Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 172 – Natalie Allport

[00:00:00] I think it must be much harder, like when you’re in that latter half and everyone’s catching you and passing you back. I think it’s never a fun place to be. I know I’ve been in that position in many CrossFit workouts where let’s say this actually happened to me in 2019. I was competing over in Shanghai and the workout was like, I think it was like a 30-calorie assault bike sprint into like it was just a final workout. So it was a really, really fast workout. Like you maybe you have 3 minutes to finish the workout or 2 minutes it goes really quick and you do the sprint and then you have a double overhead walking lunge down the main way into like the finish line with the crowd. And I knew that the double overhead walking lunge is not a good movement for me because my overhead mobility is lacking.

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Jesse: [00:01:29] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host, Jesse Funk. My guest today is a former Canadian national team and world tour snowboarder. I think unless I’ve forgotten somebody. So if I have, I’m sorry, but I think she’s the first snowboarder on the podcast. So as long-time listeners know, I’m not really super deep into winter sports, so I always like having winter sport athletes on because they can tell me about things I have no idea about. She’s a current competitive CrossFit athlete. She’s the host of All In With Nathalie Allport. You can find her on YouTube, on Twitter, on Instagram all @natalieallport. If it wasn’t evident who we’re talking to today. Welcome to the show, Natalie Allport. 

Natalie: [00:02:16] Thanks for having me.

Jesse: [00:02:17] Yeah, thanks for joining me. Thanks for the reschedule. I know this happens sometimes with some guests and I would like to say thank you. You know, everybody’s busy with their own lives trying to get all the things done, especially people like you and me. Like, obviously we both have podcasts, spend lots of time training, doing all the things and just we only have 24 hours in the day. So getting everything done sometimes is difficult when you’re trying to get a lot accomplished. So I really appreciate you being flexible with your time and being able to hang out with me here for the next 45 minutes to an hour or so.

Natalie: [00:02:55] Oh, yeah. No, my pleasure. It’s always fun to talk shop with other athletes.

Jesse: [00:02:59] So the topic of conversation of the hour is the New York Marathon. As we’re recording this now, it has not run it yet, but by the time that it’s come out, so you’ve already run it, we’ll know how she did. So I guess what I’d like to do is maybe a visualization exercise. And since as of publishing, this will you’ll already have run it. I want you to give me a race recap. What happened? How did you feel? How did it go? And just get that out in the universe?

Natalie: [00:03:36] You know what? It’s funny because if you ask me about any of my other like, if you ask me, run across the competition or when I was snowboarding, asked me about across the competition, I think my answer to that would be so results-based like I’m visualizing, I got this placement, I landed this run, whatever. And literally my goal for this is just to have fun. So —

Jesse: [00:03:54] Yeah.

Natalie: [00:03:55] Yeah. So that’s, that’s really about it. Like, I’m hoping I’m going to be like the weather’s, I’m hoping the weather is good. I’m going to be enjoying the views and join the crowd, also listening to some good music and then also, yeah, pushing it a little bit. I know it’s obviously there’s going to be points where it’s going to hurt because 42.2 is still a lot of kilometers no matter how fast you’re running it.

[00:04:15] So I definitely know that there’ll be points where I’m going to have to just mentally push myself, like in anything and push through that wall and be like, okay, keep going, keep up your pace. So that’s my goal. I think in the sport of CrossFit, I tend to or I used to tend to, I’m trying to break free of this, start out way too hot.

[00:04:36] So I’m literally going to try to start off the opposite. I’m going to start off chillin’, we’re warming up, we’re going good, and then hopefully I’ll just gradually increase my pace from there. So that’s also my goal is just to be smart and not start off way too hot. Then all of a sudden I hit a wall and I’m walking or limping or just not able to keep up anymore.

Jesse: [00:04:58] It’s a very, if you don’t mind me saying, it’s a very seasoned athlete mover, definitely seasoned distance athlete move is making sure you don’t start off too strong. And it’s so easy to fall into it, especially if you’re like, whatever it is, if you’re I’m not sure what the KM pace would be. So say I was running a marathon and I’m like, “Oh, I want to run seven-minute pace”, submitted my pace.

[00:05:24] You don’t necessarily want to start off at seven minute pace. Maybe you to start off at 730 and then by the end you’re cruising like 630 like. It’s so easy to, especially at the beginning, because there’s just a wave of people and everybody’s going and there’s all the excitement and people are cheering and it’s easy to get caught up in that.

[00:05:44] And then you could end up blowing up because you burnt things too early instead of like allowing your body and all your systems to get going. Despite if you do warm up, which obviously is great, but just it’s a long endeavor, like it’s going to be a day. It’s going to take some time from start to finish. So I’m glad to hear both that and that you’re looking to have fun.

