My name is Justin Metzler and I am a 19-year-old college sophomore pursuing a degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. In addition to being a full time student, I am also an emerging elite-level triathlete with dreams of professional racing and Olympic glory. I have seen exponential growth in my development as an athlete and have taken on a training regimen that is preparing me to compete with the best in the world. In doing so, I make many sacrifices, putting certain areas of my life on hold in order to focus on the two aspects that are most important: school and triathlon.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “How hard could it be?” There are hundreds of student-athletes across the nation that seem to get by just fine and there are thousands of other triathletes who to balance full time jobs, family life and even have time to squeak in a swim, bike or run everyday. Well, here is the way I see it:

1. Unlike a NCAA athlete, I have no support system while at school. No athletic trainers, no preference when it comes to class schedules, no lenience in missing exams/ homework assignments/ lectures for training. There are no mandatory study hours with expert tutors and most importantly, there are no free rides- my education is funded by the family of yours truly. As those jocks on the big-money teams obtain their “degrees” I am over here, working my butt off, without some brainiac-undergrad finishing my math homework so I can go train or race.  

2. Unlike your typical weekend-worrier, my training alone is a full time job. What it takes to manage the training necessary to compete at the highest level, equates to what I have calculated to be a typical 40-hour workweek. Here is the breakdown:

4 hours per week (15,000-20,000 yards)
11 hours per week (200-250 miles)
7 hours per week (~50-60 miles)
Strength training
1.5 hours per week
Foam rolling/ self massage treatments
5 hours per week
Stretching/ physical therapy work
2.5 hours per week
Organizing and tuning up gear
2 hours per week
Preparing pre-workout and post-workout meals (including food shopping)
3 hour per week
Logging and documenting training
1.5 hours per week
Laundry (only workout clothes)
1 hour per week
Triathlon business: race registration, organizing travel plans, situating funds, race scouting, blogging, sponsorship obligations
1.5 hour per week
40 hours per week

So, in order to give the endurance community an inside look as to what it takes for me to be me…. Here is a typical day in the hectic, stressful, difficult, time-crunched but incredible life I live.

Typical Thursday of a regular-heavy training week leading into a race roughly 3-4 weeks away

Wake up
§ Shut off alarm
§ Sleepily stumble over a cumulating mound of dirty laundry
Pre-swim fuel
§ 1 small cup of coffee
§ 1 rice cake with ample amounts of almond butter and jelly
§ 1 large glass of water
Prep for the pool
§ Get my swim bag together
§ Log into TrainingPeaks
§ Copy down my workout for the day from my coach, Craig Strong, atPrecision Multisport
§ Prepare post workout fuel
Swim training
§ 1000 yards of warm up including drill work and some shorter efforts, 2000-3000 yards of very focused and intense intervals, 1000 yards of easy swimming to cool down (usually including some extra drill work in there)
Refuel and wash up
§ Down some pre-shaken chocolate milk+ Endurox R4 on the pool deck
§ Hit the showers
Breakfast and studying
§ Enjoy one bowl of steel cut oats with lots of fixings (berries, bananas, granola, nut butter)
§ Look over Human Anatomy notes
§ Set up gear for workout #2
Class- Nutrition and Health
§ One of my favorite classes, on this particular day we learned all about lipids (consume those Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids!) 
High tail it on my moped
§ It isn’t a very far scoot, but when I have to gear up for winter, the ride from one class to the next can get quite chilly!
Class- Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology
§ Learning the in’s and out’s of what makes athletes and exercisers tick
§ Snack on an Accel Recovery Barand a banana
More organizing and prep for bike workout
§ Moped back home
§ Throw on my Craft Elite Bib shorts
§ Fill up water bottles
§ Mentally prepare for workout #2
Bike training
§ 30:00 of warm up spinning, including accelerations to raise the heart rate
§ 90:00 of HARD, Time Trial effort intervals (AccelGel’s taken as needed, usually a 2nd Surge is thrown in there towards the end! Chocolate is my favorite flavor)
§ 15:00-30:00 of easy spinning to cool down
§ 15:00-20:00 of total body stretching
Get as much completed in this 90 minute window as possible
§ Prepare a post-second-workout/ pre-third-workout snack (depending on the workout, it is usually more AB+J rice cakes, some veggies and hummus or a vegetable, fruit and Vanilla Endurox smoothie)
§ Go over an online Anatomy, Nutrition or Chemistry lecture (45-75 minutes)
§ Respond to triathlon business (emails, sponsor details, workout logging, Strava uploading)
§ 5:00 power-shower
Run training
§ 7 mile hilly run at an aerobic effort
§ Include a few repeats of stair running on the way out and way back
§ Around the half way mark, stop over at the track and do ~15:00 of running technique drills
Stretching/ Core work/ Physical Therapy Exercises
§ While I am still warm from running, I go through a full stretching routine, hitting all major muscle groups
§ After stretching, 5-10 core exercises focusing on stability
§ Finish with Physical Therapy exercises to prevent future injuries and strengthen previous problem areas
§ Another quick shower (3rd of the day)
§ Cook dinner (I try to get in a LOT of high quality vegetables and protein to refuel from training and make up for primarily consuming carbohydrates throughout the day of training)
§ EAT!
§ Clean up dishes from dinner
Foam rolling and self massage
§ 30:00 foam rolling routine on myTrigger Point Grid 2.0
§ 15:00 of work with the Trigger Point Ball and a yoga block hitting especially tight, hard to reach areas
§ 15:00 of work with the massage stick
§ Usually some Greek Yogurt, berries and granola
§ It all starts again at 5:15am tomorrow morning, I try and get in at least 8 hours a night! 

So there you have it, a day in the life of Justin Metzler. Triathlon has turned into my passion and over time, I have developed an uncontrollable drive for success. You only have one chance in your life to accomplish your dreams and I will not let this opportunity pass by. I will do whatever it takes to be the best and I am positive that my work ethic, commitment and focus will pay off.

If you have any questions, comments or want my opinion on all things life, food or triathlon, feel free to email me at! Also be sure to follow me on twitter @justin_metzler 

I would HIGHLY suggest looking into some Pacific Health Labs nutrition products if you are interested in taking your training and racing to the next level. 

Go for a swim, ride your bike or hit the road for a run, you will never regret it when you are finished!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.