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Hot Beach Body Secrets from Volleyball Players (Including the Pregnant Kerri Walsh Jennings!)

April Ross and Xi Zhang play in the Hilton HHonors Beach Volleyball Challenge (Photo courtesy of Lucy Pemoni/AP Images for Hilton HHonors)

FITNESS recently caught up with our July issue cover girl three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, along with fellow USA Volleyball players April Ross and Jennifer Kessy at the Hilton HHonors Beach Volleyball Challenge. You can catch Kessy and Ross, who nabbed silver at the London Olympics against Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor, take on Team China, Chen Xue and Xi Zhang, at 3 p.m. today on the NBC Sports Network. Walsh Jennings commentates during the match, which was held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu.

Kerri Walsh Jennings Talks About Being Pregnant during the London Olympics

FITNESS: Was it scary playing so hard in the London Olympics knowing you were probably pregnant

Kerri: No, not at all. I was maybe a week and a half late max by the end of the Olympics. At that point, most people don’t even realize they miss a period. I knew we tried and I was just on it. But I would have never put myself in that situation if I thought the potential baby in my body was going to be at risk—and I know that’s not the case. I played volleyball until the time I was 9 months pregnant with Sundance [her second son, now 2] and felt like I was doing right by him and the same thing with this baby. Being physical is what I do and it makes me feel good and it benefits the baby inside me.

Kerri Walsh Jennings and Lisa Haney at the Hilton HHonors Beach Volleyball Challenge (Photo courtesy of Lucy Pemoni/AP Images for Hilton HHonors)

Did it change your mindset at all during the Games?

Kerri: It wasn’t stressful, it was nothing negative—it was just more inspiring. I didn’t take a test until I got home to confirm it, but you know. It was just like, What if? I remember telling Casey [Jennings, her husband] that I’m late and he’s like, That’s so great. That’s how we do it. And I thought, You’re right. We’re here at the final stage of one journey that we’ve been working so hard for and we’ve always really wanted to start this other adventure of adding to our family right away. So it just feels like the timing was so blessed and we’re just really grateful.

You wear a bikini for your job. Do you feel self-conscious about your body when you’re pregnant?

Kerri: I do. The hardest part for me is right now [mid October]—I’m 15 and a half weeks pregnant and you know you can’t really tell that I’m that pregnant but you can. My muscle turned to mush right away with this pregnancy and I actually am very self conscious, and so I wear a lot more leggings and cover up a lot more. And I live in California and it’s hot all the time and it drives me crazy.

I generally don’t have an issue with that. Not that I really love my body or anything, just that I appreciate my body and that kind of helps me overlook what I’m doing. So once I turn the corner and get a little bigger than I am right now I think I’ll appreciate my body again because I know what it’s doing and I’m grateful. But it’s hard—it’s hard to see the cellulite, it’s hard to go from one place where you’re walking around in a bikini top to you can’t even imagine being in a bikini.

I heard you think the baby is a girl.

Kerri: Yeah. The pregnancy is so different so far. My skin is so different—I have way more acne than I’ve ever had—and I’ve been sick way more. With my two pregnancies with my boys [Joseph, 3, and Sundance, 2] I had maybe two days total where I didn’t feel great and this has been the majority of the days I don’t feel great. Chinese calendar says we’re having a girl. My money’s on a girl. We’re going to open a present on Christmas morning to see what we’re having and then we’ll celebrate either way. I love my boys—I would not trade my boys in for the world. But I would love for my husband to have a daddy’s little girl.

Read on for Jennifer Kessy's and April Ross' Beach Body Secrets

FITNESS: You’re in bikinis all the time for your job. What are your body confidence secrets—besides having amazing figures?

Jennifer: There are definitely days I don’t always feel my best in my bikini. But it’s all in your own head. Nobody else really realizes when you’ve gained a pound or two or you feel bloated. Nobody else knows that but you. So once you get out there and you start exercising and you start just moving around and you start getting out of your own head, you don’t even think about it. So I would say, don’t worry so much about it and just get out there and be confident.

April: When I don’t feel my best in my bikini, I remember how thankful I am for what my body does for me everyday. We put it through the wringer over and over—weight lifting, cardio, jumping around and I’m just so thankful that my body puts up with all of that. So I’m like, Why am I going to get down on my body? Your body is everything. Just be thankful that it’s healthy and you have the ability to exercise.

Jennifer Kessy, Lisa Haney and April Ross at the Hilton HHonors Beach Volleyball Challenge (Photo courtesy of Lucy Pemoni/AP Images for Hilton HHonors) 

What exercise do you do for fun?

Jennifer: I’m a big hot yoga person. I try to go twice a week in the off-season. I love to sweat, especially in there, and just holding positions is something that I never get to do. It’s something that I can practice and it’s really good for my mind also.

April: I like to run a lot. I have a dream that when I’m done doing beach volleyball, I want to do triathlons. But right now I just like to run. And I should do it in the sand because it burns like three times as many calories but it’s so much harder that I lot of times I just run on the street.

Jennifer: It’s good for your butt! [running in the sand]


I want whatever butt secrets you two have.

Jennifer: I think running on the sand honestly is so good for you. You need to do it barefoot.


How do you motivate to get out there and work out on days when you really don’t feel like it?

Jennifer: Before the Olympics, all I had to do is think about the Olympics and I would think, OK, it’s all worth it. But for someone who doesn’t have that, it’s really important to set little goals for yourself. Then you look into the future and you see what your goal is and it’s really easy to get up and get out of bed.

April: On Twitter, there are people you can follow who are just one motivational tweet after another. If I don’t feel like going to the gym, I get on Twitter (@AprilRossBeach) and there’s always something there that’s like, You make the choice everyday. Are you going to be fit or not? So that helps me and I’ll go on YouTube and look up inspirational videos. You watch one of those and you’re so motivated to go out and get in shape. Social media can really keep you disciplined and honest.