[00:06:09] I know I always had my best races in college when I like just, you know, you got I’m sure you have time goals, right? But then you kind of throw that out the window in some sense and just go, let’s just have a good time. Like there’s I find there’s a levity to a race when you’re like that, like that mile didn’t go the way I wanted, but like, I’m still having a good time. And then things kind of come together.

Natalie: [00:06:36] Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think also because it’s not my main sport, it’s like, okay, so the result doesn’t matter as much. I just want to cross that finish line. And it’s my first marathon. It might be my only marathon, who knows? So I think people keep telling me they’re like, “Oh, you’re going have so much fun, you’re going to want to do it again.” But it was hard to manage all the training with my normal sport training.

[00:06:58] You know, I really had to let my CrossFit kind of take a bit of a hit, more of a hit than I would have liked. Well, well, doing the 12 weeks of training. But yeah, I think it’ll be good. It’ll be good. It’ll be good fun. Yeah. Like you said with you mentioned a time goal, I, I honestly I keep getting asked that and I’m like I don’t really have one because I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be.

[00:07:19] You know, I haven’t run that distance before. I don’t have I’m sure if I did, I would want to beat my previous time because that’s who I am. But not having won it, just like, okay, I’m just going to try to be smart, not kick off and be like everyone around me because I know kind of the where I’m starting in the heats and like the pace, the bunnies and stuff that are running at the same time and they’re going to be running probably faster than what I’m thinking.

[00:07:45] I’m going to be getting just based off what my training runs were like. So I’m like, I got to let them just go out and like, that’ll be okay because I don’t want to just try to keep up. And then, you know, halfway through I’m walking. So yeah.

Jesse: [00:08:00] I mean, the biggest mental lift to me. Excuse me. In a distance race is letting those people go. And there are some people that you let go that you’re never going to see again. It’s just how it is. But you let people go. You get into your own groove. And then by halfway through the race, you start reeling people in.

[00:08:24] And then that’s a nice motivation where you start like chomping people up as they start falling off because they went out too hard and, you know, like at that point, “oh, that like that discipline to hold myself back at the beginning has led into this position where I feel good and I’m starting to pass people”, which helps you hold or pick up a pace like as you go on and things get more tired, your legs get heavier.

[00:08:51] All those things, it’s a mental boogie instead of a weight, as if in the opposite direction. If you were the person that went out too hard and now people are all passing you like that’s that’s harder to stay in it if you have a hard time staying in your own zone, if you’ve got to pick between the two.

Natalie: [00:09:12] Yeah, for sure. I think it must be much harder, like when you’re in that latter half and everyone’s catching you and passing you back. I think it’s never a fun place to be. I know I’ve been in that position in many CrossFit workouts where, let’s say this actually happened to me in 2019. I was competing over in Shanghai and the workout was like, I think it was like a 30-calorie assault bike sprint into like it was just a final workout.

[00:09:35] So it was a really, really fast workout. Like maybe you have 3 minutes to finish the workout or 2 minutes it goes really quick and you do the sprint and then you have a double overhead walking lunge down the main way into like the finish line with the crowd.

[00:09:48] And I knew that the double overhead walking lunge is not a good movement for me because my overhead mobility is lacking. And I also knew that the assault bike is a really good like machine for me. So I went out and it wasn’t like necessarily that I went out too hot. I think probably a lot of people watching, not knowing what my strengths and weaknesses were probably assumed that, but I was off the bike like a good ten, 20 seconds ahead of everybody.

[00:10:12] Like I sprinted fast, but I was feeling good. But everyone caught me on that double overhead walking lunge, not because I went out too fast, but because I knew it was just my weakness. And it does not feel good when you are in the lead. The crowd is cheering and everyone’s catching up. So yeah, I think just for the goal of having fun and enjoying it, definitely choosing that strategy of going out a little bit slower, holding back and catching people I think will be more fun.

[00:10:38] And I even think back to cross-country running races when I was a kid and like having that same mentality where I usually went up to hot and then there was the times where I didn’t care. Whereas like I have a hockey game later, I’m not going to push myself. I’m just going to like, you know, chill, hang out, talk with my friends while I’m running. And then all of a sudden you get that competitive kick. You start, okay, no, now I’m bored. I want to start passing people and then ending up having, like, better finishes. And the times that you just went out hot from the gate.

Jesse: [00:11:05] So I think I mean, I have to ask is why? Like, why are you doing this? I mean, you got I mean, CrossFit itself has plenty of variety in it. There’s lots of work to be put in to be good at it. You know, why go, “hey, let’s go do a marathon” like it’s been the time or the diversion. I mean, I know you’ve done a lot of different sports, which we’ll talk about some of those videos and stuff you’ve done with YouTube, with the different pros. But where did the idea or the genesis of “let’s go make a diversion to do a marathon” come from?

