A day in the life of Mikaela Shiffrin: Eight daily habits of the best female ski racer in the world

To become Mikaela Shiffrin—the top-ranked female ski racer in the world and favorite to win gold in the slalom this weekend at the world championship, making her the first woman to win three world slalom titles since 1939—you have to maximize every minute of every day. There is no sleeping in. No leisurely afternoons. No days off. But don’t worry. It’s not all work and no play: Daily dessert and plenty of naps play a role in her routine.

At 21, Shiffrin spends most of her summer training—working out in the gym, skiing in the Southern Hemisphere. In the winter, she’s on the road most of the time, traveling around Europe for World Cup races, prepping for the next starting gate, the next podium. While there’s no average day for the Olympic slalom gold medalist per se, Shiffrin says there’s definitely a pattern to her day-to-day routine. Here, she shares with Excelle Sports the daily habits that have made her one of the best skiers in the world.

[More from Excelle Sports: EXCLUSIVE: What Mikaela Shiffrin says she fears more than losing any race]

Early riser: “I wake up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. during the winter,” Shiffrin said. “We go up and train early in the morning.” In the summers, she gives herself a little more time to sleep, waking up closer to 6:30 or 7 in the morning.

For breakfast: “I like to have two eggs and two pieces of toast for breakfast,” she said. “Sometimes, cereal or oatmeal and fruit. I need food that powers me through the day.”

Morning activity: “If it’s not a race day, then normally I’m training, whether that’s on snow or working out in the gym. Mornings are generally set aside for some sort of training,” Shiffrin said.

For lunch: On the menu for lunch? Some sort of protein—chicken, steak, fish—plus salad and carbohydrates like pasta (it doesn’t hurt that Shiffrin is sponsored by pasta maker Barilla). “I really rely on carbs since I expend a lot energy during the day,” she said.

Afternoon agenda: “After lunch, I’ll sometimes take a nap,” she said. “I set aside a couple of hours where I can rest and recover. When I wake up, I have a Red Bull, then go out for a second session of training, either on snow or in the gym. Or some other recovery session in the afternoon.”

For dinner: “Dinner looks a lot like lunch for me. Chicken or steak. Pasta. Salad or some other vegetables. I have to say I really like dessert. I try not to eat dessert every day, but I’ll have dessert every now and then. That’s one of my favorite things is to have something sweet at the end of dinner,” she said.

Silent nights: “I generally stay pretty quiet in the evenings,” Shiffrin said. “The evenings are normally when I have some free time. I may watch a TV show or a movie or read or listen to music. My favorite TV shows are ‘Bones’ and ‘Madam Secretary.’ It’s pretty simple. Sometimes, I’ll light some candles and just chill out. I don’t do anything too crazy.”

I told you.. shenanigans! 😈💁💃 #dancinginthekitchen

A post shared by Mikaela Shiffrin (@mikaelashiffrin) on

Off to sleep: “I try to go to bed somewhere between 8:30 and 9 at night. Sleep is huge for me. It’s my best, main and favorite form of recovery,” she said. “I always feel so much better when I’ve had a good night of sleep. I need eight and a half to nine hours of sleep to feel my best. I try to get to bed on time so I can be prepared for training and everything that’s going on the next day.”  

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