The Small Tweaks That Made This Olympian's Diet Gold-Medal Worthy

Photo by Alexis Ahrling

After watching the Calgary Winter Olympics on TV at 7 years old, I decided that one day I wanted to become an Olympian. I was inspired that win, lose or draw, those athletes had lived everyday of their lives with passion in their hearts, which fueled their discipline to train every day, and their courage for facing their fears head on to become the world’s best.

Because of my undying persistence to continue to choose my dream, I was taken on a wild journey of discovery. All of my fears, my insecurities, doubts and tendencies were brought to the surface. That’s when a new intention formed that changed everything. Not only did I want to become an Olympian, I wanted to ENJOY becoming an Olympian. And through truly enjoying the process of living my dream, I wanted to inspire others to do the same in their own lives. That’s the larger purpose I discovered along my journey that became my compass when I ran into obstacles, fears, and tendencies that took me off track.

Photo: Alexis Ahrling

This mental drive to achieve one’s goals and potential is one part of the equation. However, it must be balanced with the second half, which is the ability to enjoy the daily journey of reaching towards your goals and dreams. Otherwise you’ll become burned out and not make it to the finish line. I used to get so consumed with my goal, that I would forget to eat and come home from the mountain so starving and depleted that I would stuff my face with a burger or pizza. This would give me instant gratification, but it would leave me feeing heavy and mentally cloudy afterwards.

I like a burger and pizza as much as the next person but on occasion, not as an everyday emergency food source. Eventually by making nutrition a priority, being prepared with sustaining snacks like Justin’s almond butter packs, and eating throughout the day, I was able to avoid bonking and make healthier food choices for my bigger meals that left me feeling fueled and nourished.

Photo: Alexis Ahrling

At this point, I’ve transitioned from my competitive snowboarding career. But what I’ve found is that even though my vehicle has changed, my purpose has remained the same and my schedule is still stacked with my sustainable lifestyle company ALEX BOTTLE, my new podcast “The Art of Living Extraordinarily,” and my speaking opportunities. I’ve moved from a physical vehicle to now more mentally demanding work and the importance of nutrition is huge for being able to stay creative and focused.

From a nutrition standpoint this looks different for everyone, and I encourage you to find the foods that fuel you the best. My breakfast, lunch and dinner usually vary, but what is consistent are the little snacks that help me keep my blood sugar up throughout the day to avoid bonking and reaching for that candy bar. I’ve found that nuts and other healthy high fat foods like Justin’s almond butter provide me with that sustainable energy. When I leave the house I’m now prepared with snacks like an apple with a Justin’s almond butter squeeze pack, an avocado, hummus and carrots.

Photo: Alexis Ahrling

I no longer binge on the burger, but still make room for little pleasures. In the past, I’ve moved from milk chocolate to dark chocolate and now really enjoy the taste of dark chocolate. Peanut butter cups have always been a favorite of mine, so I was obviously really excited when I found that Justin’s also makes dark chocolate peanut butter cups—they’re the perfect slightly healthier candy alternative.

I’ve found that nuts and other healthy high fat foods like Justin’s almond butter provide me with that sustainable energy.

Photo: Alexis Ahrling

I’ve found that by dialing in my nutrition for what’s best for me, I have enough energy now to not only get my work done, but also follow through on my goal of doing something physical every day. Since I spent my entire snowboard career on a pretty strict workout program, I find that now I like to get exercise in more fun and unique ways. Whether it’s through dance, Buddhi yoga, or hiking up a mountain, I’ve found that I’m able to stay in shape while getting creative, having fun and being adventurous all at once. Another foundational practice that sets the tone for my full days is my morning meditation practice.

Photo: Alexis Ahrling

I believe the dreams that we have are actually like markers on the path towards our full potential. Because I had the courage to go after a big dream of mine at an early age, I’ve been able to connect to both the tendencies that block my full potential as well as the larger purpose that fuels it. And in order to sustainably live my purpose, I need the right fuel to provide the energy to not only help me maintain my drive and laser focus, but also provide the energy for the journey that provides the balance along the way. Figuring out what fuels you (physically, mentally, spiritually) is a very personal practice that looks different for everyone.

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