3 professional athletes talk about training, nutrition and motivation

Finding the right snacks to fuel workouts can be difficult for everyone. Eat the wrong foods and you can end up with lousy energy and digestion issues. And, if you are a serious athlete, these side effects can be even more frustrating to deal with.

This is why triathlete Jesse Thomas and his wife, professional runner Lauren Fleshman, decided to create Difficult bars, energy bars specially designed for athletes. Thomas jokes that “stomach problems” led him to create the bars. “When I first started training for professional triathlons, I ate 5,000 to 6,000 calories a day and developed a whole bunch of stomach problems that my wife did. really wanted to repair, ”he says. “She wanted to create something that would fuel my exercise, but also be easy on my stomach, yet taste great.” The two joked that the combo they were looking for was very “difficult” and the name “Picky Bars” stuck.

Fleshman, who has a degree in human biology from Stanford University, has put together the right things to help her husband. She designed the Picky Bars as portable snacks for active people that “optimize the principles of sports nutrition, digestibility and taste,” she explains. The couple quickly discovered that many other people wanted the same items in a sports bar, and the business took off.

Picky Bars was recently acquired by Laird Superfood, which was founded by big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. Hamilton calls Picky Bars a “natural fit” for their brand because they share similar values ​​and missions.

But these three don’t just spend their time sitting down creating bars and other superfoods, they have athletic goals to crush. Here’s how these professional athletes work to maximize their performance, as well as what they do to stay motivated on a regular basis.

Jesse Thomas, triathlete

Jesse thomas

Jesse Thomas was an NCAA track and field All-American (in the 3,000-meter steeplechase) at Stanford University and hoped to become an Olympian. But a bicycle accident cut short his racing career. “I started swimming as a way to rehabilitate my neck after the accident,” he says. “Years later, after working in an office and not competing, I felt like I was missing a part of myself.” He tried his hand at triathlon “for fun” and fell in love with competition again.

Thomas became a six-time winner of the Wildflower Triathlon, among other achievements. And although he is now retired, Thomas still enjoys pushing himself ahead. “In any given week I can mountain bike, run, surf, play basketball, Nordic ski, kayak, rock climb, lift and do some yoga. He said.

Healthy eating maintains your energy. “Lauren and I focus on moderation and balance,” he explains. “We don’t have ‘forbidden’ foods, but we rarely overdo it. Many fruits and vegetables, grains, healthy proteins and fats, and unprocessed or minimally processed snacks are all on her shopping list. “I’ve always said I like to follow a ‘B + diet’ —I eat pretty healthy, but not perfect,” he says. “Ice cream and beer make the menu. I have found for myself that this is the most optimal balance between physical and mental health.

Lauren Fleshman, Professional Runner

lauren chair

Lauren Fleshman

Lauren Fleshman’s journey to be a runner began when she was a child. “I loved every excuse for running as a kid and enjoyed just about every sport and outdoor activity that I tried,” she says. She joined the high school cross country team and raced for Stanford University, becoming a five-time NCAA champion and the fastest women’s 5,000-meter runner in the United States, twice.

Now, Fleshman says she’s “flexible when it comes to fitness” and “socially motivated” when it comes to her workouts. “Exercise is a game for me most of the time,” she notes. “I have more friends who enjoy mountain biking and Nordic skiing than running, so I have developed a love and appreciation for these activities. “

“Any movement counts as a movement. “

That doesn’t mean she hung up her running shoes. “My starting point is five to six miles from my front door, nothing fancy,” she says. “When I was a professional runner for 13 years, a 20 minute run was a warm-up, hardly anything to register. Now a 20 minute race has my deepest respect. Any movement counts as a movement.

Laird Hamilton, professional surfer

laird hamilton

Laird Hamilton

Laird Hamilton started surfing at the age of two. “I ride whenever conditions allow,” said Hamilton. He has become a big wave surfing legend, having faced some of the biggest and most dangerous waves, and even helped develop the technique of towed surfing on big waves, where a surfer is dragged into a wave with a jet. ski.

“I still have a lot of waves that I want to ride, and I’m still motivated to donate my health,” he says. “I am a better person when I work hard.”

When he’s not surfing, Hamilton is always on the move. He does an Underwater XPT (“great workout that doesn’t crush your joints”) pool workout, as well as HIIT workouts, stretches, and breathing practices.

His approach to nutrition is simple. “I eat when I’m hungry,” he says. “I look for variety and do my best to eat things in the form nature intended. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

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Naomi C. Amerson