For top professional athletes like Amanda Barnhart, there is only one competition that matters: the Games. Hundreds of similar athletes from all over the world have vied for an invite to set foot on the elite stage, which takes place in Wisconsin’s brutal summer heat. With a week-long series of grueling workouts spanning from cycling, running, and swimming to functional fitness, gymnastics, and weightlifting, Amanda will compete for the title of being named the “Fittest on Earth”.
So how does she prepare for such a feat? We sat down with her to get the low-down on her latest training updates, and more importantly, how she’s been using Macrostax to keep her fueled for her stellar performance so far this year.
[Macrostax]: Tell us a bit about what your life has been like lately! You had a big move to Boston this year, how has that been?
[Amanda]: Life has been hectic! Moving to Boston from my home state of Ohio was bittersweet, but the opportunity to train closer to my coach and with other inspiring athletes was worth the leap. I am training with the CompTrain team, my coach Harry Palley, and Ben Bergeron. The team consists of Katrin (Davidsdottir), Sam (Kwant), Chandler (Smith), myself, and some other phenomenal athletes. We train HARD. It is a lot of work, but totally worth it. I love training with Sam because he has become kind of that annoying brother. We push each other a ton.
[M]: That’s awesome! I know we are getting back to normal after COVID, but did the pandemic impact your training in any way?
[A]: I just controlled what I could control and didn’t worry about the rest. But I am looking forward to exploring new restaurants and fun activities around our new home in Boston.
[M]: I’m sure we all are. What about nutrition? How have you dealt with preparing and eating for your macros while facing the same challenges–a new move cross-country and a quarantine?
[A]: Honestly, after a long day of training, I am exhausted. I can barely take my socks off! So having an app like Macrostax allows me to be told what to eat, how much to eat, and how much more I need to eat before my head hits the pillow. It just simplifies a huge piece to my recovery puzzle.
[M]: We love making nutrition easier for our Macrostaxers! What are your favorite parts of the program and the app that make it stand out from others?
[A]: My favorite part about the app is the convenience of the “suggested recipe” for the macros I need to hit. Plus, when my nutrition is dialed in, I feel stronger, mentally more alert, and emotionally more happy. It has kept me fueled so that my workouts are that much more impactful! And every workout counts leading up to Madison.
[M]: Speaking of Madison…the biggest competition of the year is right around the corner! Let’s talk about how you’ve been preparing, and what you do as the competition approaches. Can you tell our readers what you eat in a typical day as an elite athlete?
[A]: Carbs…honestly all carbs! I used to fear them like most people, but then I smartened up and realized their role in my recovery and energy levels. Now I LOVE carbs and preach to others not to be afraid. But, man, I love my oatmeal in the morning when it’s quiet and the pups aren’t being crazy yet! I start off every morning with a bowl of oatmeal which has my favorite fixings in it. I already have that easily inputted into my app every morning–just plain oatmeal weighed out, cinnamon, and some berries. I then follow that up with another breakfast after my morning aerobic work, which consists of something a little more satiating like eggs, toast, protein shake, etc. also all logged in the app. When I head to the gym, I pack up some high-carb snacks that are easily portable like bananas or oranges. I also bring a pre-prepped meal with me for lunch with leafy vegetables, rice, and chicken. At the end of the day, I usually eat a ton!
[M]: People think professional athletes are almost other-wordly because of their supreme natural talent and dedicated training. What are things you eat, or things you do each day, that are more relatable than people might think?
[A]: I deal with common issues a lot of people can relate to like self doubt, body image, and more. It’s always a work in progress, but if I can inspire people to be the best version of themselves, and not let doubt or negative self-talk creep in, then I am very happy about that. I journal each day to get my mind right in the morning and I eat the same food as everyone else! I just try to stay away from sugar and things that won’t help me achieve my goals until the work (competition) has been finished. Nothing crazy here! Just discipline.
[M]: What about competition week? How do you stay on top of your game while being taken out of your normal routine?
[A]: Preparation is everything. I pack snacks for the trip, I wake up at whatever time to get a big home cooked meal in, and then I will have already found a food source before I land to make sure I am fueled on arrival. I make sure dinner is sorted by shipping out bulk food items that are easily weighed and tracked in my Macrostax app. The night before competition, I keep it simple with just carbs, meat, and veggies. Maybe a rice or sweet potato, chicken or steak, and some greens. When it’s game day, I wake up, journal, try to keep my morning routine as normal as possible, laugh at something stupid Wes (my husband) is doing, listen to some throwback jams (I’m a 90’s baby), and then lock it. I worked for this.
[M]: And when you take that competition floor, what thoughts go through your head? What drives you to push yourself in those moments where it matters?
[A]: The thought of sitting back and being mediocre during the one life we have to live. That scares me. I want to experience it all and be proud of all my hard work. The energy from the crowd, and when all the training and long days come together into a result you EARNED.
[M]: Ok…and we have to ask because it is one of our favorite questions to ask any Macrostaxer. What is your favorite treat to fit into your macros, or what do you think you’ll splurge on when the competition is over?
[A]: COOKIES! Cookies are pretty incredible. And maybe a fun drink that has some alcohol in it.
[M]: Yep, we’re a sucker for cookies too. Best of luck, Amanda! We’ll be cheering for you!