Chloe Kim won nearly every major snowboard halfpipe contest this season and became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s (that's three full rotations) in a halfpipe contest, at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City, Utah, in February. Oh also, she's only 15.
How did she have such an exceedingly good season? Beyond her obvious talent, it might be all of the things she did off-snow. The three-time X Games gold medalist took a few minutes from her nonstop schedule to drop in on the benefit of morning workouts, her newfound appreciation for running and the motivational qualities of a Starbucks iced tea.
She built up her legs.
Before last summer, I didn't work out. Then I injured my right knee and was in rehab at the Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah. I brought what I learned in rehab home with me and continued my workouts every day in the gym. This season, my legs are so much stronger and I noticed my riding is stronger than it's ever been. I've been squatting my landings out and am able to bring myself up from a squat pretty quickly. I'm gaining a lot of muscle. I used to be a pretty chubby 13- and 14-year-old. I lost a lot of weight as I started working out. I'm seeing great results, so it keeps me motivated to keep it up.
She learned to love the gym. Sort of.
I like to start my workout with a treadmill jog. I really like running. Okay, it sucks, but afterwards, it feels amazing. I run 20 to 30 minutes and then my workout consists of a lot of leg-maintenance work like squats with medicine balls and upper-body work like pullups and dips. They're not crazy insane workouts and they're not too long. I have a busy schedule. Usually I spend an hour for a short workout and two hours for a longer one.
She focused on quality.
There's no point in working out if you're doing the exercises wrong or your posture's wrong, so I like to take my time, which usually means the workouts take longer. If I went for it, they would take maybe 30 minutes. But I take my time to make sure I'm getting the most out of it.
She figured out what motivates her.
I tell myself that I'm going to reward myself with a Starbucks afterwards. Not a bad Starbucks like a Frappuccino, but an iced tea that's not super high in calories. That gets me going. Or, on days when I ate a lot of bad food the day before, I'm like, 'I have to go the gym.' It's a thing now for me; I know I have to do it for myself, even though it sucks. It's like going to work. It's part of my job.
She improved her body awareness...
We fall a lot in our sport. Obviously my butt gets the worst of it. Because of working out, I've learned a lot about my body. I've learned how to fall, too. When I hit my face [during practice at the U.S. Open], I didn't think I would hit it that hard, but I knew it was either my body or my face, and if I hit my face, I can still compete. I managed to save my body. I'm so aware of what is going on in my riding. I can really feel what is going on in my body throughout my riding and it's been a really good thing for me.
... and her diet.
I definitely eat less candy now. But I'm not a huge breakfast person. People can boo me for that, but I get really full on breakfast. I have a slow metabolism, so I can't eat before I compete. I usually have a big dinner and a small breakfast, like a smoothie with spinach, Greek yogurt, honey, strawberries and blueberries. I drink those before I compete for something light in the morning and that keeps me going. After I work out, I make a protein shake. It always makes me feel so much better about myself after eating something healthy rather than a burger.
She found her sleep number.
I don't meditate. But I should probably start. Being in my teenage years, that makes me a little emotionally unstable. I try to get eight hours of sleep. I used to get 10 but I noticed that makes me even more tired, so I brought it down to eight.