Natalie: [00:11:47] Yeah, to be honest, it wasn’t necessarily my idea, but it actually came from all the way back to last year where so I have been dealing with a shoulder injury since 2019. And then with the pandemic and everything, it kind of slowed down the recovery process. And then I had a setback just over a year and a half ago that kind of had to restart the rehab process.

[00:12:08] So I’ve been out of competition for a little bit. And, you know, even with my shoulder, I wasn’t really able to even work on my strength that much because I couldn’t really deadlift because it was pulling on my shoulder. I couldn’t really squat. So I was like, okay, what can I work on? And one of the things that I’ve always disliked is running, you know, as a snowboarder, running is, is a high-impact sport. And I didn’t want to add extra stress to my joints in the off-season.

[00:12:33] So I always just did like low lower impact activity. I mean, of course, I was always with my brother and friends, like running around and doing games and jumping off things and skateboarding and whatever. But yeah, I was like, I don’t really just I don’t have any inclination to run. I just don’t enjoy it. Growing up, playing other sports, hockey and so forth, running is kind of a punishment.

[00:12:53] It’s like they’ll run some sprints and do this. So I just had a negative mindset about running. And then in CrossFit it was always strength stuff is my strength. I was more like a bigger athlete, strength, power, that type of stuff, like fast explosive stuff. And I think that’s just kind of how I’m wired. I’m much more fast, rich muscle fibers than I am slow twitch. It’s very easy for me to gain strength and to green gain power and stuff.

[00:13:16] But yeah, building my endurance has always been something that just takes a really long time and then running. And so it’s like, that’s actually something that I can work on. And I also don’t like having it in my mind of believing that I can never be a good runner. And people looking at me saying like, “Oh, like you’re just never going to be a good runner because you’re built clearly you carry a lot of muscle mass, you’re built for more of these strength stuff.”

[00:13:38] So I think it was last August of 2021 that I started doing a running challenge where I just ran every day. And one of the things that I did was I didn’t care about my distance, I didn’t care about my pace.

[00:13:51] And the idea was that I was such an obsessive athlete over everything I did. I have the perfect program. I was so all or nothing. It was like, I don’t want to train today unless I have the perfect program because I’m wasting my energy expenditure on something that might not be this perfect.

[00:14:06] But then I realized that was just another excuse not to actually just work on my running. And what was really holding me back was that I don’t enjoy it. So why — so that I’m not committing to actually, like following a program or doing something. So I spent that whole month just I would go out for a jog if I was feeling anxious. I would just run one kilometer with my dog.

[00:14:25] Some days I would run a little further, five kilometers. Some days I’ll do hill sprints and by the end I started to actually start enjoying it. I changed that, that kind of negative self-belief. And then from there I started following more of like a CrossFit-specific track workout program where I was running, you know, three or four times a week at the track, doing a lot of hard lactic threshold sessions, a lot of hard intervals, started making a lot of progress, took a lot of time off my mile.

[00:14:52] And then I started thinking of this goal where I wanted to run a sub six minute mile and then squat 300lbs afterwards. So I know on the male side in CrossFit there was a guy who did a sub five minute mile and then a 500lbs squat. So I wanted to try to build up to what is the, the equivalent for that on the women’s side and kind of show people that you can still be really, really strong and also have that other quality. So how can you train for those two things like as a hybrid athlete?

[00:15:18] So I started working towards that, documenting that. And then yeah, then I had a sponsor who came up to me literally 13, 12, 12, 13 weeks ago, and we’re like, “Hey, do you want to run the New York City marathon?” Like we want to sponsor you to create content around it to come and be our runner? And I was like, “That seems crazy. Let me think about it.” It wasn’t an immediate yes, because I didn’t know how it would align with now that my shoulders better, I’m starting to ramp up the CrossFit train and hopefully get back to competition. So like, can I sacrifice that time? And then I thought about it. I was thinking like when I’m like eight years old, I’m looking back.

[00:15:57] It will be a cool story to say I ran a marathon on top of all these other things that I’m doing and just I think, you know, if there’s any marathon to do. The New York City Marathon seems like an amazing one. I love the city of New York. I think this might be my ninth trip down to New York.

[00:16:14] So the stars kind of aligned. I did take like a week to think about it just because I didn’t know if I could manage the training and changing. And for sure, I definitely feel like my CrossFit has taken a little bit of a hit as I didn’t make that decision, but it was like a sacrifice I was willing to make because I think it’s going to be so fun and I think it’s just a really cool challenge to put myself through.

[00:16:32] And I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last 12 weeks. So yeah, that’s kind of how it all came about. It was partially through just me trying to challenge that belief of running and then the whole idea of a marathon. I just did not ever have that in mind and then got presented with the opportunity and I was like, that sounds like a perfect challenge.

