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Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings Talks About What's Most Important: Family

0807_kerri_singleOlympic beach volleyball players Kerri Walsh Jennings and her partner Misty May-Treanor are going for their third-consecutive gold medal today.

As focused as she is on winning, the most important thing in Kerri's life is her family: husband Casey Jennings and their two sons Joseph, 3 and Sundance, 2 -- born after her last gold medal win in 2008.

The Olympian and member of Team Kellogg's chatted with toofab's Lawrence Yee about motherhood, staying healthy and chasing history.

toofab: A lot has changed since 2008. What’s the biggest challenge now that you’re older and have a family?

Kerri: I would say "wiser" and "more experienced" [laughs]. [The biggest challenge is] just the balancing act of it all. It’s hard for me to be away from my babies. The sleep deprivation is really challenging, especially as an athlete. You need to recover and you need your sleep. That being said, the body is really crazy and really adaptable and resilient. My body has made certain changes. Despite those two small little negatives, my life is overwhelming beautiful and blessed.

toofab: How was the excitement of giving birth different than the excitement of winning gold?

Kerri: They’re both amazing experiences. I felt that after I gave birth to my babies I was superwoman and I could handle anything. It certainly makes my job feel less like a job and more like a treat. Once I made the shift [to motherhood] it allowed me to enjoy my job so much more. They’re both obviously amazing experiences. I’m a little rusty at both [jokes] so I want to go win gold in London and have a baby and I'll get back to you on how each compares to each other!

toofab: How has diet played a role in your training, especially now that you’re a mother?

Kerri: Diet is huge. How you start your day is really important. Breakfast to me is not only a really fun time with my boys because they’re happy when they get up but it’s essential. They have a better day if they have a great breakfast. My husband and I have better days. We’re able to max out and hit our potential. We’ve been addicted to Eggos and almond butter in my family.

And throughout the day I eat constantly. I eat every three hours, whether it’s snacking on raw almonds or a protein shake or a fruit bar. I’m always putting good stuff in my body because I’m going to get a lot out of it.

toofab: What are three tips whether you’re an Olympian or just a regular person that you can do to become healthier?

Kerri: Have breakfast! When you’re eating breakfast make sure you’re hydrating. Not just having coffee but have some water along with it.
 
Set goals and challenge yourself to dream and aspire to something, especially if your life is a little dull. Set a goal and create baby steps for you to get there. That’s always a fun and inspiring thing in life.

Have a support system. [Have] people who empower you and don’t allow you to wallow ... that listen to you and pick you up. Who you surround yourself by is really important; surround yourself with people you love and challenge you.

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