The Olympics Warm-Up

The Fun Way Kaitlin Hawayek Gets Pumped Up Before Going On The Ice

Plus, the Olympic ice skater shares her workout recovery routine.

Originally Published: 
Ice dance Kaitlin Hawayek has trained for 22 years to prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Gregory Shamus, Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

While U.S. ice dancer Kaitlin Hawayek makes her figure skating routines look effortless, there’s over two decades' worth of training and practice that back up her immense skill. Twenty-two years, to be exact. And now that she’s at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing with skating partner Jean-Luc Baker, the 25-year-old definitely won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Ice skating is incredibly demanding,” she tells Bustle, adding that people often focus on the beauty and artistry of the sport. “You’re only on the ice for four minutes, and it can look so easy and fun, but there’s a lot of cardio and interval training that goes into it.” Hawayek went extra hard ahead of her first Olympics, which began on Feb. 4. She was typically on the ice for three and a half hours a day, Sunday through Monday. She then followed up with a cardio workout, usually on an elliptical or stationary bike, before diving into strength training.

The skater says there’s also a major mental component to training, especially when she’s fatigued. “You have to remind yourself that what you’re feeling is temporary,” she says. “I also focus on my core values, like creativity and resilience.” That, plus the support of her coaches and skate partner, is what got her through strict safety precautions and pre-Olympic jitters.

Here, Hawayek shares her workout recovery tricks, favorite skin care products, and the shows that get her through tough workouts.

Besides ice skating, what’s your favorite type of workout?

I love Pilates! It’s like a trifecta in the sense that it strengthens, improves flexibility, and increases your mind-body awareness. And it feels really good, too. I like that it’s a slower practice that gives me time to focus on my breath.

Is there a type of workout you really dislike?

Stationary bike cardio training is not my favorite. It’s good for overall fitness, but it can be mundane, especially when I’m used to doing way more entertaining exercise on the ice. I usually need to find something good on Netflix to get me through.

I feel that! What do you watch?

Honestly, I've been watching The Vampire Diaries. [Laughs] I never watched it back when it was popular, so that's a bit of a guilty pleasure. I'm also a diehard Ted Lasso fan. That's the one show I've been watching for the last two years on repeat.

How do you recover after a tough workout?

When I’m not training, I’m recovering. I do active stretching and foam rolling, and use a Paragon massager that I run over my legs to get some vibration and pulses through my muscles. I take hot baths every night to keep my muscles loose, but I’ll also put a bag of ice in the bathtub and do cold baths for about five to eight minutes, depending on how long I can tolerate it. My recovery routine takes a couple of hours every evening, just to make sure that I give my body what it needs to perform.

Speaking of performing, how do you get pumped up before heading out onto the ice?

I listen to house music, something with a good dance beat that I can lose myself in. If I'm feeling nervous leading into a competition, I’ll put on a song that has a really good backbeat and focus on that. It's fun to get myself pumped up, but also to keep myself grounded and calm at the same time.

What does your skin care routine look like?

I love TULA Skincare. I find that their products are really gentle and moisturizing, which is great because I basically live in a frozen tundra on the ice, and it’s cold in Montréal where I train. I go from one cold environment to another, so my skin needs as much hydration as possible. I also like the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peels. They’re easy to travel with and they also help purify my skin after I’ve put on a ton of makeup.

Tell me more about your makeup routine! Do you have any favorite products?

Do you have another hour? [Laughs] I have truly come to love makeup and beauty, and since I started competing I've learned to do it all by myself. It's become a pre-competition ritual in a way, doing my skin care routine in the night and then my makeup prior to the competition event.

I tend to play up my eyes the most because I convey a lot of emotion and energy with my eyes during a performance. I really like Pat McGrath’s MTHRSHP. That’s my go-to when I travel for competitions. Being on the ice is basically like being on a white canvas. It’s easy to look washed out, so I usually have to make my skin look a little more contoured, too, just to kind of bring out that warmth and have it contrast against the cool, white ice.

What about when you’re training?

In general, I'm much more natural in my daily training, usually a mascara, brow gel, concealer, maybe a little bit of highlighter just to make myself look a bit more awake. But sometimes I do full glam moments for practice. I’ll show up at the rink and people are like, “Wow, that’s a lot of makeup for training!” But I just love it. It’s fun to be creative and play around.

Are you someone who drinks water throughout the day, or do you have to remind yourself to stay hydrated?

I need to remind myself! Everyone used to make fun of me because I had reminders that would go off on my phone to drink water. It’s tough for me to make it a habit, but something that’s really helped me stay hydrated is this water bottle I got on Amazon. It’s 64 ounces, which is massive, and it has little marks on it for every couple of hours so you can try to meet that daily quota. I'm looking at mine right now and I'm behind schedule. [Laughs] But yeah, it's motivational and it keeps me accountable.

Now that The Games are here, what’s the first thing you want to do after the Olympics?

Hug my family. My skating partner and I have been in a bubble due to the precautions, so I haven’t been able to see my parents or my brothers. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my goal of going to the Olympics without their support, so I can’t wait to have that moment where I can just be with them and celebrate this accomplishment. It really has been a team effort.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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