Hi everyone! My name is Abby King (@akingskitchen) and I am a division one soccer player with a passion for holistic lifestyle especially nutrition that I want to share! I am a senior at the University of San Diego and am on the journey of combining my passion for athletics, healthy eating/cooking, and psychology to create a holistic lifestyle that gives me the tools to perform at my highest level in every aspect of my life. This blog will provide healthy recipes, fitness tips specific to college athletics and not, as well as mental aspects that I have applied both in my sport and everyday life. I truly believe it takes all three to provide your body with the tools it needs to feel good and be present in all aspects of life. I hope I can provide tools to support you on your journey as I continue to grow in mine everyday!
Soccer has always played a huge role in my life. Going into my 5th year of division one soccer, this sport has dominated my life for about 17 years (wow that sounds like a long time when I read it back) and in Fall of 2017 I had the decision to end my soccer career or continue playing for a fifth year. The experience that I have had in the past four years and the decision to continue playing is what inspired this blog.
Growing up, most kids participate in some sort of organized sports and I was no different. Things quickly escalated as I joined a club team and all of a sudden found myself making the decision to play soccer in college as well. Although my mom had always encouraged a healthy lifestyle and I have to admit was quite ahead of the trends, my own health journey started my freshman year. Looking back, I had it pretty easy in high school. I was a natural athlete and beside the set back of an ACL tear, my athleticism took me through the recruiting process fairly easily.
Starting freshmen year, I did not understand how important it was to fuel my body correctly, both physically and mentally. In high school, my friends and I always would joke about how we could eat anything because we run so much and going into my freshman year this was the mindset I adopted. Although I wasn’t stuffing myself excessively, I was not fueling my body properly. Without demonizing specific foods, I was not eating healthy and on top of this I was eating way too much. Yes, running for 90 minutes+ , doing fitness, and weightlifting constitutes higher calorie intake but this much exercise does not equate to eating whatever you want.
I had no idea how much of an impact my diet could have on my performance and looking back I do not feel the advice I was given about my diet encouraged positive results, it was all about quantity over quality. I was feeling sluggish, I gained weight, was not performing, and did not play Needless to say, June of my freshmen year I decided to transfer last minute to my current university, University of San Diego.
Fast forward to November after my sophomore soccer season at University of San Diego, I had a chance to play some minutes, get some experience but was still not very consistent and not playing to my full potential. Based of how I was feeling, I decided I wanted to clean up my diet a bit. I had grown up baking a lot and helping my mom in the kitchen so I decided to start searching Pinterest and making simple, healthy, good food. In all honesty, this first attempt to start cooking and eating healthier was for the wrong reasons, I was unhappy with how I looked at the time and that is what caused me to start making these changes. Little did I know it would lead to a passion for cooking and nutrition that would change my life. I began to realize how much I loved being in the kitchen and how it could be an outlet completely separate from soccer which is something that I had not experienced before. I definitely was not dieting but I was properly fueling my body and I immediately noticed a difference in how I felt and performed.
The following November after season, I was eating a lot better and feeling much better physically; however, something was still missing and I was still playing inconsistently like the previous year. As a transfer, I had just started my upper division psychology classes and had to read a book for one of my classes that completely changed my outlook on my life and was supported by science (Mindset: The Psychology of Success). Read my post about attribution theory if you’re interested. This was the final piece to my puzzle, I had enough experience to understand what I needed to do in fitness and soccer, I was on the path the fueling my body the way I needed to and I now understood the mentality that I had to adopt in order to push myself to success. I am not saying that this book will work for everyone but it completely changed the way that I thought about myself in every aspect of my life.
After getting a new coach for my supposed senior year and consistently starting games throughout the season after 3 years it occurred to me that what I had done since adopting this new mindset was create a holistic lifestyle that not only had me performing the best I had in my athletic career but was also allowing me to feel great in all aspects of my life. I was giving myself all the tools I needed to perform to my best ability. My sport was not defining me, I was enjoying it and it was the happiest I had been since going to college.
Now, 4 years, 3 coaches later, I made the decision November 2017 to give myself one more year. I look at it as another chance, an opportunity to implement all I have learned, help others in any way I can and continue to grow myself. This passion and outlook of the world inspires me to better myself every day and has shown me what I want to do with my life and how I can help others. I do not claim that this lifestyle makes me better than the competition only that it makes me the best version of myself and I do hope I can provide some tools that helped me to others. The world of athletics and the world in general has a long way to go in all aspects of health. Fall 2018 I will be playing my last season of soccer and starting my masters in integrative nutrition in order to continue my education and pursue a career in this field.