How to Push Through Grueling Workouts, According to the U.S. Olympic Women's Soccer Team

Alex Morgan, soccer forward
Photo: alexmorgan13/Instagram

When you’re members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team representing your country in the Olympics, it goes without saying that you’re officially some of the most badass and inspirational women around. But all the glory comes with its fair share of guts—and certainly a healthy dose of hard work. From staying positive despite the many ups and downs of a career in athletics and staying motivated during some of the most grueling workouts imaginable, these girls have it figured out.

So, we asked stars Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Christen Press to share their best kept secrets for handling pressure, pushing through exercises, and what music to listen to while doing it all.

On Handling Pressure
Alex Morgan, forward: If I feel like my heart is starting to race or the pressure is mounting, I do breathing techniques to calm my mind down. Fives seconds in, hold, and five seconds out.
Carli Lloyd, midfielder: I thrive under pressure. I don’t think that you’re born that way. I think you create the ability to thrive under pressure. Through my preparation and overcoming my obstacles and struggles, it enables me to thrive and get through high pressure situations.
Christen Press, forward: I think I approach pressure by having discipline and learning to be calm in everyday life. I do this with a daily mindfulness practice and commitment.

On Staying Motivated
Morgan: I think about the regret that I have if I don’t finish it.
Lloyd: For me, being doubted and being told I can’t do something is a huge motivator for me. Because then I’m like "Okay, I’ll show you." I think it’s really just about being uncomfortable and being out of your comfort zone because that allows you to overcome different situations.

On Staying Positive
Morgan: Usually [after a tough loss], it takes some time and some distraction, but eventually just facing it head-on is the best thing to do. That’s why I love the #LikeAGirl campaign with Always because it encourages girls to keep playing–even in the face of obstacles or losses like I experienced here in Rio. I hope girls see my journey and know that they can do amazing things and feel empowered to continue playing #LikeAGirl.

Favorite Workout Music
Morgan: I love Beyoncé, Rihanna, and anything top 40 music.
Lloyd: I like Coldplay, Sky Full of Stars, that’s like one. It’s honestly just kind of the latest and greatest, whatever I download. It’s crazy to think how much money you spend on music.

Favorite Way to Workout Outside of Soccer
Morgan: I love going to spin classes.
Press: Yoga! And I love playing tennis.

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