014: Reinventing your Mind and Body with Lauren Jensen McGinnis | Sport Coats Podcast

A podcast fueled by professionals bridging the gap between Sports and Business. Enjoy as guests share stories & experiences from the playing field to the board room.

014: Reinventing your Mind and Body with Lauren Jensen McGinnis

Meet Lauren Jensen McGinnis

Lauren is the owner and head coach of TriFaster, a professional speaker, co-founder of the nonprofit Making Waves Milwaukee, a contributing author to Tri’ing Times, and a world champion triathlete! As a licensed physical therapist and movement specialist, Lauren combines her extensive knowledge of the body along with over 35 years of multi-sport racing and coaching to help others to realize their full potential. Her style is to share in the adventure with the individuals that she coaches acting as a true partner in their journey and her company TriFaster provides professional multi-sport coaching and fitness programs to individuals of all fitness levels in both group and individual settings. 

Seeing as though you've participated in over 400 triathlons, if you could eliminate the swimming, running, or riding your bike and replace it with anything else, which one would be eliminated and what would you replace it with?

Well, my strength is on the bike, my secondary strength would be swimming. So from me being a person who's extremely competitive, there would be the temptation to eliminate my weakness, which currently is running. If I were to replace that with something, anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm constantly eating. So even though I'm five foot two and approximately 120 pounds, I could put down about 3500 calories in a day. So I think that my third very natural sport would be eating awesome.

I have actually performed a triathlon myself and it was slightly different than the ones that you do. It actually was a five k run, then there was a rollerblading component, and then we actually finished with a canoe a one-mile canoe down the Milwaukee River. So I don't know if you've considered adding the rollerblading/canoeing component to the triathlon. 

I will have to give up some thought. One year I did do this epic race, it was over four days with a partner. It was called the Border to Border, and it started in the southwestern corner of Minnesota and you ended up in the northeastern corner of Minnesota. The first day I think was 200 miles of biking and the second day was similar, and you're trading off with your partner. The third day was 50 miles of running. After this third day, you're really quite tired. And then the final day was 54 miles of canoeing, which included six miles of portages. Well, somewhere in the middle of this, my partner lost his shoe in the mud. So he's down to one shoe and then somehow his back went out and he was bent in half, 90 degrees. So I ended up paddling the last 17 miles on this by myself. And we get to the last Portage, which was a mile long. And thank goodness for the two army guys. They portaged their canoe a mile, walked back, got our canoe portaged our canoe for us and it took that entire time for them to walk those three miles forging two canoes for my bent-over partner to hobble the mile to the end of the portage, so we can finish.

When you hear about triathletes and just the mental preparation, whether it's through just the constant training like you said, you have to focus on so many different skills. In your experience does that create a different type of mentality for those athletes, so that when they're faced with adversity, specifically in competition, there is just this no quit mindset that they have?

I do believe that the athletes who are successful in the sport do develop the don't back down, I'm not going to quit, tough as nails type mentality. Another thing about the sport is the time in what's called transition counts. So you finish swimming, it's not like there's a break. I mean, there's a break, you could take a break, I mean, you could literally go in the locker room, take a shower, and apply makeup, but all that time counts when you race.  So what you'll see is the people that are more skilled at the sport, it's almost like you barely blink, and they've transitioned from the swim to the bike, and then from the bike to the run. So also I think it makes you highly adaptable because you go from one thing to the next, to the next, and you're thinking about one thing, and then you're getting to the end of the event, and you're already in your head mentally preparing for how you're going to do that transition. Then as that's coming to an end, you're mentally preparing for the next event.

So is there a component where you're still in the water and your brain has already moved to the bike? Or while you're in the water your brain is in the water?

I think when I personally am racing, I'm doing a couple of things at once. It's kind of like when you watch a TV show, and there's a bunch of different cameras. So you have the close-up view, and then you have like the faraway view where you're looking at the whole scene, and then you have all the different angles. So your mind is agile. So there's a big part of my mind that's like that close-up shot and all I'm thinking about is my form and exactly how I'm swimming. Then there's that camera that you kind of back up a shot and you're looking at everything that's happening around you. So one thing in the water, you can get a very big advantage by being right on another competitor’s feet. It's called drafting and it's allowed in the swim. So there's this awareness of where you are versus your competitors and how you're using that situation to your advantage. Or maybe someone's banging the heck out of you, and how am I going to reposition myself in the swim and not lose my competitive advantage. But also get away from this person that's disrupting my rhythm? Because they keep elbowing me. Then there's this other part of you that's setting yourself up for what's going to happen. So for me personally, when I'm coming to the end of the swim, I'm thinking about my technique, but I'm thinking about, am I going to stay on their feet and come up, or am I going to come around them right at the end, like what kind of exit is there to the water? So you're doing all of these things all at once, so it's a little bit of a multitasking adventure.

One thing that you pride yourself on is your toolbox and just those experiences. So I'm just curious what would you say to some of these millennials who are maybe just jumping around and trying to find their niche and trying to really understand whether it's professionally, or location-wise, where it is that they belong?

I see a lot of positives about trying a multitude of different jobs. I think, for one thing, you're building skills, and you can be in one industry, and take those skills to a completely different industry. But I think even more importantly, they're giving themselves the opportunity to figure out what they're passionate about. I actually am lucky, I love coaching. I get up every day and I'm lucky to do what I love. I get to help people improve, I love it. I think until you find what you're really passionate about. A job is a job, and if you are lucky enough or smart enough to go look for what you're passionate about, and embrace that and find a way that you get to do it every day. It leads to a lot of happiness.

And so much more…


Connect with Lauren:

Email: lauren.shark.jensen@gmail.com 

Website: https://trifaster.com/