Amanda Clark watched a good friend transform his life from being overweight – due to too much partying – to becoming an IRONMAN. She would get goose bumps watching him complete an event that lasted for over 10 hours. At that point she knew she had to be part of that one day. So she signed up for her first Elite Energy triathlon, and after her first race she knew that she would not stop until she completed an IRONMAN.

What is an IRONMAN?

An IRONMAN Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races. It consists of a 3.86 km swim, a 180.25 km bicycle ride and a marathon – yes really – a 42.20 km run after the swim and bike
ride! It needs to be completed in under 17 hours and is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.

Why did you choose to train at SUSF?

I really can’t stress enough how much the SUSF community gives me. IRONMAN is a solo event, and training for long hours can be lonely and demotivating. SUSF staff, particularly Lou Lou and Pete, are
always interested and supportive. SUSF is very convenient and has all of the facilities I need so I can pop out and train at lunch time.

What drives you?

After having a three month break after my first IRONMAN in June 2016, I was ready to get back into training and feel fit again. I signed up for IRONMAN Australia, knowing my motivation would kick in as soon as I was committed. I knew I wanted to crush my previous race time of 12.09 and lose the 7kg I gained in the three months break from training – whoops, how did that happen?!

What is your secret to such dramatic weight loss?

Wanting to get stronger, fitter and faster is what drives me to eat well and to drop the weight. I have lost over 12kg in seven months. I put this down to a clean diet, including wholefoods and good fats – but still allowing wine and chocolate! To build my aerobic fitness, I train at a low heart rate, which specifically burns fat (as I am in the fat burning zone for hours). This training methodology is called Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) by Dr Phil Maffetone. It has changed the way I approach training and I have seen huge improvements in my personal bests over the last eight months. My weight loss seems to accelerate as my times get quicker.

What is the hardest part of your training?

The hardest part is listening to your body and knowing when you need to rest and put some balance back into life. As an endurance athlete you are used to training every day, sometimes three times a day. I train up to 20 hours per week on average. It’s learning when to have a rest day to give your body time to repair. Training requires a lot of discipline. Not only do you have to know when to stop training, but you also have to know when to stop partying! It can be pretty hard leaving a friend’s party when you are having so much fun, but I know if I don’t go to bed I will not be able to wake up for training the next day.

How do you motivate yourself when you want to give up?

I picture myself running towards the finish line. I tell myself to ‘push hard, give everything you’ve got’ and ‘rest after the race is finished.’

Has fitness always been important to you?

Fitness has always been important to me as obesity runs in my family. I have travelled Australia and overseas with triathlon and have made some lifelong friends. I have recently just been made one of the Ambassadors for Elite Energy to help encourage people of all ages and abilities to jump on board and have a go. Because if I can do it – anybody can!

Amanda Clark is currently employed as a PMO Resource Manager ITC at the University of Sydney.