Jesse: [00:16:50] So for you, the listener. If you ever see my running show on YouTube channel, if you’re on the YouTube channel, you’re watching the video version, or whether you’re just listening to the audio version. I did a video a while ago about people asking, can you do a marathon in two months and you’re three months of training? So for you, the listener, I would say understand that now is exceptionally good shape, number one.

[00:17:18] But also, if you’re going to take on a challenge like a marathon in three months or two months or whatever it is, I don’t personally advocate that as a long-term sustainable plan like the mileage will typically like. If you were going to say, just start from zero, do a marathon in three months and then just keep rolling. Likely you’re going to break.

Natalie: [00:17:41] Yeah, that’s —

Jesse: [00:17:42] Sometimes you can do challenges like that in the short term, but just like because of the mileage ramp, your body can deal with it for a little while and then typically you’ll fall off a cliff and something’s going to break. So I just like to put that out there because I know people like to take on challenges and then sometimes people will go, I love the marathon, let’s keep it going.

[00:18:02] And then they end up in this spiral where they get broken. They’re like, “Well, I was able to do it in three months”, like, “What’s the problem now?” And so anyway, so I want to put that out there because I know. I don’t know you, but based on the things I’ve seen about your history and your kind of versatility as an athlete, there is, I think, a quality in somebody that’s trained in so many different disciplines.

[00:18:29] It just has such good general fitness, much easier to get away with these kind of short term challenges without ending up in like this total injury zone. So for you, the listener, I just want to stress that point that like, yes, it can be done, but you do have to have like your own gut check on where your own personal fitness journey is as to whether you should take on that kind of challenge.

Natalie: [00:18:54] 100% It was funny because I was thinking about this today. I was thinking that if someone had told me, like if they approached me and said, “We have a challenge for you, run a marathon tomorrow”, I would have been like, okay, like, I feel like I could have done it. Like, even though I had only run like 15 kilometers as a long run ever before.

[00:19:11] Before that, I think I could have done it. I just like even last year I did 100-kilometer cross-country ski in a day, like nonstop. And the longest I had ski before that was like a ten kilometer ski. So I know, like, yeah, for sure. Like my body is used to a very high training volume. So I think that’s a big part of it over years and years and years of gradual buildup.

[00:19:30] So for me, that’s why I’m actually like more I’m not I think I’m more proud of this past 12 weeks versus the actual whatever the happens at the marathon. Because, for example, if I had just done, let’s say, a challenge and said, I’m just going to run a marathon tomorrow, what is actually to be proud of, like it’s just like, okay, cool. Like, like I never put in the work to actually train for it.

[00:19:51] It was just that based on my genetics, my past training load and other things it happen to be that I could like just push through on one day. So for me is like pushing through for 12 weeks of actually going out, running on days. I didn’t want to run and like building up the mileage and doing that stuff.

[00:20:10] That was like the hard part. But yeah, for sure. I know. Like even last year I had people who were like messaging me like, “Why are you running every single day? That’s not good.” And I was like. I was like, listen, like this amount of trading volume is so low compared to what I’m used to. And for sure, because running is a different discipline. I have to build up like I have to manage like is my feet hurting?

[00:20:30] I know when I ran 26, my foot was like killing me and I was because I just came back from Europe and my mileage took a hit. And then I came back and just jumped into a long run. So there’s definitely things that I had to manage. But overall, for sure, like my quads, my calves, all those things could recover pretty quickly. It was more just managing the feet and different things like that.

[00:20:50] And so, yeah, if you’re listening, don’t just if you go from no running at all or even like me, like only having ever run 15 kilometers, like also think about what was your past training volume and different things because you definitely want to build things up over time. Like I think over this past 12 weeks, my training volume time has actually decreased because I’ve been doing longer runs and then okay, like I can’t do across the session today because I need to skip this versus there is there are times in my life I was like training CrossFit six plus hours a day and I’m not running 6 hours a day. So.

Jesse: [00:21:24] Right. It’s different to I mean, it’s I haven’t done a ton of CrossFit. I lift a little bit, but I wouldn’t qualify that as the same kind of thing you do. But it’s just the stress load that you put on your body is different with different kinds of activities. Like the thing I relate to because I have that triathlon background is like you can basically get in the pool and go hard almost every day because it doesn’t have that impact that running has.

[00:21:51] So conversely, because running has such impact on your body and it uses so many of your muscle groups, you can’t go hard as many days like it’s an 80:20 approach. So it really depends on what the sport is, what the impact is, what your history is, what the intensity is of any given day, how fast you were like. There’s so many variables to figure it all out.

