In our series Fit Chicks, we chat with female fitness bloggers and trainers from all over the country. Equipped with their collective experience, expertise and practical tips, you’ll be happy to know that a healthier lifestyle is right around the corner.
Name: Lexi Dupont
Occupation: Big mountain skier and Eddie Bauer athlete
Location: Sun Valley, Idaho
Lexi Dupont has been charging off the slopes for years. She was going so hard, in fact, that she faced a rude awakening last year when her adrenal glands gave out. Since then, she’s found a healthy balance between resting and still maintaining her incredible stamina. Paste Health talked with Dupont about some current environmental projects, nutrition and mental health tips, and her favorite comfort food.
You were in Iceland recently, right? How was it?
Lexi Dupont: It was really great. I wrapped up one of the best seasons of my career this year in Iceland. It was called the Down to Earth Expedition that me and my friends put together where we teamed up with 47 different Waldorf schools to offer a virtual classroom to bring climate change reality to the kiddos. It was really cool. I’ve also been working on this web series called Water Worshippers. It’s a four-episode series and this Nicaragua trip is the last episode. It’s just to bring awareness to the destruction and overuse of water. As skiers and surfers, we are water worshippers to our core – we depend on water for everything. The first trip was in late January in Revelstoke, British Columbia. The first episode was called The Element. We were at the headwater of the Columbia River and this big storm came through. Me and my friend McKenna went up in this back-country cabin and captured the frozen form of the element. The second episode, we went to Vancouver Island. My friend and I tracked the storm that came through, and we were able to surf and ski the same storm. It was a really rad celebration of the water. The third one is the Iceland trip with climate change awareness. Now this fourth part is the giving back part in Nicaragua and putting clean water wells for this community. The first two episodes are out on Vimeo and we’re working on Iceland and Nicaragua. This fall, I want to put them together in a full film and they would be different chapters of the film. I think I can see myself continuing this theme of water appreciation for a long time. It’s endless content and people are inspired by it.
Can you talk a little about your journey with skiing? When did you first fall in love with it?
LD: I started skiing when I was two-years-old. My grandfather was the ski coach at Sun Valley and my mom went on to join the US ski team. She’s actually one of the first ladies to do a backflip on skis. Our family…that’s what we do. Whenever we’re together, we all go up on the mountain as a family and ski together. We’ve done that my whole life. I started racing from the age of two all the way through high school. I took a year off from skiing and was pursuing sailing, which is another one of my passions. I got a full ride to Endicott College in Massachusetts for sailing. But I really missed the mountains, so shortly after that, being on the east coast, I moved to the University of Colorado and joined the freeride team. That’s really when it started. I started doing big mountain contests and was really successful in all the contests I competed in. From there I got sponsors, then was able to segue into filming and putting together these really cool trips and projects.
You’re in a predominately male sport. Do you feel that pressure to sort of rise above and get the same playing field as the boys?
LD: Especially in the filming world for girls, there’s only about five or six of us females that are actually supported by brands to participate in the film world. I ski with guys all the time and I owe them the credit for getting where I am today. Being the worst skier in the group when you’re out with all the guys – you’re the one learning the most. Now we’re seeing this shift of women coming together and putting together trips and sponsors and companies supporting all-female projects, which is really cool. It’s so important to me to ski with the guys to continue pushing my skiing. Some of the girls out there, we’re skiing the lines that two or three years ago, men were getting Line of the Year on. Now the girls are skiing it. The progression is crazy to watch. We’re right there with them, we can hang. It’s not a big, drastic gradient between us.
Can you talk about last year and the struggles you faced when your adrenal glands gave out?
LD: Health is the number one thing as a professional extreme athlete. It’s what gets us through. Diet’s really important to me. I have a strict Ayurvedic diet of meat and vegetables and trying to cut out sugars. I went so hard this winter. The only rest days I had were on airplanes traveling to the next trip or project. I just hit a wall. At first I didn’t really believe it. I saw an Ayurvedic healer and she said, “Your adrenals are shot.” I just was like, “whatever.” Then I was going to my trainer and he was putting this heart rate monitor on me and doing all these tests. Then he said, “Oh my gosh, your anaerobic system is peaking but your aerobic system is crashing. You really need to rest.” We call it reentry, and it’s always been this term that’s tossed around. At the end of your season, all the skiers go to the beach and they just chill, but there’s a full reason for that. It’s this balance to reset your body after all the gnarly craziness from the season. So just getting lots of consistent sleep and a consistent routine, eating really well. I like long walks and bike rides where I can keep a conversation and my heart rate is under control.
You’ve really gotten into a self-care lifestyle. What changes have you seen in yourself mentally and physically?
LD: I can say I had the most successful season of my career this year and I think that’s due to a strong meditation practice. I dedicate twenty minutes of ever-centeredness, which is really important. Then I can translate that to the mountains and on peaks. You’re in this life or death situation, so being able to calm down and be present really is the difference between success and not. Being in Alaska this year, one of my friends got really injured and she was pretty overwhelmed from the scenario of being up there in a foreign place. It’s easy to get out of your body when it’s life or death. The mind practice is huge, and eating really healthy, eating lots of vegetables, and staying away from sugars. It was definitely a challenging transition at first. The first month I was like, “Wait, I can’t have sugar?” Then once you start to get rid of it in your diet, you don’t crave it anymore. I’m asleep longer, I wake up ten minutes before my alarm every day, I recover faster. It’s great.
Just to give readers some practical tips, what’s your favorite exercise or stretch?
LD: I’m a big believer in foam rolling. My foam roller goes everywhere with me and I don’t think I’d be able to perform at my best level without it. Just ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes after skiing makes a big difference. Fifteen to twenty minutes of meditation every day is the biggest thing I tell people to do.
What’s a go-to healthy, feel-good meal for you?
LD: Whenever I’m home or have a kitchen to cook, I love to cook stir-fried veggies with some coconut milk in there and quinoa. Just be sure to not overcook your vegetables. Get a big piece of fish or something to go with it. That is definitely my comfort food, for sure.
What’s next for you after Nicauragua? What are some other goals for this year?
LD: I’ve been working towards becoming a private, fixed-wing, single engine pilot. I just have some hours to finish. I completed ground school last fall and I actually flew myself from Sun Valley to Colorado this past weekend, which was exciting. It was my first big cross country. So I’m going to be finishing that. I’m also building an off-the-grid, passive home in Revelstoke, British Columbia. It’s where I base out of in the winter. That’s been exciting to learn about the process of building of a house. Then spending a lot of time with my family – they’re my number one. And I have the cutest little two-year-old nephew and I just really want to spend as much time with him as possible.
Any other advice or tips to living a healthy lifestyle?
LD: My mantra that I live by is that the biggest failure is to not try. I think as women, we’ve had these glass ceilings put on top of us that you can’t do something or you shouldn’t do something. I just encourage everyone to at least try. And drink lots of water. That’s the key to longevity: water.
McGee Nall is a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia. She was probably eating Nilla wafers and Nutella while writing this.