Darian Jenkins is a professional soccer player who plays forward/winger for Kansas City in the National Women's Soccer League. As an ambassador for Nuzest, we recently caught up with her to learn more about her journey as an athlete. Darian shares how she uses Nuzest in her active lifestyle and why she loves Clean Lean Protein (not to mention her delicious smoothie ideas!).
Q: When did you start playing soccer and how did you discover it was your passion?
I was about 7 when I first discovered soccer. I was in dance and basketball, but started playing soccer with some boys at recess and fell in love. I asked my mom to sign me up and it took off from there! I started in rec, club, and then I began to get serious attention from Junior National Team and colleges. I was lucky enough to have some options and chose UCLA.
Q: What advice would you give to soccer beginners?
Challenge yourself technically every day, set small goals for yourself, and always have something you’re working on. And most importantly, study the game! Watch the players movements that aren’t on the ball and work on the fundamentals of the game. That's what is going to separate you from a young age and always be a reliable skillset to have throughout your career.
Q: How does getting back onto the field this season differ from last season?
Although last year was tough with the pandemic and all the restrictions that it presented, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go abroad and play in France’s professional league for FCGB Bordeaux for 6 months last off-season. I moved straight to Kansas City from France and felt very sharp and fit coming from my experience there. It challenged me mentally, tactically, and technically, which made my move into pre-season with KC much smoother.
Q: With soccer being such a demanding sport, what does your health and wellness routine look like?
I’ve always taken good care of myself physically and eaten well, but something I’ve been focusing on this year especially is my mental health. I’ve started seeing a sports psychologist who has helped me develop a great routine before training and games. I’ve incorporated meditation, visualization, and breathing exercises that help me get in the zone before I perform. It has helped immensely with confidence and my overall energy level when I step onto the field.
Q: What are some of the goals you have for yourself?
My ultimate goal is to be on the National Team, but in the meantime, I want to continue to be a game changer and be a player that teams dread to play against, and use those abilities abroad to challenge myself playing overseas again.
Q: How do you incorporate Nuzest into your active lifestyle?
I use Nuzest every day, post-training and games. I have a shaker and mix my favorite flavor Rich Chocolate Clean Lean Protein with some water. I immediately drink it, usually in an ice bath, and it's also a tasty distraction from being cold! I also love the Wild Strawberry Clean Lean Protein to make protein bites I eat for breakfast or when I have a late night snack.
Q: Do you have a favorite recipe you like making with Nuzest?
I make a lot of smoothies and typically do a chocolate, banana, and spinach smoothie a few times a week. It's a handful of spinach, almond milk, Rich Chocolate Clean Lean Protein, a banana, chia and flax seeds, collagen powder, ½ cup oats, a little honey, and then I blend it all up!
Q: What is your favorite thing about Nuzest products?
I am lactose intolerant and have always struggled finding a protein that is vegan, doesn’t upset my stomach, and is actually tasty. Then I found Clean Lean Protein!
To connect with Darian Jenkins visit her Instagram @Darian_Jenks.