[00:22:15] But that makes me want to ask about — I don’t know that you’re still doing this. I saw these videos on your YouTube channel. So if you’re on YouTube down on the description, this should be a link straight over to Natalie’s YouTube channel. You can check these videos out after this conversation. But I saw you did like a series where you trained with a pro from different sports for a while. I didn’t have a chance to check out all of them, but can you give me an overview of why or where that came from? And then, like, how did you feel after you spent the time with each of the pros?

Natalie: [00:22:50] Yeah, I mean, I grew up playing literally every sport, and so I’m like, how can my life replicate that? So I feel like that at the time. I’m like, I love gym class and I love playing all the sports. So yeah, I think it was just over the pandemic. I met a ton of different athletes, but unfortunately I couldn’t travel with everything going on.

[00:23:09] So I was like, okay, let me just like film training, like these different athletes here at home. And then I guess it was last year. Then I had the opportunity to actually meet up with some people because things were a little bit more fluid. Things were a little safer to hang out and link up, and I’m hoping to do a lot more.

[00:23:25] I actually I filmed like maybe two months ago a video with World Champion Sprint Canoer. I still have to edit it up, chop it up. I just haven’t had the chance. It’s been so crazy with training for this marathon and just various life-work things. So definitely once I come back from the marathon, I’m going to be putting that video together because that was a really cool sport.

[00:23:45] It’s probably a sport with the hardest learning curve because you can’t just like go kick a soccer ball. Like trying to actually stay in this boat is like impossible. Like most people get maybe 0.5 of a second in the boat. So it’s it was a really interesting sport to try. But yeah, I definitely want to do a lot more of those and just kind of shine a light on especially different female athletes journeys.

[00:24:09] Talk about different things that happen, talk about different important topics, whether it’s like how they’re fueling, like obviously the training stuff and that stuff, but also just talking about the sports culture as a whole, just having discussions going a little bit deeper than just like the typical day of training is like what I would like to do.

[00:24:28] So yeah, so I’m hoping I can do a little bit more. Just it’s crazy, obviously managing my own training schedule and everything to also go out and train with other people and, and then with the marathon, right? Like I’m already sacrificing CrossFit time to do this running.

[00:24:41] So to also sacrifice a couple of days of either running or CrossFit-specific training time to do someone else’s training that adds a whole other thing because like you said, you can only recover from so much. You can only you have to adapt to different types of things. So it’s not like on my rest day I can go and film these videos because I’m not rested. So it’s yeah, so that’s that’s kind of a hurdle to face when it comes to these challenges.

[00:25:06] But it’s really fun and definitely something like when I’m done my time as an athlete, that’s what I love to do. I’d love to continue doing stuff like that and travel out and link up with other amazing people and get a little glimpse into their life and then share it.

Jesse: [00:25:20] You know, I kind of wonder. So you talked about rowing, which I’ve had a few different rowing-related guests on, but I always think about episode 93 with Aquil Abdullah as the first African American man to be a part of the US Olympic team for rowing. And really cool guy.

[00:25:44] I feel like, I know I’ve talked about this with a number of different guests, but I think Aquil and I talked about this so further along the lines you’re talking about, like. You’re doing all these different sports. And I wonder whether in some ways that actually helps you be better at your primary sport. I know I’ve talked with a number of Olympians that obviously specializing over time, but then often they have a history much like you, of a ton of different sports, and they gain all of these different skills.

[00:26:21] They’re like, instead of being like my primary background is running, which is just like, let’s go forward. It’s a very limited, like movement set. So by doing such a broad variety of sports, in some ways that probably makes you a better CrossFit athlete because you have to do so many different various things that are not, I’ll say not standardized, but not necessarily true, but just it’s not like running or like it’s always the event’s always 5000 meters. It’s always like that, that kind of consistency. So I wonder whether obviously you have the background in it, but I wonder whether like the continuation of you doing it in some ways lends to like overall, like an overall stronger position for you.

Natalie: [00:27:10] I think like mentally it’s great because I get to connect with other like-minded people in other sports and learn also like their training methods, their recovery methods, and just general insights like what’s how they train and different things like that and get a little perspective. So mentally, I think for sure. And then I also think, yeah, definitely like moving through different types of training. I mean, yeah, again, going back to the mental side, it helps you break up just doing the same things over and over again. Like, I mean, I used to just like, do 2 hours a day of just Olympic lifting, just working on certain positions and Olympic lifting. And it’s, it’s kind of boring. And like, I kind of felt the same way with the long run, it gets kind of boring.

Jesse: [00:27:53] It can be.

Natalie: [00:27:54] Yeah. Having a little bit of that, that variety definitely key. But I think it also shows like CrossFit was it wasn’t first invented as a sport and to compete in it was first kind of made as a training, a general physical preparedness to just kind of be good at like everything and build different like athletic qualities that are going to transfer to better health and longevity and things like that, but also to be able to go and play different sports like there’s like a CrossFit pyramid. And at the top it’s like, you know, go play and try a different sports and it’s supposed to help you be more adaptable in that scenario.

