Katie Ledecky, 22, Is Stronger Than Ever As She Sets Sights on 2020 Olympics

Katie Ledecky, 22, Is Stronger Than Ever As She Sets Sights on 2020 Olympics
  • U.S. Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky took home the gold for the 800-meter freestyle and two silver medals at the World Swimming Championships, which ended last week.
  • Ledecky came out on top despite enduring a recent bout of illness, where she experienced headaches, an elevated heart rate, insomnia, and loss of appetite.
  • Ledecky is taking a quick break to reset before she begins training for the Olympic trials in June 2020.

When Katie Ledecky became ill during the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea and had to pull out of two of her races, we expected nothing less of the 15-time World Championship gold medalist. After suffering from a mysterious illness that caused headaches, insomnia, an elevated heart rate, and loss of appetite, the 22-year-old came out on top and took home the gold medal for the 800-meter freestyle and silver medals for the 400-meter and the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay.

"We had the World Championships. It wasn't the week I was hoping for. It wasn't the week I was expecting to have. I got a little sick and had to pull out of two races, but I was happy that I was able to build enough strength to swim my last two races, and come away from the meet with a gold and two silvers," Ledecky said in an exclusive interview with Prevention.com.

Indeed, it was a hard-earned win for the 5-time Olympic gold medalist, who has a very long road ahead of her with training for the Olympic trials. But Ledecky is optimistic and is committed to giving her training everything she's got. Now, Ledecky is taking some time to prepare herself mentally and physically for the Olympic trials, which take place next June.
Here's what she's doing to prepare mentally and physically.

She's hitting the pool 10 times a week—yes, 10!

Ledecky's workouts are about to get more intense as she heads into the Olympic trials. To balance her time in the pool, Ledecky says she strength trains at the gym three times a week and takes a recovery day every Sunday. "I'm training in the pool 10 times a week. I train twice a day every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and have single practices on Wednesdays and Saturdays," Ledecky explains.

When it comes to workouts outside of the pool, Ledecky says she keeps things simple with weighted or bodyweight exercises. "I do a variety of exercises to build my legs, arm, and core strength. Just trying to work on different things outside of the water that can help my stroke, help my strength, help my endurance," Ledecky says. "I don't do a lot of aerobic exercises outside of the pool, though, because I already do so much of that in the water."

She eats clean and follows a healthy, balanced diet.

There aren't any cheat days for this Olympic athlete during her training, but Ledecky recently partnered with Built With Chocolate Milk to help her recover after tough workouts. Sure, it's not pizza or an ice cream cone, but Ledecky says she enjoys drinking chocolate milk post-workout for its excellent protein-to-carbs ratio.

"I drink a chocolate milk after every swim practice. It helps replenish my body with protein and carbs," says Ledecky. "The great thing about chocolate milk is it tastes really good, so it feels like an indulgence as well," Ledecky adds.

Ledecky says she also recently took up cooking and likes preparing many chicken, steak, and pasta recipes that have a balance of protein and carbs. For athletes like Ledecky, it's important to eat a balance of protein and carbs to help with muscle recovery and replenish glycogen stores. "I need to make sure I'm eating enough because I'm burning a lot of calories and sweating when I'm training outside of the pool and in the water," she says.

She focuses on her studies as a form of self-care.

The way Ledecky practices self-care is a little different from what people normally do. She's not doing yoga, meditating, taking relaxing baths, or getting massages. Instead, Ledecky occupies the rest of her time with her studies, which is a nice break from all of the pool time she gets. Ledecky is currently a psychology student at Stanford University in California. In between her workouts during the week, Ledecky says she likes to do research for her studies and read. "All of those things are really important for me outside of the water. It's good for me to have things outside of the water that I enjoy doing to keep my mind occupied and make me feel like I'm contributing to things outside of swimming as well," Ledecky says.

She looks at setbacks as opportunities to improve.

When Ledecky became sick during the World Championships, she prioritized her health by stepping down from two competitions and taking time to properly recover. "It was important for me to stay calm and focus on things I can control. For me, those things are rest, recovery, and just getting my mind right," Ledecky says. "I needed to get it together to compete in my last couple of events. Just trust in yourself and your training, you can recover from any difficulties."

Ledecky knows that it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to cinch as many wins as she has. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are a year away, but we're anxiously looking forward to seeing Ledecky out in the pool and on the podium.


Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here. For added fun, follow us on Instagram.

Tiffany Ayuda, a senior editor at Prevention and certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise, has specialized in fitness, health, and general wellness topics in her previously editorial roles at Life by Daily Burn, Everyday Health, and South Beach Diet.

Katie Ledecky, 22, Is Stronger Than Ever As She Sets Sights on 2020 Olympics, Source:https://www.prevention.com/fitness/a28625683/katie-ledecky-2020-tokyo-olympics/

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