Pro Triathlete at 22: A Few Minutes with Zara Guinard

This week I spoke with Zara, a 22 year old professional triathlete (and new YoungTri member!) who’s also the owner of Z.A.G. Health Consulting. She recently graduated from the University of Arizona where she majored in Nutritional Sciences/Dietetics.
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Photo credit: James Clissold
What’s your favorite part about being a professional triathlete? Least favorite part?
My favorite part of being a professional triathlete would have to be the ability to potentially earn money and make a living doing what I love. When you’re growing up everyone always tell you to find a job that makes you happy, and there are few things that make me as happy as I am when training and racing.
Least favorite part would be the few races where the Pro’s go off after the age-groupers have cleared the course and consequently this is usually the hottest part of the day. What doesn’t overheat you makes you stronger though… right?
What motivates you?
All of the people who believe in me and support my goals. Honestly, when people reach out to tell me that I motivated them to finish a tough workout or get out of bed when that snooze button looked oh so tempting, that is what gets me up and out the door in the morning. Knowing that through my consistent hard work and dedication I am inspiring others to achieve their goals.
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Zara at Clermont ITU Last Year
Who is your favorite person to train with?
I don’t think I could narrow it down to one person. My team is made up of some pretty amazing people and I’m grateful for every workout that they can push me during. I love my BAM fam!
(Balanced Art Multisport http://www.balancedartmultisport.com/)
Can you tell me more about Z.A.G. Health Consulting and why you started it?
I have always been very passionate about nutrition and health education. I feel that a lot of people don’t eat right simply because they have a misconception of what a diet is. A diet is simply all the foods you eat in a given day. If you eat McDonald’s every meal, that is your diet, if you eat paleo or vegan or organic that is your diet. During my time in school I would often have people reach out to me and ask specific questions pertaining to their health and fitness goals. They knew I was an athlete and that as such fueling my training well was essential.
Aside from just athletes I have found that many people have the desire to lose weight or just feel better in general. There are many health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure/cholesterol, heart disease, etc. that can be prevented and even treated through a healthy diet. With Z.A.G. HealthConsulting I want to be a resource for those who want to feel healthier and hopefully happier.
What are your future plans for Z.A.G.?
I would really like to branch out and work with more sports teams in the junior high/ high school range. Nutrition and performance are directly correlated, and I feel that teaching the younger generation about hydration and nutrition early on will help them to stay healthy and reach their potential.
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Competing in Memphis in May
Do you have any goals set for 2014?
I have a few performance goals for this season. I would like to see my mile swim time under 20:00, and my bike time for a 40k closer to1:05. This past weekend I actually broke one of my goals by running a 5k sub 20:00, now I’m shooting for a sub 18:00.
What races are you most looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to St. Anthony’s triathlon in St. Petersburg. I participated in this race for the first time last year and really had a wonderful experience. My host family the Gagen’s were absolutely amazing and are like a second family now. The race is run very well. It’s a beautiful course and the whole  community that is created by the prestigious St. Pete Mad Dogs triathlon team is so welcoming and energetic. (http://stpetemaddogs.org/)
Lastly, Do you have any advice for YoungTri members on how to succeed in triathlon?

Never give up. No matter what people say you can or cannot do. If you believe in yourself and are willing to consistently work hard, make the necessary sacrifices and put the time in then you will be successful.

Thanks to Zara for taking the time to speak with YoungTri! You can follow Zara on Twitter and Instagram at @ZaraGuinard

-Kaitlin

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