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Interview With Justin Rossi: What Does It Take to Be the Best?

justin rossiThe Marc Pro team caught up with Justin Rossi, who just earned his triathlon pro card at the Ironman 70.3 in St. George. Rossi is also a member of the top-ranked cycling team, Team Herbalife presented by Marc Pro & Nature’s Bakery. Keep reading to get the scoop about Rossi’s favorite lifting exercise, how he sets goals on a regular basis, and his favorite treats to satisfy his sweet tooth!

1. How did you get started in the sport of cycling?

My background is centered around swimming. I swam my whole life and throughout college at the University of North Carolina. After my time was done, I hung up the suits and said I would never swim again! I kind of stumbled upon cycling in my late 20’s. My buddy from the fire department convinced me to buy a road bike, and I mostly used it to lean out for the summer time beach body (I was a big old meat head in my 20’s weighing in at 220). I started riding more and more and another Fire Department buddy convinced me to do a race around Lake Tahoe. That got the competitive spirit going again and the rest is history.

2. You recently achieved pro status at the Ironman 70.3 in St. George. Could you tell us about how you felt achieving that goal?

Last summer I signed up for my first triathlon. I kind of got the itch to try something new after a long, stressful race season. Although I’ve never run in my life, I had the first two disciplines down…and thought running couldn’t be that hard? I signed up for St. George last winter and figured I would have enough time to get my run up to speed to be competitive. Unfortunately, I spent the whole winter hurt and just focusing on bike racing. April came and the injury was improving, so I put myself on a little plan to be able to finish a half marathon. The race itself was a blast, and I was super happy to finish that run in one piece!! The Pro status feels like a huge reward for a lot of hard work, and I can’t wait to line up against the big boys next time!

3. What is Team Herbalife? How many cyclists are part of the team?

Team Herbalife, presented by Marc Pro & Nature’s Bakery, is my home competitive cycling team. I have spent my entire cycling career with the team and had a hand in bringing it from a small local team to the nationally competitive team it is today. We have 16 Category 1 racers and a hand full of stud Masters. The team is now run by the legendary Phil Mooney.

4. How do you set your own goals?

Goals are a key ingredient in the madness of endurance sports. You have to have some motivation for those days that just don’t feel good. I sit down after I have had some time off the bike and think about what I want to shoot for in the year to come. I’m not sure where my motivation comes from. I definitely have a competitive side but I also really enjoy training and pushing my body.

5. How do you use the Marc Pro to supplement your training and recovery?

The Marc Pro is a standard in my daily routine. Any free time I have in the evening or right after training, I am glued to it trying to increase my speed of recovery for the next day. I have all the massage and recovery tools littered about my house, but the Marc Pro is by far the most universal and helpful. It is also easy to travel with, so I always have it on the road and at work. I think I used it for a good 8 hours on the drive home from St. George (My wife was kind enough to drive).

justin rossi6. What is the most challenging workout that you have ever done?

The most challenging workouts are the ones where “I don’t feel it.” We all have bad days, and my bad days are horrendous. Fighting the physical feeling of a bad day is one thing, but then you have the mental challenge. As athletes we are very aware of what we should be able to do and when the body is not having a good day, it’s a challenge to tell your mind to chill out and that everything will be OK. Doubt is a very powerful emotion and it’s important for athletes to use it versus let it destroy them. For the number geeks out there (myself included), a great VO2 workout I do regularly – 12 sets of 3:00 @440 watts with 3:00 rest. It’s amazing by the last few how short that 3:00 rest interval seems.

7. Do you incorporate weightlifting into your training routine? What is your favorite lift or exercise?

Weight lifting is a big part of my off-season and early season routine. Once it’s go time and the training really ramps up, I put the weights down until the following off-season. The Squat will trump all other movements until the end of time.

8. What is a motto that you live by?

In terms of athletics? CONSISTENCY is the most important tool for any athlete. I’ve written about this before but consistently train hard, consistently recover and consistently eat right!

9. What is one fun fact about you that you would like to share?

Sushi is my secret weapon and Reno is the home to the best “All you can eat Sushi” in the world!! I have never had a bad day following a massive sushi gut bomb.

10. Treats: Sweet or Salty?

If you know me, you know how much I obsess over food. I will eat anything, but I really do have a sweet tooth! Cookies, candy, cake, pastries, donuts you name it…

Want to learn more about Justin? Check out what his day-to-day routine looks like through this documentary. The Marc Pro team congratulates Justin on attaining his Pro Card, and wishes him the best of luck with this season!