Q & A with Lindsey LaBore
Okay, friends. Lucky us! I’ve been asking Lindsey the big Qs for the last few weeks, and now we all get to read the gold in full. If you’ve hopped on a bike in one of Lindsey’s cycling classes at Torque, you know she’s not messing around. Hello, did she just say this was the warm-up??! Her passion for cycling is catchy (and so is her humor) and before you know it you are giving her a mile, or 15, without complaint. I can't wait for you to be inspired by her story and encouraged in your own. Thanks, Lindsey!
Q: Describe your morning routine, what does it look like, and what is the first thing you eat and do?
A: I start each morning around 6am (both weekdays and weekends). I typically make a cold press coffee, or an americano. I like my coffee strong and without sweetener, just a splash of cream. I make my coffee while getting ready and head into work. Most mornings, I eat breakfast at my desk by 7am. Breakfast is usually a Fage yogurt. Sometimes I switch it up with an English muffin and peanut butter and fruit. If I want a treat, I'll have Lenny & Larry's protein cookie (birthday cake flavor is my fave).
Q: What’s your favorite way to get cardio into your week?
A: Spinning is my passion. I love the energy of working out in a group, but still having the ability to guide my own workout. Music is my biggest motivation during cardio, so I also love to let loose and run my heart out to my favorite songs. The music helps me work through the stress and emotions of the day without having to be too cerebral.
Q: What benefits have you seen from cycling?
A: Cycling for me was a huge breakthrough because I could push really hard, with very little risk of injury. I love running, but found that I felt “beat up” after my long runs.
As I said earlier, I also really enjoy feeling part of something larger in a high-energy class, while still being able retreat inwardly and work with the music and the beat.
Q: As a cycling instructor, what have you noticed about clients that stick with it and become regulars?
A: Find a style of cycling that you connect with! This is different for everyone, and it takes some experimentation. Do you like certain music? What style of teaching connects with you and makes you feel strong?
Lots of my longtime clients have also come to see what the benefits of cycling have brought to other areas of their health. Maybe you’re a better racquetball player because your stamina is stronger. Maybe your triathlon times have improved from training. And maybe your day job is going better because you’re starting your mornings clearing your head with 45 minutes of sweat equity.
Q: What's your favorite exercise to do downstairs with the trainers?
A: I love trying new things! The downstairs crew does such a phenomenal job of switching things up. TRX bands are fun and SO challenging, and they aren't something I would normally do on my own.
I also love the intuitive feeling of using Kettle bells.The movements feel natural and powerful!
Q: What's your food strategy and prepping style?
A: I've run the gamut of food prep. From doing nothing (think lean cuisines and popcorn) to full-on day-by-day menu planning (with a whole day per week in the kitchen). I've settled somewhere right in the middle. I typically prep 2-3 main dishes/staples (burgers, grilled chicken, egg bake, etc). I'll also cook a big container of brown rice, wild rice, or quinoa. Veggies for me consist of bell peppers, cucumbers, and snap peas. In the winter, I rely really heavily on roasted squash and steam-in-the-bag vegetables. They are frozen at peak, and I can stock up in large quantities to have on hand.
I think of each meal having 2-3 "puzzle pieces" 1) Protein 2) Veggie 3) Grain or Fruit. When I pack lunch for the day, I make sure I've got one serving of each "puzzle piece". This might be a 1) grilled chicken breast (protein) 2) bag of snap peas(veggie) 3) peach (fruit or grain). The next day I might put the pieces together different. 1) Turkey Burger (No bun, with pickles and mustard) 2) steamed broccoli 3) brown rice.
The puzzle piece method helps me from getting overwhelmed with prep. I have my staples I fall back on, and can have a week's worth of food ready in an hour or two. I have staple snacks as well that require very little prep such as cottage cheese and a chopped apple, roasted nuts, cut fruit, and protein shakes or bars.
Here is a turkey meatloaf I make a lot in the winter:
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3+ cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium sized sweet onion diced
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (alt. 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/4 cup oats)
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 whole egg and 1 egg white
- 3/4 cup salsa (I prefer something with fruit, like peach or mango)
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Optional: sautéed spinach, roasted red pepper, walnuts, or any other vegetable you want)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Coat 8x4 loaf pan with olive oil or nonstick spray.
- Sauté onion, garlic, and remaining vegetables in olive oil until soft.
