The XXIII Olympic Winter Games will take place in PyeongChang China from Feb 9th - 25th, and we're excited to talk with one of the athletes that made an appearance at the Olympic Summer games as a member of Team USA in Rio, Lauren Fendrick, American Beach Volleyball player whose teammate during the games in Brazil was Brooke Sweat in 2016. Since the games, she is currently partnered with April Ross who we interviewed last year prior to her Olympic appearance.
As we have mentioned in previous interviews with Olympic athletes, before and after the games there is a lot of work, tournaments and competitions that take place beyond what we see during the global games.
We wanted to know more about Lauren from how she got into the sport, how she trains (whether there is a different focus when she is preparing for her next game), what she is up to in between Olympic appearances, her goals as she prepares for Tokyo to medal, her foundation, her work with teammate April Ross, what tournaments she's apart of and her recent shoot with JOLYN.
In addition to finding out more about this powerhouse, we also wanted to know more about her partnership with JOLYN which makes swimwear that you will find her wearing when she is on the sandy court, as well as what makes this brand one that stands out in its support of athletes and models. We're getting in the sand as well as making a few notes on closet additions we need to make for our next trip.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us how you got into volleyball and what your journey was to make the decision to go pro.
LAUREN FENDRICK: I played a tiny bit growing up down at moonlight beach (I grew up in Carlsbad) with my friend Molly during the summers, but I honestly didn't even know you could play beach volleyball for a living until I attended my first AVP qualifier in Tempe, AZ in 2003. I was instantly hooked and so determined to do everything I could do make that possibility a reality. The hardest part initially was figuring out how to structure training and finding a way to make money. I worked part-time, trained on the Beach as much as I could, picked the brains of anyone who would let me, watched the top players habits, routines, playing styles and tried to be ready for any opportunity that presented itself within and around the sport. It was a lot of hard work and I made a ton of mistakes along the way, but I fell in love with the sport so I was willing to put in extra work and find ways to get around obstacles. I am also very grateful to have had a number of great mentors, coaches, teammates and competitors to learn from.
AM: What's your training/workout like when you are preparing for a game and when you're in the off season?
LF: My workouts and training leading to a match generally taper slightly with volume, but not with intensity. I'll hit my speeds and weights that I normally do, but I'll do fewer reps and sets to fully activate the muscles, while limiting fatigue. In the off-season most of my focus is in the gym on getting stronger, more explosive and balanced. I also like to take time to do other things; cook, read, journal, get out in nature (we went to Yosemite a few weeks back). I'm also coaching the Stanford beach team with the all-star cast of Andrew Fuller (my husband) and Karissa Cook and I've been thinking about signing up for an improv class.
AM: How was it preparing for the Olympics and are you in prep for the next round of Olympic trials?
LF: Preparing for the Olympics was similar in some ways (like format and teams), but very different in other ways to preparing for other matches and tournaments. In the Olympics, you have much more time to prepare everything (your strength program is at its peak, you can spend more time mentally preparing (meditation/visualization for me), more time to break down video, game plan and strategize and practice those game plans) and there is much more pressure and emphasis on this one event... the entire nation and a lot of the world is following your progress. So the pressure aspect was more than I expected and I didn't even realize I felt pressure until I had some distance after the Olympics to decompress. It's a little surreal with how much attention is paid to just this one tournament, when the actual tournament is so similar to other tournaments. I was so shocked when Matt Lauer knew who we were. Haha.
Originally, I thought I would be done after Rio, but I feel great, I'm in some of the best shape of my life and I'm still learning and getting better, so the goal is to get back to Tokyo, implement the lessons I learned in Rio (and over the years) and medal.
AM: We know that you and April Ross were teammates this year! What is the process like for you when you're training with new partners?
LF: April and I had some great results this season with winning silver at World Champs being the highlight. And considering that we didn't get an off-season together and that she had to take almost 6 weeks off for a broken toe in the middle of the season makes the success even more special. I learn something different from each person I play with. April is such a mentally strong competitor and she knows how to perform even when she's not 100% physically. It's definitely something that I admire about her and look to emulate in my game.
AM: Where can we see you playing next?
LF: I just finished my last tournament of 2017 in China and the schedule hasn't officially come out yet, but I believe my next tournament will be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the end of February.
AM: Tell us about your foundation and why you created it and what it does?
LF: The foundation was created as a way to create mentorships within the beach volleyball community. I'd like to bridge the gap between youth, collegiate, aspiring pros, current pros and former pros. There is so much knowledge and beach volleyball is a community of incredible people and I believe each level has so much knowledge and wisdom and connection to share. Beach volleyball has some of the greatest people I've ever met. The foundation is on the back burner right now, but I'm working to find ways to expand it's capabilities and reach.
AM: When you're off season, what is your day to day like?
LF: So, typically I wake up and the first thing I do is check my pulse and oxygen saturation with this cool little device from Masimo. It sounds high tech, but having the data makes my training scheduling so much easier. Then I like to meditate and then I'll head to the gym for my workout for about 3 hours, followed by conditioning, and then I usually have some sort of sports psych, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, nutrition, journal, or visualization session and then I head to practice with the Stanford beach team. Next up is cooking dinner with my husband and prepping for the following day! I try to cook all my meals in the offseason with an emphasis on organic vegetables and pasture-raised meats or wild fish.
