Laurel Wassner is the younger half of the triathlete duo, the "Wassner Twins"— two professional triathlete women with an incredible story. Laurel and Rebeccah Wassner began swimming and running at a young age, going onto compete at the collegiate level. Laurel swam competitively at George Washington University while Rebeccah ran Cross Country at St. Mary's College. A year after their college graduation, Laurel was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Rebeccah moved in with her sister to nurse her through chemotherapy, all the while channeling her emotions into training: first for marathons, then triathlon. Rebeccah's training efforts translated into success in racing. Soon, she was competing against the world's best. Laurel vowed to join her sister on the podium once she was able to train and compete again.
The Wassner twins. Photo: Patrik Giardino
These women have now been racing for over a decade with a few goals in mind:
"The twins race to win championships, but also to raise awareness for the fight against cancer, particularly among young adults. In 1998, about a year after college graduation, Laurel was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After six months of chemotherapy, Laurel spent the next few years battling fatigue and nausea while recovering her strength and rebuilding her life. Meanwhile, Rebeccah morphed into a professional athlete, competing first in marathons, before turning to triathlons in 2004. In 2006, watching her sister race against the world’s top-ranked athletes at the ITU Elite World Championships, Laurel vowed to one day join her sister on the podium. With the help and support of friends and family, this dream became a reality when Laurel turned pro in 2008…and started chipping away at Rebeccah’s lead. " -Wassner Twins
The Wassner sisters have earned a spot in the heart of the triathlon community with their performances, but also in community involvement. Their food blog, Athlete Food, provides nutritional advice and recipes to other athletes, and Laurel's Instagram account, Athlete Style, gives an insight into how endurance athletes eat, sleep, and live every day.
Laurel's Instagram: @athletestyle gives insight into the everyday grind and lifestyle of being a professional triathlete.
How does Laurel prepare for a big day of training and what is her favorite sort of workout? She let us know:
What is a typical day of training like for you?
I typically do some combination of swimming, biking, running and strength training. On the rare occasion, I will do all of these on one day, but usually it is 2 or 3 of the 4. That could mean a 5000yard swim, a 3 hour bike ride with intervals and a 45 minute run, or when I'm deep into ironman training then the ride could be 5 hours and the run 1 hour.
I also make time to see my physiotherapist Carolyn Mazur at Fusion in NYC. It's so important to have "your person" when it comes to strength training and injury prevention. Believe it or not, her hands are just as strong as the R3 - so when I am traveling I take it with me and pretend it's Carolyn!!
Fueling is so important for performing at my best. If I "misfuel" I'll bonk, but if I eat nutritious meals, I feel motivated and strong. My sister and a good friend and food writer/culinary school grad founded the food blog Athlete Food to document what meals and fueling strategies work best (and also those that don't!). The site includes plenty of interesting original recipes for pre and post workout fuel, plus easy to cook healthy dinners. We're pretty adventurous eaters and don't sacrifice flavor to make a dish nutritious. My favorite meal to cook is: our Athlete Food stove top fajitas. It keeps well as leftovers so I can have something savory after my last workout the next day—Athlete Food.
My favorite pre-workout breakfast is a bagel with peanut butter, and banana, drizzled with honey.
My favorite post-workout smoothie is this one made with XRCEL, a glucose based nutritional supplement - I make it into a bowl so I can get in more calories and nutrients. https://secure.xrcel.com/blog/rebeccah-wassner-shares-race2rebuild-recovery-smoothie-bowl-recipe/