From on a regular basis to extraordinary
Q: Inform us a bit about what triggered your resolution to problem your self on this approach?
Leentje: Positive. It began final 12 months once I stop my job. I used to be in search of a whole change and determined to enterprise into sports activities advertising and marketing independently. Throughout this transitional part, I used to be actually dwelling it up, partying and having enjoyable. However I might usually get up feeling unhealthy as a result of irregular hours, alcohol, and general lack of construction. I realised then that I wanted to make an enormous change.
The thought of difficult myself athletically sparked once I attended the Belgian Championship Time Trial to assist my nephew and his mate, Victor. The considered taking part was intimidating at first as a result of it is advisable qualify to compete. However the concept lingered in my thoughts for months.
Nevertheless, after discussing it with my nephew (Jef Van Meirhaeghe), who actually inspired me, I stated okay, let’s do it.
Q: Are you able to describe the mindset adjustments you needed to endure?
Leentje: For me, the important thing to sustaining self-discipline and motivation all through this problem was having a transparent “why”. I needed to regain management over my life, to have extra construction, and to make choices with a transparent thoughts. This problem was my approach of attaining that. Figuring out why I used to be doing it made all of the distinction. It made it simpler to get up each morning, to coach, and to have more healthy habits.
Q: How would you examine your life earlier than and after this self-imposed problem? In what methods have you ever modified probably the most?
Leentje: The bodily adjustments are fairly vital. I’ve misplaced round 14-15 kilos, and whereas I used to be pleased with my physique earlier than, I now really feel a lot more healthy and stronger. It isn’t simply concerning the weight reduction but additionally the rise in muscle mass and general health. I’ve gained a deeper understanding of my physique, having the ability to really feel my coronary heart price and have higher management over it. That sense of management and being in tune with my physique is among the most important adjustments for me.
I’ve additionally discovered to understand the little issues in life. Household dinners, moments with pals and their kids, and even high quality ‘me time’ have grow to be extra significant. While you’re juggling work and intense coaching, you begin to worth and cherish these moments.
Coaching for the BC Time Trial
Q: What was step one you took whenever you determined to alter your way of life and dive into skilled biking?
Leentje: One of many first issues I did was discover a coach. I had tried following generic web applications earlier than, however this time I knew I wanted one thing extra tailor-made.
Having a coach made a world of distinction. Each week, we’d evaluation my outcomes and make changes primarily based on my coronary heart price, pace, and weight. It let me deal with areas the place I might enhance and make constant progress. My coach additionally carried out train exams all through the problem to evaluate my health stage and monitor my improvement.
I extremely advocate working with a coach or coach. It actually contributed to my enchancment and general success.
Q: How did you preserve your motivation and self-discipline all through this journey?
Leentje: Sustaining motivation and self-discipline was a problem at occasions. Particularly on mornings once I needed to get up early, like 5 a.m., to gas up earlier than intense coaching periods. In fact, there have been moments once I did not really feel like doing it, however I needed to change my mindset.
I knew why I used to be on this journey and what I needed to realize. Even once I did not really feel prefer it, I knew that after I began, I might really feel nice afterwards. So I might inform myself, “Put in your exercise garments, and simply go.”
I additionally leaned on my family and friends for assist throughout robust occasions. Their understanding and assist made an enormous distinction in retaining me motivated.
Q: How did you adapt your diet to assist your new athletic way of life?
Leentje: One of many first issues I lower out was alcohol. That made it simpler to drop some weight and practice within the morning with extra power and no hangover. I additionally turned extra conscious of my sugar consumption, though I nonetheless allowed myself some treats, particularly throughout lighter coaching weeks. I observed I used to be consuming extra biscuits and sweets than I did earlier than. However it didn’t really feel dangerous as a result of I used to be coaching a lot.
I additionally met with a nutritionist on the soccer membership the place I work, who supplied me with a listing of advisable meals for various coaching eventualities. I prioritised having a nutritious breakfast with yoghurt, granola, and fruit and adjusted the components primarily based on availability.
One other factor I did was meal prepping for the week. Like, on Sunday evenings, I might sit down and determine what I wanted for the upcoming week. Then, on Monday evenings, I might hit the shop and do an enormous grocery haul to get every little thing I wanted. It was a game-changer as a result of it gave me one much less factor to fret about in the course of the week and helped me maintain my consuming habits on level.
Q. Have been there any particular dietary supplements that performed a big function in your coaching and transformation? Pre-workout, throughout, post-workout?
Leentje: Completely. For the pre-workout, it relies upon. Earlier than heavy coaching, I wish to have a “Decathlon cake” for carbs. You simply add water, put it within the microwave, and it is able to go. Throughout much less intensive coaching periods, I did not eat a lot earlier than my exercises.
If the session is six hours or longer, I’ll additionally kick issues off with a caffeine shot or with XTRACT.
Throughout coaching, I be certain that my physique has sufficient gas to hold me by way of the whole session. For example, throughout marathon coaching or the precise marathon, I’ll take as much as three gels per hour. It’s a excessive quantity, but it surely retains my power ranges secure. This additionally helps me curb cravings for quick meals and unhealthy snacks post-workout.
