A graduate of Stanford University, Kerri lives in Hermosa Beach, California, with her husband, Casey Jennings, one of the top men's volleyball players, and her two young sons. She gave Best of You Today an exclusive interview about balancing her role as athlete, mom and wife and a cause close to her heart, her Chase the Stars Foundation.
BOYT: First, congratulations on the recent birth of your second son, Sundance! We truly admire moms that balance home life with a successful career. What is a typical day like for you?
Kerri Walsh: I am up around 6 a.m. feeding Sundance. Joey is usually up around 6:15. We all hang out until I have practice at 8:30, sometimes 9, depending on when the nanny comes. After I practice for 2 hours, I come home and take one of the boys to hang out for a couple of hours ‘till my next workout. I will do a beach workout or Pilates for an hour, come home, shower, relieve the nanny and hang out with the boys ‘till bedtime.
BOYT: You come from a family of athletes. Have you always been athletic and were sports a big part of your upbringing?
Kerri Walsh: Being an athlete is in my blood. It's something I was born into and born with. Both my parents and their entire families were and still are very sports-minded. I grew up watching my parents compete in so many different sports and I absolutely loved watching them. I have a brother who is 11 months older than me and I attribute so much of what I’ve been able to accomplish to him because he pushed me to be better. I always wanted to be good enough to be able to play with him and his friends and I always wanted to make him proud. The same goes with the rest of my family. It was such a blessing to be born into an athletic family. I've found myself through sports and I also learned to appreciate living a fit and healthy lifestyle.
BOYT: What advice can you offer parents on being gently supportive of their children in sports without being pushy?
Kerri Walsh: I personally loved how involved my parents were because they have been my strongest and most consistent support system throughout everything. My parents never forced us to do anything we didn't want to do, but what they did do was remind us that once we decided to commit to a team, there was no slacking off allowed. If a practice or game came up against a school trip, dance or slumber party, they reminded us that our commitment was to the team because that's what commitment is all about – follow through. Such a simple lesson, but so important.
BOYT You've been incredibly successful as an athlete. What sets elite athletes apart from the rest?
Kerri Walsh: Perseverance and dedication. I believe elite athletes push through mental and physical barriers because of their relentless desire to be the best. I believe elite athletes take nothing for granted and, in doing so, they prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally for every possible scenario.
BOYT: We love that your charity, Chase The Stars Foundation, encourages children from all walks of life to pursue their dreams. What was your inspiration for creating the foundation?
Kerri Walsh: Basically, I felt like I had so many opportunities growing up and I was so blessed. I wanted to be able to give back in that same capacity to kids who might not achieve their big dreams because of their circumstances. I wanted to give them hope, whether by helping financially or by providing a support system.
BOYT: Where can someone find more information on becoming involved in Chase the Stars?
Kerri Walsh: They can go to KerriWalsh.com and click on the Chase the Stars Foundation link.
BOYT: You've maintained an incredible physique after having two children. What are your secrets?
Kerri Walsh: A lot of hard work and watching what I eat. The weight has not been falling off as easily with baby number two, so I am on a cleanse to get my metabolism on track. Hopefully, that will help me get back to where I need to be to compete at a higher level.
Staying fit during the pregnancy also helped me bounce back faster.
BOYT: Do you follow a strict diet? If we took a tour of your refrigerator, what would we find?
Kerri Walsh: Right now I am on that cleanse, so I am eating a lot of fruit and veggies. If you look in my fridge right now there is lots of baby food and tons of fruit and veggies. There is a lot of kale and arugula, which is stuff that sounds unappealing, but is better with garlic. On a normal day, there is lots of cheese. There is also a lot of Gatorade and NanoGreens, which are house staples.
BOYT: What are some of your favorite activities to relax and rejuvenate?
Kerri Walsh: A nap is on the top of the list. I also like reading. I'm a big reader when I have time. The best of all is just being home with the boys and not having to rush.
BOYT: Do you have any new projects that you are excited about?
Kerri Walsh: Shooting fitness videos with my dearest friend, Kerry Wachtfogel, and writing for my blogs on People.com and FitSugar.com. I'm also really excited about trying to come up with camps for both kids and adults in the off-season to spread the love of the game.
BOYT: Lastly, please share with our readers something they may be surprised to know about you.
Kerri Walsh: I never, ever go into the ocean because I have an amazingly huge and irrational fear of sharks. I’m working on it, though, because it seems as if our eldest is a water boy!
About Kerri Walsh
"Six-feet of Sunshine," Kerri Walsh is on her way to becoming the best female beach volleyball player of all time (along with her partner Misty) after only playing professionally for seven years. Kerri captured the public's imagination in 2004 by bringing home a Gold Medal from the Athens Summer Games and again in Beijing in 2008.Find more information on Kerrie Walsh at www.kerriwalsh.com
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