America Ferrera does triathalons: When something scares me, I should do it

America Ferrera is covering the upcoming issue of Triathlete Magazine, and they put her in a cute bicycling outfit and standing behind a bicycle. I’m covering this story because I was impressed by the way that America, 33, described pushing her limits through physical fitness, and the fact that she found training for her first triathlon, an Olympic distance race, incredibly challenging. This is a woman who has starred on her own TV show, who has done multiple TV interviews and has success beyond a lot of our wildest dreams, and she’s still working to go beyond her comfort zone. I found America’s interview motivating, probably because it’s been a devastating week and I need to think about something that inspires me. Here’s some of what she said in the interview (via People).

“This relationship of being disappointed in our bodies is a relationship that I started at a very young age, whether that’s because of the culture around me or the points of views that I was exposed to,” Ferrera, 33, tells Triathlete magazine for their July cover. “I didn’t see a lot of examples — or nobody taught me to appreciate and love my body for what it’s capable of. It was always about what it wasn’t and couldn’t do, and what it could be.”

So the Superstore star set out to challenge herself, and signed up for the Olympic-distance Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in honor of a friend who had just lost her mom.

“I think recently in the past few years of my life I’ve started noticing a pattern of when something scares me, that’s an indication that I should do it,” Ferrera says. “There were absolutely times where I doubted whether I could do it. When we started, I was not a swimmer at all and I remember one night at swim practice where I was just literally weeping in the pool. I just started crying because I had to swim 600 meters in a row, and for someone who started like, ‘I don’t even know if I can do a 50! How am I gonna do this?’”

“Why I think triathlons have changed my relationship to myself is because the whole sport is about going further than you think you can go, living at the threshold and pushing yourself to the place where you feel like, ‘I never thought I could be here and I certainly thought I couldn’t go further,’ ” Ferrera says. “It’s at that threshold that you have the opportunity to choose something new which could just be to be nice to yourself in that moment, to acknowledge yourself in that moment.”

Ferrera — who finished her second triathlon in April — says the sport and its challenges gave her a greater appreciation for her body.

“Our little bodies — the small little space that we inhabit for the entirety of our lives — everything we feel, everything we experience, everything we do is contained inside of our bodies. And to be challenged physically is to have to meet all of your experiences,” she says. “That’s why, personally, working out has always been an emotional experience for me.”

[From People]

An Olympic distance triathlon is a 0.93mi (1.5km) swim, a 24.8mi (40km) bike ride and then a 6.2mi (10km) run. It must have taken a lot of fortitude and persistence on America’s part to both train for and complete two triathlons of that distance. I really like what she said about how working out is emotional for her and how everything we experience is through our bodies. That was somewhat deep and so true. I’ve also tried to have a better relationship with myself through fitness and healthy activities and it’s worked somewhat. I really like that saying “move a muscle, change a thought” and try to be active when I feel depressed or down. I’ve found it helps. I don’t know if I could do triathlons, running doesn’t seem like my thing at all and I prefer group fitness classes, but maybe I’m just not demanding enough of myself. America is reminding me that I need to do that.


photos credit: WENN, Triathlete Magazine, Instagram/America Ferrera

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25 Responses to “America Ferrera does triathalons: When something scares me, I should do it”

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  1. detritus says:

    The cute bike gear looks like it could be a tri-suit. Which you don’t take off after the run and has little pads in the bum like bike shorts. It’s all stupid expensive even for boring solid colours.
    Good on America, I think it’s really hard to get into fitness later in life, it’s a foreign skill and foreign terms and can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to it. She’s a tough lady and Olympic distance tris are no joke.
    On that note, I kind of want to find her split times and use it for training motivation this summer.

    • Runcmc says:

      lol I did that with Chris Pratt and his 70.3. Beat him by three minutes!!

      Tris are no joke, and there are SO few of us women of color doing them. Like 75% of the races I do, I’m the only woman of color. Good on her, and hope many more of us start doing tris!

      • detritus says:

        ahaha thats excellent! I’d way rather beat Pratt.

        Tris aren’t a joke, but I think there are ones for everyone, I think anyone can do one if they train for a few months. A sprint tri is only about an hour and a bit, and you can walk the run if you are pooched even.

        I think the swim discourages people, but its at the beginning and with a little stroke correction (tight abs, elbows up, fingers enter first) they can get decent in a short amount of time.

