Interview with Lisa Roberts, Professional Triathlete
Professional triathlete Lisa Roberts has been competing in the sport for over 15 years, professionally for the last eight years. Her triathlon career took root after a solid background of long distance running, which culminated running collegiate cross country and track in Illinois. Roberts focus is now on long distance events, particularly 70.3 and full-distance races. Roberts is feeling good about the 2017 season as she prepares for the 70.3 North American Pro Championships in St. George Utah in early May.
What nutrition strategies do you utilize to guarantee your body has optimal energy?
Proper nutrition is every bit, if not more important than the training itself. Without the proper fuel, I have no hope of getting good, hard, consistent training in every day. I am big on meal planning and scheduling so I have the right type and amount of nutrition available whenever I need it – even if I’m traveling or during hectic days of training.
How do you achieve your macro/micronutrient requirements in-season?
My macronutrient needs shift from off-season to racing season, mainly in the fact that carbohydrates start to play a bigger role in the racing season. In addition, I am always keeping tabs on my B vitamins, vitamin D, K, A & E as well as iron and calcium. Since I am convinced that a vitamin D deficiency played a very big role in my foot stress fracture, I have gotten myself out of that deficit by using the Klean-D supplement and Klean Multivitamin. I also eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to get as much as possible from real food.
What are your typical pre-, during, and post-race fueling strategies and how do they differ from one another?
My pre-race fueling is focused on easily digested carbohydrates and some slower-burning nut butters. Hydration and electrolyte balance is key during a race, as well as keeping the energy coming with simple carbohydrates, so I don’t bottom out or get too far in a calorie deficit. For the long races there will always be a deficit, since we can only uptake so many calories/hour. Post-race is all about recovery and repairing the inherent muscle damage caused by racing, so there will be a greater focus on proteins then.
How do you fuel up during training and racing?
I make rice cakes with peanut butter & jelly filling and use a variety of gels and other quick energy sources, depending on the workout length and intensity. I add a scoop of Klean BCAA +Peak ATP to my workout drinks and when the weather heats up, I’m sure to take Klean Electrolytes to keep in balance.
What’s the most important nutritional advice you’d give to an athlete new to the sport?
Your body needs the proper energy before and during workouts so you can get the training in, so don’t starve it of those needs. Practice a variety of nutrition types, timing, amounts and keep track of it during your training so you can figure out what works and what doesn’t. Always go into your training and racing with a nutrition plan – don’t just wing it.
What does competing clean mean to you and talk about the clean sport movement?
Competing clean is a no-brainer for me and always has been. But, nowadays that means I need to be extra vigilant about where the products I use come from and how they are processed. Products that go the extra mile to gain the NSF certification are a plus for me. I can never make assumptions about the quality of anything unless I’ve done my homework first.
How do you mentally prepare on race day?
I always sit on the ground next to my bike after I’ve set everything up, close my eyes, and just let the bustling sounds of the transition area buzz around me. It helps to get me centered. For Lisa’s tips on balancing triathlon, read The Great Balancing Act.
What are your tips for getting motivated on the days you’re not feeling it?
I don’t focus on getting motivated on those days; it seems too monumental a task at that point. What I do is start simple: that might be just putting my swim suit on or start out the door by walking. Every time I start at the most basic level, I always end up getting on with the workout.
About the Author: Lisa has been an athlete all her life. Now a common sight on the triathlon, cycling and running podium at competitions, she is culminating years of hard work and dedication and turning it into results. This leaves only the sky as her limit with the goal of winning a World Championship title and qualifying for the Olympic marathon. Learn more about Lisa Roberts at lisajroberts.com and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.ribes, Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisarobertstri, and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisarobertstri/.