Have you ever wondered how the pros stay ripped, and go out for a rip every damn day of winter, year after year? They must be super heroes. They must possess some type of peculiar power that allows them to compete at the highest level of physical fitness and exertion – or, at the very least, some type of extra enzyme that breaks down donuts better.
Robin Van Gyn is one of these extraordinary humans. She’s has been leading the pack of pros pushing the limits of snowboarding for well over a decade.
In 2017, Van Gyn won TransWorld SNOW’s Video Part of the Year for her incredible riding in “Depth Perception.” In 2018, she starred in Teton Gravity Research's film “Far Out,” and for the first time in her life, successfully landed a double backflip…at 36-years-old. Let that sink in for a moment. How does she keep herself going, for crying out loud? Well, we sat down with her to find out.
When did snowboarding become a staple in your life?
I've always been enamored with snow. I grew up as a weekend warrior skier and made the switch to snowboarding when I was 16. Growing up on Vancouver Island didn't make getting to the snow that easy but I did it anyway. Eventually, about 5 minutes after graduating, I moved to Whistler and haven't left for very long ever since. Once you get out into the mountains and realize the enormity of nature, it's hard to leave. I stayed and that passion for snow led me to dedicating my life to snowboarding. I get so much out of it still; progression, motivation, face shots, poutine, friends, the list is endless.
What was it about snowboarding that snagged you? Was there a specific experience that was your “yeah, this is my thing” moment?
Honestly, just watching people do it in my teens. They made it look so rad and flowy, and I just wanted to do that. It's weird when you can't really give a reason except for that I wanted to do that…and then I did that.
Regarding food and fitness, what is your daily routine?
I eat almost everything. I try to eat real food, and that's a big one. I am totally gluten and I like diary too. I don't eat beef, but other than that, I just use common sense. You are what you eat…literally.
How have your eating habits and workout routines changed since first going pro?
They've definitely changed. During university, I realized that drinking and eating nachos wasn't really getting me in the best shape I could be in. Once you stop and start to eat healthy and live healthy, you realize how different you feel. Now, I can honestly say that I feel the best I ever have in my life, and I have health and wellness to thank for that.
Describe a typical day for you in the mountains?
Early mornings up for shooting. I always start with coffee and a smoothie, something I can have on the way to the hill. These can be super long days and we are rarely within distance to go get food, so you have to pack accordingly. I always bring a tea or something hot, eggs, nuts, carrots, granola bars, and chocolate. I like to have little bits here and there and not meals, so I avoid getting tired. We need to be going all day, so I always have a lunch that is easy and snackable, and that I can stretch for a 12-hour day. We go hard, so you've got to be prepared for an enormous day of hiking, sledding, waiting, shredding, laughing, and digging.
What about a typical “training day?"
I do a mix of gym for strength and yoga for flexibility and injury prevention. I don't work out every day, but every other day I try to go out hiking in the mountains, surfing, running, or the like. You just have to stay on top of it.
What does an "off day" look like for you?
It depends. Sometimes my off day means no snowboarding or activity, since that is what I primarily do, so this might look like a normal 9 to 5. I'll be hunched over my computer, doing expense reports or logging footage or something. My back hurts when I sit still.
Favorite junk food?
Pizza, beer, and brownies.
Favorite good-for-you snack or meal?
Scrambled eggs and avocado with sprouts and lime.
What is the best workout for staying fit all season long, and year after year?
Yoga, and getting outside in-between.
Year after year, your video parts get better and better; bigger lines, stout moves, and you take gnarly falls and seem to bounce back with no issue. How is this possible? What’s your secret?
Again, yoga. And eating well – real food. And having fun. I also rehab things that are hardly a problem. If I don't feel 100-percent, I spend time doing PT. Even if it's small, I stay on top of it. I stretch and roll every damn day. It's a routine I carry with me always, wherever I go. You just have to take the 15-minutes to do it.
Best fitness advice you’ve been given? And best fitness advice you have to give to those trying to follow in your footsteps?
Do what works for you and don't fall into fad diets. You can make yourself vulnerable when you are changing eating habits all the time. I think it's important to just eat real food from real plants, grown by real people. Be strong, not skinny. If it's performance you want, don't worry about how you look, ’cause you look good!
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