Becoming Her Best: Torah Bright’s Wellness Journey
Torah Bright was born for snow. The Australian athlete grew up in Cooma, NSW, Australia, or as she calls it, the gateway to the snowy mountains. Born into a family of snow lovers and skilled athletes, Torah took to the slopes at the early age of two years old. She started snowboarding at 11.
“I had a sister seven years older who was a ski racer aiming for the 2002 Olympics. I didn’t know her that well because of the age difference and the age she started to travel, but I knew I loved her and looked up to her,” Torah said. “I believe it was watching her through her career trials and triumphs that I saw what it took and how much courage and resilience you need to realize your life goals. Looking back, my mum was also my hero. She’s pretty bad ass – she didn’t care what anyone thought of her.”
Taking inspiration from her family, Torah’s courage and resilience helped her become Australia’s most successful winter Olympian and one of the most successful female snowboarders. Her accomplishments and accolades include Gold and Silver Olympic medals, two-time X Games gold medalist, three-time U.S. Open winner, two-time Global Open Champion, and three-time World Superpipe Champion – too just name a few.
Beyond the accolades, at the end of the day, it’s the camaraderie on slopes that Torah loves the most about snowboarding.
“I love the friendships I’ve made through snowboarding. These individuals make snowboarding what it is for me,” she said. “It’s the fun, the humor, and the adventure that comes from a group of friends snowboarding together. One of my favorite trips and favorite places to ride and be with friends is in Retallack, BC. It’s a cat ski lodge in Canada. Nothing but good memories!”
Her journey to the top of the mountain was not without sacrifices, however. While competing to qualify for the Winter Olympics, Torah sustained three concussions. Her experience led her to become an advocate for better brain health and concussion support in sports. Now, whether she’s recovering after shredding the slopes or taking care of her health as a new mother, Torah shares her wellness journey and why she trusts Thorne to help her become the best version of herself.
Torah’s Wellness Journey
Can you describe your journey to become a professional snowboarder? What were some of the biggest challenges you overcame?
Snowboarding was something I loved doing with my family and my friends. I had no idea there was anything outside of my local scene until I was given the opportunity of a lifetime – an airfare overseas and a lot of very helpful and accommodating friends helping me at every leg of the trip. I was able to compete against kids my own age on a world stage. At my first Junior World championships, I was as good as the kids my age. When I was 14, I went to the United States to train and compete as a professional snowboarder. The rest seems some sort of a whirlwind/time warp as I kept pushing to be the best snowboarder I could be.
There were many bumps and bruises and setbacks, like all long journeys. Being so young, I missed my family and friends back home, but I quickly found a family on the road with the snowboarding community. My biggest trial was with concussion – that part of the journey almost broke me.
But through the right guidance I got every bit of my health back, despite what some medical professionals told me. It’s perhaps the most precious journey to me. It stacks up there right next to my gold and silver Olympic medals, because of what it took and what I learned.
What does a training routine look like for an Olympic-level snowboarder? Can you give us a breakdown of your daily routine and workouts?
My training routine was never regimented. It was always snowboarding first. If I could be on snow I would be, and I would be pushing myself physically there. Mid-winter training was focused on recovery and anything that felt good to the body.
Off-season was where I focused more on strength. Functional fitness specific to the type of explosive and agile nature of freestyle snowboarding. Trampoline and later airbag training came into the picture too. I also stayed active in the outdoors. Rock climbing, mountain bike riding, surfing, etc.
Nutrition is an equally important aspect of training. How would you describe your nutrition plan? Do you work with anyone specifically or have a specific eating/diet plan?
Nutrition is something I am very familiar with. My mother is a complete health nut – 30 years ahead of her times it seems! I had a good foundation from her. Eating organic whole foods, lots of good fats, and limiting sugar – as in her words sugar is ‘white death.’
It was my journey through injury that taught me and really had me search for different types of diets that worked for healing. I felt like I was some sort of a natural scientist. I tried a lot of different things. I supplemented a lot to support my body. I have never kept to one specific diet. They have all served their purpose and I have listened to my body and its needs above sticking to a specific diet. Our bodies are so uniquely and beautifully different, and I think it’s important to apply diets specific to someone’s needs and desired outcomes. One size never fits all.
How did Thorne become a part of your wellness journey?
I have used Thorne over the years through different career advice and direction. It was not until I was a part of an initial study for concussion that I was put on a Thorne protocol. When I was unable to continue on the study, I continued taking due to the high quality and the third-party testing.
As an everyday go-to, I take the Basic Prenatal. I have the MTHFR gene mutation, so taking a methylated folate is very important. I am doing a lot of ski touring at the moment, so I’m enjoying taking the Amino Complex especially to help in recovery. I also like to supplement with the Cal-Mag Citrate. I have always tested low in magnesium, so this one is a staple for me, especially when there is a lot of energy output.
Supporting Brain Health
You’ve suffered from concussion injuries in the past. Was it hard to continue your training mentally and physically to get past those injuries?
At one point, I was completely debilitated. I had so much going on in my body that I could not even stand much. Walking 15 minutes was sometimes too much. To recover it took unlearning everything I knew. To push harder or push through was only making my quality of life worse. I had to stop training. I found bits of help along the way to have me live and get through another day and week and month. It was a whole heart, body, and mind commitment to the learning process of the type of healing my body needed. It was everything from a physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery.
Everything that went into my mouth was medicine, whether it be food or supplement. Every word spoken was putting me into the future I was creating and waiting to live. I dug deep. I found the right help on every level and had to commit to this healing journey.
What are some of the steps taken by athletes to recover from a head injury
Head injury is a tricky one. Over time I have learned that every concussion is different and no single concussion journey is the same. The main takeaway after head injury is that you need to rest. When you start feeling okay, start getting back to movement. If symptoms come on, then stop and rest some more. Cut out inflammatory foods, because that type of food can prolong symptoms and recovery. Drink lots of water and eat lots of good fats! The brain is almost 60-percent fat and is the fattiest organ in the body! Butter, olive oil, coconut oil. It’s all good get it in any way you can!
Do you take any other supplements/nutritional formulas for brain health?
These days I take an omega three supplement and I eat a diet high in fat.
Because of your past with concussions, you decided to join part of a Mayo Clinic study. Can you tell us about that experience and how that shaped your career?
I was a part of the Thorne Mayo Clinic study in its initial phases. Due to my traveling outside of the United States so much and unable to get test results, I didn’t finish the study.
You’ve mentioned that very few athletes share their experience with the trauma they go through when dealing with injury. How important is it for you to share your story and inspire others in a journey for better brain health?
Concussion/head injury can be invisible. Other people question you and you question yourself at times. Am I making it up? Do I want to feel this way? It’s been months, why am I not better? It’s all invisible to anyone looking in.
Everyone has a different journey and a different set of symptoms – from fatigue, brain fog, verbal fluency, eye sight, mood disorders, and more. You could have one or two or you could have them all. Every day is different. You have good days and bad days. It’s raw, it’s messy. Those closest to you see you at your most vulnerable. It’s important to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hearing these things help you realize you are not the only person who has gone through it and dealing with heartbreakingly hard things. It’s also important to share the triumphs at the end. The collateral beauty that comes after it all. We need compassion for ourselves in those vulnerable moments, and we need to hear the triumphs to keep us pushing on. Those triumphs give hope and belief.
Do you have any words of advice for aspiring snowboarders?
Live your life with honor, humility, love, and laughter always within you. Always find the fun and shred hard.
From Basic Prenatalfor her foundational health to Amino Complex for that post-shredding recovery, click here to see Torah Bright’s curated collection of health solutions she uses on her journey to become her best self yet.