Everything I Eat in a Week During the Peak of Ironman Triathlon Training

Taking on an Ironman is a huge endeavor that requires a ton of work. Here's what a week close to race day looks like.

Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to spend a week tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com with details. 

Who I am: Jessica Kelly (@jerzeyjesstri), 31, from Manayunk

What I do: I am the Endurance Boutique manager for Life Time Athletic in Fort Washington. I lead our indoor cycling, 0utdoor cycling, running, and triathlon programs. I also teach group fitness and cycle classes, coach triathletes and in my spare time, train for an Ironman 70.3 (half the distance of a regular Ironman, with a one-to-two-mile swim, a 56-mile bike, and a 13.1-mile run) and Ironman full-distance triathlon this summer.

What role health and fitness plays in my life: I found a love for endurance sports at a young age through swimming and lifeguarding, and was lucky enough to make a career out of my passion. I think it is important to create a well-rounded, healthy way of life through physical activity, healthy habits, and finding balance. Health and fitness have changed my life, opened doors, and allowed me to be a part of some of the most amazing communities.

Health memberships: My husband and I do not pay for any monthly gym memberships since I have worked at a gym for over 11 years. I do, however, pay for a sports massage or two every month at Great Life Chiropractic & Massage in Roxborough to keep me moving.


Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

7 a.m. — Wake up for my long training day. The night before, I packed my bike with my Skratch electrolyte chews, salt tabs, and pretzels, and filled my water bottles with a UCAN SuperStarch and electrolyte mixture. My breakfast is Ezekiel Bread toasted with half an avocado smashed on top, with Trader Joe’s “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning, daily vitamins, and two glasses of water.

8 a.m. — We start our long ride, planned to get some miles in before we meet up with the LifeTime Cycle Club at 9 a.m. outside Riverbend Cycles in Conshohocken. We ride 65 miles through Valley Forge, Oaks, Collegeville, and the Schuylkill River Trail before ending up back in Roxborough. I hop off my bike in my back yard, finish my water, and head out the door for a 30 minute run to complete my five-hour brick workout.

2 p.m. — I make my Skratch Chocolate recovery shake with flax milk and take an epson salt bath. I am never hungry after super long workouts.

3:30 p.m. — The Parks on Tap traveling beer garden is a block away from my house, and despite the cold drizzle, I walk over to say hello and support my neighborhood park. I have a glass of rosé and order a Portabella sandwich so I don’t starve before dinner ($24).

Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

5 p.m. — I head home to meal prep for the week and make dinner. I cook up a mixture of ground turkey, cauliflower rice, kale, and parsley with turmeric and chili spices to top salads. Meanwhile broccoli, cauliflower, and salmon are roasting in the oven as extras for lunches and dinners the first half of the week. Dinner is roasted shaved Brussels with balsamic, a piece of salmon, and a side salad with left over veggies from last week’s Crop Share delivery. I bottle my weekly brew of kombucha, and flavor it with pomegranate seeds, blueberries, and mint from my garden.

6:30 p.m. — I watch the nightly news with my husband and puppy. I drink kombucha with a splash of whiskey and finish up my Monday class plans and playlists. 

9 p.m. — Early to bed, even though Sunday is typically a day of rest.  When I am in training, Sunday ends up being my most taxing day. I am ready to rest up for a new week.

Daily total: $24


Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

4:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I am not big on eating this early, but I have a packed schedule today. I make a quick protein shake using flax milk, Life Time Collagen peptides, and matcha powder.

5:30 a.m. — I take a PWR Cycle class with Coach Jackie. It’s is something I look forward to every week, despite the early wake-up call. After her class, you feel like a super athlete the rest of the day.

6:30 a.m. — I train one of my clients who loves to work out and feel strong. She will take on any challenge I give her.

7:15 a.m. — I eat my breakfast and prepare for my 8:15 and 9:30 a.m. classes. A Perfect Bar is easy to put in my lunch box and fills me up for a few hours.

8:15 a.m. — Teach EDG Cycle.