AM: We have stunning images of you in JOLYN Clothing - how did this shoot come about and how long have you been associated with the brand?
LF: I've been wearing Jolyn since 2013 when Brittany Hochevar and I wore our one pieces in the AVP finals in Huntington. I had a mutual acquaintance with Tanya Gandy, one of the many rad people who work at JOLYN, and I instantly knew that this brand and their products were a perfect fit for me and beach volleyball. It's a suit that can withstand me diving around in the sand, with flattering cuts and styles and cutting edge prints And on top of all that, they use elite athletes as product testers and fit models and their suits are all made in the USA.
The photo shoot was the brain child of Mallyce Miller, the creative director at Jolyn, shot by Sarah Orbanic, hair and makeup by Lauren Urasek, and spirit animal Melissa Matheson. Honestly, they did all the hard work to make me look good and I had a blast doing it.
AM: What are 3 power foods that you eat to have great energy that we should consider when we're about to work out?
LF: I'm all about eating whole non-processed foods!! 1) I'm currently obsessed with bone broth!! But you have to find one that has top-shelf ingredients like grass-fed beef bones and organic herbs and spices. Kitchen Witch is my go-to brand. I love making an elixir by blending the broth with a bunch of fresh herbs and aromatics. 2) I love incorporating fresh herbs and garlic into my diet (see above). When I'm traveling I'm not able to cook and the first thing I do when I get home is, make a big salad with a homemade dressing that has garlic and fresh herbs blended into it or a pesto to put over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. And 3) avocado. I even try to bring a few when I travel. It's a great healthy fat that is natural and has all the phytonutrients that come with that!
AM: With the holidays coming up, having great arms, legs and a firm butt are great in glam outfits - what exercises do you suggest that we do to have a great physique?
LF: Get strong! There is a huge mistaken notion that building strength will add bulk! Not true! Building strength is not only healthy for your body but also your mind! I love walking through this world as a strong female and I'm proud that people on the street can pick me out as an athlete. I honestly think that the goal should be mental and physical health! I think you look your best and are your most confident self when you are putting health as a to priority and that healthy feeling becomes addictive!
AM: What is JOLYN Clothing and who is the JOLYN girl?
JOLYN: JOLYN is based out of Huntington Beach, California and creates swimwear and activewear for swim and turf, sand or surf! JOLYN is centered around creating fun and functional products for women who inspire us. At JOLYN we believe that competitive swimwear and activewear should be fun. We make products that will stay put through your hardest practice, longest slip-n-slide, and toughest dig, while looking super cool if we do say so ourselves. The “JOLYN girl” is any girl that is getting out there and going for it. Whether you’re an elite athlete competing for a world title or someone who just enjoys the occasional splish and splash, JOLYN is the suit for you.
AM: Who is the founder of the brand and what is their backgroung?
J: JOLYN was created by a lifeguard and longtime lover of the water. There was an abundance of badass water women and an extreme lack of suits as cool as they were. JOLYN was born to solve this problem and put women in the kind of gear they deserved to be in. The suits we make now reflect the spirit of the rad girls in the water, allowing them to perform at their best and look awesome playing the sports they love.
AM: How important is living an active lifestyle to the brand?
J: At JOLYN we’re always up to something. Our company is made up of ex-college athletes, olympians, and pros. We all love to get out there, tear it up at whatever adventure or sport we’re doing currently, and not have to worry about our swimsuits falling off. Living an active lifestyle is the bread and butter of JOLYN and everything that we represent!
AM: With the holidays coming up, what are three of your favorite pieces that we should keep on our radar as we begin to gift ourselves and others?
J: In support of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, we are dedicating 25% of sales on all suits sold in the print "Careberry" to the organization Breast Cancer Angels. We also have a brand new line of Activewear launching this fall featuring new styles of leggings, shorts, sports bras and sweatpants in all new prints! A lot of research and development went into this line and we are very excited to launch it to our fans. JOLYN is constantly releasing limited edition prints throughout the year that sell out extremely fast. In order to keep our fans up-to-date, we created a text message based alert system called “Print Patrol” to send out updates when we drop new prints!
AM: Had you previously worked with Lauren Fendrick prior to the shoot that is within this issue?
J: JOLYN Sponsored Lauren just before she went to the 2016 Rio Olympic games and that relationship has continued through her 2017 season! Being able to sponsor an elite level Olympic athlete has been really exciting for JOLYN as an up and coming brand. As our first official "JoPro," Lauren has embraced us and we couldn't be happier to have her represent JOLYN in beach volleyball globally!
AM: Are there other ambassadors that are associated with the brand that we should know about?
J: We currently sponsor professional athletes in a variety of different sports including other beach volleyball players like Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen, wakeboarder Nicola Butler, freestyle kayaker Brooke Hess, stand up paddle athletes like Penelope Strickland and Harriett Brown, wakesurfer Stacia Bank, and a handful of other rad water women! Our greatest Ambassadors and JoPro's call themselves leaders, professional athletes, travelers, coaches, teammates and Olympians. All lead active, awe-inspiring lifestyles and have their own unique talents, but have one a common love for the water and inspiring others.
For more information about JOYLN and those that they sponsor that you'll want to see in their next competition, check out their site. Check out more about where you can see Lauren Fendrick as well as addition Team USA Olympians for the upcoming winter (2018) and summer (2020) games here.