Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi (Photo by Ericka McConnell)
To say Olympic gold medalist, wife, mom, author, philanthropist, and Dancing with the Stars champion Kristi Yamaguchi has stayed busy even after her days of competing on the ice would be a big understatement. Since starting the Always Dream Foundation in 1996, the Olympic skater has remained active in helping kids think positive and aim high. We chatted with Kristi to learn more about her inspirational adventures and how she stays fit with a hectic schedule.
Your Always Dream Foundation has a simple but profound and important message. What made you decide to start it?
I worked with the Make a Wish Foundation and it opened my eyes to a different world. I was inspired to work with children and families in need—to help them feel more hopeful and embrace their dreams.
Your book, Dream Big, Little Pig has a similar message. Why did you decide to write a children’s book?
I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book! I also wanted to do something my daughters (Keara and Emma) could enjoy. They were 4 and 6 when I wrote it, so it was the perfect time for me to read it with them.
How does you work with the Smucker’s Uncrustables Unstoppable Family Photo Contest support these causes?
It’s all about families showing us just how unstoppable they really are—they’re busy juggling work, school and extracurricular activities, and having fun doing it all. Families can submit photos with a caption at uncrustables.com and they’ll be entered to win a trip to Yosemite National Park.
Speaking of active families, your daughters—not surprisingly—are both into skating. Did that come naturally to them?
I guess it was inevitable! They would see me and my husband (former NHL player Bret Hedican) on the ice and eventually they wanted to go, too. I like seeing them be comfortable skating. It’s not even about having them compete, as long as they’re having fun and enjoying it.
To learn more about Kristi's favorite workouts and the music that keeps her motivated,
What’s a typical week of workouts for you?
I don’t really have a routine. I like to mix it up. I like to do the workout that Erin O’Brien helped me develop and do cardio like the elliptical. I also set up workout dates with my husband. That way we spend time together and get in exercise. I have workout dates with my girl friends, too. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t back out.
How did you get the idea for creating a workout DVD, Kristi Yamaguchi: Power Workout?
With my and my family’s busy schedule, it’s hard to find time for exercise. I found myself doing workout DVDs at home when the kids were around or after I dropped them off at school. It’s an easy way to keep active when you don’t have a lot of time. So when I got the opportunity to have my own workout DVD, it made perfect sense.
So you skate, do Pilates (Kristi shared her Pilates routine with us in our November/December 2008 issue!), do strength training and even did ballroom dancing. Do you have a favorite workout?
I don’t really have a favorite workout. I still miss skating, so I try to do that once a week, especially when it gets cooler.
You also shared your workout playlist with us several years ago. What’s on your playlist now?
I like to listen to Daughtry when I’m working out. I listen to a lot of Top 40 songs these days.
Is there something you learned from your days of professional competitions that you still apply to your daily life to help you stay fit?
It’s really important to plan for your week. Look at your schedule and set aside the days when you can have at least 20 to 30 minutes for exercise. I can always find something to distract me from my workout (laundry, cleaning, errands) but if I schedule it, I know that I set aside that time for exercise and I have to meet that goal. Just take things week by week and it gets more manageable.