(Living Well With)

Professional Sailor Anna Weis Is Making Waves

The first female grinder in Sail GP history, Weis pushes the limits on and off the water.

TZR; Courtesy of USA SailGP
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You may not be familiar with Anna Weis, just yet, but she’s kind of a big deal. A former Olympic sailor who competed at the Tokyo 2020 games, the 26-year-old is now the first female grinder full-time across all Sail GP teams — a major feat considering the incredible strength and finesse required of this role.

Beyond physically training six days a week, most often twice a day, the Fort Lauderdale native prepares herself mentally, too. “We're always studying video and watching back data,” she says to TZR. “We're constantly trying to look at the teams that are better than us, and teams that are dominating, and just what are they doing differently, and how we can improve.”

Weis’ determination and focus was apparent even at a young age. Although the professional athlete didn’t come from generations of sailors, she carved her own nautical path. Her parents signed her up for sailing camp the summer she was eight years old, and it ignited a passion that drove her to sail and compete throughout her childhood. As a high school senior, she won the 2016 single-handed Laser Radial US championship, at Boston University she was on the varsity rowing team, and in 2019, Weis won the gold medal at the Pan American games in Lima, Peru.

Courtesy of Anna Weis

Weis’ impressive achievements go beyond the water, too. She is hoping to lead by example and show that women can compete in the male-dominated sport of sailing and take on the challenging position as grinder. “I think being in a role where no other women are, I think it's a really cool opportunity to push for more things in the sport. I am working really hard to prove that it is possible, and hopefully inspire a lot of other young women and just women in general to take on a new role.”

Curious about how Weis gets it all done? Luckily, ahead of the New York race, TZR sat down with the athlete who shares the lessons she’s learned along the way, how she motivates herself — even when she feels like she can’t take another step — and the sage advice she has for aspiring young female athletes.

Courtesy of Anna Weis

When you have the chance to treat yourself, what do you do?

I like to get coffee out. A nice oat milk latte, it's really good. Iced though. It needs to be iced.

What are you listening to these days?

Lots of Taylor Swift. The Tortured Poets Department's really good. I think she's probably my most common artist. I'm trying to expand and find new artists and stuff, but I think she's always my go-to.

Where are you dreaming of traveling to? Why?

I would really like to go to Patagonia in Argentina. My boyfriend's family is from there, and so I think I'd really like to go explore, just be down there. It's so beautiful from the photos that I've seen.

One thing you can’t live without is...

My family.

What’s a healthy meal you always make/order?

I love sweet potatoes, and I also like tacos. So I make sweet potatoes with some ground beef and black beans, and make a little taco bowl. I feel like that's a really nice one. And then breakfast food, you can never go wrong with avocado toast and some eggs on top. It just never gets old. It's so good.

How do you nourish your body when you're in such physical training all the time?

With a lot of carbs. We're grateful to work with a dietitian through Red Bull, who's one of our partners, and he's keeping us right with all of our food intakes. And anywhere in the morning, I'll be eating avocado toast with eggs or lots of smoothies, salads, lots of whole foods. I really like that. But also, on the water, we're eating a lot of carbs, so I really like baby food pouches. I found that that really works.

Courtesy of Anna Weis

What do you do on a day-to-day basis when you’re training for a tournament?

I'm doing lots of cardio, lots of high intense interval stuff, and lifting as well. And so, on that side, we have a trainer who works with the team. And so, he takes care of that stuff physically.

When you're training and you just feel like you can't do one more thing, what do you tell yourself to keep moving?

Well, I try to surround myself with a lot of other like-minded people. Currently, I'm at the Red Bull facility in Santa Monica. Having a place to show up every day on time and being around all these other high-class athletes, people who've won all these gold medals or are going to the Olympics, it's just really cool to surround yourself with people who want to perform and achieve their goals. I think it can be really hard to motivate on your own, just because training this much and really committing yourself to only that is quite challenging. And so I think the life hack for me, is just to surround myself with other people.

Do you remember your first big splurge? Do you still own it?

Maybe one of my sailboats. My teammate and I bought it together when we were training for the Tokyo Olympics. It's called a Nacra 17, it's one of the Olympic sailing classics.

Being out in the sun all the time, what is your go-to sunscreen?

It’s Harken Derm.

What’s one thing you want to go back and tell your younger self?

I think I'd tell my younger self to not worry about what other people think, because I've learned that so many people are so caught up in their own lives, and they're all just trying to figure it out. I felt like when I was younger, I thought at 26, I was going to have my life figured out. And I feel like I'm still just taking it day to day, and what is coming at me. I think I would just tell her to not worry or stress about the future, not worry about what other people think, and just be who you are to your core. Just go for life.

What is one piece of advice for young female athletes?

A big thing that I've always struggled with is body image, and being a powerful and strong woman in a sport that's male dominated. I look different than a lot of other girls who maybe don't play a sport.

I just think that if I could give any advice, it'd just be to embrace who you are and don't let anybody tell you that you're not good enough or you're not beautiful enough to do your sport. I think we can celebrate what we do, what our bodies can do for us, not what they look like. We all have a lot of critical thoughts about ourselves, but I would just say don't let those thoughts stop you from doing what you love and going after your dreams.