Submit-workout, a vanilla protein shake with soy milk is my go-to, irrespective of the size of the exercise.
Q: What was your expertise with XTRACT like?
Leentje: For me, it makes a distinction for intense coaching periods. Throughout a interval once I was coaching six or seven hours a day for a couple of weeks, I made a decision to mix XTRACT with my caffeine photographs.
Usually, I might have three caffeine photographs throughout coaching. However with XTRACT, I simply took one, and I felt approach more healthy. In some way, XTRACT appeared to offer the identical, or perhaps even a greater, power increase than the caffeine shot, but it surely felt totally different. Extra pure and wholesome, which is in keeping with my causes for taking up this coaching problem within the first place. I used to be a bit bummed out once I ran out of my Ginger-Lemon photographs.
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Q: Are you able to discuss any errors you made early on in your coaching?
Leentje: Like I discussed earlier, retaining your power up throughout exercises was an enormous one. I actually consider that altering that behavior (taking extra gels in the course of the exercise) performed a large function in my enchancment. And seeing that progress is so motivating; it makes you wish to push even tougher.
One other factor was organisation, or somewhat, the shortage of it, particularly initially. I did not take the time to take a seat down and actually plan out my exercises, which, wanting again, wasn’t the very best strategy.
I might undoubtedly advise different athletes to plan out when and the place they’ll practice, perhaps even prep their gear the night time earlier than. It could possibly make a world of distinction. For instance, in case you’re coaching for a triathlon – you have acquired working, biking, and swimming wear to organise. Having a bag able to go can prevent from a morning scramble, and belief me, a stress-free begin is the right kick-off to any coaching day.
Q: What was probably the most difficult a part of your journey, and the way did you overcome it?
Leentje: Coaching in winter. Think about biking in fixed rain, chilly, and even freezing climate. I keep in mind this one time, I used to be at my guardian’s place. It was the second of January, the thermometer was exhibiting minus 4, and there I used to be, coaching outdoors as a result of there was no house coach at their place. It made me additional grateful to have one at house.
Having a house coach makes it simpler whenever you’re on a decent coaching schedule to leap away from bed, throw in your exercise gear and hop straight onto the bike. All whereas watching some Netflix or getting some work accomplished. If I needed to share some suggestions, I might say spend money on a house coach. Sure, it may be dear, but it surely’s price it for the pliability it provides your coaching.
Lastly, I’d say do not skimp on good exercise garments. Consolation and performance can actually improve your coaching expertise.
The teachings discovered
Q: All through this transformative journey, what are probably the most essential classes you have discovered?
Leentje: I believe the most important factor is the immense respect I’ve for skilled athletes. I at all times admired them, however now, my respect for them is off the charts – they’re gods!
Selecting to interact in a sport since you like it is one factor, but it surely’s an entire different stage of dedication whenever you’re continually pushing your self to enhance. And for individuals who juggle this with a full-time job, properly, it simply blows my thoughts. I wrestle to understand how organisations, federations, or governments wrestle to search out adequate sponsorship or funding to assist them extra.
Take girls’s biking or subject hockey, as an example. I do know that greater than half of these athletes must work a daily job simply to pay the payments. This was a actuality I hadn’t totally grasped. I at all times had the consolation of understanding that my intense coaching schedule would finish in June and that I might then readjust my work life. However for these athletes, it is a fixed grind, 12 months in, 12 months out.
It is a robust path they’ve chosen, and so they have my utmost respect.
Q: For those who might title one perfect factor about taking this problem, what wouldn’t it be?
Leentje: My well being, indisputably. I really feel a lot extra alive and cozy in my very own physique and thoughts.
Q: Now that you’ve got achieved such a outstanding transformation, what are your future objectives?
Leentje: I’ve acquired plans to compete on the regional time trial championship this July. And who is aware of, perhaps I will ask my followers on social media what they suppose I ought to do subsequent. I am open to recommendations.
Q: What recommendation would you give to aspiring athletes who want to make an analogous way of life change?
Leentje: Simply keep in mind, if others can do it, so are you able to. Know why you wish to do it, after which simply go for it.
Key secrets and techniques to success
Discovering a transparent “why” and understanding the motivation behind the approach to life change is essential for sustaining self-discipline and overcoming challenges.
Personalised coaching applications tailor-made to particular person wants are instrumental in attaining speedy progress and success.
Having a supportive community of family and friends can present the required encouragement and assist throughout robust moments.
Slicing out alcohol and being conscious of sugar consumption have been vital dietary adjustments Leentje made to assist her athletic way of life.
Meal planning and preparation helped Leentje keep organised and preserve wholesome consuming habits.
Incorporating dietary supplements like XTRACT and utilising caffeine photographs helped present power boosts throughout coaching periods.
Coaching in winter climate offered challenges, however having a house coach and investing in good exercise garments can improve the coaching expertise.
Leentje gained a newfound respect for skilled athletes and their dedication to their sport whereas juggling work commitments.
Essentially the most rewarding facet of the problem for Leentje was improved well being and a higher sense of consolation in her personal physique.