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Erika Reineke: America’s Laser Radial Sailor Shares Her Workout & Diet Secrets

erika reineke


Erika Reineke has been recognized for several years as one of America’s top young sailing talents, but she has clearly asserted herself as one of the toughest competitors in the world in the Laser Radial class during the Rio Olympic quadrennium. Reineke was the top U.S. athlete at the past two Radial Women’s World Championships, and in 2015 her Worlds finish was an impressive 10th overall.


Laser Radial, Senior Level:

College Career:

Youth Career:

Erika Reineke is an exceptionally talented Laser Radial Sailing Champion. She is in conversation with Namita Nayyar, President – Women Fitness.

Ms. Namita Nayyar: You have been a member of U.S. Sailing Team since 2013 (2012)*. You reached the pinnacle of success in Laser Radial Sailing when you came 2nd at Rio de Janeiro Sailing Week, 2015 and finished 10th at the Laser Radial World Championship 2015. Tell us about this incredible journey and how it all began?

Ms. Erika Reineke: It felt amazing to be able to secure a 2nd place finish at the Olympic venue and come home with three top 10 finishes at the World Championships throughout the quad. It was nothing short of a dream to compete against current Olympic athletes and some of the best sailors in the world. It all started at eight years old when my parents signed me up for Summer Sailing Camp at Lauderdale Yacht Club. I was far from the best in the group and terrified of strong breeze. Every time the wind came up, I would have a “stomach ache.” It wasn’t until my mom said she would give me a chocolate chip cookie for every race I won, that those “stomach aches” turned into stomach bliss. Let’s just say my learning curve rapidly accelerated with an incentive. Soon after, I saw that hard work could put me at the top of the sailing world. Ever since, I have tried to uphold the values of a champion.


All content on this site is copyright of Women Fitness and no part of any article found on this site may be reproduced without an express permission and highlighted, do follow link crediting or preferably the original page as the source. This interview is exclusive and taken by Namita Nayyar President and should not be reproduced, copied or hosted in part or full anywhere without an express permission.

All Written Content Copyright © 2016 Women Fitness

Ms. Namita Nayyar: Your interest in sailing began at an early age when you were only 8. Who has been your greatest influence and motivator in choosing Laser Radial Sailing as a sport?

Ms. Erika Reineke: My greatest influence in choosing the Radial was the 2008 Laser Radial Olympic Gold Medalist, Anna Tunnicliffe. As a little kid, I remember watching from a power boat how she moved with such strength and grace around the race course. From that day on, I knew I wanted to grow up and be just like her. Today, I still use her old sail number as my own. It reminds me how once I was just a kid with a little bit of talent and a very big dream.

Ms. Namita Nayyar: What is your current workout routine?

Ms. Erika Reineke: During a normal non-competitive week, I will knock out my strength training in the early mornings then take to the rest of the day to recover for next training session later on. To finish off the day, in the late afternoons I do high intensity workouts involving sprints (running, rowing, biking, or swimming) and circuit training. Recently I have gotten into Crossfit so some of these high intensity workouts will go along the lines of a typical WOD (work out of the day). I am always lying on the floor for a few minutes after these workouts. Every night before bed, I hydrate and get a good stretch session in to maximize recovery for the next day of training.

When the US Sailing Team Sperry organizes training camps, we are out on the water for a good amount of time working hard to perfect technique and gain mental strength to execute tactically well across all legs of the race course. During these camps, rather than having the afternoons to recover for the next training session, there are no breaks. I will go from strength training to sailing to high intensity on a typical day. However, when competition comes around sailing is easy because everything else is taken out.

Ms. Namita Nayyar: Do you take some special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?

Ms. Erika Reineke: Definitely. In the beginning, I did’t realize how much diet can affect your body physically and your mental game. My body feels the best when I stick to a paleo type diet. This program is based on consuming meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables while staying away from dairy, grains, and processed food. Mentally, I don’t feel myself spiking and crashing in energy. Physically, I have been able to increase my overall strength, obtain more lean muscle mass, and cut some fat off that I carry around my stomach area. Additionally, using the paleo diet I can eat twice as much! Actually I need to eat twice as much to get all the carbs I have burned off during a workout. Having an incredible sweet tooth, it is definitely hard for me to resist ice-cream, cookies, and brownies. I do have cheat days where I’ll have something non-paleo but I will limit those days to once a week. Sometimes when I just can’t stop the craving, I’ll have a tiny piece of dark chocolate to hold me over.

Ms. Namita Nayyar: For Sailing you have to be out in the sun for most of your time. How are you then able to maintain your skin and hair in order to keep them young, glowing and so healthy?

