With SailGP’s first ever event in Asia just days away, we speak to New Zealand strategist Liv Mackay. From her workout schedule and recovery routine to her daily calorie intake, Mackay reveals how she prepares for a day on the water.

How often do you work out?

It depends if you count sailing… I do 2 strength sessions, 4-6 cardio sessions (mainly grinding right now) and I sail/attempt to surf when the conditions are good, which is most days.

How long do you work out for?

Strength sessions are usually around an hour including a warm up for 10 minutes. Cardio is a big range, anywhere from 40 minutes up to 2 hours, and sailing depending on conditions, my energy and who I’m with.

Season 3 // New Zealand SailGP Team // Liv Mackay trail running

What time do you get up?

Usually between 5:30am and 6am.

What time do you go to bed?

Aim to be asleep around 9:30/10pm.

How much do you weigh?


Season 3 // New Zealand Sail Grand Prix // Liv Mackay in team tech base

What is your ideal weight?

This is dependent on what sailing I’m doing at the time. I care more about feeling strong and healthy which I do at the moment, but sailing at certain points in the year I’ll need to be at a different weight.

How often do you go to the gym?

I am there most days to use the grinding machine.

Talk us through your workout on a normal day


If the conditions are good I will always try to do any type of sailing first and see how my energy is around that.

Season 3 // New Zealand Sail Grand Prix // Liv Mackay grinding training

Talk us through your workout or warm up on a race day

Ideally I like to do an easy run for 20-30 minutes in the morning and then roll out/stretch. I usually start warming up 30-40 minutes before we’re on the dock with some dynamic stretching and mentally shifting focus. Once we are on water, we build into it. Taking it a bit slower at first, then speed things up once the body is warm and everyone is feeling confident.

What’s the biggest fitness/ physical misconception about your sport?

That it’s not physical or not seen as an endurance sport. Both mentally and physically it is pretty challenging. The F50 especially, and foiling boats in the last year has really brought in the explosive side.

Season 3 // New Zealand Sail Grand Prix // Liv Mackay in the Moth

Do you train or compete in any other sports?

I rarely compete in other sports but I love training in them. Triathlon, trail running, attempting to surf are all sports I enjoy. It definitely adds to my sailing performance if you manage your energy well. I find taking the time in other sports gives me ideas on how to make sailing better, and find the other sporting communities refreshing.

How many calories do you burn on a typical race day?

Great question, to be honest I am not entirely sure! I would say around 2500 (total day), depending if we are sailing with a four-person crew and if I’m grinding, then it would be a lot more.

Season 3 // New Zealand Sail Grand Prix // Liv Mackay carrying sail with Pete Burling

How to do you recover?

I would have to say I’m not so great at this. Sleep is definitely the best recovery, but this is the hardest for me to do consistently when traveling. I really enjoy saunas and ice baths when I’m back in New Zealand and I also get acupuncture. It depends what type of recovery you need as well. Sometimes if it’s more mental, actually getting on the water or outside is the best thing, otherwise it’s often just sleep that I need.

How would you describe the physicality/ fitness needed to be a professional sailor?

In a foiling boat, I would say explosive, but you also need to have good endurance.

Season 3 // ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix // Liv Mackay celebrates New Zealand win


6am or 6pm workout?


Treadmill or outside?

Outside, ideally on a trail

Weights or cardio?

Even split

Yoga or meditation?


Running or cycling?


Smoothie or protein shake?