22 Ways to Get (And Stay!) Healthy from Swimmer Kirsty Coventry

We are thrilled to ask Kirsty Coventry, one of the world’s highest achieving female swimmers and one of Africa’s most successful athletes, about her day-to-day routines for staying well and eating well. Kirsty hails from and swims for Zimbabwe and lives and trains in North Carolina. Inspired? Read more about Kirsty’s  day-to-day healthy eating  and her top tips on  workout nutrition .

Do you have any tips for people looking to become more active?

  • Do what you love. Or try new things until you find something you love.
  • Do it together. Find a partner or group that you can be active with — that way you'll be able to hold each other accountable, help one another through tough moments, and celebrate your achievements as a team.
  • Set a goal. Maybe it’s crossing the finish line at a race or a certain number on the scale, but identifying an end game really helps boost motivation.
  • Build a foundation. Don’t try to go all out on your first attempt because you might injure yourself, or you may get frustrated and be tempted to give up. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Let go. Don’t worry about what you look like! Be in the moment and enjoy the process, because you are going to feel great on the inside, and that is what will shine through.

Do you have any fueling tips to go along with those?

  • Plan ahead. You may be too exhausted to prepare something to eat after your exercise so do it beforehand.
  • Eat simple and light before exercise. You will need some calories for energy but stay away from heavy foods.
  • Drink lots of water before, during and after. Most people only drink water while exercising or afterwards but hydrating should start before and continue afterwards. Add slices of lemon or cucumber for taste (I add both).

What workouts do you love besides swimming? I lift weights to build muscle, and I love walking our dogs for extra cardio. I try to do yoga 1 or 2 times per week for the stretching benefit as well as the mental escape.

Do you have any strategies for keeping healthy foods around you? It’s all about having healthy foods accessible and literally in your face. I keep fruits and nuts in big jars on the kitchen table and the first shelf of the fridge. This means the first thing in reach is something healthy. I also keep dozens of containers on hand for travel, so it’s easy to fill these up with apple slices, blueberries and carrots.

What’s in your stay-well kit when you’re on the road?

  • Multi-Vitamin (I like Rainbow Light Women’s One™)
  • Immune support supplement (such as Rainbow Light Counter Attack™)
  • Vitamin C
  • Essential oils
  • Bath salts
  • Tea tree salve
  • Lipstick
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Something to read

How much sleep do you try to get? Is it different when you are training versus when you are competing? Even after a 20-year swimming career I still get nervous when I compete, so I sleep less at night during competition but catch up during the day. The importance of sleep for maintaining a healthy body cannot be stressed enough. I try to keep to the same sleeping pattern: seven hours at night and one to two hours during the day.

Any other suggestions for staying well? One of my favorite things about Whole Foods Market is that it not only inspires us to lead a healthy lifestyle but gives us everything we need to live it. If I start feeling run down I like to:

  • Increase the amount of raw vegetables I eat.
  • Get a ginger and lemon shot from the Whole Foods Market Juice Bar.
  • Wash my hands, constantly.

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