Ms. Erika Reineke: It’s funny because when I was young, my hair dresser always used to tell me how damaged my hair was from the constant exposer to saltwater and from always wearing it in a pony-tail. Of course I didn’t care much as a kid but when I got a little older, I started to see the effects. Now I make sure I have regular hair cuts to get the dead ends off and keep split ends from taking over. I also try to wash my hair every other day so it doesn’t get too dried out from shampoo. Being an athlete, I workout and sweat constantly to the point where sometimes I’ll take 2-3 showers a day. If I were to shampoo and condition every time, my hair would not be healthy.

To keep my skin guarded from the sun, I wear long-sleeved rash guards and long wetsuits bottoms. To protect my face, my go-to brand of sunscreen is Zinka. I am actually allergic to every brand other than this type. Other brands add so many unnecessary chemicals to their block that my face burns and breakouts from them. Also, most of these brands wash off in the water anyway. Zinka stays on my face all day and I rarely have to reapply over the course of a 5 hour training day on the water.


Ms. Namita Nayyar: Advice and motivational words to the inspiring and budding sailor girls who all are your fans, they shall like to know from you, what they should do for their climb to ladder of success in field of laser radial sailing?

Ms. Erika Reineke: The best advice I can give to young radial girls is to always remember to have fun and be yourself. Before every training session or regatta day on the water, it has become part of my routine to launch my boat early and take a second to appreciate the scenery and the beauty of the sport. This reminds me how blessed I am to be in the sport and how much fun it is to just sail.

Ms. Namita Nayyar: Throughout your college sailing career, you have been a three-time Quantum Women’s Sailor of the Year Finalist, three-time Women’s All-American, and received recognition as an Honorable Mention in the Coed Division. How were you able to create a balance between your college education and sailing career?

Ms. Erika Reineke: It was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. Pursuing my academics, college sailing, and olympic sailing was stressful, time consuming, and exhausting. Almost every weekend was taken over by college sailing regattas so Saturdays and Sundays were not an option to study. Additionally, there were weeks at a time that I would take off of school for my olympic sailing career. Missing a week of class might not sound that bad but making up work is extremely difficult. The biggest thing I took away from it all was how to manage my time. I organized time to meet with my professors in office hours and scheduled tutoring through Boston College’s Student-Athlete Center.

If I knew I had an olympic sailing event coming up, I would ask for work a month ahead of time so I could be stress free when the regatta came around. With all these things going on, it’s also not healthy to deprive yourself a social life. After all, you only get to experience college once. I made sure to block in times to hangout with friends and go to social events. Overall, balancing everything was an extremely challenging experience but with the help of a planner, I was able to make it work.

Ms. Namita Nayyar: You came second at the 2011 ISAF Youth Sailing World Champs, third at the 2010 ISAF Youth World Champs, and 1st at the 2010 Laser Youth World Champs. Tell us about the most memorable experience that you’ve had across all these Championships?

Ms. Erika Reineke: My most memorable moment was winning the 2010 and 2011 Laser Youth Worlds after just having come off a loss at the 2010 and 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds. Both ISAF Worlds preceded the Laser Worlds by one week. Two years in a row after losing the ISAF’s, a fire ignited in my stomach to go out and win it all the following week. Standing on the podium watching the American flag rise proudly was a moment I will never forget.

Ms. Namita Nayyar: Being a Female in a Male’s Sport, how are you able to perform at par with your other male opponents?

Ms. Erika Reineke: Honestly, it takes a little more effort. I know that with all my gym work, I will probably never be as strong as some of the best male athletes in the sport. However, the goal for me is to minimize the gap physically. The stronger I get, the more confident I am that I can take down my male competitors. Also, sailing is just as much a mind game as it is physical. If your mental game is strong you have every advantage. You could be the strongest sailor in the world but if your tactical game isn’t sharp then you will not come out with a win.

Ms. Namita Nayyar: What do you wish to say about the website and message for its visitors?

Ms. Erika Reineke: Live in the moment and always remember to smile! 🙂

To know more about Erika, check out her website:

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Women Fitness Team thanks Erika Reineke for giving us her valuable time for this interview and quenching the thirst of her fans to know more about her and making this interview happen.


All content on this site is copyright of Women Fitness and no part of any article found on this site may be reproduced without an express permission and highlighted, do follow link crediting or preferably the original page as the source. This interview is exclusive and taken by Namita Nayyar President and should not be reproduced, copied or hosted in part or full anywhere without an express permission.

All Written Content Copyright © 2016 Women Fitness

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