So You Want to be a Triathlete?

Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? Tackling a triathlon can be a daunting, even for the most experienced fitness buffs. But you will be surprised that with the right direction and coaching, anybody can complete a triathlon.

Triathlons used to be the area for the super elite athletes, but that is not the case anymore. According to USA Triathlon, participation in this three-prong sport is at an all-time high. The number of triathletes has grown from 100,000 in 1998 o 550,446 in 2012. The fact is there are many different types of triathlons, ranging from easiest to the most challenging (the Ironman). The range of triathlons allows everyone the opportunity to become a triathlete no matter their fitness level.

We interviewed Shannon Schuster’s trainer, Melinda Molinas, who was happy to offer her advice on how to get started with this total-body sport.

Melinda’s Background

Katy area triathlon trainer Melinda Molinas has been in the training business for a year and a half. With no desire to confine her knowledge and talent working under somebody else at a gym, she became inspired to begin her own coaching business to challenge and motivate others, including Shannon. More than a trainer, Melinda is a certified trainer who specializes in nutrition with a focus on sports specific nutrition.

Melinda’s drive to motivate others stems from her personal experiences. For 20 years, Melinda suffered from an eating disorder. She overcame the obstacles of disordered eating, hospital visits, and a damaged metabolism to become a more healthy, active version of herself. And she is determined to share her insight to others to help them do the same.

If you had someone call you today and told you they wanted to start training for a triathlon, what would be their first steps?

“You definitely need a training plan to keep you on task and to be around like-minded people to keep you motivated. Keep on track with training groups. Make sure to integrate weight training and healthy eating every week to give you the energy to keep up with your training.  The biggest challenge with training for a triathlon is that you’re pushing your body to extreme. It’s important to take it one day at a time to stay focused to reduce unnecessary injury. To do well, you’ll need to combine good endurance, strength and conditioning, and a strategic customized nutrition plan.”

What would you recommend for a client who has a tight schedule?

“I would say the two biggest things for someone with a tight schedule is to focus on weights and nutrition. Weights will strengthen your muscles and correct any muscle imbalances. The right nutrition will make or break athletes leading up to and on race day. Nutrition is just as important as pounding the pavement with physical training.

If you work a full workday, I would split up your training into two parts. Getting up early to run, swim, or bike and focusing on weights later in the evening. “

How many hours of dedication does it take to train for a half or full Ironman?

“As far as the length of time to train for a Tri, 3 hours a week is a good start. Come closer to race day, you will need to dedicate about 6 to 7 hours a week to training.”

What does a typical workout look like for Shannon right now?

“Right now we’re mixing it up. I try and integrate some cardio with every single client. For Shannon, we’re working on ‘supersets,’ which hit all the areas of the body. Total body movements such as dead lifts, overhead press, and kettle bell swings all involve large parts of the body.  We’ll often do the same set but at a higher intensity with no rest time. That higher intensity will provide Shannon with the explosive power she’ll need for a multi-hour endurance event like an Ironman. By using free weights, Shannon can correct any muscle imbalances and build maximum strength. That maximum strength, in turn, will provide her with that power to push further and keep going.  She’ll usually burn about 600 – 650 calories from each session.”

What’s your biggest reward coaching has given you?

“Seeing these girls motivates me everyday. As a mother, I know all about the demands that are placed upon us. I look at the regimens these girls put themselves through and I’m so inspired at how they keep it together, especially Shannon. She, along with the other girls, continue to challenge and push themselves, which inspires me everyday, all the time, to do the same.”

About Melinda Molinas

Melinda is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer in Katy, Texas and is the owner of Premiere Training and Nutrition. With extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, injury prevention, nutrition, she specializes in customized training and diet plans to suit any personal goal or lifestyle. Everyday, Melinda dedicates herself to challenging and motivating others to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life.

Melinda Molinas

Texas Fit Chicks Senior Trainer

(832) 605-1457



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