[00:28:25] So that’s what I think is fun is like from my perspective, I grew up playing all these different sports. Now my sport is kind of the training that goes behind a lot of these different sports. So training with other people, getting to see how does the actual CrossFit training adapt to that and then how does that yeah, how do I bring that back into my CrossFit training as well?

Jesse: [00:28:47] So I guess I have to ask given. I’m going to put words in your mouth here. Given your propensity to jump around different sports, are you satisfied doing what you’re doing now, or do you feel like you might make a jump from CrossFit to something else in the future? Or are you like no like this, like I’m home. This is it.

Natalie: [00:29:13] Yeah, I mean, I think. I mean, I think I’m home. This is it. But I think I really enjoy it. Like outside of just training and competing, what I really enjoy is being in that sports space. I do different work, whether it’s consulting in the sport marketing space, trying to help push forward women’s sports is something I’m really, really passionate about.

[00:29:32] So collaborating with other women athletes and highlighting different athletes, for example, you know, there’s a lot of of athletes who are extremely, extremely talented, more talented than me, but they just haven’t figured out how to share content around that and how to get that out there that can help their career. So if I can lend a hand and try to kind of put the spotlight on them and showcase them in their training, and because a lot of people want to know what they’re doing, but they just haven’t been able to put it together, I want to do a lot more of that.

[00:30:00] So I think more from the content perspective, definitely you’re going to see more of me doing different sports and stuff like that and and going behind the scenes and I really enjoy all that kind of stuff. But then from the competing perspective, I mean, I don’t think so. Like when I was snowboarding, I used to be in the gym with a lot of the at the National Team Training Center with like a lot of the bobsled luge skeleton athletes. And some of them would be like, “Hey, you got to try our sport” because like, you’re really you know, if I look at actually what is really easy for me to gain strength, power, speed, it would probably land like a bobsled or something.

[00:30:32] I definitely could add on another 10lbs and, and go and bobsled. I think it wouldn’t be like that definitely would be a sport that would be within kind of my, I guess, my genetic skill set. But then I look at it, I’m like, “Why did I like CrossFit?” Because it’s so many different things. I don’t think I could just every single day be doing power cleans and pushing something. I mean, maybe I’ll change my mind. But yeah, I think, I think for now I’m really enjoying what I’m doing.

[00:30:58] I think it’s really cool CrossFit that you can kind of do everywhere. So it allows me to like travel more for content stuff and different and fun stuff rather than only having to like base out of like a mountain bike. I love that when snowboarding, I love traveling and basing myself out of the mountains, but sometimes you kind of get a little tired of that and it’s kind of nice to have a little bit more of a home base and be able to kind of do it wherever you go so you can even be traveling and still be working on your sport, which is not necessarily the case with other sports, especially winter sports.

Jesse: [00:31:26] I kind of want to make a little bit of a hard pivot and I want to give you a chance to talk about some of the content and work you do with women’s body positivity in sport. This is something I talk about. I’ll say semi frequently, not with every single female guest, but it does come up every once in a while because I think. I was actually speaking with this about this with my wife the other day.

[00:31:55] I think both men and women deal with body image issues, especially in sport. But if I have to pick a gender that gets the brunt of it, it’s obviously going to be women that get kind of the heavy side of the load in terms of expectations of how you should look and all those kind of things. I know you’ve got if you guys in the description, whether you’re on the audio version or the YouTube version, we’ll link to Natalie’s Instagram. She’s got a lot of good posts speaking about a lot of these things. But I want to give you a chance to kind of, I guess, stump about it, talk about it. Give me your thoughts and kind of the work you’re doing around that topic.

Natalie: [00:32:37] Yeah, well, one thing is often you’ll go into a store and you’ll be looking to buy, let’s say, like sport gear and on the men’s side or sport or fitness gear. On the men’s side, you have like different athletes and they’re being showcased and you have pictures of pro athletes as the ads. And on the women’s side, you have fitness models.

[00:32:56] And there’s like that comparison where it’s like you need to be smaller to be better at your sport, you need to be smaller to be marketable. As an athlete, you need to look a certain way. You need to be a certain level of leanness versus like if you think about, let’s say, Tom Brady. Tom Brady isn’t a super lean athlete, but if a brand could use Tom Brady as an ad, they’re going to use Tom Brady.

[00:33:19] But on the women’s side, often they’ll use models versus like, you know, an actual female athlete and they’ll use someone who has a very certain type of body type. And I think this is changing. Obviously, there’s a lot of people other than me who are talking about this, which is super important. There’s a lot of amazing athletes out there who are who are speaking about this, and they’re showing that there’s different body types within their sports and then different body types among different sports.

