137 : Bringing the Human Out of the Athlete & the Importance of Non-Competitive Outlets w/ Carley Horan

Carley Horan Cover.jpg

Carley Horan is a former USC lacrosse player, Nutritionist and Coach. I first met Carley when I was working as a rehab aide in a physical therapy practice and she was receiving treatment for a back injury while she was back on the East Coast over break. I remember being asked to put her through some CrossFit-like workouts and it didn’t take long for me to notice that she was a machine. Some athletes just have an “it” factor to them and Carley was definitely one of those special athletes that are a coaches dream. She was definitely one of those players that would run through a brick wall for you if you asked her to. However, in the absence of non-competitive outlets, it is easy for driven and determined athletes like Carley to breakdown physically, mentally and emotionally. In this interview we dissect this athlete mentality and provide suggestions on finding a healthier balance with sport, social life, academics and other hobbies. Carley’s last season playing college lacrosse was in the spring of 2016, so she has had plenty of time to reflect on her athletic career. Carley recently earned her masters degree in nutrition and is working hard toward becoming a Register Dietitian, so we also explore how we can prevent injuries through nutrition.

Carley is currently teaching Yoga and Spin at Ride + Reflect in Morristown, NJ and also coaches lacrosse. Below you will find other topics we touch on throughout this interview:

  • How we can work towards preventing injury through nutrition.

  • The role stress plays in causing injuries.

  • Why having adequate calories is the most important way to prevent injuries through nutrition.

  • What happens to your body when you don’t have adequate calories.

  • How to prevent inflammation in your body with food.

  • What inflammation actually is.

  • The importance of the timing of your meals.

  • Why you need carbs as an athlete.

  • Why you should re-think the kind of peanut butter you are eating.

  • Why you should prioritize food over supplements.

  • The correlation between Vitamin D and bone health.

  • The benefits of blood panels in understanding your nutritional needs.

  • To eat Dairy or not to eat Dairy…

  • Getting used to having muscles on your body as a female athlete.

    “Why do you want to be like every other girl at your school?”

  • Should you be listening to cravings?

  • Physical, mental and emotional stressors that led to chronic injuries while playing lacrosse at USC.


“I knew my greatest strength was my physicality.”

  • How Carley found balance and formed another identity through hip-hop dancing

  • Why dance is the one thing Carley is not competitive about.

    • e relief Carley felt when she was told she was going to be a scout team player.

    • How Carley has translated her experiences as an athlete into coaching.

    • The importance of finding a non-competitive outlet as an athlete.

    • How Carley is “bringing the human out of the athlete” in her approach to coaching.

Carley teaching her athletes the power of finding balance.

Carley teaching her athletes the power of finding balance.



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