Before any competition, whether at the X Games or the Olympics, instead of practicing on the course, Sage Kotsenburg opts to spend a little time carving up the park of whatever mountain he is on. He doesn’t spend too much time out, just a couple of runs hitting the smaller jumps.
“It hits the refresh button for me. It’s so nice to get out and hit some little jumps, get some of that down and just carve around the mountain,” says Kotsenburg, the reigning king of stylistic snowboarding. “I really almost try to get away from an event to get into an event.”
Kotsenburg’s mindset toward exercise is similar. He’s no gym rat. He’s not obsessed with his dietary intake. He’s far from your prototypical Wheaties box athlete in terms of physique. Kotsenburg is a bit of a throwback to another era of riding: an affably mellow snow surfer who is just beginning to understand the demand that his sport takes on his body. Given all of his success, it’s easy to forget that he is only 21-years-old. As Kotsenburg has continued to grow, he has picked up a couple useful habits that his body will thank him for down the road. Or the slopes.
21 years old
Training grounds: Stubai and Hintertux, Austria, are the go-to spots to kick start the season.
Hours spent working out per day: "During the offseason, I train 3-5 days a week, about two hours per day. During the season, I don’t work out nearly as much."
Training program: "Some people have crazy programs. There isn’t much to my off training. I stick to way less intensified training schedules."
"During the offseason [April-October] I really just chill and do offseason stuff. I try to get down to the southern hemisphere to ride in August, weather permitting. But otherwise the workouts I do are all weighted ball related. We’ll go really heavy with the training in the spring and fall. We do a bunch of balance training, working with medicine balls, exercise balls, BOSU balls. Light weight training, usually adding to my body weight then jumping on and off boxes."
"On season, I just try to spend as much time on my board as I can. I’ll wake up and go ride the mountain the morning of an event, where 90% of people will go straight to the venue; I go carve and mess with my board to get my legs under me."
"Over the last two seasons I’ve also added stretching to the schedule. I didn’t need it so much when I was coming up, but my body isn’t getting any younger, so now I try to help it out."
Biggest physical challenge: "I’d say the biggest challenge in professional snowboarding is injury prevention. That’s where the importance of offseason workouts comes into play. I do all of these training exercises to stay “on my board” during the offseason."
"When you come back [in-season], your body isn’t used to the grind. You get hurt one time, you have to do rehab and then you come back and still feel weird. At the same time, though, you better get your runs down fast because the season is so short, some major event, X Games, Olympics, Air and Style, is always around the corner and you have to throw down whatever the competition is."
Go-to meal or snack before an event: "I love eating pasta before an event, anything with meatballs or sausage. Pasta or steak before an event always gets me stoked."
Go-to meal or snack after an event: "It’s never calm enough right after an event to be picky. If I’m hungry, I eat what’s around."
Go-to meal or snack after a workout: "I’m not one to say I need a specific food after a workout. I don’t mess with diets at all. I just know not to eat too much fast food. But I am an avid chicken eater. I eat it a lot. Can’t cook though, so however someone prepares it for me, I’m happy."
Favorite indulgence: "The worst is when I’m traveling through California, anywhere near an In-N-Out. I can’t not eat In-N-Out. If I’m there for a day, I’ll find it."
Best recovery tip: "I don’t focus too much on supplements or anything like that. My biggest thing, really, is just staying hydrated; obviously water is the best thing for that. Other than that, during recovery is the time that I will ask my physician what I should be eating, what should I have tonight and try to stick to that. It’s the one time I try to stick to whatever diet is laid out."
Do you have any strategies that keep you motivated on your training program: "There are definitely times that I don’t want to be in there, but I just remind myself that it’s worth it in the end to avoid getting too bummed out about it."
PHOTOS: WHAT'S LIFE LIKE FOR KOTSENBURG? [FULL SIZE]