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How Athletes Train: Ryann O’Toole

The training regimen:

“In golf, the aim is always to build strength and explosiveness. You also need trunk separation, a stable lower body and strong upper body to help you keep your back straight while swinging the club. Core strength is crucial because golf isn’t easy on your back.

I break my program down by days of the week. Mondays and Tuesdays are for intense gym sessions, one for the upper body and one for the lower body, each lasting 90 minutes.

I always start with a 10-minute warm-up on the treadmill doing hills at a steady pace followed by a 15-minute dynamic stretch to fire up the muscle groups I’m using that day. Then I’ll get into my lifting routine, which consists of three circuits with three exercises each.

We always mix it up. I’ll do kettlebell swings, pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, medicine ball slams, and rotational lunges with weighted clubs. Another exercise we’re working on right now is a sprinter’s lunge: I’ll get in a forward lunge and quickly step onto a box with my back leg while holding two dumbbells. It requires explosiveness, stability, and glute strength. I do two sets of 10 to 12 reps per side.

For my core and thoracic spine, I perform dead hangs with knee raises on a pull-up bar. Dragon flags are another favorite, where I’ll lie on my back gripping an anchor point behind my head and slowly raise and lower my legs, keeping them extended. If I can get two strong sets of five reps with proper form, that’s really good.

I usually rest on Wednesdays or do 20 minutes of cardio, depending on how I feel. Thursdays through Sundays I golf. If I have an afternoon round, I’ll warm up in the morning with cardio, dynamic stretches, and one full-body circuit.”

The nutrition regimen:

“I think it’s good to know your blood type, since it affects digestion. People with type O blood, like me, can eat a lot of red meat, poultry, and fish, and it’s best to pair protein with carbs. I only eat a little bit of fat. I could never do the keto diet.

I usually have oatmeal with protein powder in the morning before I train, then a second breakfast of white rice, two over-medium eggs, and half an avocado. For lunch and dinner, I usually eat a vegetable salad with quinoa or rice plus protein, like chicken or fish. I always have an afternoon snack, either a Bulletproof or GoMacro bar, nuts, beef jerky, or Trader Joe’s trail mix.

When I’m home, it’s much easier to eat clean. I believe vegetables fuel your brain, which is a muscle, so I try to eat them as much as I can whether they’re whole or in cold-pressed juices.”

The recovery regimen:

“My dad is a chiropractor so I grew up addressing physical issues the natural way. I have weekly massages, take Epsom salt baths, and try to see a physical therapist when I’m on the road. I also take adrenal support supplements, natural histamines, calcium, and fish oil. I switch between tuna and cod liver, the latter of which has more vitamin D.”

What’s next:

“After the US Open I'll compete in the Evian Championship in France starting July 22, then the Women’s British Open at Woburn near London on July 29. Having two back-to-back majors like that is pretty unusual and will take a toll on a lot of players.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for publication.