Misty May-Treanor Shares Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

06/27/2012 at 04:30 PM EDT

Ever wish you could ask an Olympic athlete for her number one tip for staying in shape? PEOPLE did, and the answer was not what you might think.

Misty May-Treanor, a two-time Olympic gold medal-winning volleyball player, says her best advice doesn't have to do with what you eat or how you work out.

"My number one tip for maintaining a healthy lifestyle would be: Rest, rest, rest, rest, and rest," May-Treanor tells PEOPLE on a break from training for the London Games. "You should get at least 8 hours of sleep, because at rest is when your body is trying to recover."

May-Treanor, who won the gold medal with teammate Kerri Walsh in beach volleyball at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, also cites a balanced diet as crucial for maintaining peak performance – even more than hours logged in the gym.

"You can exercise all you want, but if you're not eating the right foods, it's not going to equal out and you're not going to get the results you want," she explains. "It's important to eat a meal every few hours because you'll see your energy level stay consistent."

The Olympian has partnered with Arnold and Oroweat Bread for the Slice of Gold contest, in which fans can enter to win a private training session with her.

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