Ms. Namita Nayyar: Your interest in sailing began at an early age when you were only 8. Who has been your greatest influence and motivator in choosing Laser Radial Sailing as a sport?
Ms. Erika Reineke: My greatest influence in choosing the Radial was the 2008 Laser Radial Olympic Gold Medalist, Anna Tunnicliffe. As a little kid, I remember watching from a power boat how she moved with such strength and grace around the race course. From that day on, I knew I wanted to grow up and be just like her. Today, I still use her old sail number as my own. It reminds me how once I was just a kid with a little bit of talent and a very big dream.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: What is your current workout routine?
Ms. Erika Reineke: During a normal non-competitive week, I will knock out my strength training in the early mornings then take to the rest of the day to recover for next training session later on. To finish off the day, in the late afternoons I do high intensity workouts involving sprints (running, rowing, biking, or swimming) and circuit training. Recently I have gotten into Crossfit so some of these high intensity workouts will go along the lines of a typical WOD (work out of the day). I am always lying on the floor for a few minutes after these workouts. Every night before bed, I hydrate and get a good stretch session in to maximize recovery for the next day of training.
When the US Sailing Team Sperry organizes training camps, we are out on the water for a good amount of time working hard to perfect technique and gain mental strength to execute tactically well across all legs of the race course. During these camps, rather than having the afternoons to recover for the next training session, there are no breaks. I will go from strength training to sailing to high intensity on a typical day. However, when competition comes around sailing is easy because everything else is taken out.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Do you take some special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?
Ms. Erika Reineke: Definitely. In the beginning, I did’t realize how much diet can affect your body physically and your mental game. My body feels the best when I stick to a paleo type diet. This program is based on consuming meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables while staying away from dairy, grains, and processed food. Mentally, I don’t feel myself spiking and crashing in energy. Physically, I have been able to increase my overall strength, obtain more lean muscle mass, and cut some fat off that I carry around my stomach area. Additionally, using the paleo diet I can eat twice as much! Actually I need to eat twice as much to get all the carbs I have burned off during a workout. Having an incredible sweet tooth, it is definitely hard for me to resist ice-cream, cookies, and brownies. I do have cheat days where I’ll have something non-paleo but I will limit those days to once a week. Sometimes when I just can’t stop the craving, I’ll have a tiny piece of dark chocolate to hold me over.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: For Sailing you have to be out in the sun for most of your time. How are you then able to maintain your skin and hair in order to keep them young, glowing and so healthy?
Ms. Erika Reineke: It’s funny because when I was young, my hair dresser always used to tell me how damaged my hair was from the constant exposer to saltwater and from always wearing it in a pony-tail. Of course I didn’t care much as a kid but when I got a little older, I started to see the effects. Now I make sure I have regular hair cuts to get the dead ends off and keep split ends from taking over. I also try to wash my hair every other day so it doesn’t get too dried out from shampoo. Being an athlete, I workout and sweat constantly to the point where sometimes I’ll take 2-3 showers a day. If I were to shampoo and condition every time, my hair would not be healthy.
To keep my skin guarded from the sun, I wear long-sleeved rash guards and long wetsuits bottoms. To protect my face, my go-to brand of sunscreen is Zinka. I am actually allergic to every brand other than this type. Other brands add so many unnecessary chemicals to their block that my face burns and breakouts from them. Also, most of these brands wash off in the water anyway. Zinka stays on my face all day and I rarely have to reapply over the course of a 5 hour training day on the water.