Tuesday Teacher Feature: Rebecca Manning

Rebecca Manning

Fitness Instructor /Trainer/Triathlete

Happy Food: Sushi

Happy Workout: Beach Volleyball

1) What was your body like in your twenties? What body advice would you give your twentysomething self if you could go back in time? Is there anything that you wish you did when you were younger?

I never thought about having a beach body. I was a college volleyball player, always loved exercise for both the health benefit and for competition.  Being fit was just a bonus. My family has always struggled with their weight, so I was conscious of it at the high school age. My mom was an exerciser during a time when it was pretty unusual for a woman. She played tennis, racquetball and even went to the gym for a treadmill run. My natural body was softer in my early twenties than it is now.

You have to understand that I had my children in my early twenties. In order to “get my body back”, I did a lot of NordicTrack, the “dreadmill” and aerobics classes.  I started feeling better about myself once I could fit into skinny jeans again. Once I realized that looking good and actually being fit made me feel great, I started to enjoy more about the actual workout.

If I could, I would tell my 20-year-old self to sign up for a 5K or a bike race -something to keep my volleyball competitive mind excited about the daily training, now that I wasn’t playing a sport every day. I really didn’t love running just to run; but give me a sport or something to be competitive about and I was hooked.

 

2) You are a fitness instructor, Ironman Triathlete, babe at 47, and all around badass. What advice do you have for us twentysomethings who want to look like you do when we’re in our forties?

My advice to 20-year-olds now would be to find out what it is you love to do and just to it. Something that will give you an hour work out six days a week is sufficient. If you like it, you will do it more often. If you are like me and like everything that has to do with sports or fitness- even better!! Mix it up if you can, or just do six Zumba classes a week. Most people will never do an Ironman, or even a marathon; but yoga, swimming, boxing or boot camp may be your thing.

 

Receiving her gold medal in the South Beach Triathlon

Receiving her gold medal in the South Beach Triathlon

3) What made you decide you wanted to do an EXTREME triathlon like the Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run)?

As I said, I am competitive. It wasn’t my dream to compete in an Ironman, but I surrounded myself with athletic people and they gradually went from 5K to half marathon to marathon to triathlons from small to large in order. I gladly agreed to join the fun. Ultimately, I am more proud of all my training than my actual races. Although, placing in my age group was always important.

 

4) What is the most unique physical training/exercise/activity you have done?

The Warrior Dash might be my favorite unique event and roller hockey, my favorite activity. I loved rollerblading, so when a friend said she was in a hockey league, I went with her for some cross-training.  Just when you peak in fitness and get comfortable in any one element, you should try doing something else. The first time I swam at Stony Brook University for a Masters swim, I never thought I’d be able to compete in The Swim Across The Sound, a 15.5mi swim from Long Island to Connecticut!

 

5) What does your ideal body look like?

Funny that you ask about my ideal body type, it certainly would not be mine. I would say, tall, skinny, and blonde? I truly want younger people to learn one thing about me and my “body journey”. We all have a unique body type.  Can you improve your bodies? Definitely. Can you alter physical body make up? Not really. I just always knew that by losing weight and being lean, my body would look it’s best. I learned to be happy with the body I was given.

 

6) How does having a strong, healthy body affect your happiness?

Having a strong body affects my happiness without a doubt. Not only do I look better and get more compliments, but check ups at the doctors is much more pleasant. No high cholesterol or blood pressure or diabetes, and less stress means a happier me!!

 

7) In your opinion, what is the most underrated body habit? If I could give you one body ritual to do regularly, it would be hovering or planks. Core strength is very important and these exercises also give you nice abs. Otherwise, make it a daily habit to wake up and ask “what is my workout today?” Whether you walk, jump rope, press body weight resistance, do squats, paddleboard, kite surf, ski, take a spin class, or do CrossFit, make sure to GET ACTIVE. When it comes to the body, MORE (exercise) IS LESS (body fat).