Interview with Kylee Ohler: World Class Athlete and Mother of Two
Today, as part of our Nayelle Kick-ass Women Campaign, we are featuring an accomplished athlete and a mother of two, Kylee Ohler. We are talking to her about life, family, training, diet, struggles and her motivation as part of an ongoing search for long-term balance.
Kylee is about to fly over to Europe for her third World Championships in 10 days!
Kylee lives with her husband and two young sons in Calgary, Alberta. At 34, she is a top member of the Canadian Ski Mountaineering Team and back in her junior years she also made the Canadian Short Track Speed Skating Team. That’s one kick-ass lady!
You can follow her adventures and life on Instagram at @kyleetothohler.
Q: Kylee, have you been an athlete your whole life? When did you actually start participating in competitive sport?
Yes, I have been. I remember, I did my first speed skating race at the age of five.
Q: As a young girl and an athlete, who had a big impact on the direction of your life and why? Was it your parents, coaches, or your sport heros?
My parents were my primary influence and biggest support. They weren’t pushy but made us stick with things we had committed to and always emphasized that trying our absolute best was important!
Q: You had a pretty successful career in short track speed skating, an Olympic sport. Can you describe some of your accomplishments, and also some disappointments and how you dealt with those?
My biggest highlight actually was when I was quite young at age 18. At World Championships in South Korea, in junior category, I placed 5th in the 500m and 8th overall.
My biggest disappointment was not qualifying for the Canadian Team the following year because of an unfortunate slip and fall on the last lap of a race. It was kind of like a terribly heartbreaking movie. Besides that, I had lots of ups and downs in sport throughout my career. I think I learned to deal with them better as I got older and gained more perspective and balance in my life.
Q: Now you are a mother of two young boys and also the top member of the Canadian Ski Mountaineering Team. How do you juggle and combine the two on daily basis? What are the most challenging parts?
Firstly, it isn’t easy. The hardest part is when I am training a lot I feel often that I am “dropping the ball” at home and vise versa. But when I stop and look at it with some perspective, through the bigger picture, I realize both are doing just fine.
I try to be organized and I am super high energy which I think helps. I also have an incredibly supportive family to help with childcare. I have to be creative and disciplined to do all my training. Some days I succeed and same days, like any other normal person, I don’t and that’s okay.
Q: As a top level athlete, do you subscribe to a strict diet regime? Is it even possible with so much going on?
No, I eat whatever I want. Moderation and as unprocessed as possible is what I aim for.
I could probably improve in this area but I have seen a lot of disordered eating in my days as an athlete and I would rather ere on the side of eating a bit unhealthy than starving my body of the energy it needs.
Q: What would be some tips for women that have young or teenage children but want to stay fit? How much or how little time do you think is needed to spend on exercising to feel fit and healthy? What activities do you recommend?
It won’t just happen. You need to prioritize it!
My advice would be don’t feel guilty for taking time to take care of yourself. Your kids need a healthy mom and a good role model.
Every little bit counts but if you want to see real gains in fitness I suggest a minimum of 3-4 sessions per week of 30 minutes. I recommend running or jogging if you can as it is easy to get out, requires very little equipment or cost. If finances allow then a gym with good childcare is awesome… you get a break and your kids get some socializing so it works for everyone.
Q: Where do you find the motivation and persistence to keep going after your athletic dreams for so many years? There must be struggles along the way.
Yes, definitely it’s not always easy.
For me the motivation, inspiration and persistence stems from a genuine love of mountain sports. If I wasn’t competing or there wasn’t any social media you would still find me multiple days of the week enjoying biking, running or skiing. When you have found a true passion, I think, is when it really doesn’t feel like work or training, it feels like a privilege.
Q: Do you have any favourite books or movies you would like to share with Nayelle’s fans?
I enjoyed Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown. I also enjoy a lot of different movies, I recently watched Wonder Women and enjoyed that 🙂