This past week I had the pleasure of traveling to Hong Kong with the USA Swimming Open Water team as their Dietitian.
Some things I learned from working with Olympians and representing the USA:
1. They eat and drink A TON! Although I work with Division I athletes at UCLA, it was amazing to see the difference in intake because of the fueling demands of their training and commitment to their sport.
2. They have fun with training. They don't silo themselves during the bus ride or during training, they are individual athletes, but they operate as a team. They are team USA and they represent it with dignity and honor.
3. They are incredibly fit. Go figure! It was amazing to watch the eliteness of their competition and also watch their recovery following the race. Not a single one of them looked remotely tired after just swimming in the open water for 2+ hours.
4. The USA is strong. Other countries look up to us. We had over 25 people in our group, where most countries only had 5-10. It was powerful to see a group of 25 people wearing backpacks with the American flag on our backs. And it was incredible to interact with and learn from athletes from all over the world.
Some things I learned from traveling to Hong Kong as Dietitian:
1. Bring LOTS of protein! Much of the meat provided their was very fatty cuts of meat. I sampled them to immerse myself in the culture, however, relied most of my protein intake on sashimi and protein that I had brought with me (protein powder, tuna/salmon packets, jerky sticks). Even when provided food during the flight, I stuck with my tuna/salmon packets to ensure I knew exactly where my protein was sourced from.
2. You must love fish. The seafood in Hong Kong is phenomenal. Our hotel buffet provided all you can eat sashimi and crab every single day. It was such great quality and a true treat. Loving fish also helped when the meat sources weren't as great of quality.
3. Their coffee is bitter. If you are a black coffee fanatic like me, you must try the coffee in Hong Kong. It is much more bitter than the coffee in America, even at chains like Starbucks.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience to not only work with such an elite level group, but also to represent our beautiful country abroad.
I hope that you enjoyed me sharing this experience with you!
In patriotic spirit,