Skating through life to be the best you
Undeniably devoted to the rink, Team USA athlete, Hannah Miller, is passionate about figure skating. The countless titles and awards prove this Milk Life athlete is born to skate, but Miller says she is just like any normal young adult. She attends Michigan State University, loves her dog and friends, and even has a dream to go to Coachella music festival. Success doesn’t come easy. Miller trains four hours on and off the ice every day, attends class and does homework. Despite her busy schedule, the Milk Means More Team had the opportunity to chat with Miller on her life as a professional athlete and college student, and how she stays fueled with milk so she can own her day. Check out our exclusive interview below!
MMM: How long have you been ice skating and why did you start?
HM: I’ve been skating for the past 16 years, and started when I was five years old. Growing up I did dance and gymnastics, but skating will always be my first love. My parents were the ones who put me on the ice and I loved it; my aunt was even my coach. None of us have ever looked back, especially me. You could say skating is in our blood.
MMM: That’s very true! Your whole family has history on the ice, right?
HM: Yes, my dad and a lot of family members have played in the NHL. Our love for skating or other ice sports is huge!
MMM: You’ve said before that nutrition is a very important aspect of your training. Can you tell us how you incorporate a healthy diet into your lifestyle?
HM: I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in a family that values nutrition. It’s essential for every athlete! Growing up, both my parents and my nutritionists made sure I ate a well-balanced diet and that I stayed hydrated. Now it’s really natural for me. Fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains are a big part of what I eat, and I carry a water bottle everywhere—LITERALLY! Also, milk has been an important part of my life because the calcium found in dairy helps support strong bones. Milk has so many other essential nutrients, too. It helps me stay hydrated and fueled for the rink. In fact, my parents always served a glass of milk during our family meals.
MMM: What’s it like to be a Milk Life athlete?
HM: It’s a really positive experience. I’ve learned so much about the dairy farming (this year I got to visit a dairy farm and it was so much fun!) and nutrition and it has inspired me to be an advocate in dairy nutrition for my peers and teens. We all need the protein, vitamins, and calcium to perform our very best each day. Milk is a great source in attaining these nutrients!
MMM: Your life could be described as very different from most college students’ experiences. How do you balance training, school and your social life while being in the spotlight?
It’s so funny you say that because I really am just an average college kid! I go to class at Michigan State University (yes growing up in this area makes me a Spartan girl at heart!), I work out, hang out with my friends and I pack my own lunch every day. Speaking of which, do you mind if I eat it right now before I head off to practice?
MMM: No not at all![Reaching from her lunch tote, Miller pulls out a smoothie.]
HM: I’m really not just trying to get on your good side [laughs Miller]. I really do drink a lot of smoothies. The protein in it helps keep me full for class or when I am training, and milk is very hydrating. My smoothies are usually made up of low-fat milk and fruit.
MMM: [Laughing] That’s great and awesome to see that you really do fuel up with milk!
HM: Thanks! Anyway, I really am a normal kid, but as a professional skater, I do have a little bit different life than most college-aged kids. It takes a lot of time management to have a good balance, so I make sure to structure my day and keep up with a routine. I prioritize skating and school, which can sometimes be hard for my social life, but it’s really all about balance and making time for fun, too.
MMM: Are there any activates or hobbies you do that make you feel like a normal young adult?
HM: Definitely! I enjoy dancing, hot yoga, reading and I absolutely love my dog, Coconut. She’s a Pomeranian Maltese. Another fun fact is I work at Dick’s Sporting Goods in the footwear department. Also, the relationships I have with my friends and family make me feel normal. They always support me.
MMM: We also heard that, just like most college-aged kids, you are a BIG Sia fan and have even performed to a few of her songs!
HM: YES! Eye of the Needle by Sia is one of my favorite songs I have performed to. The first time I heard it, I knew I had to skate to it. Normally I do upbeat music, so doing a slower song with powerful and passionate lyrics was a very cool experience. Ultimately, I want to bring strength and positive image to teens and I feel skating to this song created a perfect opportunity for that.
MMM: It’s very uplifting to see you want to be a positive role model for your peers. Can you share why this is so important to you?
HM: So, I am studying Sports Psychology at Michigan State University and I hope to be able to practice that professionally someday so I can help female athletes develop themselves and conquer their battles. Every figure skater has certain roadblocks and problems and even pressures with body image. I’ve dealt with many of these obstacles myself, so I want to be an advocate and inspire them, as well. My own coaches and sports psychologists have played a big role in mentally preparing me for my training and competitions.
MMM: Lastly, what advice do you have for others striving to improve in their own sport?
HM: Persevere through adversity. No matter what level you are at, it does not come easy. You need to be committed and work through your battles that come without warning. It can be tough and tiring, but it’s very rewarding. And to leave with you: Make sure you love what you do, and if you don’t, then you need to make a change so that you are keeping the very best you in mind first.