9:30 a.m. — Teach Barbell Strength.

11 a.m. — I have a phone interview and start to catch up on my daily calls, tasks, and reporting.

12 p.m. — I finish my manager-on-duty sweep, which is an opportunity to visit each department of the club, including our amazing outdoor pool deck!

1 p.m. — My coworkers and I eat our lunch poolside and get a little sun. I eat my salad and roasted veggies, a pack of nuts, and drink my unsweetened organic iced tea (unlimited for the summer with my Life Time tumbler).

2 p.m. — I attend our daily huddle meeting.

3 p.m. — I head home to walk my dog, have a snack (veggies and hummus), and run down to my CrossFit gym, Breaking Point Fitness.

4:30 p.m. — I take my favorite CrossFit class. I have been going to this class for seven years and make it a priority to attend every week.

Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

6 p.m. — Mondays are my early start/early finish, so I like to spend some extra time in the kitchen making dinner and catching up on the news. We typically do meatless Monday where I whip up a simple quinoa penne pasta dish with garlic, oil, tomatoes, basil, and crispy tofu. I always need greens in my meal, so I put it on top of organic arugula.

7 p.m. — I spend time on emails, playlists, and watching The Bachelorette with some homemade kombucha.

10 p.m. — Bed time.

Daily total: $0


Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

7 a.m. —  Breakfast time. I make protein pancakes with blueberries.

9 a.m. —  I arrive at work and take the 9:30 a.m. EDG cycle class to start my day.

11:30 a.m. — I teach Express Barbell Strength class.

12:15 p.m. — I teach EDG Cycle Express class.

1 p.m. — I eat my lunch in my office while taking a weekly call, a bowl of greens, and the turmeric ground turkey and cauliflower rice I prepped on Sunday.

2 p.m. — Daily huddle meeting.

3 p.m. — One-on-one meeting with my manager to discuss weekly and monthly goals and review the business.

3:30 p.m. — One of our new instructors has her final teach back for AMP Cycle.

4:30 p.m. — I usually teach another cycle class, but to save my voice for some extra classes later in the week, a team member covers it for me.

6 p.m. — I lead the hour-long Life Time Run Club, a free, outdoor run.

7:30 p.m. — Pick up our Lancaster Farm Fresh crop share, a weekly delivery of local organic veggies and a dozen fresh eggs. I make a chicken stir fry with the vegetables we got and pack up the leftovers for Wednesdays lunch.

8:30 p.m. — The nightly e-mail and playlist time; preparation for busy days are so important to me.

10 p.m. — Lights out.

Daily total: $0


Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

4:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I take my vitamins, drink a glass of water, and head out to work to set up for a 6 a.m. pop-up run.

6 a.m. — Global Running Day celebration run with the Life Time Run community!

6:50 a.m. — We get back to the club from our run and are treated to bulletproof coffees from the Life Cafe. The runners head out to work and I head upstairs to get my push up, pull up, ab routine in and prepare for my class.

8:15 a.m. — My Cycle Sculpt class is always packed and full of energy; I love teaching to The Fort Washington crew!

9:30 a.m. — I ride in half of the 80s-themed AMP Cycle class before my calls begin.

Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

10 a.m. — I run downstairs to the Life Cafe to get a smoothie to hold me over until lunch ($7). I create my own with coconut milk, vanilla collagen, mango, banana, kale, and spinach.

11 a.m. — I train a client who is preparing for her first Spartan Race.

12 p.m. — A series of calls in my office and lunch at my desk. Lunch is leftovers from Tuesday’s stir-fry dinner.

1:30 p.m. — I sneak in my weekly squats so I can hit up the pool after work!

2-3:30pm— Daily huddle, followed by weekly department manager meeting. I have an apple and take the time to try to drink water.

3:45 p.m. — I get in the outdoor pool for a workout. The water is warm and quiet before the evening rush. After my swim, I take another call, then hit up the eucalyptus steam room and take a shower.