- Combine turkey, egg, oats (or breadcrumbs), 1/4 cup of the salsa (set the rest aside), Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper. Add onion mixture and combine.
- Press mixture into loaf pan.
- Cover the top with the remaining salsa.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes.
Q: You have talked about losing 60 pounds over a period of a couple of years, what did you learn in that process?
A: Losing 60 lbs took me quite a while, because I had SO much to change. First, I had to tackle exercise. I began with a goal of 15 minutes on the elliptical 3x a week. People who know me now would be surprised to hear what a huge commitment that was and how difficult it was for me to keep up. Over the course of several months, the time and frequency increased, and I built up strength and endurance. However, the weight still wasn’t coming off because I felt that I deserved to eat whatever I wanted since I was working out. I didn’t even fully realize that I was eating poorly, so I started with the basics: I stopped eating desserts in my college dining hall, switched to diet soda, and quit going back for seconds. I also started walking EVERYWHERE (I didn’t have a car until I was 26, so I really mean this!).
I started losing weight, and the successes I was seeing motivated me to continue to improve. I started reading fitness magazines and blogs, and continued cleaning up my diet. This was about the time I started spinning. At that time, it was the most physically grueling thing I had ever done. Being pushed in a way I couldn’t do on my own kept me coming back, and made me realize I could do so much more than I was giving myself credit for.
This is the positive side of my story, but it isn’t all success and good feelings. Once my weight loss became noticeable, I received LOTS of attention and praise from the people in my life. I started equating my worth and value with how much weight I could lose, and healthy habits turned into an obsession. My workouts became longer and longer, and I began eating less and less. By the end of college, I was thin and fit. From the outside, people were marveling at my progress and asking for my “secret” to weight loss. I didn’t know how to tell them I felt so tired and out-of-control.
I graduated during the recession, and the world was a stressful and scary place. I coped by throwing myself headfirst into fitness. However, no amount of exercise could make me feel the way I wanted to. Eventually, I entered an outpatient program with The Emily Program. With outside help, I was able to address just how much I had fused my identity and worth with my weight and physical abilities. Since then, I have worked really hard to find balance with food and exercise.
Q: What's your take on food tracking?
A: For many years, even after my work with The Emily Program, I tracked food. I have accumulated years of food journals, both on pen and paper and through MyFitnessPal. Ultimately, I think they are fantastic tools, but I have come to the end of the road with their usefulness for me personally. I learned a lot through food journaling. I know what real portions look like, and how to build a meal that meets my nutritional needs.
However, food tracking became a means of feeling in control, and “slip-ups” in my eating would cause stress and anxiety. Going out to dinner with friends, and holidays became logistical nightmares. How would I track something I didn’t make myself? How would I deal with numbers not adding up in a way that made me feel in control?
After nearly a year away from food tracking, I’m really pleased with how intuitive my eating has become. I don’t overindulge nearly as often, and food is no longer an obsession.
Q: What are you currently working on and learning about as it relates to fitness and/or food?
A: I’m always looking for ways to become a better instructor. I’m attending my first fitness conference this month and taking sessions on teaching techniques and group instruction.
I also just love to try new things and see what’s out there! PiYo? SPRI? CIZE (Just kidding, this is dancing, which I keep out of public view).
Q: In order to take care of yourself, is there anything in life you have had to let go of in order to be healthy, strong, and your best self?
A: Comparison truly is a thief of joy. Comparing yourself to other people does a disservice to yourself and the person you are comparing yourself with. I’m actively working on focusing on my own strengths, weaknesses, and goals rather than looking to my left or right. I never feel good after comparing my body, food, exercise regimen, etc. When those thoughts rise up in my mind, I literally say “Nope. Eyes on your own lane.”, and shift my focus. I’ve also quit things that make me feel less-than (such as Instagram), because I can’t work on myself when I’m looking at someone else.
Thanks, Lindsey, for owning ALL of your story, not just the shiny parts, and sharing so honestly. And double thanks for reminding us to literally stick to our own ride and the lane in front of us. Well said.
If you haven't yet tried a class with Lindsey, she teaches on Thursday nights at 6 pm and Sundays at 8:30 am. If you are up for a special Torque challenge, join Lindsey, Lisa, and Matthew for our 2 hour Saturday class on September 24th—3 instructors, 2 hours, 1 ride. As Lindsey would say, "I know this is hard but I'm right here with you."
Check out all our other Q & A posts here!