On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
When the 2022 Winter Olympic Games were approaching, all eyes were on Mikaela Shiffrin. At 26-years old, the American two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and World Cup alpine skier was already seen as one of the greatest skiers of all time with her growing list of incredible achievements, including:
- 4-time Overall World Cup champion
- 4-time world champion in Slalom
- youngest slalom champion in Olympic alpine skiing history
- most Olympic gold medals ever won by an American Olympian in alpine skiing (tied with Ted Ligety and Andrea Mead Lawrence)
But the circumstances around the American skier as she headed into her third Olympics were less than ideal. At the beginning of 2020, her father, Jeff Shiffrin, who had played a vital role in her skiing career her entire life, tragically passed away from a severe head injury at the age of 65.
Then, in the lead-up to the games, Shiffrin suffered from a severe back strain that made moving, let alone training, almost impossible. To make matters worse, she tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to isolate for 10 days in a hotel room. “I was hoping that maybe I could just come back and it’d be fine,” she admitted in an interview with Elle. “But at that point, I was really low.”
Still, as the Olympic community headed to Beijing for the Winter Games, many observers were expecting Shiffrin to clinch a few more medals and become the most decorated American female alpinist in Olympic history. It didn’t turn out that way. Shiffrin’s run at the 2022 Winter Games was, by all accounts, a disaster. She did not manage to finish three of the six events she competed in (Slalom, Giant Slalom and Combined), finished 9th in the Super-G, 18th in the Downhill and 4th in the Team event.
Instead of hiding away from her unsuccessful Olympic run, Shiffrin decided to talk about it openly, and in doing so, she joined other great female athletes like Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles who have spoken publicly about their mental health and anxiety.
Some days, I have perfect moments. Perfect turns. Perfect technique. I forget about the pain. I remember my dad from a distance, and when I get up on the mountain, it feels like the only place that I can truly breathe. And then some days, it still just sucks. Some days, it’s so hard to put one foot in front of the other. That’s grief. That’s being a human.I Want to Remember Everything – By Mikaela Shiffrin | The Players’ Tribune
At her lowest point following the Beijing Olympics, Shiffrin considered retiring from the sport altogether and enrolling in medical school or becoming a marine biologist instead. But it wasn’t long before she was back skiing at the high level — she placed second at a World Cup event in Lenzerheide, Switzerland just one month after the Winter Games. The Olympic gold medallist ended up winning the overall World Cup, taking down her fourth world title.
Mikaela Shiffrin’s daily training routine & diet
On a typical training day, Mikaela Shiffrin wakes up between 5-6am and eats her standard breakfast meal — either two eggs and two pieces of whole-wheat toast or oatmeal and fruit. “I rely on breakfast to give me a kickstart of energy in the morning, so I choose my foods accordingly,” she told Good Housekeeping.
She’ll then spend 30 minutes on a warm-up routine to activate her muscles, before hitting the mountains between 7.30-8am where she’ll spend anywhere between two to five hours working on her technique. After hitting the snow, Shiffrin will head back for lunch — usually pasta with some chicken or fish and a salad — and then it’s time for her favourite part of the day, having a nap.
In fact, Shiffrin’s love for a good nap has been well documented over the years. In a 2017 interview with Outside Magazine, she revealed that some days she’ll wake up in the morning “and the first thought I’ll have is: I cannot wait for my nap today. I don’t care what else happens. I can’t wait to get back in bed.”
After her nap, the skier will head to the gym for her second workout session of the day where she’ll work on her cardio, strength or mobility. As part of her training routine, Shiffrin and her coaching team will pore her practice videos and document every single detail of her performance to further optimise her race times.
I’ve never puked. I’ve come close. I’d pass out before I’d puke. We have a grading scale that I fill out for every workout. Ten is dying or passing out. I rate nine fairly often. That may have been a nine, maybe.Mikaela Shiffrin, the Best Slalom Skier in the World | The New Yorker
Then it’s time for dinner. “I do chicken or steak, pasta, and salad or steamed/roasted vegetables,” she told Good Housekeeping, although some days she’ll squeeze in some chocolate for dessert. For Shiffrin, it’s all about balance and moderation when it comes to nutrition.
After dinner, Shiffrin heads off to bed. With an average nine hours of sleep per night, rest and recovery is something the Olympian prioritises above all rest. “Sleeping is my meditation,” she said. “It’s the only time you can recover, physically and emotionally, at the same time.”
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