Just Keep Moving Forward

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Just Keep Moving Forward

Blog by Klean Team USA’s Meredith Atwood – Sponsored Athlete.

Meredith Atwood, also known as Swim Bike Mom, joined the Klean Team USA in 2015 since being a Klean Athlete supporter from the very start. She’s a wife, mother, attorney, author, coach and IRONMAN® triathlete. She’s an advocate for healthy living, inspiring others to be active, take charge of their health and to “Just Keep Moving Forward,” her mantra. She’s struck a consistent balance between family, training and work, with the support she needs to find success in all of her endeavors. We had an opportunity to sit down with Meredith over lunch a few weeks ago to learn more about her, to find out just what motivates her to be a triathlete and how she uses her experience to inspire others to take control of their health.

Q: What is your background and how did you find yourself participating in triathlon and training like there’s no tomorrow?

A: My background in athletics was actually Olympic style weightlifting up until college. Think of cross fit. I did that for ten years and went to the junior world championships. I had absolutely no endurance background whatsoever. After I had my kids, I was. . . pretty miserable. Not that being a mom or having kids made me miserable but I didn’t have any time for myself and I became really overweight. When I was pregnant with my daughter and the doctors asked my weight, I was 280 lbs. When my kids were 2 and 3, I somehow found my way to a gym and started with a spinning class. The instructor of the spinning class was an IRONMAN® triathlete. I kept going to the class for a few years and then we had a conversation where he said, “you know, you could do a triathlon.”  I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t know if I could do that,” but it kind of got in my head and I thought, well, I’ll give it a try. So I did and I completed my first triathlon in October 2010. It was absolutely hideous and I loved it! It gave me such a great sense of accomplishment despite all the day-to-day challenges and stress I had on my plate. It was so inspiring. I became hooked after that!


Q: How do you find the time to fit it all in? What kind of support do you need in order to make it work- for you and for your family?

A: It’s really difficult. When the kids were young I’d look forward to a 3:30 or 4:30 AM wake up every morning and that was the only way to fit my training in. In addition to that, I was working in an office full time. I do have a supportive husband and that’s definitely a key component. He did travel a lot for work, however, so at times I felt like a single mom. It requires a lot of early morning training and simply fitting it in when you can. Most importantly, letting it go when you can’t because I think a lot of people say “I missed 3 or 4 workouts. I’m done. I can’t be a triathlete and I can’t handle this.” It’s all about fitting it in and being resourceful. I realize it costs money but folks eat out three nights a week so try avoiding that for three months and buy a treadmill or gym membership instead. It’s all about priorities and finding what’s important and if it matters to you, you’ll find time. My earliest pool swim was 3 AM! You will get it done when you can!


Q: What is the Swim Bike Mom initiative and what’s your vision for this inspiring program and groups of athletes?

A: I always enjoyed writing. I originally had a mom blog to write about my kids. I eventually launched swimbikemom.com when I began training for triathlon, and I wanted to write about the journey. The purpose was to establish accountability for myself and use it like a journal, but I didn’t think anyone would read it. My first post was, titled “I’ve decided to become a triathlete” on August 26 2010. My mom was the first to read and like it! I thought maybe I’ll launch a Facebook page. I would just write about what I learned… “Today I went to the pool and learned 64 lengths is a mile” or “you have to put your swim cap over your ears or it will fall off.” It was literally just my trial and error and process of figuring it out. Slowly people began reading it. Swim Bike Mom as the entity and vision did not start until awhile after the blog. I eventually had tri kits made for fun. It slowly grew because people would come to me a say, “I’m a Swim Bike Mom too!” It never occurred to me that Swim Bike Mom represented a person! My vision for it really is just letting every woman know that they can accomplish these crazy goals and do exactly what they set out to do. I never thought I’d ever complete an IRONMAN®! I’ve completed two full IRONMAN® races so far. I don’t want women to feel they don’t have the time or are not worth investing in themselves. As moms that’s a tragedy.


Q: Inspiring others to take risks, live healthy lives and be active is a big part of what you do. What do you find is the biggest hurdle for people to overcome when striving to reach their wellness and fitness goals?

