veteran nwsl forward, kristen hamilton, knows what it takes to win. this 3x champ breaks down her keys to success and why she incorporates mendi into her holistic recovery routine.
After a tough training session or game, Kristen grabs a gummy or two to prevent inflammation and settle her mind for a good night's sleep.
3x nwsl champ
nc courage captain
increased performance comes from increased recovery time.
2 Game plans.
Both Abby Erceg and Kristen Hamilton of the North Caronlina Courage look to stay on top of their game with a whole-body training and recovery approach. They rely on different Mendi products to promote better sleep, reduce pain and inflammation and encourage neuro balance throughout their daily routine.
interview with kristen
Kristen we are so glad to have you on team Mendi along with the entire NC Courage team. We're excited to dig into your recovery story and insights as a 3x champ and veteran in the NWSL.
Given the status quo of CBD being a banned substance in most professional sports leagues, the NWSL has shown far more progress than most. Do you have anything to say to other professional leagues or teams who still stigmatize cannabis use for athletes?
My main thing would just be to educate yourself. I think that it is very beneficial for athletes. And if you want your athletes to be performing at peak level, that CBD is one of those things that can help push an athlete's performance, that one extra percentage. And I think that in the professional sports world specifically, we're all such elite athletes that you're always looking for that one percent to differentiate. You know, whether it's I'm sleeping better, I'm recovering better, I have less inflammation, I have less anxiety or stress. I think that those little things can help elevate an athlete's performance just that little bit more.
Do you think it’s still taboo for athletes to be open about using cannabis/CBD or is it becoming more accepted?
Yeah, I definitely think there's still a taboo around CBD, I think that people, when they hear CBD, cannabis, THC, they kind of just associate the three. And I think that it's important to understand the distinctions between between them and to understand that when you take CBD to know you're not just going out and getting high all the time, it actually has medical benefits that have been proven and studied. And I think it's very important for everybody to understand that
What would you like to tell other athletes in your sport or outside of your sport about using CBD/cannabis as a recovery tool?
I would just tell other athletes that CBD is something they should look into. I've seen great benefits so far from from the Mendi products that I've experimented with and implemented into my recovery routine consistently. Expand your views on what recovery can look like for you and experiment with what things might work for you. And I think increased performance comes from increased recovery and recovery time.
ON ATHLETE HEALTH & WELLBEING
What are some specific recovery regimens that have led to your soccer success?
I think it's taken actually quite a while to figure out what works for me in terms of recovery. When you're young and you're fresh you feel like you don't have to do anything because your body recovers well and it heals well. And so for me, becoming a professional has actually really led to me experimenting and exploring with different recovery methods.
I love massages. That really helps my body to recover. And then specifically for me, dry needling, I just find that knots that are deep into the muscles are hard to active release on your own. I find that dry needling and acupuncture really help help me with that. But not only those big recovery mechanisms, I think there's so many other small ones that have helped me like increasing taking protein right after training. I use the Mendi stick all the time on my knees. I've had a history of bad knees. So right after a hard session, I'm showered, I'm cleaned up. I'm putting that on my knees to help with the inflammation and pain relief.
And then one of the most important things for me is I've realized that I need nine hours of sleep to perform at my best level. I think that's one of the best recovery tools that we all have, and that's something we all can control. I take Mendi before I go to sleep as well, and it just helps me get into a deeper sleep. I think kind of all of those things combined. I've found kind of the past two or so years and I've really seen a big, big change in my game.
What are some things better recovery allows you to do besides just perform at the highest level?
Yeah, I think the recovery is really important, but not just for your performance on the field, I think it can be really important off the field as well. I'm a little particular and so I like to have a list of stuff I need to get done for the day. I have stuff that I want to do after training, and I like to make sure that I'm optimizing every hour of my day. So in that sense when I get a good night's sleep it's going to help me perform well. But it's also going to help me when I wake up in the morning to knock out the tasks that I want to get done and feeling refreshed and awake and energized to get those things done.
That's kind of physical, but mental as well. Your mental fatigue, getting a good night's sleep and feeling rested. If I'm not recovering well, I just want to sit on the couch all day and watch a TV show or whatever it might be. But if I'm feeling like my mind is awake and stimulated and energized I want to be active. So I think it just has a really powerful impact on your mind, body and spirit.
What measurable ways (i.e. Whoop, HRV, FF90, etc.) have you found CBD/cannabis to help you?
We have to fill out what's called a fit for 90 every morning before we go to before we go to training. If I take my CBD and get a good night's sleep, I usually am waking up feeling less or less tired and having had a better night's sleep. So for me, that's a measurable way. I can go back and look and say, hey, my numbers for the morning are high. They're good. I'm ready to train. I'm recovered.
JUST FOR FUN
Do you have any unsung heroes? Who are they, and why?
Definitely my mom, I mean, I would not be where I am today without her. She has worked her ass off for me to be able to be here and be playing the sport that I am. And not everybody gets that opportunity. And she fought for me to be able to be here.
And then on top of that, I would say my little brother, Simon. He has Down syndrome and he has gone through a lot. No matter if he is sick or what issue he is facing, he's always just had a smile on his face. So for me, when I was at a point in my career where I could have been waved from a team I was told that my positive energy and my impact on the team off the field is why I was still there.
And that kind of was a moment for me to realize the right attitude is just as good of an asset to have as my on-field play. So I've learned that from him and he's really gifting me with the ability to see what effects a positive attitude can have.
What’s one thing not shown in your stats and awards that you want to be associated with your legacy?
I think, above all else, being a good teammate and a good person. This sport is our whole life right now, this is what we live and breathe. But It goes so much further than the field. These friendships we make, the people we meet and the lives we touch as as we play the sport. It's the feeling you leave with people, after you meet them, after you've been teammates with them.
I think it would be really cool to be known for bringing a smile to people's faces, being a good person, being a good teammate and being someone that people felt comfortable with. I think that that would be a really cool legacy to leave behind.
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