is such a tricky subject, because we all want to look good and feel good, but I think the biggest problem is that we compare ourselves to others. I learned that too late in life, to stop comparing myself to others, but it was very liberating when I stopped doing that. So, I would encourage all young girls to embrace what they have and not compare themselves to others. I think that’s the trick to happiness in life, for yourself personally, when you’re on the job, when you’re inspiring to do great things, to just kind of look to yourself and make the most of what you have. Complaining about something nonstop you can address it yourself but don’t wish you had something else because what you have is beautiful.
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