What’s up, Klean Athlete world? My name is Jarryd Wallace and I am a 4x World Record Holder and 3x World Champion for the US paralympic Team. My events are the 100m (10.71), 200m (21.83), and 4x100m relay (40.73 WR). Being a paralympian simply means that I have a physical disability of some sort. For me, I lost my leg below the knee when I was 20 years old. This was a pivotal moment in my life. I had to choose if I was going to let the loss of my leg define me, or if I was going to look at it as an opportunity – a second chance, even. Thankfully I chose that latter. As a paralympian, I focus more on my abilities than disability. Yes, there are challenges at times, but those challenges are what make me a better person, athlete, friend, husband, and, I hope one day, father.
My name is Jon Weeks, and I am the long snapper for the Houston Texans®. I just finished my eighth season with the team, having been with Houston since 2010. I started long snapping my freshman year at Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona, where I also played offensive and defensive tackle. After high school, I took my talents to Waco, Texas, at Baylor University, where I snapped all four years. From college I was invited to participate in the Detroit Lions® rookie mini-camp, and signed with the Houston Texans® in 2010.
As a professional athlete, I see it as essential to make sure I am properly fueling my body and properly training during the week, so that I can perform to the best of my ability all times. Without proper nutrition and hydration, I could risk injury, fatigue or even a lack of energy, all of which could hurt my performance on the field.
Meredith Atwood, Sponsored Triathlete
Progress is a funny thing. Progress is also a difficult thing to define. There is “progress” in all three scenarios below. But at what cost?
- If you are training for a marathon as a wife and mom of three kids, and spending time away from your kids, is that really progress?
- What if you are working on your marriage so hard that you never hit your planned cycling workouts? You also feel your training and race goals slipping like sand? And as a result, are you miserable?
- What if you are hitting all your workouts, getting faster, but you are just too tired to care about the other things in life? You have no “real” relationships, no time for anything else, and no fun outside of triathlon? But you’re heading towards your triathlon goal. Is that really progress?
Progress always costs something, which leads me to believe that progress is merely a game of life monopoly, life motion and priorities.
My name is Saniél Atkinson-Grier and I’m a Jamaican National Team high-jumper. My love for track and field started when I was 9 years old with Marlboro Boys & Girls Track team in Maryland. In a short window of time I started competing at AAU and USATF Regional and Junior Olympics, earning All-American honors for high jump and the pentathlon. I attended Bishop McNamara High School in Maryland, where my passion for track and field grew even stronger, and it showed. I earned numerous awards, including being named Nike® All-American, 8x All Met, All-State, All-Metro and All-County first-team honors, and ESPN® Rise Athlete of the Week. In addition, I was honored as Bishop McNamara High School Female Athlete of the Year and Maryland’s All Decade High Jumper. During my time at the University of Georgia, I competed for the Jamaican National Team at the 2012 Senior Olympic Trials with a jump of 1.89 meters (6 feet, 2.25 inches), narrowly missing the qualifying mark to make the Olympic Team but securing the Women’s Senior High Jump National Championship Title. In 2013, I competed again at the National Championships and came away victorious, retaining the Jamaican Senior National High Jump Champion title. After that National Championship, I competed in the 2013 CAC Senior Championships in Mexico and won a Bronze Medal. The following season I competed at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and finished in the Top 10.
Meredith Atwood, Sponsored Triathlete
I received an email from a reader, and it went something like this:
I am racing my first 70.3 in a few months. I do most of my workouts when my family is asleep — this translates to 4:30 a.m. mornings. Even still, the long runs, bikes, swims, strength, and yoga remain doable. My body can (and most of the time my head wants) to do the workouts. Many times I wish I could do more with my workout, but I am doing okay. The problem is I need sleep. And time with my kids and husband. Sometimes, I can’t justify another early wake-up and early bedtime. How do I balance all of this?
Ah, yes. This is the burning question. How do we tri-inspired people do it all: work, raise kids, swim, bike, run, maintain relationships and sleep? Sleep? What is that, especially?
Kevin Portmann, Sponsored Professional Triathlete
It’s a new year, new season! Like many of you, I enjoy the process of reflecting back on the accomplishments of the previous year and look forward to setting new goals for the new year. When it comes to jumping back into a training regimen, for me the challenge is always finding the right balance. It can be discouraging to see just how quickly fitness devolves in the offseason. My knee-jerk reaction is a desire to immediately go into an intense, hard training block to regain what I lost in the offseason; of course, that approach would only set me up to crash and burn. Here are a few ways I kick off my triathlon training while staying highly motivated, tempering the enthusiasm of “letting loose” and ensuring I’m setting myself up for long-term success.
I’m Tyler Heineman. I’m 26 years old and I’m currently a catcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. This past season I played with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. I’ve played baseball for as long as I can remember. I can’t even begin to imagine how much time I’ve spent at baseball fields.
After high school, I had no scholarship offers to play college baseball. But instead of giving up I was determined to keep playing. I walked on at the University of California Los Angeles and made the team. While I got some at bats as an underclassman, I didn’t play a lot until Junior year when I became the team’s starting catcher. The decision I made to bet on myself paid off and my dream of becoming a professional baseball player was realized when I was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 8th Round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
This time of the year is always tough to balance all the different sensations: needing to rest; excited for next year; angry at that one race that would’ve been so much better had you gotten a full night of sleep; hungry, tired, lazy; Netflix is really affordable and offers so much to your life; just got an Amazon Prime membership; the weather is bad … and I could go on. The days are short, and most of my training is done in the dark.
You don’t need to have a specific season, either. This can apply to you if, like me, you are more interested in finding new ways to make yourself sweat and sleepy every day than you are in defining yourself as an X, Y or Z.
When you grow up playing sports and are lucky enough to turn that into a career, you never really imagine what life will be like without that sport. After playing on the US Women’s National Field Hockey team for over 10 years, I officially retired from the team in June this year. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made.
Throughout my career, I often got asked what I wanted to do when I was done playing hockey. My response was always the same: “I don’t know and I’ll figure it out when I get there.” My thought was to just live in the moment and focus on the next tournament and what I can do to make the most of where I was right then as an athlete. Being a professional athlete is demanding and you have to commit your whole lifestyle to being at your best physical, mental, and emotional state to succeed. In the back of my mind, I did think from time to time the scary thoughts of what would come next, and I couldn’t find much that didn’t include hockey or sports.
Growing up in Southern California, baseball was always a year-round affair. My older brother Tyler, who also plays professional baseball, and I were constantly hitting in the cage, practicing fielding and playing games. While our friends that played other sports had a set season and offseason, Tyler and I rarely experienced a true offseason. With summer ball, fall ball and winter workouts and scrimmages, baseball was, and still is, a year-round grind.
As a kid, I just went out and played with my friends. It wasn’t until I started thinking I could play in college that I started really thinking about what I was putting into my body. The differences between being a starter on your high school team, a D1 ballplayer, and a professional is crazy. There are so many good players out there that the difference starts to become how well you do the little things. Whether it’s the fundamentals in your fielding, the way you prepare before an at bat, or your offseason training, every little thing counts.