Kerri Walsh Jennings talks balancing kids, daily workouts and training for the 2020 Olympics

By Rose Minutaglio
July 19, 2017 06:08 PM
The 2017 ESPYS - Arrivals
Credit: Phillip Faraone/Patrick McMullan/Getty

Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings pretty much does it all.

The three-time beach volleyball gold medalist takes care of three young kiddos, competes in major beach volleyball events and works out three times a day while already training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!

“Sometimes I think I’m Superwoman and I could do everything on my own,” Walsh Jennings, 38, tells PEOPLE. “But I have a team around me for a reason and I lean on my people.

“So I organize, I plan, prepare, pre-pack lunches and I lean on my people like my husband, sitters and trainers.”

The athlete is mom to sons Joey, 8, and Sundance, 7, and daughter Scout, 4.

“I love everything about being a mom. Absolutely everything, aside from being away from my kids,” she says. “My kids are amazing, I’m learning and loving every single day, and I’m reminded of what life is all about, which is to be playful and to be around people you love.

“Motherhood is the biggest blessing of my entire life.”

Walsh Jennings, who is married to beach volleyball player Casey Jennings, says her kids are hitting some fun milestones like “wiggly teeth” — and she doesn’t want to miss any of it.

“I just got back from two weeks on the road and I came home and I feel like all of my kids grew a foot, and they’re talking like they’re in college,” she says. “I feel like every week is a milestone … My kids are going to be in the first grade, second grade and pre-K next year, and those are all big milestones, but nothing huge. Just normal, wonderful stuff.”

When the athlete isn’t spending time with her kids, she’s juggling three workouts a day.

“We drop our kids off at school, or summer camp, by about 8:30 a.m. and my first training session usually is around 9 a.m. for about two hours, two-and-a-half hours on the beach,” she explains. “After that, I will either have a Pilates workout, a sand dune workout or a workout with my trainer who works on my thoracic and hip mobility. I will weight train, I will do some mind-training, some meditation, so after volleyball practice, then, my days fills in with the rest of that stuff.”

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After workouts, Walsh Jennings works on refueling, rest and recovery by taking ice baths and infrared saunas.

“I [enjoy] every single day by trying to maximize every day, by having a good time, by being present, by working really hard on that which I want to improve upon,” she says. “But mostly I just want to enjoy it: I play this sport because I love it so much.”

Plus, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are never far from her mind.

“I’m definitely taking it one day at a time, because I don’t want to snap my fingers and all of a sudden I have this four-year beautiful journey and I’ve just been focusing on the end result,” says Walsh Jennings, who was eliminated in pool play with partner Nicole Branagh at the World Series of Beach Volleyball President’s Cup last week. I’m surrounded by people I love and respect.”

She adds: “I always want to compete against the best and ideally beat them and, you know, have so much fun doing so, but the competition itself is so amazing. Every day is just an opportunity to grow and learn and have fun. So that’s my mission. I feel like if I do that the next four years, then the gold medal [at the Tokyo 2020 Games] is a guarantee.”