How to Manage Life’s Challenges and Live Well During the COVID-19 Shutdown

In this very special interview, we’re joined by two icons in the sports world: proud New Jersey natives Carli Lloyd and Eric Legrand. They’ll be discussing the important and timely topics of overcoming challenges and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the COVID-19 shutdown. 

Meet Carli Lloyd 

Carli Lloyd is a globally recognized soccer icon having won two FIFA World Cups and two Olympic gold medals. She is also a two-time FIFA Player of theYear and currently serves as captain of the US Women’s National Team. This New Jersey native starred on the women’s soccer team at Rutgers University and currently plays professionally for Sky Blue FC.

Meet Eric LeGrand

Eric LeGrand is a former Rutgers football player, universally revered entrepreneur, sports broadcaster, and motivational speaker. Since suffering a severe spinal cord injury from an on- field play that left him paralyzed in 2010, Eric has inspired millions around the world with his unwavering positive perspective and spirit.

Through high-profile advocacy, he has raised over 1 million dollars for spinal cord research. He has been named the most influential person in New Jersey by The Star-Ledger and received the Jimmy V award for Perseverance at the 2012 ESPY Awards. The Jimmy V Award for Perseverance is given to “a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination.” LeGrand’s infectious optimism in the face of overwhelming adversity is what makes him a true hero.  

Eric LeGrand Interview with Carli Lloyd 


Eric: Carli, what are you doing to stay healthy in these times?

Carli: Wild times going on. I don’t think anyone could have predicted this, and unfortunately, no one really knows when we’ll all resume our normal daily lives. So, it’s difficult.

Sometimes things happen and you have to adapt. 

There’s a lot of things out of our control right now. But the biggest thing that I’ve taken away throughout life (and all the challenges that I’ve been through) is adapting to whatever comes your way and trying to find a silver lining. 

I’m enjoying the pause of life right now.

Thankfully my husband and I are healthy and have a roof over our heads (I haven’t lost my job). But I know there are tons of other people who are really suffering out there, and it saddens me. It really does. So, I’m trying to soak up the time that I normally don’t have. I’ve been getting outside to run, and I also have a facility that my coach and mentor, James, has which is good timing that he just got it. So, I’ve been able to go in there and get really good workouts in.

But, I know that those people are in environments that they can’t really get out. 


Eric: Adapting is huge. How often are you able to workout now that you have this time on your hands? 

Carli: You know, I’ve actually been getting in really good training (probably more so than ever in my career). A couple of reasons being that I have nothing on my schedule. I’m not flying to appearances, I’m not meeting up with the national team, I’m not meeting up with my Sky Blue team. There’s really literally nothing going on, so I can wake up every day and not set an alarm. 

I usually train in the afternoon, I go to the facility probably five to six days a week, and then I’m running on my own just outdoors by myself. So, it’s really good. I’m improving a lot more now with my situation than before; I’m really taking advantage of it.


Eric: As we know, all you really need is a field of grass to train. Can you talk about how other people (who may not have facilities) can train at home?

Carli: You have to get creative. That’s the biggest thing is just getting creative. If you have steps in your house, you can walk up and down the steps, you can run up and down the steps (with caution). You can do lunges off the steps, you can do lunges off your couch. And if you have a home gym, or you have some equipment, you can do other exercises here and there. If you’re able to go outside and run around or take a bike out and go for a little ride, there are plenty of ways to stay active. 

The biggest thing is that you just have to get creative and find a way.

Throughout my career, I’ve never let anything come in the way of my training. If I’m flying to an appearance, I have to find a patch of grass and get creative and get to it. There are also a lot of online workouts that people can follow. 


Eric: A lot of times, people don’t talk about this, but as an athlete, we both know the mentality (being mentally tough and overcoming adversity). How are you doing mentally through this process? What are your next steps? How are you going to get through it and mentally put yourself in the right position to continue to train at 100%.

Carli: Like I said, it’s tough times and every single person around the world and in our country is dealing with this situation in a different way. I don’t think there are any two situations the same. 


My husband and I don’t have kids so we’re not having to do home-school like many others are. During the day, we can figure things out…wake up and figure out what we want to do. But, I think a lot of our stress that we put on ourselves each and every day is from the thoughts and the things going on in our mind. 

If you practice positive thinking and trying to find the silver lining in every challenging situation, you’re usually better off. 

I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but I do really try to live that type of lifestyle every single day. Just try to become positive and become a little better each and every day. I know it’s challenging, and hopefully, we all bounce back from this. 


Eric: Day by day is definitely the way to take it. How has your diet changed during this pandemic now that you have the time to cook?

Carli: That’s right! The first week when I got home in mid-march after the She Believes Cup tournament (we finished up in Dallas against Japan), everything was starting to get real. That first week, I didn’t do anything. I kind of just let my mind and body recover.

I wasn’t probably eating the greatest, you know, I was binging on the Double Stuffed Golden Oreos). But, I got it out of my system, and then I was back to the grind and back to working out.

I really believe that if you want to live a healthy lifestyle and cook and find some recipes that are healthy, it does require a lot of prep and time. Thankfully, I have the time and my husband and I have been doing the cooking in the kitchen together and just enjoying that. We found some new recipes that we really love. We love good quality food and healthy food so that’s been important.


Eric: Of all the places you’ve been in the world, where would you say is your most favorite place to visit? 

Carli: Spain! I really loved Barcelona. Madrid was a beautiful city. Portugal is also a beautiful country. There’s some really nice parts of it. I have a lot of places on my bucket list that I would like to go: Greece and New Zealand. 


Eric: Are you reading any new books or listening to any new music?

Carli: I have a David Goggins book. Talk about will. I have a lot of other books lined up: mentality books, leadership books. I like books that I can learn from. 


Eric: You’re always competing against yourself. But what is your “Why”? What is it that pushes you each and every day?

Carli: My why is the will to be the best that I can be every single day.  

Every single day, we wake up and it’s an opportunity to be better. You may not feel at your best or you may not feel like getting up and doing a presentation or doing a workout, but you just have to have that will to get through it. 

Empty the tank.

Just give it your all every single day. 

Strive to be better, one day at a time. 

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Find out more about YOLKED, “Protein’s Perfect Partner: A Breakthrough in Sports Nutrition!” 

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Aaron Gordon
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