Olympian and four-time Winter X Games winner, Gretchen Bleiler is one of the most decorated halfpipe snowboarders in the world. But she didn't get there by accident. Dedication to the sport, focus, drive and specialized workouts took her from loving the sport to being at the top of it.
"The programs I do with my trainer are amazing for overall strength and have a major focus on building my core," Bleiler says. "We do a lot of unique exercises that shake-up the nervous system which builds my balance and propreception. That's really important for my sport."
But that's not all that. Bleiler also likes to be outside, so in addition to hitting the powder, she enjoys surfing, road biking, and yoga. Like anyone, she likes mixing up her workouts to keep things fresh.
"I think a well-rounded program with variety is key for keeping motivated," Bleiler says.
She also credits an overall healthy lifestyle for her success. From being active to eating a healthy balanced diet to drinking water from her stainless steel ALEX bottle
(which she and her company created!), to putting on sunscreen whether she's on the mountain or not, she takes care of her body inside and out — including oral health. She recently teamed up with the makers of Listerine and Reach to support the American Heart Association’s "My Heart. My Life" heart-healthy living initiative.
She recommends building a simple routine of brushing and rinsing twice a day and flossing once a day for better overall health.
"If you take minutes a day to take care of your mouth, the odds are you'll take the next steps needed to take care of your whole body; like exercising and eating healthy," she says. "It's a building block for other healthy habits."
Although the pressure to continue being the best at her sport can be hard to handle at times — she confides that "Having your mail lady tell you that 'Aspen is counting on you to win!' can really take its toll" — she says that it's pushed her to change the way she trains in the off season, tweak her diet and improve her tricks in the halfpipe.
With her success, she's also focused on how she can make a difference, which includes inspiring others to see that they can do something to make a difference, too.
"Every one of us has the unique opportunity to create awareness and influence change," Bleiler says. "As a professional snowboarder, my goal is to educate and create awareness around the issues we’re facing with climate change. While everyone’s purpose may be different, with social media we all have that platform to create the change we want to see in the world, and I spend a lot of time encouraging others to step up and use theirs."
No matter if you'd like to make a difference in the world or in your body (or both!), Bleiler's advice is to make short-term and long-term goals in your life to serve as a road map so that you stay motivated. Breaking it up into small wins prevents burn out, which helps you to achieve the big goal, she says.
And the other thing that makes everything better?
"Smile more..." she says. "It’s contagious."
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.