No Pain, No Gain

Article by Chantel Ellerington + Ben Wiese

Photography by Alexander Beal

Originally published in Cherry Creek Lifestyle

Justin Metzler

Age: 26

Occupation: Professional triathlete and triathlon coach

Instagram: @bigmetztri

Sponsors: Timex, First Endurance, AltRed, AfterShokz, Castelli, Shimano, Rallysport, Boulder Sports Chiropractic.

Greatest lesson you’ve learned in your journey thus far:

Being great requires patience. Endurance athletes generally have the most success in their 30’s. I’ve been a professional since I was 19 years old; to some extent, I feel like I have paid my dues and it’s easy to get into the “I want it now” mentality. Remembering that everything takes time and continuing my commitment to developing into world-class may take longer than what I would like. Trying to remain patient and create intermediate goals along the way has been instrumental to the success that I have had thus far.

How are you making an impact with your platform?

One of my main objectives is to use my platform to inspire. Endurance sports gave me identity at a time when I needed it the most. I started off the sport as a lost and overweight kid without much of a direction in life. Triathlon gave me structure and something to call my own. I hope to tell my story and help other kids in a similar position find their path, whether that outlet is endurance sport or something else.

Can’t start my day without:

Black coffee - an absolute must!

What’s your daily wellness routine? Share some healthy habits.  

Sleep is #1 for me. Creating an environment that promotes good sleep habits is super important. Some things that I have found to work great are to have my room be very dark, cold, and free of electronics. Also, investing in a good bed and pillow are simple but important pieces to my overall balance because sleep is so important. I aim for 10 hours per night and am not a big nap guy, as I sleep so well during the night. Other important pieces to wellness is having balance. It’s easy to be “on” 24/7. Actively making time to check out from sport to spend quality, undistracted time with my wife, dog, and family is very important to making what I do sustainable.

How often do you work out per week, and how intense are those workouts?

Training is 7 days a week for me. I get about 10 days completely off training throughout the entire year but other than that, I’m always doing something. I think that is a unique aspect to triathlon as there is always something to be done whether it’s swim, bike, run or strength training in the gym. Intensity is always a component of the program but I leave the exact distribution up to my coach. Some sessions may only be 1-2 hours but super intense. Other may be less intense but can be up to 6-7 hours in duration when in preparation for an Ironman race.

Rea Kolbl 

Age: 28  

Occupation: Professional Athlete

Instagram: @reakolbl

Sponsors: Ascent Protein, StairMaster, Dryrobe, Spring Energy, Ultimate Direction

Greatest lesson you’ve learned in your journey thus far:

It’s okay to dedicate everything you have to your goals and dreams, whether it be sports, career, or life-oriented. If it doesn’t work out, I know I tried my hardest, and with the right support systems, you can always redefine yourself and start building something new.

How are you making an impact with your platform?
I like to lead by example. Most of my daily life is fairly public, and I hope to inspire people to get outside and adventure regardless of the weather conditions. I also hope to show all of the ladies out there that sports aren’t gender-dependent and they can do anything they want to. All of my training is public, and my posts on social media channels are always fully transparent.

Food Philosophy:

Eat when you’re hungry, until you’re full, mostly healthy, and never not enough.

How often do you work out per week, and how intense are those workouts?

On average twice per day (running 6 days a week, then switching between mountain biking, hiking, workouts in the gym, climbing, skiing, etc). Most of those are low intensity. I have two hard runs per week, the rest is easy trail runs. Usually, another couple of afternoon workouts would be at a higher intensity and lower duration, but the rest of my activities are fairly easy (and usually longer in duration).

How has your understanding of your own personal health & wellness evolved over time?

I grew an appreciation for staying healthy after I gained a lot of weight when my gymnastics career ended as a teen. Over the years I slowly lost the weight and started living a lot healthier, eventually reaching the best physical shape I’ve ever been in. But I never train or workout to look good; my main motivation is to have a body capable of going on any adventure I’m invited on or I can think of. I want to be able to always be on the move; living and eating healthy enables that. 

Best health & wellness routine advice?
It can seem overwhelming trying to change too many habits at once, or in too short of a time frame. Make small goals and take it one day at a time. Habits take a while to form, and if you slip a day or two it won’t matter in the big picture.

Joshua Stevens 

Age: 49

Occupation: Professional Mountain, Ultra & Trail Runner

Instagram: @tumbleweedultra

Sponsors: Ultimate Direction, Spring Energy, OnusiV Hydration, KOYAH, We Are Super Fluent (Smith Optics & Stance), Suffer Better

Greatest lesson you’ve learned in your journey thus far:

Audacious goal-setting. If you’re passionate about competing at a high level, tune out the white noise and go all-in. 

Food Philosophy:


What’s your daily wellness routine? Share some healthy daily habits. 

I’ve found that simplicity and consistency guide my routines and prove to be a sustainable road map, especially as I’ve gotten older. Rest has probably been the most vital - particularly getting to bed early. Clean eating that doesn’t require extensive prep or cumbersome processes, engaging consistently in the ancillary activities like sauna and tissue treatment and observing techniques that other athletes I admire are engaging in.

How has your understanding of your own personal health & wellness evolved over time?

Patience, consistency, and humility. I feel that I took far too much for granted in my twenties and early thirties. I was a capable athlete and professional in a series of elite military units. To be frank, I really lacked any sense of real humility at that point in my life. I could live a prolific (and dare I say exciting) lifestyle without having to account for the toll it took on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I feel that it’s a natural progression we come to terms with over time. At some point, if you’re blessed enough to be able to compete at a high level later in life, you come to terms with respecting the vessel the Universe gave you. Don’t take it too seriously (because we all end up star dust) but don’t squander it either. 

How has Boulder positively impacted your health and wellness? 

Competition and inspiration. I’ve always wanted to excel and to be accepted as an athlete but Boulder offers so, so much more! Be good, do good, and do no harm. You can’t create a false mythos in Boulder. It’s a mirror and I love that about our community. You can’t spray about your athletic prowess, community activism, or any damn thing without backing it up with action. Acta Non Verba. I’d like to thank my pal Bob Africa for sharing that advice with me when I meandered into town from the East Coast thinking I was some sort of trail runner.

What do you do on a day off or while on holiday?

Well, I suppose I still run, but maybe I stop and take some pictures. If you haven’t run in Estes Park yet then you really haven’t experienced everything the Universe has to offer.

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