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Achieving Ultimate Fitness with Water Polo Champion Maggie Steffens

Achieving Ultimate Fitness with Water Polo Champion Maggie Steffens

Maggie Steffens is well qualified to discuss achieving ultimate fitness. She's a 3x Olympic Gold Medalist and captain for Team USA Water Polo, and has been included five times on the Sports Illustrated Fifty Fittest Athletes List. She became the all-time leading scorer in Olympic Water Polo history at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Here are Maggie Steffens' tips for attaining and maintaining fitness at the highest level.

What are the key things you focus on to stay in shape and attain ultimate fitness?

Maggie: I think it is important to remember that fitness is a lifestyle. It is not something you can pick and choose to do one morning or one day of the week. In order to achieve ultimate fitness and maintain it, it has to be something you live by. As a water polo player, you’ve got to have endurance and you’ve got to have speed. In addition to that, you have to be explosive. There are so many aspects of fitness you have to think about. Our team lifts at the gym for two hours at a time, 3 -4 times a week. We’re in the pool 6-7 hours a day, 6 days a week. Our heavy training schedule also means you have to focus on recovery. Getting in my pre-training fuel, UCAN and extra protein after practice is key. I also do bodywork treatments for my shoulders specifically. I always have my water bottle with me for hydration, and of course I prioritize sleep. As you can see, I really emphasize a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle and you have to be willing to push yourself to be the best. See where you can take your body!

What does it mean to represent team USA at the Olympics and win a third gold medal?

Maggie: Representing the USA on the biggest stage, the Olympics, has always been a dream of mine. And just because I’ve done it before does not diminish the fact that it is still my passion, it’s still my Olympic Dream. It is such a huge honor to wear red, white, and blue and I have a lot of pride in representing our country to the best of my ability. I don’t take this privilege lightly, and I look forward to hopefully being at the Olympic Games once again and bringing our country to the top of the podium with my amazing teammates.

How is UCAN unique compared to other fueling strategies?

Maggie: UCAN products have played such a huge role for me in being able to push myself past my limits and sustain excellence and ultimate fitness throughout training.

Something that is really unique about UCAN is that it doesn’t give me a peak of energy and all of the sudden I fall off. For example, for our training sessions that last 6-7 hours, I need to be able to sprint over and over for hours of time. UCAN allows me to be able to sustain bursts of energy and keep my endurance strong - it’s great! I notice the energy UCAN gives me physically and mentally. I feel like I can push myself physically but also push myself mentally during long practices or a waterpolo match and sustain it all throughout. My favorite products are the Cran Raz Energy Powder and the Protein + Energy after strength sessions for the best muscle recovery. If I'm running low on time, I'll use an Edge energy gel pouch or a bar if I'm getting hangry!  

How do you try inspire other girls and women?

Maggie: It’s always been really important to empower women. I was really fortunate to have my older sister, Jessica Steffens, on the team with me in 2012, and she and the rest of the women on the team paved the path for me and showed me what it takes to be a strong independent woman, which provided me with more opportunities than they ever had. That’s selflessness. We as women can give the girls that are coming up in sports our shoulders to stand on. I constantly think about how I can inspire young girls and show them what they can achieve - show them the greatness they can become. And I will hopefully open doors for them as well, to be whoever and whatever they want to be. Let’s continue to lift each other up!

Get an inside look at how Maggie tests her mind, body, and limits on the Fueling the Pursuit podcast.

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