[00:33:41] And something I fell into when I first started training, for sure, it was like I was looking up how to train and tips to train. And everything I’m seeing is you need to be a certain body fat percentage to be good at your sport. You need to look like the best, which you can look like the best and still not be anywhere close to the level of the best.

[00:33:57] So if you’re just training a look a certain way, that’s not necessarily going to achieve your goals of actually performing a certain way. So, you know, I like everyone else, I kind of fell into those traps and like seeing, you know, in women’s health magazines, like, oh, I got to look like this if I want to be at my peak fitness or so on and so forth, and then realizing that actually I perform better, not necessarily being that lean then and that to get, let’s say, better at gymnastics in the sport, a lot of people will say you’ve got to be smaller, like lose weight to be better at gymnastics because it’s your body weight.

[00:34:28] And I’ll be like, well, just get stronger. Like, you know, put on a little bit more muscle mass. And so, you know, flipping the switch on some of those things I think is really important. And just changing the way that we look because it’s been ingrained for generations and generations of eat less, train more, that’s going to get you better your sport.

[00:34:46] And unfortunately, the rates of eating disorders, especially among women athletes, is extremely high. I don’t remember the stat exactly, so I won’t mention it because I don’t want to be wrong, but there is a really high stat that we’re just interviewing of Team Canada athletes and the percentage of them that have eating disorders or or not eating enough. It was crazy like it was I feel like it was like close to 50%. I could be wrong about this.

[00:35:09] But, you know, there’s often yeah, there’s just this belief, whether it’s still from our coaches, from the media, from what we see from when we walk into that store and we see these certain type of athletes. And so kind of just letting people know that it’s you don’t have to look a certain way to be the best. And I especially notice that especially CrossFit kind of merges the line between like for me, I look at it more as a sport because I come from a traditional sport background. You know, I train in the mindset of this as a sport. This is a season, you know, things like that.

[00:35:40] But it also is a fitness modality, so it crosses into the lines of fitness as well. And you see a lot of people who are promoting you need to eat a certain amount. Still, you see a lot of people who are in the comments of different CrossFit athletes or whatever saying, I need to look like this, this is what I need to look like. And I was like, I don’t want people looking at my content thinking like, “Oh my God, this is how I have to look.” Or you know, what you eat to get this lean or this and this.

[00:36:05] So I was like, I want to talk about these important topics so that we’re not playing that negative comparison game that my social media isn’t making someone feel worse about themselves. Hopefully, hopefully it’s more inclusive and helping people feel better about themselves no matter what they do, whether they’re an athlete or not.

Jesse: [00:36:24] There’s a lot to unpack there, which is good. What I think is difficult to communicate. And I think you’re  trying to do this is like kind of like you talked about earlier like that. You have certain genetic potentials, like you gain speed and strength faster than, say, endurance. Whereas like I’m absolutely horrible at gaining speed and strength, like I always mentioned, like when in college, when we were training, if I was doing 400-meter repeats with the guys, I would be in the back of the pack.

[00:36:59] But if we’re going out for like a five-mile tempo run, I’m in the front. It averages out depending on the thing you’re doing. But just. We each kind of have that genetic potential. But beyond that, like. I think. We have, I’ll say, like a variety of shapes that we can kind of come in naturally. Right? So like. I’m not I don’t tend to have the physicality of being like ultra lean, like Kenyan-like stick figure or endurance runner.

[00:37:34] Like, I just I don’t my body doesn’t respond that way. I put in lots of miles. I actually tend to gain some muscle mass rather than stay really lean and get strong. Like I don’t I’m closer to the kind of Steve Prefontaine look for those who are familiar with endurance sports history, he was a little bit beefier. Not a huge guy, but comparatively pretty big. But still. I mean, he held the American record in pretty much everything from the mile to the 10,000.

[00:38:02] So we come in different shapes and then obviously there are limits like. Right now I’m like five, ten, 170, something like that. I’m not big enough to be like a lineman in football. Like, are there are, like, hard limits on some of those things. But as far as like —

Natalie: [00:38:23] I’m not tall enough to play basketball.

Jesse: [00:38:25] Right, Right. Like, there are some things like that, but. I just. It — I don’t know. It frustrates me, I guess, that sometimes we’re like, “Oh, you have to look a certain way or be a certain way to be successful at something.” Because yes, there are some of those limits. Much like you, I’m not tall enough to play pro basketball either. I don’t have the skills even if I had the skills and that talent.

[00:38:54] But beyond that, like. It — do I mean, if I was tall enough, do I need to be as, like, as big as LeBron? Could I be smaller? Could I be bigger or could I, you know, like. It’s I think it’s a tough conversation in that we see successful people. So maybe people see you and they’re like, “oh, I need to look like Natalie.” It’s like, you don’t have Natalie’s body, like you have your own body, and you’re going to have your own genetic potentials and you’re going to gain or lose in certain aspects, probably easier or harder than you.

