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Along with her partner, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh won two consecutive gold medals in women’s beach volleyball. After winning gold in Beijing, Walsh had two sons and is now working with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute to get her body back so she can return to the sport she loves. She spoke with TheGloss about loving your body, the importance of exercise, and why you should never skimp on sunscreen.

How did you get involved with Gatorade Performance Labs?

I have been on the Gatorade team since 2003 or 2004, but this is the first time I got involved. It’s been super educational. I realized I’d been doing things wrong over the years and wanted to be stronger coming back from my break.

A lot of people think of Gatorade as a “male” brand. Do you think that’s true?

I think they people they highlighted were usually men, but last year they hired several women – Mia Hamm, Serena Williams, Misty [May-Treanor]. As far as the practicality of drinking Gatorade – if you’re an athlete you should be drinking it. You should be hydrated, and you should be hydrated with the best stuff. They spare no expense with the science behind the products.

Has being a mom changed the way that you feel about your body?

I am really proud. I have come to appreciate my nody so much more – it is remarkable what a woman can do and to work with God and produce this miracle. I feel strong and empowered, I have strength I didn’t know I had.

It is a little scary with a new body, but it’s also exciting because I am starting from scratch and I can correct old asymmetries and get balanced.  I really feel like labor and pregnancy opened up my eyes about what I can do with my body. We are more capable than we ever imagined.

What advice do you have for young women who want to get involved in sports?

Do it! That is my advice. I grew up with sports my whole life, and I learned many important life lessons – perseverance, to overcome obstacles, to communicate with others. It builds character. The first step is always the hardest, but step up and give it your all. I found my passion when I first stepped on the volleyball court when I was 10.

You have a job that requires you to spend a lot of time in the sun. What do you do to protect your skin?

I am Irish; I am fair. I use the best products out there – Murad has a line called environmental shield. It protects you against all the outside stresses and covers you up. The sun is not terrible, but you need to take care of yourself.

How can a woman who isn’t a professional athlete feel good about the way she looks in a swimsuit?

[After giving birth] I started embracing the process of getting comfortable. Being fit and using your body is the best. It’s not always about going to the gym for three hours – sometimes I go on a walk and just feel my body. You start getting that swagger back, you start feeling comfortable. And find the right suit – not everyone is a string bikini girl!

I also think a lot of us keep carbs away because we wre told they were bad, but you need them to feel your body and mind. Carbs are our friends. I just want to encourage people to use their bodies and feel their best.