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Michelle Parker: Professional Freeskiing/Freeride Champion

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Top Training Tips For All of Us, Her Morning Health Regimen, The Necessity of Yoga, Eating Local, Seasonal, and Organic and Remembering to Keep It Simple.

Q: What does Fall look like for you?:
A: For me, this time of the year is all about getting ready for winter. The mindset, organization, and training involved with doing so is certainly important and takes up most of my time. Personally, I prefer the outdoors vs. indoor environment so I’ll be doing a lot of mountain biking, running, hiking, and climbing. Typically a little of both each day. For me, it all starts when I wake up in the morning. Being on a routine when I travel is tough, but when I am at home this is what a day might look like for me.

Q: Do you have any tips for getting going in the morning?:
A: Wake up and drink a bunch of water. I’ll have a mason jar full of water by my bed and the first thing I do when I wake up it chug it. It’s kind of a habit now, but after a night’s sleep, water feels rejuvenating! I’ll follow that up with another glass of lemon water, honey, ginger powder, cinnamon powder, apple cider vinegar, and warm water. This second drink is a concoction of many good things to start your day with and it helps to kick start the metabolism and wake me up. Training to me definitely starts with physical activity, but is backed up with what you eat. I try to focus on incorporating greens and superfoods into my diet throughout the day. Smoothies and juices are a great and easy way to get those in there. When I’m in full on training mode I eat a lot.

Q: How about training and getting physically ready for the strenuous ski season ahead:
A: My level of activity depends on the day and what I have going on, but a long run with lot’s of elevation gain is sure to be a butt kicker. A couple of laps up and down Squaw Valley’s notorious run called KT 22 is a sure way to get my legs in shape and it just so happens that there are multiple beautiful single track mountain bike trails that can get me there from my house in Tahoe City. Always up for a good challenge, I’ll try to incorporate both activities into my day, but this certainly takes up a good amount of time. Traveling by human power through the mountains from one activity to the next is the ultimate way to train and it makes training really fun. Of course, it’s always way more fun to do this with a friend who can match your intensity!

Obviously, this just isn’t possible for everyone. I am lucky to be able to dedicate a lot of time towards this and live in an environment that makes this possible. However, I do have practice traveling and training in cities. I find that running is a simple way to get some good cardio. It’s easy because all you need is some shoes and off you go! To get in shape for ski season it’s all about your legs. Before you take off on your run you can do some squats and lunges to warm up a little bit and continue that throughout your run. Just take a break when you need to and fill the time in with some other leg exercises. Hills can really get you going and get those legs ready for the winter. If you don’t live in a city with hills try to find some stairs to run up and down. While you are running the stairs you can get creative and lunge up them, or skip stairs when running, or squat jumps. Find a park bench and get after those squat jumps. A little warm up that I like to do is 10 squats, 10 squat jumps, 10 lunges, and 10 jumping lunges. Repeat that 3 times to feel the burn. You can do those anywhere and anytime.

While biking, running, and hiking focus primarily on the lower body, it’s important not to forget about the upper body. Those shoulders need to stay strong! If you have the money, find a gym that has a climbing wall attached. Or just simply a climbing wall. Discover something new and make working out super fun, as it should be!

As with any workouts, you’ve got to balance them with stretching. Yoga is something that I have found to be incredibly beneficial both mentally and physically. I initially started doing yoga because it helped me to take better care of my body, but after a few classes I quickly discovered that my mind just loved the break from the day to focus on breathing and relaxing. Active meditation, at least that is what I call it, is when you’re using your body physically, but you can find that peace of mind. I get this when I’m hiking up mountains, skiing, practicing yoga, climbing, running, and so much more. It’s amazing to take a moment to clear your mind and focus on being present. If you can sit still and calm the mind through meditation, that’s also a great practice to add to your day. Studies have shown that even if you just try to meditate for 10 minutes and you don’t feel like you are really all that great at it, you can still benefit from the practice!

Now I’ve given you some simple tools to build upon, but don’t forget at the end of the day what you are putting into your body will greatly affect the outcome of all of this hard work. Eat clean and healthy. I don’t diet or follow any specific rules, but if I could put a title on the way that I eat it would be local, seasonal, and organic. Lot’s of veggies, fruits, and foods without a list of ingredients that goes on and on. Keep it simple!

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