Lauren Barnett is a killer pro triathlete and an avid Svelte fan! She began racing in triathlons right out of college and has quickly become one of the fiercest and most consistent competitors out there. We are so thrilled she had some time to sit down and answer some of our questions about her life, training and diet.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: Originally from St. Louis, I competed in my first triathlon after graduating from Mizzou – on a borrowed mountain bike wearing a baggy cotton t-shirt and long, red shorts. There are pictures to prove the horrible apparel. But that race changed my life.
In 2010, I fully committed to triathlon training. And that training paid off. That year I raced in the coveted World Championship Ironman in Kona.
In 2011, as an Age Group racer, I finished every triathlon on the podium. In 2012, I raced an undefeated season as an Elite Amateur and in 2013 I turned PRO.
I started my PRO career with a top 5 finish at a big stage event, beaten only by three Olympians, and shortly thereafter, I secured my first PRO win. During my 70.3 debut in 2014, and coming off of an intense injury, I broke the tape and won Ironman 70.3 New Orleans. Since then, I placed third in both Ironman 70.3 Kansas and Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake. In only a few years I’ve become a highly respected triathlete who is known for my consistency in winning races as well as my passion and enthusiasm on and off the course.
Q: When it comes to nutrition, what tips do you have for those who are training for a triathlon or other major race?
A: Just as important as the swim, bike, and run training is proper fueling and nutrition! Eat more frequently, which means smaller meals and healthy snacks all throughout the day. Replenish electrolytes, which I do by drinking a glass of water with a Nuun hydration tab before a workout, as well as Zico Coconut Water throughout the day as a snack. Make sure to take advantage of that 30-minute window post-workout by refueling with protein. Cheese and crackers, an apple with almond butter, a Svelte protein shake…whatever that looks like for you, don’t skip out on the opportunity to refuel so your body can absorb the training and recover properly.
Q: What are your favorite healthy snacks?
A: I love rice cakes topped with honey and almond butter and bananas! It’s a great blend of healthy carbs, fat, and protein. I also make yogurt parfaits every day, topping the yogurt with granola, fruit, and flaxseed. I have a Svelte protein shake daily too – it’s a quick, on-the-go delicious, convenient way to refuel.
Q: What does your typical day look like?
A: I work full time as the Director of Marketing for Innovation360, which provides customized outpatient mental health and addiction treatment in Dallas. So, in order to get in my first workout of the day before work, I’m up before the sun rises. I like to do my longer, harder effort in the morning because sometimes my second workout after work has to get cut short due to traffic, errands, or unforeseen situations popping up. I’m not a morning person, but getting in a sweat-fest, high intensity workout before I start my day leaves me feeling more alive, alert, and focused. If I biked in the morning, I may swim in the evening, or run, or do yoga at Sunstone Yoga. Evenings are funny at our household. My husband and I both are elite-level triathletes, so that leaves us with piles and piles of sweaty laundry, tremendous appetites, and time-crunched schedules. While the water’s boiling on the stove for dinner, we are trying to empty the dishwasher, change over the laundry, get the grill going, share with each other about our day, check emails, and pack our gym bags so we can do it all over again tomorrow…and just before the chicken burns on the grill, we take a time-out and sit down to relax for the first time.
Q: Cardio vs. Strength Training – How do you strike a balance in your training schedule?
A: I’m a huge believer in strength training! It helps improve imbalances, prevent injuries, and strengthen the supportive muscles all throughout our bodies. Strength training complements the cardio efforts. Over the past year, I’ve added in yoga to my training schedule and have reaped the benefits. Yoga has helped improve my stride and strengthen my core, and it’s a great way to practice mindfulness. It’s something I try to do 2-3 times a week to support my triathlon-specific training. It won’t ever replace a swim, bike, or run session, but it’s a vital piece of my training program. And this year, I’ve put a massive focus on recovery, and yoga falls under that umbrella too, helping me stay injury free.
Q: What are your favorite workouts to prep for a big race?
A: I love our Saturday long group rides followed by a solid “brick” run off the bike. I am fortunate enough to have a great crew that pushes me hard and keeps me accountable. I can just feel myself getting stronger after these workouts are done. And it’s a confidence thing too – they say there is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is certainly no glory. I know that I’m prepared for race day after knocking out several of these longer sessions leading up to a big event.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for monitoring health and fitness progress while training?
A: I log my training in a software system called Training Peaks. But you can use something as simple as a notebook. Logging your effort level, pacing, power, and distance, as well as how you feel allows you to look back and compare your training over time. Even tracking quality of sleep and nutrition is helpful if you want to figure out what magic combination leaves you feeling your best.
Q: What struggle(s) have you encountered in your racing career?
A: My mom, who is my #1 fan, always jokes and asks if I picked the most expensive hobby I could have! It’s true that the cost of our sport can be tough to swallow. And now that I’m competing not just regionally, but nationally and internationally too, it’s even more expensive factoring in all the travel. Fortunately, my husband Brandon and I have been blessed with great jobs that help support our lifestyle. I’m always seeking out companies that align with who I am able to partner with in a mutually beneficial way so that I can obtain the additional support I need to really compete at the level I want.
Q: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
A: Earlier in the year I was involved in a bike wreck that left me with a puncture wound near my ankle. I couldn’t train for a couple of months and had to carefully ease my way back in. It’s tough to not be able to do what you love. But with perseverance and by trusting that God’s plan is better than my own, I kept a positive mind-set and believed that in some way, overcoming this would leave me stronger on the other side. The toughest part is when the story is being written, and you don’t know how it will turn out. That’s where faith and trust come in. Just after my second run back into training, I raced in my first ever half-ironman distance race as a PRO and get this…I WON! I’m still pinching myself! And of course I’m proud of the race and breaking the tape was incredible, but I’m more proud of remaining resilient and keeping the faith during a time when it would have been easier just to sulk!
We are so inspired by Lauren’s efforts and amazed that she is able to balance a full time job on top of her intense training and competition schedule. It just goes to show, you can still kick butt on a tight schedule!
We want to thank Lauren so much for taking the time to share with us her story and health & wellness tips! We hope that her story and tips will help to inspire young women and triathletes everywhere.
Svelte vegan protein shakes are proud to support athletes like Lauren Barnett and strong women everywhere. With 11 grams of protein and 20% of your recommended daily fiber, Svelte gives you the energy needed to make it through your busiest days and toughest workouts.
Do you have any questions or comments about Lauren Barnett or training for a triathlon? Please comment below or on our Facebook page!