Interview with Adam van Koeverden: Olympic Kayak Champion

Three-time Olympic kayak medalist from Canada, Adam van Koeverden, provides some insight into his healthy lifestyle. We thank Adam for his time.

Be sure to check out Adam’s website to keep up to date with his racing and lots of other interesting stuff. Adam is also an athlete ambassador for Right to Play.

Healthynomics: What advice would you give someone looking for ways to motivate themselves to start or maintain a fitness program?

Adam van Koeverden: Well I don’t believe you can force yourself to do something you don’t like in order to accomplish your goals, I don’t think that’s the route to success or fitness or happiness or anything. So, finding something you like to do that’s a great aerobic workout is key. Mixing that with a resistance program, or some kind of anaerobic, strength building activity which you also enjoy, and fantastic nutrition… Then you’ve got a starting point. I think people who want to be more active or fit need to think in terms of lifestyle changes, not so much in short term aspirations or modifications. Finding a motivational environment in which to make these changes is also really important… From my perspective, if I didn’t have my teammates, training partners and club-mates, I wouldn’t be able to work nearly as hard or effectively as I do on and off the water.

HN: Do you have any mentors or other athletes that you admire?

Adam: Yeah, a lot! Big Steve Nash fan, my coach Scott Oldershaw and Larry Cain (both Olympians from my sport, the former a gold and silver medalist), lots of current Olympic athlete friends I look to for inspiration like Simon Whitfield (we’ve done some training camps together, and I wrote the forward to his book…) and the Canadian cross-country ski team, cause I love cross-country skiing… My teammates, guys like Mark Oldershaw and Angus Mortimer and tons of others…

HN: What do you do right before a race to prepare yourself to compete? Any race day rituals?

Adam: No rituals. I get myself ready, go paddling a few hours before my first race of the day, something short just to wake up, 3 or 4km with great technique at a moderate speed. I listen to some tunes and get a quick standing-up massage from our therapist and professional performance guru slash barrista Bernie Irvin… While he’s getting the knots out he’s also brewing some bean. I knock back a few turbo-javas and hit the water just a little wired with about 20min to start.

HN: What types of exercises are important for kayakers to perform to improve their performance and avoid injuries?

Adam: Mostly just kayaking. I hit the gym a lot all year, swim, bike, run and cross-country ski a lot all winter so cross training is important when the water is frozen. We do a lot of kms on the water, 150km+/week… so that takes up most of our time.

HN: How important do you feel nutrition is to maintaining your ability to perform at a high level?

Adam: Essential. Garbage in, garbage out. I travel too much to carry a lot of dietary restrictions, and thankfully we train so much and so hard that I don’t limit calories at all. Basically as much good food as my schedule and appetite can take (yes, it takes time to eat 5500 calories a day), and I can indulge once that’s down.

HN: Do you have any particular websites or products you love?

Adam: I take 7systems vitamins everyday. Often use COLD-FX while traveling and competing. Turbo paddles, Nelo kayaks, Asics shoes and training clothes keep me moving fast. Roots for home grown Canadian high fashion and my Mazda gets me to practice on time.

  • Jane

    Wow sounds like such a cool guy. I cannot believe he eats 5500 calories per day. Holy jumpin’!