You’d think winning an Olympic gold medal would be the ultimate achievement for any athlete. Not for former softball pitcher Jennie Finch. After medaling in the 2004 Olympic Games, the unstoppable sports star isn’t just lounging around her home in the bayou enjoying her accolades. She’s added model, TV star, and author to her credits, and that’s just in the last two years.
After retiring from softball in 2010, Finch enjoyed stints as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and a sports commentator, and she also starred on the Celebrity Apprentice. Now, the 31-year-old mom of two is running marathons, promoting her first book Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big & Believe in Yourself, and inspiring young athletes everywhere through her namesake softball camps. And she still finds time to hunt, fish, and cook up some Cajun delicacies with her husband, former pro-baseball player Casey Daigle.
We caught up with the woman who Time magazine tapped as the most famous softball player in history. Read on for her favorite workouts, diet secrets, and more!
SHAPE: How do you juggle being a busy working mom?
Jennie Finch (JF): It’s just like anything: You do your best. It’s all about balance and, I think, being in the moment. If I'm with my sons I want to give them 100 percent. Whatever I am doing at that moment, I want to make the most of it. We are blessed with a very supportive family and they help us out a ton. I can’t tell you it’s not overwhelming at times, but all we do is keep our priorities in order and do the best we can.
SHAPE: How do you stay in your pro-athlete form?
JF: It’s a challenge, especially being a new mom (Finch gave birth to her second child in June). I try to squeeze in a workout whenever I can, even if it’s doing squats with my 7-month-old in the kitchen or jumping on the trampoline with my 5-year-old. I got the running bug after running the NYC Marathon so I try to hit the road as much as possible!
SHAPE: Any workout or diet tricks?
JF: Again, I think it’s about balance. Try to move whenever possible. I love being outside with my boys, playing tag or trying to keep up with them. I really prefer to start my day getting my workout in early. I try to not be too hard on myself regarding my diet. I've always been a workout-to-eat kind of a girl. I like to eat to say the least. I try to put as much color in my diet as possible and staying hydrated is important! It’s great for skin, and I also use lots of sunblock!
SHAPE: What inspired you to write your book and what advice do you offer in it that SHAPE readers can relate to?
JF: I think it’s about being the best you! Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine! Softball is amazing that way as a sport. Everyone on the field has a slightly different ability that makes them perfect for their position. Looking inside instead of around you to figure out your gift is the only way to go. It’s truly one of the reasons I love softball, and it’s a great life lesson too.
SHAPE: Tell us about how you unwind and de-stress?
JF: I love to run. I was challenged to run the New York marathon four months after having my youngest son, and since running isn’t a big part of softball, the thought of a marathon was a stretch for me. Through that experience, I met some really amazing ladies where I live who have a running group. They’re my friends now, and they keep me on the road with them. I love to eat, as I said, so we hit up any new restaurants or coffee spots.
After retiring, my husband and I moved to Louisiana, where he’s from, so that’s changed my hobbies and activities a little bit! I enjoy cooking and have been learning to cook Louisiana-style. I’m thinking of starting a movement to get Cajun-style Boudin served around the country! It’s too delicious to only be able to get down here. I love to fish too. We have a stocked pond out back, and we always enjoy getting on our four-wheelers as a family.
SHAPE: Do you still play softball and if not, do you miss it?
JF: I do not play anymore. But I’m lucky because I do get to get out on the field by doing my Jennie Finch Softball Camps around the country. I love being out on the diamond, sharing my passion for softball with others. I do miss playing, though. I miss competing and being around my teammates most.
SHAPE: After being out on the field for so long, what did you do to get ready to model and do your TV appearances?
JF: The honest answer is nothing. Looking back, I should have done something to get ready. It was right after the 04' Olympics and I was enjoying my time off. I was still pretty new to being in front of the camera, so I ate lobster mac and cheese the night before, which should tell you what kind of shape I was in! I was thinking they would tan and bronze me up, but instead it was all natural. Overall, it’s been a wild ride and a lot of fun! I've been out of my comfort zone at times but I have grown to enjoy the many opportunities. I've been able to meet so many great people and get more comfortable in front of the camera.