Olympic diver Brittany Viola is representing Team USA in the 10-meter platform competition in London this Wednesday and Thursday. Viola was a collegiate champion at the University of Miami, where she still trains.
Recognizing that her sport is both athletic and subjective, she keeps a hardcore fitness regimen that includes up to 15 workouts per week. And she works with a nutritionist to fuel her body.
Q: Why do you keep fit? Just for diving?
A: Sure, for the sport. But it is also an outlet for any anxiety, a getaway almost like a retreat from stress. Something about getting your heartrate going and being able to sweat is an unbelievable release.
After [my career ends], I'll continue moving my body and exercising and treating it well. I mean, we only get one of these.
Q: What's your workout routine?
A: A lot of stuff revolves around diving, like backflips on the ground. Good for the core. Everything in diving revolves around the core [muscles] so you have more control. We'll do hanging leg lifts from a bar screwed into the wall. We do that with straight legs, tucked, tucked pike [positions].
We do dry-land workouts usually five days a week, about 1 1/2 to two hours. We do v-ups: arms on the ground completely, legs coming together in a pike. We do probably 60 to 100. We do some jump roping and a lot of stability exercises for my glute and hamstrings. We do these handstands, go up in handstand and then our feet come down and punch the ground, and then back up into handstand.
Usually eight water workouts per week, off some afternoons, three hours a day just water. We usually have two or three hours between dry and water workouts. Get all sweaty on land.
Q: Do you lift weights?
A: I do weights two times a week at UM, still with my old weight coach. For the most part, all of my workouts are at UM.
For weights, it depends on where my training is. Now, I do a lot less weights and more body weight and fast-twitch exercises like jumping. Only kind of [heavy weight that I do is] power cleans and squats. Everything else is extremely light weight or no weight.
I'm hitting a little bit of everything: calves, hamstrings, quads, abdominals, shoulders, wrists. Diving, we hit the water fast so that forearm strength protects wrists from injury.
Q: Have you swum competitively or played other sports?
A: I do not swim very well. That's something I'd like to do when I finish diving (laughs). I'm a terrible swimmer.
I did gymnastics for nine years. Since 4. Finished at 13. I tried volleyball in eighth grade, then went right into diving. That was it for team sports.
Q: Play any recreational sports?
A: I always want to but fear I'll hurt myself. You wouldn't think that, but I'm accident-prone. Maybe ultimate Frisbee or beach volleyball, but lately I've been extremely safe.