Weekend Warriors: How These Professional-Level Athletes Still Hold Down Full-Time Jobs

By Stevie Lyn Smith, MS, RDN, CSSD, CDN, September 4, 2018


Weekend warriors of the endurance sports world: those who take on epic mental and physical challenges while holding down demanding jobs, raising families, and crushing all other aspects of daily life. Scrolling through social media it's not unusual to wonder how they do it but more importantly, how they do it while maintaining a healthy balance of family, work, and play. We caught up with some of these all-around rockstars to get some tips, tricks, and other pieces of advice for those looking to take on big goals and challenges in their free time.


Crystal Seaver

You might know Crystal Seaver as an inspiring and down-to-earth endurance athlete on Instagram. But not only does she crush 50 and 100-milers, she does so while running her own business and filling the role of stepmom. Crystal will be taking on 29Zero29 this year in Stratton Mountain.

But first, what is 29Zero29? Well, it's a mountain takeover in which participants have 36 hours to climb the same vertical distance as Everest: 29029 feet. Pretty gnarly, right? Beyond all the vertical participants will take on, there will also be good base camp vibes where the whole experience is shared with like-minded individuals. So we checked in to see how she balances work, life, and endurance training.

Crystal gave us her top tips: first, she says to focus on one thing at a time and break down tasks into manageable pieces. She recognizes that training for a rigorous event is a challenge and recommends that those doing so modify many parts of life, like choices around food, social life, and what we do with our free time. She says, “the overall goal is always wellness, but when too many changes happen at once, it's going to be hard to sustain.”  She emphasizes making a series of small changes rather than one big, drastic change.

Next, she always has a plan... and a back up plan. "Some days, despite your best efforts, it may not work as well as you plan and that's okay," says Crystal. This is where her next piece of advice can come into play: "do what you can." She encourages dreaming big but being realistic when setting goals: "the goal is to go into an event with energy and a sense of pride of what you did do. Happiness is key.”

Lastly, she emphasizes that, with all there is to learn about training for a big event (whether it’s about eating, training, or when to rest), she urges to not let all of the expertise fall on you. ”There is a network of people and resources that spend their time specializing in these exact topics. Don't be afraid to reach out, ask questions, delegate the work to the experts. We all have different needs - we should embrace that.”

That's where InsideTracker comes into play for Crystal. After a 100-mile race last year, she couldn’t figure out why she was struggling to bounce back. Instead of guessing, she looked at her bloodwork to get a picture of what was actually going on inside her body before beginning another training cycle. For her, it was addressing iron and ferritin levels. She says that, "once you see it on paper, it becomes real. It also means you know what kind of changes to make to get back to feeling like yourself again. For me, that meant changes to diet, more rest and less exercise and letting my body fully recover."


Amelia Boone

Meet Amelia Boone: obstacle racer, endurance athlete and InsideTracker user. She’s a three-time winner of The World’s Toughest Mudder, Spartan Race Champion, and three-time Death Race Finisher with many other podiums and victories in between. Along with crushing it on the race course, Amelia works full-time as a corporate attorney at some of the biggest firms in the country.

Her biggest piece of advice to those looking to take on the weekend warrior lifestyle? “Recognize and accept that you aren’t going to be able to train like a full-time professional athlete and probably shouldn’t.”  She notes that, “while you may have the time to put in the training, what you are missing out on is recovery, because whether you recognize it or not, the full-time job is still a source of stress.” So how does she approach her training keeping her own advice in mind? She errs on the side of lower training volume and finds it better to devote an extra 10-15 minutes to strengthening, pre-hab, and mobility work rather than adding an extra 10-15 minutes to a run.

 Learn what your body needs to balance work and play... and more work!

Mike Wardian

You might catch Mike Wardian, this ultra runner and all-around remarkable guy, running a marathon dressed as Elvis or on his daily run commute in the Washington, DC area. Mike holds a number of world records including the fastest time for 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days and fastest time for all the World Majors (marathons), among others. Beyond being an elite runner, he's also a full-time father and businessman who still finds time to give back to his community. How does he do it all?! “We all have time but it is accessing that time is always shockingly difficult. I try to use my allocation of time as efficiently as possible and that is what I call 'invisible training.' By that I mean, think about ways you can meet you obligations and responsibilities and still do the work.”

So how does he incorporate training into his life without going so overboard that it's the other way around? “For me that means running to and from my job. Working out before the family wakes up and if possible doing something on my lunch break.” To help with time management Mike recommends tracking everything. Knowing where your time is going can help you recognize were you can be more efficient. He takes this practice and dedication to the next level with his nutrition and by testing with InsideTracker to stay healthy and recover between training sessions and events. Mike says blood testing helps him understand what his body needs so that he can enhance his fuel intake and perform at his highest level. As he puts it, this allows him to make "a healthier choice for yourself rather than just a choice recognized as healthy for the general population."


Chris Powell

Next up, meet Chris Powell. He’s a professional pilot, a husband, a friend, and an IRONMAN. He acknowledges this balance is a tough one: “achieving work/life balance, being an active participant in a marriage, and training annually for one of the world’s longest endurance events is a puzzle that I struggle to put together every day.” So, then, how does he put the pieces together?

First, he realizes that he needs to stay on top of his time and resource-management while setting goals that are realistic and attainable yet challenging. He says that within the constraints of a "fluid" work schedule, he identifies periods of time that are suitable for training and commits to them: mindset, rest, fuel, recovery, all of it. While these time periods can often be identified weeks in advance, there are other times he finds himself planning in real time or for the upcoming hour, but rolls with the punches.

He emphasizes that “commitment to the goal is crucial” for success. Where does InsideTracker fit in his strategy? “My commitment to myself to maximize my training efficiency means that my body has to be ready to produce for the workout, and then receive the gains that come as a result – day in, day out. Fueling before the workout and recovering afterwards require that I pay attention to my body’s unique nutritional needs.” InsideTracker helps to identify these needs. He says that the proven scientific knowledge from his results helps him to trust his training and keeps him pushing through those hard times when the idea of extra rest sounds so attractive.

What are some other tips and tricks he uses to stay on track? With a job that can take him to five cities across all time zones in one day, he identifies meal prepping and food logging to help him pass up on those quick junk food choices and make healthy food choices on the go .


What we've learned

Finding a healthy balance between work, family, and play is a challenge that many struggle with daily, especially for those with big athletic goals and dreams. Making a plan to accomplish these goals requires dedication, time management, and commitment. Being open and able to use resources to help you use your time efficiently is a key to success. Testing through InsideTracker helps these athletes to recover smarter, train stronger, and maintain their health so they can take the guesswork out and devote that time to balancing the other important aspects of their lives.

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