Recently we caught up with Team USANA Athlete and Australian beach volleyballer Zina Stone, where we talked about her goals, motivation and how she has overcome an almost career-stopping injury to get back on the sand!
Zina has been playing beach volleyball for the past nine years. Throughout these years, she has had some serious injuries and also some small injuries most elite athletes experience during their careers.
After returning from a knee reconstruction in 2011/2012 Zina was determined not only to qualify for a spot in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games but also to bring home the gold for her country, but said “it hasn’t been an easy ride, especially as a self funded athlete”.
Zina was training around 25 hours per week, working 30 hours per week, plus constantly seeking sponsorship and managing travel and competitions.
“To find time to have the much needed recovery between training’s was almost impossible. This is ultimately what lead to my injuries in late 2014. I didn’t have the luxuries that full time funded athletes had,” she said.
After competing on one of many six week tours on the FIVB World Tour Zina was told the bad news, that she had a labral tear in both her shoulder and hip along with ongoing patella and hamstring tendonitis.
“It was in that moment along with some other components I had to make the decision to step back from international competition to try and rehabilitate my injuries, knowing that this would mean giving up my opportunity to make it to Rio. This was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life,” she said.
So what motivated Zina to keep going?
“It didn’t take long for me to miss the game, I set myself some new goals and I knew I had to take small steps or I would again push myself to the limit and cause yet again another injury. My motivation to get better was for the love of the game itself.”
She said USANA also played a large part in her recovery and that “having the support from USANA during this extremely tough time has assisted hugely in keeping my health in check so I could focus on my rehab and get back on the sand as soon as possible”.
“USANA has kept their belief and support in me as an athlete and that belief has provided me with that extra motivation to get back competing again.”
Zina takes a variety of USANA products to be at her best including Essentials, Proflavanol C100, Active Calcium Plus, BiOmega, Procosamine, Proglucamune.
“Plus I enjoy the Nutrimeal shakes pre and post trainings and sometimes for breakfast…strawberry is my favourite flavour,” she added.
So now that’s she’s back on the sand what is next for Zina?
“I am excited that I am now going to be able to compete again, I still need to modify my training load but I can’t wait for my first competition for the summer. On November 1, I will be playing in the South Australian Beach Volleyball Summer Series,” she said.
“I am also running a volleyball program called AZ Training with my partner Adam Maskell who is a former Australian Indoor and Beach Volleyball athlete, he has been coaching volleyball at an elite level all around the world for many years. Together we have developed AZ Training to bring an elite style of training to all levels of volleyball ability. I am able to schedule my own training in with some of the AZ Training Women’s squad members which is such great fun,” she said.
“My goal is to be able to play competitive volleyball for as many years as possible, while keeping on top of any injuries that may develop. While doing this I want to bring with me as many like minded people on not only my journey but help create a volleyball journey of their own. I want to promote a healthy work/life balance and I believe I can help many people achieve this through AZ Training.”
From the team at USANA Australia we wish Zina all the best with her upcoming competition and goals!