For years, Misty May-Treanor and volleyball partner Kerri Walsh were known as the "greatest beach volleyball team of all time," after helping lead their team to victory at both the 2004 Summer Olympics and the 2008 games. Now, they're preparing to make a third run for Olympic gold at the 2012 London games. We had the chance to sit down with May-Treanor to ask the player and coach about how she stays fit when she's off the court, the one food she won't give up, and her recent work with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
SHAPE: What's your workout routine like?
MMT: I try to do something every day. I lift weights at least three to four days per week, and I'll intersperse that with cardio. For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'll run and do heavy lifting, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I'll spend two hours lifting weights, as well as something like swimming.
SHAPE: What's the one workout move or piece of equipment that you know is beneficial, but you hate to do?
MMT: Planks! I used to hate planks, because I could only hold them for about 20 seconds. I'll never be like, "Yeah, I'm so excited to do planks!" but I find that I don't hate them as much anymore.
SHAPE: What kind of advice would you give someone who's just starting out on a new fitness regime or is just starting to make a big change in their life?
MMT: I'd tell them to start slow. Nothing's going to happen overnight; it's going to be a process. You don't want to push yourself too hard and then be burned out. Also, I'd advise anyone who's just beginning a workout regime to seek professional advice. You see a lot of bad technique, and it can really impair your progress.
SHAPE: You're so busy—between coaching, training for the Olympics, and balancing your personal relationships, how do you find time for yourself?
MMT: Actually, right now while I train for the 2012 games, the volleyball clinics I coach are on hold. But I've learned that "no" is not a bad word. You have to space things out and have a certain time where you shut everything down and take time for yourself.
SHAPE: What are some of the healthy foods you always keep stocked in your kitchen?
MMT: I juice everything! Whether it's beet, carrot, or apple, I'll juice it. I always keep brown rice in the kitchen. I'll often pack a cooler full of food to have throughout the day when I'm busy.
SHAPE: Everyone has at least one unhealthy food they can't give up; what's yours?
MMT: If there are fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies on the table, I won't say no to those. Soy sauce is another one, even though it's awful—it's so high in sodium.
SHAPE: When it comes to your health, what's the one thing you won't compromise on?
MMT: Sleep—the older I get, the more I realize how much getting enough rest and sleep makes a difference. I need at least eight hours of sleep to feel my best. If I'm up late and then get up early the next morning, I'm dragging throughout the day.
SHAPE: Why is working with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America something that's important to you?
Misty May-Treanor (MMT): The new "Ditch the Drip" campaign that the AAFA is running urges people to become more aware of seasonal allergies. It hopes to encourage people who suffer from allergies to talk to their doctor about what they can do to nip their allergies in the bud, instead of having to wait until they're already suffering from symptoms.