Me, on Facebook Messenger: (Imagine this said in one long breath) “I would like to fine tune my image. So I’d like to take my interest in the gym and work towards physique more than performance. I hope that doesn’t sound vain and ‘fitness model-y’ but I would like to have a fit, strong image. Of course, I have deep roots in triathlon, so I would love to incorporate it, but instead of a Training Peaks account where FTP rules, I’d like to see the results on my body. Your name popped into my mind for a few reasons- 1. I like you. 2. You have a strong triathlon background. Duh. You’ll get me. 3. I believe you train people in fitness and nutrition as well. (Because I’m well aware a huge portion of this is what goes in my mouth) 4. You don’t know me very well..lol. So, I wanted to see what you thought about all that. And if you would be interested in taking it on and chatting/working further.”
Kenneth: “You have a few minutes to talk?”
Me: “Sure”…..shit, think of something reasonable to say, Lindsay. Don’t say ‘like’ too much, try to keep your pitch down and whatever you do, don’t finish every sentence like you’re asking a question. Your self respect is on the line here.
Jesus, that sounds like a 15 year old kid trying to ask a boy to prom. It’s so much more elitist to say- I want to race this triathlon, so make me fast. There’s something ‘bigger than yourself’ about that statement….even though let’s be honest, spending a bunch of time getting faster at triathlon is just as selfish as saying, ‘I want to look smokin’ hot in a bathing suit.’
Truth was, I didn’t know Kenneth Jones all that well. Interestingly enough though, I met him at my own dinner table. The hubs invited him to join us for dinner when he was at the grocery store earlier that day. Next thing I know, I’m leaning over in the kitchen saying to him- ‘So, who is this dude you brought home randomly?’ I was assured, of course, that he was very cool and a fellow triathlete. And apparently hungry just like everyone else at dinner time. (This is all very typical Matt) And no, we didn’t become training partners or BFFs, but I can say that every time we passed each other running, he would always say hi; sometimes stopping to chat for more than your typical breathy ‘nice work’ runner salutation. Plus, he’s no slouch of an athlete, having run the Boston Marathon in the lower part of 3 hours, and becoming sickeningly close to qualifying- not by roll down either- for Kona (the mack-daddy of all Ironmans, Mecca, THE World Championship) And, more importantly, I caught him buying a whole key lime pie at Publix once, insisting that he was going to eat the entire thing and not feel a damn bit sorry for it considering he was going to knock out 20 miles of running the next morning…or maybe he had done it that morning. Whatever the case, I can’t not like someone who says that.
So, I brushed off the embarrassment and swallowed hard when he said- Ok, I’ll train you as though you’re doing a fitness competition. ‘Triathlete!”, I wanted to scream. “I. am. a. TRIATHLETE!” Not a vain, selfie-obsessed, model wannabe, stereotype with hair extensions and an ongoing spray tan appointment! (No judgement if you are any of those things. Full judgement if you are all of them.) And I would like to clarify that, as of today, I have ZERO plans to do a fitness competition. Tiny bathing suits with heels, really scary spray tan colors, judges, and nothing to blame (rule #1 of triathlon: Always blame the equipment.) but BMI sounds like a trip through Hell. No thanks. I’ll pass.
So….full disclosure, while I’ve always maintained that triathlon was the ‘sport for the ADD.’, I can officially say I’m bored with it. I’ve met most of my goals. The ones remaining take more time and emotional/physical/mental dedication than I’m willing to give. But here’s me: I can’t just do theater. I can’t just do fitness. I can’t just do makeup. And I can’t just sit in front of the damn TV every night and zone out. I need them all to make me feel alive, engaged and present. (And I do need to continue to fit into the clothes I own, so having a fitness outlet is imperative.)
Anyhow, after surviving the whole awkward exchange with the internal monologue sounding something like: ‘You sound like an idiot’…in many different ways on a continual loop… we set up a time to meet, and get this rolling. Ok, so now I have a personal trainer.
I have always maintained the mantra- ‘Based on a typical American diet, I eat very healthy. Based on an elite athlete, I eat like a slob.’ That worked for me. But I’ve always wondered, What If? What if I actually ate ‘clean.’ What if I tried to change the way my body looked? What would it look like? How would I feel? Would my confidence change? Or would I still feel embarrassed to run the track in a sports bra? But, shit, if I’m going to pay a personal trainer to make me look good, I sure as hell am not going to sabotage it by not eating right. So, I downloaded My Fitness Pal (again), and started logging. Kenneth was kind enough to give me some ideas on how to eat more like a body builder (why is there no ‘eye-roll’ emoji on here??) and less like a carb obsessed triathlete. All prefaced by- ‘I’m not a nutritionist.’ Yeah, yeah, doubtful I’ll allow myself to become malnourished- I like food too much for that nonsense.
So here are my takeaways from my first month-ish eating clean, spending time lifting heavy shit, and without swim/bike/run.
