PODCAST EPISODE 172: From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete

podcast triathlon Aug 09, 2022

It’s never too late to do something to better your life and your health. In this episode, I talk with the author of From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete: A Portrait of a Non-athletic Triathlete, Hilary JM Topper of Merrick, NY. Hilary will inspire anyone to overcome their past, push past their boundaries, and change their life for the better. Her book chronicles her journey from almost failing high school gym as a teenager to learning how to swim, bike and run as a middle-aged woman. 

Hilary’s story and her drive to change her life will inspire others to do the same -  no matter how rich or poor, how overweight or underweight, or how old or young they are. 

Some of the things we talked about:

Kim Peek: I would love to hear how you went from couch potato to endurance athlete. What sparked that in you? What made you think wake up one morning and say, Hey, I think this sounds like a good idea.

Hilary Topper: So I was 47 years old and I never exercised a day in my life. I never even belonged to a gym.  I'd work all day. I'd come home from work. I'd hang out with my husband, have a glass of wine...and basically that was that... go to bed. And, I started thinking "I'm turning 50 soon and I really need to move myself. I need to become active."

And my mother was always very, very overweight and my sister was overweight. So I was going down that path. I was overweight.

There's this Parkway here... and I would go there and I'd watch people running and I would. Think to myself, "Wow. I would love to do that. That's like something I really wanna try," but I didn't know how to start. So I joined a gym.

How to She Kept Motivated

Kim Peek: That beginning of starting to do any kind of a workout program is hard. You're in pain. You're exhausted. What helped you get over that hump and get to the others side where you actually enjoyed it?

Hilary Topper: You know, everybody's different, right. And everybody has their own motivating factors.  For me, I always felt like I was put down my entire life.

I was constantly being put down and I wanted to prove everybody wrong. "Oh, you'll never make it in the gym" kind of thing. Or "Come on. Why are you joining a gym? You're going to hate it."  I want to prove somebody wrong. If they say that to me, or if somebody says to me, "You don't know how to swim, why would you wanna do a triathlon?" Well, now I'm gonna learn how to swim. For me, it's that, negative stuff that, that comes into play. I want to prove people wrong. I want to show people that I can do this. 



I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this. So I started by being consistent.

The people who are on my  run walk team are also triathletes. So we train together and the accountability is just incredible. It just makes you want to go every Sunday or go for a long bike ride on a Saturday with your people.

Connect with Hilary





A Triathlete's Diary Blog

Blog- Hilary Topper Blog

Hilary Topper on Air (Podcast)

HJMT Public Relations (Hilary's PR firm)


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