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Can you train for the Olympics on a vegan diet? This athlete says yes


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Photo: April Ross

Welcome to Wellness Confidential, our quick-fire interview series where we ask hard-hitting (okay, entertaining) wellness questions, lightning round-style. And right now, we’re gearing up for the Summer Olympics by quizzing some of the coolest, strongest, and most athletic people we know: Team USA contenders. This week we’re chatting with beach volleyball pro April Ross, Kerri Walsh Jennings‘ new partner.

My typical day of training

I wake up at 6 a.m., make myself breakfast, and am out the door by 6:30 a.m. I take what I will need for the entire day with me—I pack it the night before—because I won’t be home until the evening. I practice for two hours at Manhattan Beach, do cardio in the sand afterwards, then jump in the ocean to clean the sand off and [use] as a makeshift ice bath. I grab lunch, and then drive to my gym. My gym workout usually lasts between two and two-and-a-half hours. Then I chill for a little and make dinner with my husband.

My weekends are made of

Breakfast at my favorite cafe with my husband, followed by some shopping at Fashion Island, then lunch at R+D Kitchen with a friend or my sister, and an afternoon at the beach swimming and paddle boarding.

Best way to fuel up during training season

I try to stay away from processed carbs and animal products as much as possible—I mostly eat vegan. For lunch I will get an acai bowl, pitaya bowl, or a veggie salad. My favorite healthy snacks are dried fruit, nuts, and protein shakes.

If sugar were a superfood, my diet would consist of

Dark chocolate!

I never pack a gym bag without

My foam roller.

The best way to get psyched up for a match

Old school rap—I like listening to Tupac, Ice Cube, Bone Thugs, Notorious B.I.G., Run D.M.C, Cypress Hill. I also love Macklemore. I blast it.

Advice I’d give my teenage self

I have a lot of personal mottos, but my high school volleyball coach gave each senior a quote at our end of season banquet and mine was, “The journey is better than the inn,” by Cervantes. It’s definitely stayed with me.

To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit teamusa.org. And before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games begin August 5, find out how much protein Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin eats every day. Plus, the surprising workout this pro-soccer player relies on to relieve her sore muscles.