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How Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy evolves into a world-class snowboarder



Amy Purdy has a seriously impressive resume. The 39-year-old native of Las Vegas is a New York Times best-selling author a well-known motivational speaker, and a Dancing With the Stars alum. She also pioneered adaptive snowboarding and, together with her husband, founded the nonprofit organization Adaptive Action Sports to help athletes with physical disabilities and expand the Paralympic Games with snowboarding. The sport had his Paralympics debut at the Sochi Games 201

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In addition, Purdy himself is an accomplished athlete. The professional snowboarder is a twice paralympic participant, three times Paralympic medalist and one of the best adaptive boarders in the world. As I said, her CV is extensive.

But these successes, especially the athletic, were not easy. The 38-year-old Purdy, who developed a double amputee at the age of 19 after undergoing bacterial meningitis under his knee, worked hard both on and off the piste to achieve these accolades.

SELF talked to Summit County, Colorado, who were in for their next high-profile competition – the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colorado (December 13) – to learn more about the behind-the-scenes efforts needed To achieve such impressive athletic accomplishments, her dynamic journey with sports and how she helps other athletes.

To prepare for major competitions such as the Paralympics, Purdy trains up to 30 hours per week, including 20 hours on the slopes and 10 hours in the gym.

For the 2018 Paralympics in Pyeongchang, Purdy spent four to five days a week four hours a day in the snow. These mountaintop sessions included time to test various equipment, practice various carving exercises, and refine their techniques. She spent a few less structured days just riding the slopes to prepare for her main event, Snowboard Cross (also known as Boarder Cross), where participants race through various elements such as turns, mountain slopes, jumps and obstacles.

Due to the variety of terrains and skills required in snowboarding, "The more all-rounder you are in all types of conditions, the better you are," says Purdy. Because of this, "our training often uses the entire mountain, whether it's going through the trees, going through the park, hitting different mountain lands or going through a race course or doing a slalom course. All these things are related to our competitions in our sport. "

Although this kind of outdoor exercise can ultimately make her a better snowboarder," it's also fun, "says Purdy. "Sometimes it's difficult to call the training when you're out in the open."

In addition to this training on the slopes, Purdy visited the gym four to five days a week for two hours a day with a personal trainer Barre lessons, stretching and balance training. Their main priorities: building up the entire physical strength and improving their balance, two key sporting skills.

As intense as this routine sounds, it is more restrained than its previous routine. After a severe arm injury in 2016, Purdy reduced the intensity of her training. Adequate recovery is now an important part of your workout.

Two years ago, Purdy suffered from rhabdomyolysis (19459026) (also known as Rhabdo), a condition in which muscle tissue breaks down and a harmful protein enters the muscle bloodstream. Rhabdo can be caused by intense training (Purdy contracted after a particularly grueling pull-up session), and if not treated quickly it can be deadly.

Purdy spent several days in the hospital to recover from the injury (she [19459004)] recorded her stay on Instagram ), and although she has since recovered, experience has significantly changed her training approach. Purdy says she went into high-intensity practice sessions and gave everything she had. "It felt great and that's what athletes do – they overcome those barriers and that's a big reason why I love athletes and like to train. Obviously, that's why I had a serious injury.

Now she spends less time in the gym listening more to her body. "I do not have to use up completely to get a good workout," says Purdy.

She also limits her time on the slopes. "It's easy to be in the snow every day, but of course the recovery time is very important, especially if you have two prosthetic legs," says Purdy. "Our legs can stand up to six hours a day snowboarding." As a result of this back training Purdy said that her total muscle mass was much lower during the 2018 Paralympic Games compared to the 2014 Paralympic Games. Surprisingly, however, this did not hinder their performance on the slopes. In Pyeongchang, "I rode my best," she says.

Much of her recent success is partly attributed to Purdy's ritual before the race with breathing and visualization.

"Especially in the starting gates For the Paralympics you know that the world is watching," says Purdy. "For Paralympic snowboarding it is still a rather small sport, so we are not used to many spectators Unused to cameras on our faces, the pressure can suddenly become intense. "

Purdy uses a technique she recently learned from a sports psychologist to ground herself in. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath and visualizes a lake with waves that glide across the surface as if a pebble were being thrown in. As she exhales slowly, she imagines that the waves are gradually fading and wait another breath before the water is completely smooth. 19659022] This visualization helps Purdy free himself mentally from a high-stress situation. "It immediately calms me down and brings me completely into the moment when I am my eyes are gone, my fear is gone, "she says. From there, she can tackle the task at hand.

Purdy says that this technique, which she now applies to her everyday life, was particularly useful in Pyeongchang, where she was not the youngest, fastest or strongest competitor in the field. Thanks to her ability to calm her mind and stay in the moment, she says, "I drove better than ever before last season." She went with a silver medal in the snowboard cross and a bronze in the bank slalom.

Purdy is not sure she will fight for a place in the 2022 Paralympic team – she will probably decide next summer – but in the meantime, she has committed to helping the next generation of athletes

When she thinks of her future goals, Purdy, who says she has ridden "better than ever" this season, wants to continue to learn, grow, and participate in competitions as a snowboarder, return to the Paralympics, or not, her training is more "mature" because she is relieved of the pressures of winning the medal and thus "able to really drive out of love".

In addition, Purdy wants to strengthen today's youth through athletics partnership with Target and Always to support Girls on the Run a nonprofit association that helps girls between the ages of 8 and 13 build self-confidence Make friends and develop positive emotional, social, mental and other skills through weekly training and curriculum.

MICHAEL SIMON

She continues to support athletes committed to disabilities through Adaptive Action Sports. "It was so fulfilling helping others to realize their dreams," says Purdy, who trains a team of aspiring Paralympics through the organization. "Plus, our sport is so fun and powerful, I want to make sure people have the resources to participate in it."


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