Teen Vogue Online: “Gretchen Bleiler and Playtex Sport Get Girls Moving”
Snowboarding superstar Gretchen Bleiler is absolutely fearless when she hits the halfpipe! Ask her where she got that confidence from, and she’ll attribute it largely to having been involved in the sport since she was a kid. Knowing first-hand what a positive impact being active has had on her own life, she’s now spreading a message of empowerment and good health to girls everywhere by partnering with Playtex Sport on their “Be Unstoppable” campaign. Read on to find out more about this new movement, why Gretchen is such a die-hard believer in it, and how you can get involved!
How did you first get into snowboarding?
When I was 10 years old, my family moved from Ohio to Aspen, Colorado. In Aspen, I went to a school where every Wednesday during the winter, we got a half-day off to go up on the mountain. I grew up with three brothers and at the time, both of my older brothers were snowboarders. I was a tomboy who always used to follow them around and try to do whatever they were doing. So, on one of those Wednesdays, I decided to learn how to snowboard with a bunch of my friends. I had a great instructor who told me I was a natural, and I was hooked! I loved the free spirit of snowboarding. At that time snowboarding was still relatively new and not even considered a sport, but just a trend that people thought would die off over time–but that sure didn’t happen!
How has competing in this sport strengthened your stance on empowering girls and women?
When I first started snowboarding, there weren’t a lot of girl riders on the hill. I felt like I had to look like a guy and ride like a guy to get respect and totally felt like I had something to prove. When you have that fire, it can be very powerful, but the sooner you learn that you’re the most powerful and effective when you’re doing things your way and with confidence in who you truly are, the more satisfied and happy you will be! That’s why programs like the Playtex Sport “Be Unstoppable” movement that celebrates women and girls engaging in physical activity are so important.
My routine is really different based on what time of year it is. Generally, the fall is when I’m in the gym most often and doing a lot of strength training to make sure I’m as strong as I can be going into the competition season. I work out with a physical therapist and trainer in Carlsbad named Brad Jones (the name of his business is B Project). He’s come up with an amazing workout that’s always different and really tests my upper body, lower body and core strength, balance, explosive power, and overall coordination. We don’t do a lot of traditional gym stuff; it’s a lot more out of the box. We use free weights, slide boards, medicine balls, and Indo boards, among other things. I do a lot of squats, lunges, single leg lunges, step ups, modified dead lifts, single legged modified dead lifts, ladder drills, shoulder exercises with free weights, medicine ball throws, tons of different core exercises, crazy push up variations, Indo board balancing squats and lateral squats, and different slide board drills.
Do you also pay attention to your diet?
I’ve just started working with a friend to eat a more nutritious and balanced diet. I started keeping a log of what I eat just a couple of months ago and found that I definitely don’t eat enough fruits and greens. So now I’m just a lot more conscious of what I’m eating and I try to hit all of the required amounts of greens, fruits, proteins, and carbs for the day. I eat 4 to 5 times a day, but now my main meals are a lot smaller. I find a have a lot more energy with this new program!
How has being active affected your confidence?
Being active is my way of staying in touch with myself and doing what I enjoy. Everyone has their own unique set of gifts and talents and it’s when you start living and embracing those gifts and talents, no matter what they are, that things just seem to feel good and you have great energy. You start attracting that same great energy to you wherever you go. It’s great that programs like the “Be Unstoppable” movement exist so that girls can feel like they’re part of a community and feel confident in their abilities on and off the field.
Why did you decide to get involved in Playtex Sport’s “Be Unstoppable” movement?
I partnered with the Playtex Sport “Be Unstoppable” movement because it’s all about celebrating physical activity and shining the spotlight on women and girls in active moments and the confidence that comes with those moments. I’ve also been a member of the Women’s Sports Foundation Athlete Advisory Panel since 2008 and I love that the movement’s initiatives give back to this great organization. I consider myself unstoppable because I set goals for myself that keep me motivated, allowing me to keep pushing to meet the challenges in front of me. Girls who want to get involved and “join the movement” can visit the Playtex Sport Facebook page and create a photo mosaic on the Playtex Sport Facebook page, triggering a $1 donation to the Women’s Sports Foundation in support of programs that nurture healthy, active, and confident girls.
What’s your favorite part of this campaign?
I really connected with “Be Unstoppable” because it’s so close to what I do and promote on a day-to-day basis. I want to provide support and motivation for girls as well as inspire them to be the best they can be on the court, on the field, in the classroom, or on the slopes.
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