A: I’ve spoken about this a lot in the past and considered what the hurdles are. I’m on the Women For Tri board for IRONMAN®. One of our major initiatives was to try to figure out why women hesitate to enter the sport of triathlon. We came up with many reasons but for me, I think it’s guilt. How can I leave my children for 2 hours in the morning. The dividends it pays are amazing. My 6 year old daughter is all about Swim Bike Mom now! She goes to every race and she will be a healthier person because she’s grown up around fitness and sport. Seeing me on my trainer or waking in the door from a bike ride or run. Cheering me on for a 5k because we agreed on pancakes after. It’s what she knows. She’s familiar with it, and I think women need to understand how amazing it is for others close to them to see it. Both my kids were at the IRONMAN® finish line. My son who is old enough to remember, talks about it all the time!


Q: Tell us about your racing and training schedule. When do you train and how do you prepare for your events given the significant time management it requires?

A: It depends on what races I’m doing. This year I’m doing two iron-distance. One in about two months from now, and another in October. Because of that, the training is a lot longer. Its about 15 hrs per wk with a long run during the week. I’ll take the kids to school or camp every morning but one and that’s the morning I do my long run. Or I’ll get the run in either before or after I take them. I usually sleep 5-6 hrs per night but I can go for days on 4 hours of sleep. I do require less sleep than most people, thankfully! My B race is IRONMAN® Lake Placid. My goal is to finish and enjoy it because I decided relatively late to do it. IRONMAN® Louisville is my A race in October. That requires a 16 week build. I’ll have two weeks recovery after IRONMAN® Lake Placid then ramp back up. I’ve had a coach since the beginning. I need someone to be proud of me and to tell me when I need to improve. You don’t have to think about it. You do what they say. I’ve noticed a lot of women can’t seem to let go and trust their coach. It’s easy to over do it as an athlete without a coach to keep you in check.


Q: How important is nutrition and diet to your overall training and racing program? What is its impact?

A: It’s very important. I used to fuel my weekend rides with donuts. I’d eat 12 donut holes on the way out and 12 on the way back. I love food. I now have a nutritionist. My diet has improved dramatically. She’s reformulating food as fuel for me. You need it to train. I had a great race recently and I know it’s vital. I need to improve on my execution of good nutrition. As I continue to figure it out, things will improve.


Q: How do you incorporate Klean Athlete® into your nutrition and training regimen?

A: I have a smoothie every morning with Klean Isolate™, spinach, pineapple, ginger, banana, coconut oil, strawberries, cinnamon and kefir. Daily, I use the Klean Multivitamin™, Klean Probiotic™ and Klean Omega™. I use Klean Electrolytes™ and Klean Endurance™ on the race course and during hard workouts.


Q: What’s the #1 piece of advice you’d offer to a new, aspiring athlete, looking to improve their fitness and overall health?

A: My mantra is, “Just keep moving forward.” Wake up, move forward, do a workout, any workout. Go to sleep and do it again. On a race course, move forward at all times. It also applies to your whole life too. In our house, I’ll complain and say I can’t do this. My job, taking care of the kids, the stress, and my husband will say, “Just keep moving forward”. If you miss a workout you have to move forward. You can’t dwell on the past. As a newbie, you’re going to look stupid. You’re going to fall over on your bike at a stoplight. I do it at least every season, still. I even did it last weekend at a 70.3 race. You have to maintain a sense of humor. At the end of the day, we’re out there sweating in spandex. You can’t take yourself too seriously. I still don’t take myself too seriously. I go and focus on race day and on my workouts but I try to keep everything in perspective.

Meredith’s blog, www.SwimBikeMom.com is wildly popular among women and men who love to (or want to) swim, bike and run.
And even those who don’t want to become triathletes but love to follow along with her adventures. She is a sought after mentor and speaker for triathlon clubs and women’s groups nationwide.
Recently, she became a USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, and is certified in Youth and Junior, as well. Meredith is the author of “Triathlon for the Every Woman”. You can follow her through her website and on social media here:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram


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