Meet Muscle Feast Athlete, Traci Callahan. Traci is a highly accomplished Beach Volleyball Pro. She made a name for herself early on as a collegiate volleyball athlete but eventually found her way to the sandy beaches of California.
Q. In 2018, you began competing professionally again, but switched positions from blocker to defender. What was the reason for this change?
A. In Beach Volleyball, there is always a blocker at the net and a defender at the back of the court. You will typically see tall athletes guarding the net, reaching over the net to stop balls from crossing over. On the other hand, the defender needs to be balanced and quick-footed. These athletes are often smaller than the blocker because they rely heavily on their ability to be fast and agile.
At 6'2" I am an excellent sized blocker, but I was being outplayed at the net at the highest level of the game. I knew that if I wanted to reach my highest potential in this sport, I needed to make the change to a defender. While I might be taller than the average defender, I am naturally agile, which is rarely found for someone my size. With two tall players, my team has a massive advantage over other teams in our sport.
Q. Do you have a different diet when you're competing?
A. My diet is pretty much the same year-round. I like consistency, and I don’t want to yo-yo in my weight at all. I find it keeps my mind healthy, and my body fresh to eat a healthy diet year-round. However, I do find times during the year to indulge in different treats. I eat birthday cake and love pizza like everyone else, but I also find other ways to satisfy those cravings. For instance, I make protein pancakes with the Muscle Feast Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate a few nights a week for dessert, and I mostly eat pizza on vegetable crusts. For me, the best diet is full of eggs, lettuces, fats like avocado, nuts and coconut, bison, chicken, rice, some fruit, and a little chocolate.
Q. Do you have a training and recovery regimen?
A. In season I typically practice 4-5 days a week. Our practices are roughly two hours long, and I may stay longer to work on different aspects of my game (like serving or speed drills). I train 3-4 times a week in the gym, usually an hour to an hour and a half. I get bodywork done five days a week, including stretching, soft tissue work and occasionally cupping. Recovery is an essential part of my training regimen.
Q. What is your favorite exercise?
A. I love training, so it's hard to pick just one. Probably my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE exercise is medicine ball slams. It's an incredible feeling to throw something as hard as you can into the ground… it's therapeutic. I also love any drills that include jumping and single-leg balance drills.
Q. How has COVID-19 affected your training and competing?
A. I have had to get VERY creative with COVID restrictions. Many of my training sessions for months were virtual zoom calls with my trainer. The beaches have also been closed for months, so I had to find a private court to train since I couldn't train at the beach. Thankfully, the AVP tour organizers put together a three-weekend event called "The Championship Cup Series" that ran July 18th through August 2nd.
Q. Who has inspired you to keep pursuing your passion for sand volleyball?
A. Different people have inspired me at different points in my career for various reasons. However, I would say that my husband, Matthew, is the one who believes in me more than anyone else, even when I thought I wasn't any good. His constant support has made a big difference in my career. My team is also a source of inspiration to me every day, from my trainer to my coach. I find that if you surround yourself with people who are continually pushing their limits, it creates a culture of excellence, where a "no excuses" mentality becomes a core belief.
You can learn more about Traci by following her on Instagram @callahanvolleyball and be sure to follow us on social to stay up-to-date as we continue to highlight our customers and athletes!