6 p.m. — I get home and dump the rest of my leftovers and some roasted veggies from my meal prep in a pan and eat it over lettuce, quick and healthy.

7 p.m. — I run some errands and take my dog over to my co-worker’s house to meet her toddler. Cuteness overload.

9 p.m. — I don’t even take out my computer. Instead I paint my toes, drink kombucha, and watch Dateline before bed. Sometimes I need to do some mindless activities to keep me sane when things get busy.

10 p.m. — Bedtime.

Daily total: $7


Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

7:30 a.m. — Even though I wake up around 6, I let myself sleep in a little bit. I can feel my body needs it.

8 a.m. — I eat the overnight oats I made last night with pomegranate seeds and water.

8:30 a.m. — I head out for my last long run before my Ironman 70.3 next week. I do ten miles.

10:30 a.m. — I do a few chores around the house, walk my dog, and place my mobile order for my lunch from the Life Café.

11 a.m. — I get to the club and pick up my lunch, a Chef Dodge Bowl, which has a kale burger on top ($11). I head out to the pool to hang and eat it with one of my friends.

12:30 p.m. — I head upstairs to my office to get some work done.

2 p.m. — Daily huddle meeting

3 p.m. — Quick ab workout with some strict pull-ups, two goals of mine I am working on.

4:30 p.m. — I teach Cycle Sculpt class, a combo of high intensity cardio challenges and weights with upper body exercises.

6:30 p.m. — I head home from work to walk my dog and make dinner. I wrap sliced turkey and avocado in big kale leaves to make a wrap, and make a side of lentils cooked with white wine. Naturally, I have a glass.

8 p.m. — I finalize my Pride Ride playlist for Friday and watch Jersey Shore Family Vacation with my dog, no shame.

10 p.m. — Off to bed

Daily total: $11


Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

6:30 a.m. — I am usually off on Fridays, but I still end up getting my day started early. I make a quick iced mushroom coffee shake with some vegan vanilla protein to energize me for the day.

7:30 a.m. — I hop on my bike and ride down to my CrossFit gym for the 8 a.m. class. I try to run or ride my bike when I am staying around my neighborhood, Manayunk, so I can get some extra hills in.

9 a.m.  I head home on my bike to grab my dog and car and drive to the car wash.

10:30 a.m. — I head home to give my bike a good wash and make lunch. I heat up the rest of the roasted veggies from my meal prep with chicken sausage and put it on top of kale from my garden.

12 p.m. — I head to Great Life Chiropractic for a 90-minute sports massage ($75). I am in need of some work on my legs from the training volume. Stephanie has been my massage therapist for a few years and knows exactly how to maximize our time together.

2 p.m. — I arrive at Life Time and head outside for a swim. I can’t get enough of the outdoor pool.

3:15 p.m. — I head to the LifeSpa for a quick undercut shave — shorter hair makes my sweaty life in a swim cap and helmet easier.

Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

4:30 p.m. — PRIDE RIDE TIME! I team up with our amazing yoga boutique manager Geoff to teach an AMP Cycle class, a serious party on a bike. The community shows up big and we have a blast!

6:30 p.m. — We decided to skip the planned yoga flow to head out for dinner and drinks with my manager and his wife. We go to the Lucky Well in Ambler and I get the arugula pear salad with grilled chicken, and two Kentucky tea cocktails.

Photograph courtesy Jessica Kelly.

8:30 p.m. — We go to Gypsy Blu for another drink, and I am still hungry so I order their Brussels sprout app with my glass of rosé ($40 between the two restaurants).

9:15 p.m. — We hit our curfew and head home to go to bed. Saturday mornings are busy for us at the club! I look forward to running with our run club at 7 a.m., teaching PWR Cycle at 8 a.m. and leading a WTRX (water extreme!) class on the pool deck at 9:30 a.m.

10:30 p.m. — Lights out.

Daily total: $105

Weekly Totals

Money spent: $147

Runs: 4

Swim sessions: 2

CrossFit classes: 2

Outdoor bike rides2

Smoothies and shakes: 4

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