Short-track speed skater Jessica Smith often spends eight hours a day training. In other words, she knows a thing or three about fueling up and winding down. We caught up with the Olympic alum to find out her go-to pre- and post-workout snacks, her best recovery tactic, and what it was like to be in Sochi.
Shape: So this is currently your off season, right? What are your workouts like during this time?
Jessica Smith (JS):They’re a bit lighter than my normal seasons. Right now, I’m just doing one a day workouts, which are basically technical-position and strength-building workouts. I do a lot of sitting in the chair position at 90 degrees. I do a little bit of cardio workouts now too. But soon I’ll start two a day workouts, adding a more weight training and on the ice training and a bit more biking.
Shape: What do you usually do for cardio workouts?
JS: Oh it’s a lot. It depends on the day. We do interval workouts. We’ll do five sets of 800-meter runs and that’s after like a seven-hour training day. And I’ll do a 45-minute run on my own after each training session, and at the end of each day we do cycling and jumping rope.
Shape: How long and how often do you workout?
JS: I work out six days a week for eight hours a day. It’s definitely a full time job.
Shape: Do you take any supplements that help with your performance?
JS: I've been taking SeroDyne from Limitless Worldwide. It's a supplement I feel gives me an edge when I compete. It also helps me get through my rigorous workouts and recovery.
I do weight and cardio training and in our lifting sessions we do a lot of high-rep sets with heavy weights. Then we decrease the number of reps, but increase the weight as we go. When using SeroDyne, I feel like it's easier to get through my repetitions and increase my weights throughout each cycle. Plus I've seen a huge difference in my recovery. I can lift weights one day and recover quickly enough to complete the next day.
It's hard to find a product where you actually feel you are getting results, but with SeroDyne, I noticed a difference right away.
Shape: What other go-tos do you have for your pre- and post-workout snacks?
JS: I just started this past year trying to find regimes and sticking with them. I started eating hard-boiled eggs with a piece of toast before my morning sessions. I feel like that gives me more balance to be able maintain and it takes care of my hunger, while still being able to burn that off.
Normally, I try to pack a lunch for after my morning session and I eat lunchmeat often. I have some deli meat and cheese and add some fruit for the way home. That way, I get the protein I need.
Shape: Do you change that for race day? What do your meals look like the day you’re competing?
JS: Race day is a little different. I do like the hard-boiled eggs depending on where I am. If I’m over seas, it’s a little harder. I try to stick to the routine if they have them. If not, I have some eggs and yogurt. I eat small amounts throughout the day. Where before I felt like it was always hard to eat during race days because with short track we have quarters, heats, semis, and finals, so we’re constantly racing and you never want to feel like you have a full stomach. I noticed I would eat a decent breakfast in the morning, then we would have an hour warm-up, and then a 10-minute on-ice warm-up, then I have an hour-and-a-half break before the race. Sometimes I take some type of power bar or applesauce is a big go-to of mine—the little squeezable ones, just because there is a little bit of sugar and carbs and you don’t feel full on it, but your stomach still has something to use for energy and to keep you going though the day. And obviously I try to find time to eat like half of a sandwich, but it just depends on how close my races are to one another.
The races usually last from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you don’t eat, it not only hinders you that day, but it also takes a toll on you the next day. It catches up with you and a lot of people don’t realize that. If you aren’t keeping up with your eating and keeping your energy up than your body is just going to shut down by the time the competition is coming to an end.
Shape: What was your experience like in Sochi?
JS: I had an amazing time. Just being out there and seeing what they were able to put together—the venues were awesome, the village was great, the food was nice in the village, and I felt like everybody there was supportive and trying to make me feel welcomed. From the moment we walked out at the opening ceremonies, you know, you don’t really know what it feels like. You get chills when your at home watching your country come out, but when you’re there experiencing it, it’s a whole different feeling—just pure excitement for the most part just knowing you’re representing your country and all these great athletes are around you who are there to do the same thing. It’s a great feeling, being able to be a part of the moment and to recognize that you’ve sacrificed everything you have and to have people next to you standing there rooting for you. You have such a big support system from team U.S.A. and it’s the camaraderie that really makes everything come alive.
Shape: Your family was there with you too, right?
JS: Yeah, my family was able to be there, so that was exciting. We had some fundraisers to help them. It was a large amount to get them there. It’s been a long journey for us, so for them to finally make it—for this dream to finally come true and for them to be there with me, it came full circle.
Shape: Do you listen to music before you compete?
JS: I do. It’s kind of funny because I stick to the same few songs. If it’s working and I feel something from it, I have my little repeat playlist of five different songs and I just listen to that the entire competition, which is different, I think, than most people. I feel like when I’m in my zone and those songs come on it kind of puts me in a different zone. It makes you feel like you’re at home and ready to go. I listen to a couple different ones.
Shape: Do you have a playlist you use now?
JS:The playlist I’ve been listening to is, well, Eminem, a little bit of Miley Cyrus, Fall Out Boy, and I think that’s about it. That’s the three I typically have. Oh and Katy Perry!