AM: What are three go to foods for the gym and what are your splurges?
DW: You say splurge foods and it’s the first thing that comes to my mind! I love donuts – I have loved donuts forever and if you give me one, I can’t resist. The homemade ones are amazing. I love how pretty they are and how creative they can be. I’m not a fan of cupcakes or cake, but donuts – yes donuts are my thing. It’s first, second and third. I can’t choose ha!
My go-to in terms of what I’m eating when training. I like protein shakes. They are something that I definitely include post workout as a meal replacement. There is a company I like, Athletic Greens and they are safe for athletes to use and they have dehydrated greens that you can throw in your smoothie as well or in your shakes and it’s easy on your stomach and doesn’t have a metallic aftertaste like most of them do. I’m all about safety and a clean sport. Having a trusted product like that makes me feel great and since I started using that which has been awhile now – maybe a year. I have really decreased how much coffee I have been drinking. I love the taste of coffee but sometimes I forget when the last time was that I had it because the proteins and the greens give me so much energy. Thats what I'm about.
Clean food yes – I think I’d have to say that I am a Paleo/Ketogenic diet – obviously not Keto like what people are doing out there limiting carbs etc., as I think after what I have read a lot about as athletes, it's not the best things especially for women. But keeping high protein and high fat and carbs is something that I have found has given me the optimal training and recovery.
AM: We enjoyed shooting at the Manhattan Fencing Center. How long have you trained here and do you have responsibilities there as well?
DW: There aren’t necessarily responsibilities, but I do think of it as a helping hand in terms of talking to my coach about athletes and my opinion. I am more of a mentor. My fencing gym is my second home. I’m a big stickler for organization, cleaning up after or organizing the lost and found and even small tasks. I love to be respectful of it and take care of it. I hope that others do the same.
I’ve been with my coach since 2005!
AM: Beyond your sport, what else are you interested in doing?
DW: For me, I feel like I have definitely gotten involved in and interested in clean eating and watching documentaries about processed items that are in our foods and how we are slowly killing ourselves with the items that are in our foods. Like a bunch of fries that are really filling is $1 but healthy vegetables for a little snack pack is $6 or $7. A family that can’t really afford too much will go for McDonald’s and fast food stuff. It breaks my heart that there are all these monsters in our country that are destroying food. So healthy food has been a huge working area for me. I love learning about it and I am very intuitive with my body. The second I eat something, I can feel how upset my stomach is and I know it's not good for me. It sucks because donuts have a lot of sugar, not just in terms of weight gain, but it upsets my gut bacteria and I am in tons of pain. Just seeing that I want to spread the knowledge because even healthy peanut butters are actually not healthy. People think that they always have to work out and work out to do so 2-3 times a day to get to whatever your fitness is, but there is so much that can be achieved through diet and what you put into your body. I’m passionate about that.
In terms of athlete preparation, I would like to be a strength and conditioning coach myself and it has become dear to me. Not necessarily just for fencing. I think being able to compete at the highest level mentally and physically – I may not always do it, but being there and known what it takes, and having that knowledge because of my experience, I would like to take that step and prepare those athletes that want to take it to this level and if not higher.
AM: You travel a lot. What have been your favorite places?
DW: I get that question a lot and people are always surprised at my answer. I have fallen in love with Belgium. I’ve never said that I could retire and live in Europe but it’s the first place I went to when I was like, I could see myself living there in terms of the food, the culture, the people are so nice and the architecture is beautiful. There’s a coffee shop and then there is a castle around the corner, you don’t get that in the United States. It’s very interesting to see that kind of setup. This past summer, we had a training camp in Japan before our World Championships in China and I have to say that Japan is such a cool place. The people are so cool and it's just a different world over there! I enjoyed my time in Japan and you know, my heart is in Cuba and I love that place and it's the top three of where I would love to go to.
AM: Where can we find you eating and shopping?
DW: The things that I love about Jersey City and Hoboken is that there are a lot of boutique places in terms of clothing that you can find great stuff and I'm not into labels, but when I do shop for that, I love All Saints - they're rugged and raw with colors that aren't too bright. I love denim with raw materials in terms of dressing up. So I love jean shorts and a black tank top which is my go to. I'm about comfort while still being able to express myself.
There are a lot of cool cafés here. Recently, my boyfriend and I got interested in some refreshing drinks, cheese and meat platters which I love. There is a place called The Archer which has a great selection of this. Down by Grove there are a lot of cool restaurants. We don’t go out too much because we try to just focus on eating healthy and when we go out, I love outside dining and the gardens. There is a lot of that here and it’s fun to jump around.
AM: Do you do any philanthropy?
DW: I find myself getting involved with the athletes in my club and giving advice. I have worked one on one with girls in my club. The pressure of being a female athlete and it’s interesting as everyone always deals with their problems and I don’t necessarily showcase what is going on with me as I have gone through some troubled times. When they talk to me and say, "how do you seem so calm and confident?" I'm like, "woo you have no idea! That's so far from the truth." I am a thankful that I come across that way and everyone is dealing with their issues and I try to impart some wisdom on the girls and the guys at the club.
I talk to my middle school in Avenel, NJ and I have done a few high school talks in terms of setting goals and how many times that people have come and said I couldn't do something. If you listen to what people say, you're just going to dig your own hole and never crawl out of there. Especially when you're doing well, people seem to have more things to say. I think I did a lot of listening to those people for a long time and at 21, I thought that I had it all figured out, by 26 I thought I knew more and now at 30 I'm like, "damn I'm so far from when I thought I did have it figured out!" Life is a constant learning experience and being able to walk away from people that aren't good for you and are negative – I just get involved with the kids at my club. I have had the harsh talks with other coaches on what I am capable of and am supposed to do but when you follow your own plan, that’s when you can really blossom!
AM: What are your goals for the Summer Games?
DW: I’ve set the goal of coming home with 2 gold medals for individual and the team. It’s that goal or no goal for me. Maybe it’s my last time competing or I go another 4 years, who knows. I’m doing everything I can now and not looking back to say shoulda, coulda, woulda and I have a new game plan now. I don’t have injuries, there are a lot of things that are different then when I was training for Rio than how it is now. I may not be the kid that went to every Olympics and medaled in every one, but I have the opportunity to go out there and do some damage with an individual gold medal and team gold medal - even if it's one time. That's very important to me and that puts the icing on my cake in terms of a career.