Olympic field hockey player Michelle Kasold will be competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics as Team USA strives for gold. She is #18 and plays the position of forward. Michelle, a 2x Pan Am Gold Medalist, competed in the London 2012 Olympics. She began playing field hockey when she was in sixth grade, has been on the National Team since 2006, and is an alumni of Wake Forest University.
We recently interviewed Michelle to get the inside scoop on Olympic training as a team player, eating at the Olympics, traveling tips for athletes, and of course her favorite protein and fiber bars. Follow Michelle’s Olympic field hockey journey on her blog, Twitter, and Instagram.
1. Tell us about eating at the Olympics - both what you experienced in the past and what you expect for Rio.
In London, there was a big dining hall that had food stations from every continent. There was a wide variety of all different flavors and options. It was pretty easy to not only find something I enjoyed, but something that was healthy and fueled me well. The dining hall is open all day, so it is easy grab a snack or arrange meal times around competition schedules. I expect this dining hall experience to be similar in Rio.
One of the big differences in Rio though, is the location of our venue. In London, it was in the Olympic Park, minutes from the village, so it was easy to get food before and after the games as needed. In Rio, we will be traveling anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get to and from our game venue. This means food won't be as readily available in the time frames we need to refuel and recover. This is where NuGo bars come in and are so important for me. I often snack on these bars right before an awkwardly timed game or right after for recovery. This will definitely be key for me at the Olympics!
2. Tell us about what it is like to compete as a team and how do you stay motivated?
I love competing with my teammates. We push each other to be better every single day and we have each other's back during any adversity. It is motivating to be a part of something bigger than yourself within a team, but especially at the Olympics competing for Team USA. It is an indescribable feeling to represent your country. I am so very thankful each and every time I put on my red, white, and blue jersey! I know I can learn, grow and be better every single day and that is what keeps me coming back! Plus, my teammates are a lot of fun!
3. What tips do you have for peak performance while traveling and dealing with jet lag and different routines and different locations?
We travel a lot. All over the world. And we have to be at our best once we get there. Depending on the length of travel and how many time zone changes there are, jet lag can be a huge factor. We always try to adjust to the new schedule and time of day as quickly as possible.
Some helpful strategies are staying awake during the light hours of the day, using eye masks to sleep during our destinations night hours (especially when we travel and it is still light out), eating at the new destinations meal times, and just staying busy during the first few days, so we are ready to sleep and adjust the first few nights.
Proper nutrition can also be very difficult when traveling. Not only do airports have limited healthy options, flight times and travel arrangements can shift meal times around, as well. This is why I also bring a few NuGo Slim bars with me. They are a good source of protein to help me stay energized and fueled for some of those extended travel days. And I am confident that I know exactly what I am putting into my body, which is healthy fuel!
4. How do you use NuGo bars in your training and which ones?
I mostly rely on NuGo Slim bars when I am training and traveling. They are a good source of protein with low sugar and low carbs. Protein is super important for my diet and my training, to keep me strong and fueled for longer periods. I also eat NuGo Fiber d'Lish bars when I need a little extra fiber in my diet and to keep my body regulated when traveling. Food is always a little bit different in each country and it often takes my body a couple days to adjust, so the extra fiber I get from the Fiber d'Lish bars really help that process!
5. What Olympian inspires you?
Honestly, all Olympians inspire me! But most of all, my teammates inspire me! I see the hard work each and every one of them puts in every single day. I know these women are some of the hardest working in the world and I am proud to stand beside them, with confidence and in awe of some of the amazing things they do. To us, the Olympics isn't every four years, it is every day.