Kerri Walsh’s 7 Life Mantras
Posted On Aug 22, 2016
A powerhouse in every sense of the word, Kerri Walsh Jennings is more than the world’s top-ranked women’s volleyball player. A dangerous and dominating competitor this mother of three is also the picture of balance, consideration, and family dedication.
BY Valerie Latona PHOTOGRAPH by Phillip Dixon
Framed on the wall of Kerri Walsh Jennings’ beautiful Southern California home is the following poem:
“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill… stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit. It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”
One might not imagine that Walsh Jennings—arguably the best volleyball player in
the world—would require motivation of this sort. On the contrary, she takes strength from this philosophy every day. Today is particularly challenging; her kids (Joey, 5; Sundance, 4; and Scout, 1) are getting over the flu. Sleep has been elusive of late. She’s getting through it, however, one step and one smile at a time
Nicknamed “Six Feet of Sunshine,” Walsh Jennings, 35, is the ultimate California girl—statuesque
and striking, with blonde locks that rightly suggest her radiant demeanor. Don’t be fooled by her trademark approachability, however. Behind that smile is a premier athlete with a fierce competitive streak. “It’s a huge part of why I’m successful,” she says.
“I love what I do with all my heart, and love my family more than words can express.” Walsh Jennings lives by seven strategies that help her meet the needs of her family while honoring the desires of her heart.
Behold, the seven keys to Walsh Jennings’ full, effective, incredible life.
Establish a work-family schedule, and stick to it.
Walsh Jennings talks fast, cramming lots of information into every statement. This is the speed of her life—packed with as much work as will fit between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. After that is family time. “This schedule allows me to be more present with the kids after 2:30,” Walsh Jennings says.
“I do so much better when I’m ‘all in’ or ‘all out,’ and separate the different areas of life. When I’m around my kids, I’m in full-on mommy mode.”
Be more present.
While Walsh Jennings’ work-family schedule helps her be present with her kids, she’s learning how to integrate mindfulness throughout her routine. Working with a sports psychologist has helped her get better at this. “He has taught me how to be present in my body—something I never used to do,” she says. “Now when I get in the car, I take a breath and listen to the car turning on. It seems so simple, but every deep breath I take is like a reset button for my mind and body. I do this throughout the day to achieve a state of focus and balance.”
Find a way to fit in fitness.
“Part of my job is to be fit, but I still have to get out and exercise,” says Walsh Jennings. To avoid backing out of fitness, she simply gets into workout gear. “If I get dressed, I’m going to work out.”
Her top way to stay fit at home: Pinterest. “You’ll find workouts like lunges and ab core work that you can do anywhere,” she says. She’s also a fan of the online stretching and strength workout Ballet Beautiful (balletbeautiful
.com). “It’s so effective and efficient.” Along with Pilates, Ballet Beautiful gives her bikini-ready abs. While traveling from March to November, she uses a TRX suspension training system to stay fit and flexible.
“Small changes will take you far, with little effort,” says Walsh Jennings. “Get rid of refined sugars. Use brown rice instead of white. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables—the more colorful your plate, the better. Eat lean meats. Drink plenty of water—if you’re dehydrated, your body will translate that as hunger.” While traveling, she mixes fresh foods with items like Designer Whey protein.
Meanwhile, she does admit to cravings. “I’m a sucker for cupcakes and chocolate. I indulge sometimes because I work hard. When I have a hard time disciplining myself, I nix the fun stuff.”
Find a way to relax that works for you.
Walsh Jennings is no stranger to stress. The most stressful thing in her life? “Lack of time,” she says. “I have so much to do and not enough time to do it all.” She knows stress is bad for her health and sanity, which is why she strives to find ways to relax. What works for her: the mindfulness training she’s working on with her sports psychologist and tea rituals. “I love drinking tea,” she says. “I try to have a cup of chamomile lavender tea every night.”
Protect your skin.
“I’ve lived in the California sun all my life, thanks to my job,” Walsh Jennings says. “I’ve definitely accrued some damage—and I have skin cancer in my family.” These are two reasons Walsh Jennings uses—and recently signed on as spokesperson for—Skin Authority (skinauthority.com).
“I love that these products get results, are really affordable, and offer free access to professional skin coaches,” she says. When she’s outdoors, Walsh Jennings wears a visor and oversized Oakley sunglasses to protect the area around her eyes from damaging UV rays.
Take time to be grateful.
“Every day, I think about five to 10 things that I’m grateful for,” she says. “This is the list I pull out when I’m having a really bad day.” At the top of Walsh Jennings’ list: faith, family, and career. “If I can give love to each one and not neglect any one of them,” she says, “then that’s true success.”