    • Bridget says:

      I’m normally a runner but am going to pick up my first tri this Fall (yikes, I don’t even own an appropriate bathing suit). Though I disagree with the author’s description of needing a lot of fortitude to complete an Oly. With all of this stuff, honestly it’s not that hard – anyone can do it, you don’t need to have any special skills or strength. You just need to show up for practice.

      Sometimes I look at the articles with the celebrity marathon times, but so few of them actually train for them for real – it’s usually a couple of months slapped together.

      • Runcmc says:

        Yup. Celebrity marathon times are barely ever any good. Only a handful of them have even hit sub-4, and super fit looking celebs will sometimes run crazy slow (I remember the big hubub about Katie Holmes and the NYC race and she ended up running like a 6 hour marathon, which is really a walking pace…)

      • Bridget says:

        Have you heard of the “Oprah line”? Her time at the Marine Corps Marathon was 4:29, and that’s the benchmark for celebrity marathons. Diddy trained for something ridiculous like 8 weeks start to finish (most people take 6+ months) and complained the whole time, but his big goal was to beat the Oprah Line.

        Interestingly, you know who’s a real runner? Will Ferrel.

  2. Swak says:

    I’m impressed!

  3. Marion C. says:

    I did my first sprint tri (.5 mile swim/13 mile bike/5k run) at 45, there was a woman on my training team who did her first Olympic distance at 75. You’re never too old to start and to my surprise the tri community is amazingly supportive; I was a good 50 pounds overweight and was so nervous about being judged but my teammates ended up being some of my closest friends. I moved and there isn’t much of a tri group outside of a couple Ironman teams here and it’s such a bummer. Oh, and you can find inexpensive gear, starting out you don’t need the tri bike, super pricey trisuit, etc.

    • detritus says:

      They are so much fun, and it makes training so much better when you have a goal.

  4. Maria F. says:

    i love this, especially because she is not a size 0 and showed that it is about what your body can do, not what it looks like.

    Very inspirational.

    • HadleyB says:

      Same. I am sure they still photoshopped her pic but at least they didn’t make her a size 0. Her body looks strong, healthy and not perfect and I appreciate that.

    • TQB says:

      Yes! she is such an inspiration for saying that she found a way to love a body that too many suggest is not perfect. But mostly, I just love how genuine her smile is.

  5. Lizzie says:

    Good for her – it is grueling. I did an Olympic tri with no experience through the LLS and team in training as well. It is very time consuming to train so I only did one bit it is a great organization and the coaching and training/fundraising support network is amazing. Highly recommended if you’re interested in doing an endurance event.

  6. Lucy says:

    Great interview! Also, a magazine cover that doesn’t oversexualize a woman’s body? OMFG.

    • TQB says:

      I love that pic – she’s just standing there, smiling. No fake posing. I feel like the photo shoot took 3 minutes and they were like “Yup, that’s what we want.”

  7. Snazzy says:

    Love her awesomeness on the cover and the fact that the mag has an article about peanut butter.

  8. QQ says:

    This girl Ministered to me Directly in one of the most awful weeks Ive had in years and years… Both on the getting out of a comfort zone and on the doing something that scares you … I needed to hear this today from a peer to continue fortifying me. Go America!

  9. Mama says:

    I so needed this post. Thank you for writing it. As someone who completed a Spartan Trifecta last year I have, since then, been down due to health issues, a badly sprained ankle, and now a knee injury. My self-esteem has been in the toilet and gets lower every day. I don’t feel like my body can do anything anymore and this is a reminder to not give up.

  10. Yup, Me says:

    Get it, America!

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been needing a recharge on my gym motivation. This really spoke to me and all of the lessons I’ve been learning about my body in the last few years.

  11. Esmom says:

    Nice article, very inspiring, and brought back memories of my days as a triathlete in the late 80s-early 90s when I was in college and just out. My dad was my inspiration. He quit smoking and decided he needed to get healthier since he was approaching the age his dad was when he died. I figured if he could do it, I could do it and kick some of my unhealthy collegiate habits at the same time!

    I’ve since moved on from triathlons but the lessons about how much our bodies are capable of have stuck with me. I try to stay appreciative of the fact that I can still put one foot in front of the other on a morning run, especially as people become sidelined with illness and injuries. I have found that staying active is the best way to avoid those things!

  12. Bridget says:

    America just seems like such a good egg.

  13. Gaby says:

    Love her! She’s just so authentic.

  14. brincalhona says:

    Can we start a rumour that all proceeds from MAGA baseball caps go to this America? She has such an infectious smile.