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Figure Skater Rachael Flatt's Winning Ways

Olympic contender Flatt shares her diet, workout, and more.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Figure skater Rachael Flatt, 17, the reigning U.S. ladies' champion, is going for the gold at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Flatt shared her strategies for fitness, nutrition, energy, and more in an email interview with WebMD.

What’s your daily workout routine?

Typically, I have about 3-4 sessions per day. I have two in the morning and 1-2 in the afternoon. One of my afternoon classes is power stroking [an ice skating technique] and I go to the OTC (Olympic Training Center) twice a week for training.  I also do ballet and other strength training workouts off the ice. 

What’s your approach to nutrition, and do you tweak your diet in advance of a competition?

I really try to [eat] a wide variety of foods and food groups each day.  I go for the intensely colored fresh fruit and veggies.  I also eat lots of lean protein and low-fat dairy.

When I compete, the content is similar, but usually decreased.  I do try to adhere to a dinner of lean protein and few carbs the night before I compete to maintain my energy level on competition day.

How do you keep your energy up as you train, do schoolwork, and act as a spokeswoman for Reading is Fundamental? How do you balance all those demands?

I keep my energy by staying focused and really managing my time.  Balancing skating, school and other activities can be difficult so time management is key. 

I also find strength from my parents, my coaches and my peers, who really help me stay grounded and support me to the fullest! 

I also plan my meals and food intake to make sure I have enough energy during the day with healthy snacks and meals like fresh fruits, low-fat dairy, lean protein and some carbs.

When a competition comes up, how do you approach it as far as your mental outlook? Do you do visualization exercises, or meditate, etc.?

Honestly, I try to rely on the hard training that occurs in the weeks prior to a competition.  You've got to work at your preparations every day.  Procrastination just doesn't work. 

[As Aristotle said,]' "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

And, once we are at a competition, I focus on relying on the training -- practice like it is a competition and then you will compete like you practice.  I train hard so that it reflects when I compete.

I also bring homework with me wherever I go.  It takes my mind away from skating for a little bit. 

And we try to watch funny movies or videos. [TV shows] "The Office," "30 Rock"... and "The Daily Show" have been great ways of keeping the pressure at bay!

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