Being an athlete is a time-consuming endeavor in itself. Fitting in workouts around a day job, navigating family commitments, and dare I say trying to reserve a spot in the pool makes life as a professional triathlete a fully-involved pursuit—amateur or a professional.
The wise words from the Dalai Lama, "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." This quote reminds me that some of the simplest acts can, in fact, contribute to my greatest gains as an athlete.
Whether you have an extra five minutes or need suggestions on how to effectively multi-task, here are my top three simple suggestions to enhance your human performance.
Tip #1: Mindfulness Matters.
As I've matured as an athlete, I've been reminded, constantly, of Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Once upon a time, I considered going as full-on as I could at my job, for as long as I could.
I would steam-roll into bed utterly exhausted every evening until I realized that all that hard work was not complete until I took the time to integrate my hard work with a moment of pause. This can look like three to five minutes of meditation between sessions, mindful breathwork, or even savasana before transitioning to my next activity of the day.
Simply put, I work hard and recover harder to ensure my body and my brain are ready to fire on all cylinders.
Tip #2: Protein Timing is Everything.
Thanks to my partnership with Vega, I have been able to properly time my recovery fuel with great products and no excuses. Fueling while training is science for many folks—navigating and figuring out the formula for what our bodies will absorb and digest with ease.
However, fueling post-training is as easy as a recovery shake and as simple as one scoop in a shaker cup — just add water! After your sweaty pursuit is a great time to feed your depleted muscles. Whether that means, in my case usually another workout, or in yours, maybe that’s being mentally switched on for your next video meeting.
Protein, for me, is non-negotiable and has proven to help replenish my glycogen stores and give me the ability to hit it hard day after day.
Tip #3: Stretch, Roll, Repeat.
These activities could be the mosquitos in your ear, those small tasks that make a huge difference but are also the easiest things to overlook, like a deviation from your routine, or something you choose to not make time for.
Busy folks rarely add "stretching and rolling" to their to-do list, myself included, yet thankfully I have found ways to incorporate this into my life without needing to think about it anymore. If I'm sitting at my computer, I can be rolling my feet. If I'm waiting for my dinner to cook or watching a show at night, I can be stretching and working on joint mobility.
I say this with the caveat that I’ve had more broken bones in my life than I can count and taken more trips to the physio than I'd like to admit. When I am able to re-frame multi-tasking to taking care of the most important things (my body!), all of a sudden crucial bodywork is never missed.
I share these as tips to becoming the greatest athlete I can be, it is not lost on me that these are in fact lifestyle commitments that I will continue to practice well beyond sport. A sound mind and a nimble body will surely keep me from getting lost on adventures for as long as I can imagine.
Want to learn more on how Rach recovers? Check out this blog post on Five Tips for Recovery with Professional Triathlete Rach McBride. Don’t forget to follow them along on Instagram.
Rach has been racing as a professional triathlete full-time since 2011. They are a three-time IRONMAN 70.3 Champion and have numerous podium and course record results across several distances in the sport. Known as the “Purple Tiger,” Rach is one of the strongest cyclists on the world circuit. Deemed, The most interesting [person] in triathlon,” by TRS Triathlon Radio, Rachel McBride is the first professional triathlete to be out as gender non-binary. They hold two graduate degrees in genetics and are an accomplished cellist, having toured the US and performed in Europe with various bands.
They lead from the front of the race always. They are consistently first-off-the-bike having logged eight Ironman championships, 70.3 fastest bike splits, and are currently a two-time IRONMAN bike course record holder. Rach is a three-time course record holder, including Canadian National Championships. They also love riding and racing their gravel bike. Rach loves being a minimalist, spinning fire, and working in sexual health education and advocacy in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.