TSC: Who are you? Name? Age? Where do you live? Married/kids? Occupation?
AS: My name is Amanda Shapiro, I’m 30 years old, single, and living on the Upper East Side. I’m a gym rat by morning, and a Strategy Director at an advertising agency by day.
TSC: When did fitness first become a part of your life? Have you always been an athlete? Did you start working out as an adult? Did you workout earlier in life and start up again? If so, what and why?
AS: I can’t remember a time when fitness wasn’t part of my life. At the age of 5 I joined a competitive swim team, and for the next 17 years I smelled like chlorine. After college, my transition from the pool to dry land was hard. Swimming was so tied to my identity and my routine. It felt like I wasn’t good at anything like I was good at swimming.
I never realized how important fitness was to me until I wasn’t obligated to do it anymore. I knew I needed to find something else…and not just because I was still eating like a swimmer.
TSC: What is your current workout routine? How many days a week/hours a day do you workout? What types of workouts do you do? All one type or switch it up?
AS: I work out 5-6 days a week, with a mix of HIIT classes, running, boxing, and my new found love, powerlifting.
TSC: How do your prioritize fitness and wellness in your (busy) life?
AS: Sometimes I think I prioritize fitness too much…or at least I’m sure some of my friends who haven’t seen me at a happy hour in awhile think I do.
I make fitness something I want to do, not have to do. I make sure my gym swag is on point…because no one feels motivated to workout in their ripped college t-shirt from freshman year. I do things I like, with people I like…because no one is inspired if they’re bored. And I always set new goals that have nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with physical ability…because strong looks good on everyone.
If I’m lucky, I’ll be bootcamping well into my old age.
TSC: Why is working out/fitness important to you and your lifestyle?
AS: Because it’s cheaper than therapy and healthier than wine.
TSC: When was your first race? What race was it? How many road races have you run to date? How many marathons? What was your favorite and why?
AS: My first ever road race was also my first ever marathon - The Hartford Connecticut, October 9, 2010. In the 6 years since I’ve run 7 more full marathons, and 3 half marathons, on 5 continents.
How could I pick a favorite?! Hartford will always be special…as firsts usually are.
But then I took my running international – Madrid, Spain, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, The Great Wall of China, The Big Five Marathon on Entabeni Game Reserve in South Africa. Each has humbled me, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Each has provided unique cultural experiences. Each has introduced me to friends from around the world I would never have met otherwise.
TSC: How did you decide to get involved in these crazy races? Do you have a bucket list of those you want to complete?
AS: After I ran my first marathon, it wasn’t a question on whether I was going to run another, but where it was going to be. So, like any former athlete, I got addicted to challenge, and set another goal. I decided I was going to run one of every continent…and yes, there’s one on Antarctica.
TSC: What is your best marathon memory?
AS: It was during my first marathon. I came around the final bend at mile 26 and I saw the finish banner in the distance. I couldn’t believe I was almost done, but had nothing left in the tank – legs cramped, blisters on my feet, chafing in places I didn’t know could chafe, dehydrated, exhausted. Don’t think for a second those last .2 miles aren’t the hardest part of the whole damn race!
As I’m pleading with the heavens to just get me across the finish without my legs giving out from under me, I see my brother through the crowd on the sideline. We made eye contact, he said “let’s go!”, and he ran me in to the finish line. He got me across the line when I didn’t think I could do it myself. I’m not sure if he knows how special that was to me.
TSC: What is your favorite fitness gear/accessory?
AS: I love my shwings…they’re wings that attach to your shoes. I’m a sucker for good fitness flare.
TSC: What is the best piece of running related advice you ever received?
As a life-long athlete, I had been conditioned to just push through. Push through pain, soreness, sickness, whatever. Nothing would stop me from getting my gainz. And then I wound up with a hip injury. I thought I’d never be able to run again, at least not 26.2 miles. Through rehab, I learned how important it was to take care of my body, no matter what exercise I’m doing.
For me, that means workout prep – foam rolling, stretching, muscle activations. Making sure the right muscles are turned on, lose, and ready to fire. It’s my least favorite part of my fitness routine, but it keeps me pain free.
TSC: What other aspects of healthy living do your incorporate in your life? Wellness? Sleep routines? Meal prep? Favorite healthy places to eat out/recipes readers should try?
AS: Massages. Massages are the sometimes painful, but always awesome reward for wrecking my body. I like to treat myself to one a month.
Besides that, I have an incredibly balanced approach to fitness and food. I don’t live a life of restriction, so all foods, and wines, are on the table...in moderation, of course.
TSC: If you could share one thing with someone who is considering running their first marathon what would it be?
AS: Start…and don’t stop.
When I first started, 26.2 miles was daunting...it still is. So I took it one mile at a time. I started training by running one mile without stopping. The more I trained, the more miles I could do. Mile after mile, week after week, I surprised myself with my progress.