Spencer O’Brien was a podium favourite entering the Olympic women’s slopestyle final at Sochi just weeks ago. Although she finished an unexpected and disappointing 12th in the final, mass support for the 26-year-old B.C. native – who won the gold medal in slopestyle at the 2013 FIS Snowboarding World Championships – has been overwhelming. In the wake of Sochi, where slopestyle made its Olympic debut, O’Brien remains as determined and focused as ever and is not going to disappear from the pro snowboarding scene anytime soon. We caught up with O’Brien to hear a little bit about her workout routine, snowboarding, favourite places in the world and more…
What is your personal workout routine like?
Snowboarding professionally, I spend a lot of time living out of my suitcase. It’s really fun but it means I need to find ways to stay committed to my training while travelling, which can at times be challenging. I’m a big fan of the N+TC app, which is like a personal trainer in my pocket. Even when I don’t have access to a gym or equipment, I know I can get a good training session in.
What fitness advice do you give for time-strapped young professional ladies?
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to carve out a huge amount of time to stay fit. Just adding short bursts of intense effort can fire up your metabolism and fast-track results. The other thing is finding an activity of program that works for you. You need to make consistent, small changes and goals to create long-term success, meaning fitness should fit into your lifestyle – not change your lifestyle. One program I love for this is the N+TC app, which can help time-strapped young professionals as it allows them to choose between 15, 30 and 45-minute workouts. Plus, they can do them anywhere, anytime they like.
Can you explain how you created your N+TC workout and what it entails to those new to the app?
I have a 15-minute Get Focused workout called “Power Legs” in the N+TC app. I love this workout because it was inspired by my love to go big, go fast and fly through the air, and I need strong, powerful legs to do that! The combination of ski jumps, scissor jumps, box jumps and other drills are designed to add precision, power and speed to whatever it is you love to do – run, ski, snowboard, etc. What’s cool about the app is how personalized and customizable it is. You’re in charge of your workout from start to finish. You can choose which workouts from the app you want to download, customize any workout to only do the drills you want to do, pick your own goals and tailor workouts to your unique skill level and fitness needs. Plus the new version of the app lets you sign up for four-week programs, which helps you break your larger fitness goals down into daily, achievable workouts.
What three items are always in your fridge? Any guilty pleasures?
I think of everything in moderation. I don’t deprive myself and I never will. I love food and I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or some dessert afterwards, even some chips with my evening TV show if I’m really craving them.
Do you have any rituals before a big competition?
Before I actually hit the course or see it, there are obviously a few tricks I know I can do in a contest, and they’re my best tricks. Those are the ones I will work on to make sure that they are a lock and that I’m landing them. I think consistency is extremely important. I also practice the ones that I haven’t perfected… just in case I have to use them. Once I get to the contest, it’s really just figuring out the course and what tricks are going to work best for particular jumps. I never really have a run planned completely until probably after riding the course for at least a couple of hours.
What has been the most challenging part to your chosen career route?
When I first turned pro, I hadn’t figured out how to make my passion my job and I had a hard time doing what I loved for other people. There was a time when I was so afraid to let others down that I was scared to even try. I was afraid to fulfill my own potential and I almost stepped away from snowboarding competitively. Luckily, I didn’t step away and I learned to balance the “work” part of my job and the fun part of it. The other big thing in our sport is figuring out how to be in control of the things you can control and be able to let go of the things that are out of your control, like weather, the course, judging and other things like that.
You have travelled all over for competitions; any favourite places?
Whistler. When I’m home I ride there a lot, it’s the best overall place just to free ride and ride powder, as it has such good terrain. I also love to ride Mount Seymour. It was one of the first resorts that let in snowboarding on the West Coast. It’s not the fanciest of hills, but it just has such a good vibe and everyone up there is so energized. Plus, they have an amazing rail park.
How do you relax at the end of the day?
The last four or five years I’ve gotten really into baking; it’s what I like what I do when I come home.
To try O’Brien’s workout for yourself, download the N+TC app.
Cover Photo By: Cyril Muller
Rest of Images: Spencer O’Brien Facebook