What's Her Secret: Kristi Yamaguchi
She's a busy mom of two with a career and a 'Dancing With the Stars' champ. The former Olympic figure skater shares her thoughts on wellness, which also inspire her activewear line, Tsu.Ya.
What does wellness mean to you? "Looking after yourself, being active and making smart food choices. I think it's also very important to treat yourself, too, to that mental break, that half hour a day to do something that you want to do––whether it's reading or visiting with a friend or going on social media, something like that. Just time for yourself."
What are some of the things you like to do in your free time? "Reading, and I actually sometimes in my free time enjoy getting out and walking or doing something active. Workouts are sometimes, like, 'Oh, that's because you have to do it.' But for me, it's also a mental break. So having been an athlete growing up, I know I'll feel better just physically as well, even if it's just a quick walk or going out in the garage and doing a couple of exercises. My husband and I kind of have a little home gym set up in the garage. We have very minimal equipment, but we have a space where we can do exercises."
What's your fitness regime like? How often do you work out? "My goal is usually doing something three times a week, and one of my go-to's––just because we do have a machine at home––is the elliptical, so for cardio I'll try to do that for half an hour. And I'm going to try to get on the ice a little more. I haven't been skating, I haven't been performing, I am hoping to just go out and skate recreationally for fun at least one or two times a week as well. So that's a good activity and it's definitely a whole-body workout, I would say. I do free weights, very light weights with more repetitions, and a lot of using my own body weight for exercises as well—wall sits, isometric holds, one-legged lunges and lunge walks, even just jumps in place, little squat jumps and things like that."
How would you say being a professional athlete when you were younger gave you a good sense on how to stay healthy and balanced today? "For sure, as an athlete you're focused on training, that's your main job, so now I'm absolutely not training as an Olympian, I'm staying active just for my wellness. So for sure, an Olympic athlete would look at my training regimen now and be like, 'What?!' But for me, it's more to feel good, get my heart rate up a few times a week and to prevent osteoporosis by doing some free weights and a little bit of resistance training to strengthen your muscles and your bones."
What did your pro skating experience teach you that you still apply to your life today? "As an athlete, you know that you have an end goal, and my end goal was competing at the Olympics. So obviously, at 15 it was going to take time and effort. So I think it's being able to set goals, to see the big picture and work towards that and know that you're not going to have instant gratification, but it's going to take time and energy and focus through the good times and bad times in order to reach that goal."
With two daughters, it it hard to find time to take care of yourself? "You know, I think every mom struggles with that, and it is hard, because there are weeks where I'm like, 'Oh, I can't work out at all. Not one workout.' And then I know, okay, I gotta get back on it, so yeah, there are times for sure where I'm working but then after school I'm pretty much focused on the girls' activities and getting them where they need to be. So it's easy to let it go."
What about healthy eating for you and your family? What's your approach? "I've always kind of gone with the motto 'everything in moderation.' I think it leans towards 80/20, where 80 percent of the time we're trying to be healthy and have a balanced diet with lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables and trying to avoid too much processed food. And I feel like on weekends there are times when you want to splurge or have that dessert, and I think it's okay if 80 percent of the time you've been pretty good. So that's something we try to live by. And we go organic where we can, with milk and eggs and some poultry. I'm not obsessive about it, but I try to be conscious about some of the other products we buy, avoiding high-fructose corn syrup and things like that."
Please tell us about your Dancing with the Stars experience. What did you learn? "Any dance training I'd had in the past was more ballet for skating, more concentration on upper body and control. I love dance; with skating, choreography on the ice and developing a routine was one of my favorite parts. So being able to learn dance, ballroom dance, Latin types of dancing, was so exciting––and a lot more challenging than I thought it was going to be! But I loved it. I loved the process of learning and creating the routine. I had a great partnership with Mark Ballas and we had a lot of fun."
How does your activewear line, Tsu.Ya, relate to wellness? "The inspiration behind creating Tsu.Ya was creating a lifestyle brand with purpose. I was really inspired by TOMS shoes and Newman's Own, which gave back to the community. And I have a foundation, the Always Dream Foundation, so I really wanted to create a product with purpose. And the natural [fit] was in activewear because I'm passionate about passion but I've always lived a very active life and grew up in activewear clothes. [I was] looking for a wardrobe that fit my lifestyle as a busy woman now, with a career and kids and all of the multiple hats that I'm wearing. We're in our third season, but this is really our first season out on our own as far as design development and manufacturing, so I'm really excited and happy with our spring collection that's currently out right now, and even more excited about the one for fall. We have really great pieces that are not only functional, but very cute styles as well! As we grow, we're getting better and better. And it's been fun to design for the woman out there who is active but has a sense of style that she wants to incorporate into her life and everyday clothes."