1. Food is sacred.
This might sound a little ridiculous, but I eat deliberately- and because of that, I respect everything I eat. I measure. I chew. I taste. I prepare. I don’t mindlessly munch. I don’t ‘just have one.’ I don’t eat without thinking. I eat veggies and fruits that are in-season and taste good. I sip and relish my singular glass of wine…or bourbon. And food actually tastes better- every bite of something indulgent is, in fact, fan-freaking-tastic. Every bite of something healthy makes me feel nourished. I log my food. No, it’s not hard. I see my My Fitness Pal app as a game: How can I get that micro-nutrients pie chart broken down the way I want while still eating enough, not ignoring my social or work life, and sure as hell not giving up the things I love… Old Fashioned, anyone?
I’m not going to meal prep for the week. I’m not that organized or structured. But I do do things like: look up the restaurant and pick out (and log) what I’m going to eat before I walk in the door. You know what that allows? Less time staring at a menu, and more time enjoying my friends/family. And for anyone who knows me, I like to talk, so this is a total win-win! Or, if I’m going to be on set for a 10 hour day, I’ll bring (and log) everything I plan to eat that day. I pack it all in my Six Pack Bags and off I go. (Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I love that damn bag) This really comes in handy when the box of Panera cookies (glorious things they are) are on set making me question if I might be dying of starvation. Nope, just my sugar addiction talking.
3. I still swim/bike/run.
Turns out, swimming is not just the first leg to a triathlon one must suffer through- it’s actually a great full body workout, and I find I don’t hate it (as much) when I’m not obsessing over workouts that belong in a calculus lecture! (Who knew?) I will always love to be on my bike with my friends and that requires endurance and fitness just to keep up them. (Why are they so fast???) And while I’m not running long, the short intervals on the treadmill have been- dare I say- fun. I guess now that I’m not training for a timed race, I not so overwhelmed by it all. And while, deep down, I look forward to being re inspired to race competitively again, I’m happy not doing so currently.
4. New Activities!
I like the stair stepper! Who’da thunk it? I love dripping with sweat all the while reading my libretto for my next show. The multitasking opportunity makes me feel less guilty about spending yet another hour working out. I also like the weight room. This I sorta already knew since I’ve been going to ‘triathlon strength’ sessions for like 3 years. It’s a different type of physical exertion than aerobic endurance, and it’s been fun getting fit without worrying if your heart is going to explode, if you’re going to pass out from heat stoke, or wondering if skin cancer is growing on your shoulder. It’s also been nice not to have to fuss with tons of gear, pool schedules, or that feeling of ‘geez, I’m a really far way from the car/home right now’.
5. Being Social Makes Me Tick.
Don’t get me wrong, my training sessions aren’t easy- but I’m much better with someone expecting me to meet them 3 days a week, than depending on myself to do it alone. Sometimes, I wonder if my legs are going to work in the morning, or if I’m going to be able to hold a brush steady to someones face. It’s all very satisfying. And fun as Kenneth and I chatter on about racing, injuries, and whatever else triathletes can fill hours talking about. (And we can fill endless hours about it, just in case you were wondering) Oh, and very expensive. Previously accustomed to a monthly bill for coaching, this per session cost is not for the less than dedicated…but for me, money is a huge motivator. I’m not going to throw it at something and not see any results! However, dear god, don’t increase your rates!!
6. I Truly Like To Be Fit.
Having spent the first 24 years of my life never doing anything remotely athletic, I have often wondered if I spent all this time racing and training simply because my boyfriend—>fiance—>husband and friends do. When I’ve rebelled against competitive triathlon in the past, I just found myself grumpy that my clothes didn’t fit and uninspired in other aspects of my life. So, it turns out, I am better when I have some focus on fitness, but not to the point where the rest of my life has to orbit it. I have energy to bounce around an outdoor shoot, I have a clear mind to think creatively about my business, and good focus to learn my lines. Plus, since most of this is done indoors, I’m not constantly sleep deprived from late night rehearsals leading into early morning training sessions just to beat the heat. Therefore, I feel as though this has been a good life lesson.
So, I’m in my 6th week. Sometimes that feels like an eternity, and sometimes it feels like a blink of an eye. But I’ve lost 5 lbs, just about 1.5″ all around- legs, waist, hips, etc., 1 point on both the BMI and Body Fat scales, there’s tons more definition in my upper body than I’ve ever seen, and- sometimes, usually first thing in the morning, I can actually see a little ab muscle definition…something I’ve never ever seen before. All in all, I’ve learned you can change yourself….and I find it rather fascinating honestly.
So, I ask you- What has a fitness routine brought to your life? Anyone relate?
Thanks for reading.
Take a Pretty Powerful Leap of Faith.
- I know nothing about nutrition. I have no degrees, no right to give advice, and this is nothing but my story and my perspective. Have real questions? Go find someone who’s earned the right to answer them.
- Weight is not something to be solely considered. This isn’t about the scale. It’s one metric of many and in a constantly changing priority list.
- I don’t think I’m fat. I’m not fat. I have a completely normal BMI, I have no health problems.
- A lot of my friends are serious athletes- more serious than I’ll ever be- and they look it. I’d be crazy if I didn’t acknowledge their impact on me.
- I’m always looking to Just Say Yes.