[00:39:27] And I think what’s difficult for coaches is getting down to that granular personal level, like what’s Natalie’s skill set not these are my general principles for training. Like, it’s like this is what you should do based on the feedback we’ve gotten about you to make you the best that you could be. I think I think communicating that, especially in a medium like the Internet, social media, whatever it is, is difficult because you get such a broad audience.

Natalie: [00:39:59] 100%. Someone could do exactly the same training as I’ve done for the last decade, and you could look totally different, right? And you could perform totally different too like you could adapt differently. So yeah, it’s a really good point. Like I always think about it when it comes to CrossFit because so many CrossFit athletes are just following the same program and you know, you just want general, you’re not competing like you just want to have fun. It’s totally valid.

[00:40:21] And even this past year, because I’ve been training with a training partner, I realized that pushes me more rather than just training individually. So because I’ve had such a background of training individually with really personalized coaches, I feel like I can jump into a program like that a little bit more now, but I still have to like really focus on the individual aspects of what do I need to work on.

[00:40:43] Maybe it’s my cardiac output knowing I have a lot of muscle mass that can constrict like it’s, for example, some people perhaps it’s like the actual oxygen utilization of your muscles. So the reason your legs blow up is maybe like they can’t actually utilize all the oxygen you’re pushing to it, or maybe you’re like me and like you need to work on just your zone to work in aerobic work, to actually just build up your heart and different things to like actually be able to get enough oxygen and everything there.

[00:41:09] Sometimes I do a workout that has a lot of like it goes from lower body to upper body. And I’m like, “How come I just did all this lower body stuff?” And then I go to this upper body and my upper body is already like burnt out. Like it’s like, let’s say I can do 20 muscle ups and I’m doing like sets of two now. Like, I was like, I’m not even upper body shouldn’t be tired.

[00:41:25] Well, I have to remember that like, my lungs were using a lot of energy. You know, there’s like blood and like, there’s stuff going to just use my respiratory muscles, you know, that your body wants to it’s going to, like, cut off more like oxygen and blood, going to like your extremities if it feels like, oh, my God, like we need to preserve or because your heart rate is so high at different things.

[00:41:48] So like, for example, my training partner, he’s someone who takes a long time to build strength. So right now he’s doing tons of just strength work in the offseason and I’m doing with the running. I’m like, I’m considering this a little bit more of like, “Yeah, I took a step back”, but I’m doing my like zone to endurance work. So like even when you mentioned the 80:20 training, I’m probably like 90:10.

[00:42:08] So I’m like, I do high intensity all the time in CrossFit. I came from like that high-intensity world. I was doing so many track sessions overall high-intensity repeats. I’m like, I just need to build the mileage. I just need to like feel comfortable about mileage and then also hopefully have this transfer over a little bit into my CrossFit by just building that aerobic base at cardiac output.

Jesse: [00:42:30] Natalie, unfortunately, we’re winding down on time and I don’t want to run you over on other things you’ve got to get done today. So my final question, you’ll be one of the last few people that I ask this question as we’re wrapping up this season. Ask a singular question to all my guests for a particular season. This season’s question I’ll ask you now is how do you celebrate your wins?

Natalie: [00:42:54] Ooh, I get some good food. I mean, I feel like I just eat good food throughout the training anyways. Like, I get pizza like, every week, like, you know, but I think that just like, what? All I think about when I finish, like, a big win, I’m like, ooh, I want like, a good pizza or something like that.

[00:43:10] So definitely, definitely do that. And then I just kind of just like sit with the feeling a little bit, know, just try to be like, okay, wow. Like, I need to recognize some of those wins because they don’t happen all the time. You know, you probably know there’s a lot of failures, there’s a lot of setbacks that go into every win. And then sometimes we just get these wins and we’re like, “Oh, that’s normal and move on to the next one.”

[00:43:32] So instead I just try to like, use that feeling a little bit like just try to like sit with it a little bit. Even if I don’t celebrate outwardly, at least inwardly, kind of be like, okay, I’m proud of myself. That was a good moment. Let’s like, continue.

Jesse: [00:43:47] Awesome. Well, I mean, given that you’re heading to New York and you like pizza, it seems like the right combination for you. You’re going to have plenty of options after the marathon. So, Natalie, once again, where can people check you out if they want to see what you’re up to, ask you questions, connect with you. Any of that stuff?

Natalie: [00:44:05] Yeah, I social media just @NatalieAllport, I think I’m like every channel. So yeah.

Jesse: [00:44:09] Awesome. Natalie, thanks for hanging out with me today.

Natalie: [00:44:13] Yeah. Thanks for having me.

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