When the Women’s Professional Soccer league became official, Katie Hooker thought, “This is it; this is what I’ve been waiting for, so let’s get training.” She’d played Division 1, and one year of professional soccer (until the WUSA league folded in 2003), but six years had passed. “Now, as a married woman with a great full-time job, I was faced with a real decision of whether or not I wanted to try and play pro again…silly question. I knew I would play.”
That meant hard work. “It takes a lot to plan your day around training,” she says “when will I get to eat, when will I train, when is there time to work, time to be with my husband (as newly weds), time to spend with the dog, and time to sleep and recover?” She trained through Colorado’s freezing winter with a crew of seventeen-year-old boys (“It was the best thing I ever did for my game”) and eventually was drafted by the New Jersey Sky Blue, a team she helped take from last place to the championship.
These days, Katie is assistant soccer coach at the University of Denver. Though she does get on-the-job workouts, she still knows the difficulties of working in working out in a busy life. “If you think about it most professional athletes only have one job. When you combine that stuff with a ‘real’ job, it can become complicated.” The first step is a good attitude: She sees workouts “as time to listen to music, exercise with my dog, or to just be outside. I’ve always looked for a way to make it fun and enjoyable.”
When it comes to the details, Katie bucks the conventional wisdom that you should choose a routine and stick with it. “I think the secret is to change things up. Not only is it better for your body but it’s a lot more fun.” Workouts, she says, can come in many forms: when your routine just isn’t possible, “embrace the opportunity to do something different.”
And for those moments when even the lure of something new isn’t enough? Katie has this sage advice: “I find, if I simply go get dressed in the proper clothes, I am halfway there: one less excuse!”
Home: Littleton, CO
Occupation: Asst. Soccer Coach at University of Denver
Education: BSBA in Statistics from University of Denver
Partner: Jeff Hooker, husband
Sports, past and present: Played soccer, softball, basketball, golf and tennis growing up…still do all of those including snow skiing.
Athletic accomplishments: Division 1 soccer player, Professional Soccer player and Champion.
Little known fact about you: I hate rain.
Guilty pleasure: Pizza.
Most embarrassing moment: Peed my pants in my second grade classroom.
Greatest triumph: Having a breakthrough moment with my old dog. I spent two years trying to train her to be off-leash and return to me, and it finally happened. She passed away shortly after.
Favorite thing to do when not working or working out: Sun bathe in Ventura, CA and swim in the ocean.
Since I never do the same thing week to week, this is what it looked like last week:
Monday: Train/play soccer with the team for 1.5hrs includes warming up, playing soccer, running fitness, including some core work, and a cool down. A hard work ou.t
Tuesday: Similar to Monday, but for a shorter period of time only one hour. A hard work out.
Wednesday: Same as Monday, very intense. A hard workout.
Thursday: Take the day off: body is tired and has worked very hard for three straight days.
Friday: Light jog with the dog, about 20minutes. Upon return, I do three sets of pushups, ten pushups per set. Each one has a different emphasis, like go down slow and up fast, or vice versa. Last set is done with hands in the triangle to emphasize the “lats” a little more. A light workout
Saturday: Golf, take dog for a few long walks. Although I usually ride in a cart when golfing, there are times to walk to your ball or the next tee, so I take advantage of that. When out with the dog, I use it not necessarily as a time for fitness, but it is still time spent doing a physical activity versus doing nothing.
Moment of Inspiration: Listening to then teammate, Heather O’Reilly, give an inspirational speech last summer to a group of aspiring youth soccer players. It inspired me to share my knowledge and always give back.
Favorite Quote: “Perfect practice makes perfect”
Oh yeah, and why is your nickname Flo?: In the 1984 Olympics, there was a volleyball player named Flo Heiman. I was two years old at the time and my older siblings were watching a lot of the Olympic games. The story goes I saw Flo and just said, “I’m Flo.” So being the wonderful brothers they are, they said “Ok, you’re Flo”…and it stuck for life. My six brothers and their friends still call me Flo.