Name: Todd Shellenberger
Family: Wife, Jamie; children, Erica, 13, and Drew, 10
Occupation: Personal trainer at Baxter YMCA
Where do you workout? Baxter YMCA
How many hours do you work out? I probably work out between 10 and 15, depending on the week and what I’m training for personally. In the winter, I take some time off, back it up a little bit.
What is your weekly schedule? I come in at 5 a.m. every morning. It’s pretty much a seven-day-a-week habit. Monday is a swim day. Tuesday is more of a bike and run workout; and I lead an adult triathlon team, so we do a bike-run workout in the morning and do a swim at night. Wednesday is my favorite day, so we do intervals, biking three miles and run a mile, back and forth four or five times. Thursday is swimming in the morning and another bike-run in the evening. Usually Friday we run a large hill, repeat running. Saturday is long bike day, and Sunday is a long run day.
How did you get into triathlons? I was always an athlete in high school and college. Then I started running when I got out of college to stay in shape and keep the weight off. I had a buddy from home who got involved in triathlon, and I told him to come out to Indianapolis to stay with my wife and I to race for a summer. He ended up staying here, and he got us into it. I did my first one. When you try a triathlon, either you’re hooked and you can’t stop, or you move on to something else. I just happened to get hooked. I’ve probably done hundreds of them over 22 years.
Why is it something you’ve stuck with? It’s become more of a lifestyle than a workout. It’s a hard habit to get into. You have two or three weeks to get in the habit, and five or seven days of getting up at 5 a.m. and going every day. It’s hard.
How do you make time to get in all of your training? When I first started doing it, I was an accountant by trade, and I worked downtown. It would never fail, you’d either have to work late or someone would want to get together after work. So I started getting up early to go work out. It’s amazing, no one has ever called me to schedule a 5 a.m. meeting, no one else is up. It’s amazing, the sun is coming up, and it’s so peaceful and nice. You get a lot of stress relief now.
Have you always been serious about fitness? Yes, as a kid I always thought I’d be a professional athlete, not knowing that it wasn’t going to happen. I liked having that competitive spirit to it. The nice part about triathlons is that, if you want to compete against other people, you can, but you’re really competing against yourself.
Since you’ve started being serious about fitness, did you lose any weight? Yes, when I started, I was never really a big guy, but I raced in the Clydesdale division, which was guys over 200 pounds. Through high school and stuff, I was about the same weight I was now, 175. It’s really funny, that I’m at about the same level as I was in high school.
Do you have a favorite exercise that you do? I really love the interval training I do. If I had to pick one, I would say I love the biking. But you get to love all of it. The biking is so fun because you can go pretty much anyplace. We live up here in Indianapolis, and my parents live in Franklin, so we’ll ride down there. It’s a nice ride. There’s a speed element to it as well. If you get in a good sized group of bikers and crank it up, it’s really fun.
Is there anything you dread to do? Not really. I’ve been lucky enough to be blessed to be able to do it. There are those days when nothing seems to really feel right, but luckily those days are few and far between.
Do you listen to music when you work out? No, I’m not a music person. I also do a mini-marathon training group here, and everyone else listens to music. I’m just not a music guy. I more enjoy focusing on my heartbeat.
Do you have a favorite fitness moment when you were really proud about what you accomplished? My family really loves Clearwater, Fla., and they have the Half-Ironman World Championships. In 2009, I was lucky enough to qualify for it. I was 16th in my age group in a race in Michigan; but because enough people ahead of me didn’t want to go, I was able to qualify. My whole family went down, and we watched the video a number of times. There was this huge worldwide flavor, and it was a big deal. It was a lot of fun.
What advice would you give to someone starting out exercising for the first time? Find something that you enjoy, and don’t set your expectations too high to start. Everybody who comes to my classes are almost beginners at the triathlon, but some are better than others. My advice to them is to be patient.