You’ve probably heard of it: the dreaded “quarantine fifteen.” Most of us are struggling with staying fit and active during these trying times (and all that homemade bread certainly isn’t helping!), but let’s face it: for us, getting a little soft around the edges is mostly a matter of vanity.
But for a professional athlete like American Flat Track star Shayna Texter, maintaining a certain level of fitness will mean the difference between continuing to blow the boys away on the racetrack…or running out of gas a few laps from the finish. So we sat down with her for a socially-distant phone interview to find out how she’s handling the recent disruptions to the race schedule and how she’s been coping and adapting to the new normal. (Responses have been lightly edited for flow and brevity.)
Woman Rider: Let’s jump right in. Tell me what a given week looks like in Shayna world.
Shayna Texter: Well when all this first started happening, I was in Daytona training hard, getting ready for the start of the AFT season. Then all of a sudden they tell me, that’s it, season is on hold, you have to go home. I built a home gym so I can work out at home, and my personal trainer can monitor my health and fitness remotely. I do total body workouts 2-3x per week, focusing on the areas where I need the most improvement.
WR: And what areas are those?
ST: My shoulders. I don’t have the upper body strength the guys do so I decided to really focus on increasing my shoulder strength. It’s important when you’re hanging onto the handlebar, fighting to keep the bike going the direction you want while you’re sliding around.
The weather has been challenging too, since I live in Pennsylvania, and we’ve been having some weird weather this spring. Fortunately my fiancé [fellow AFT racer Briar Bauman — Ed.] helps me stay motivated, which is so important. I’ve also been doing a lot of home improvement projects! And in our downtime I stay busy with jigsaw puzzles and Netflix.
WR: How about cross training and cardio?
ST: Yeah, I do cardio 7 days a week. A lot of bicycling, running, rowing…and I have a Nordic Track machine at home too which is good for when the weather is iffy.
WR: Speaking of cardio and the fact that you’re a woman out there battling it out with the guys, tell me about the physical toll a night of racing takes on your body.
ST: I have a naturally high heart rate, which is pretty common among women. We tend to have higher heart rates than men. So I usually run about 180 to 198 beats per minute during the course of a race.
WR: 198, oh my gosh, that’s high!
ST: (Laughs.) Yeah, my personal trainer makes sure I’m in great cardiovascular condition.
WR: I’d say so. OK, so being fit is clearly a big part of being a professional racer, but current events are making even the most diehard optimists among us have days when we struggle to stay motivated. How do you handle that? Staying motivated to train hard.
ST: You know, you just have to dig deep. I love riding and I love racing, but there are still times when I’ve struggled to keep going. When my dad passed back in 2010, I had some very hard times but I kept at it. I look back now and I’m like, “Wow, what if I had given up back then?” [Shayna won her first Grand National race the very next year, in 2011, and since then has become the winningest American Flat Track Singles racer ever. — Ed.] So I would just say sometimes it’s not easy, you have to dig deep and discover how strong you really are.
WR: Well said. Now. Tell me: what’s your Kryptonite? What’s the thing you allow yourself as a reward or a cheat food?
ST: (Laughs.) I love chicken wings. But also we live fairly close to Philadelphia….
ST: Yep, but I like mine with chicken. Chicken and onions and hot sauce!
WR: Ah, you like them spicy like your wings. So then the logical next question is: ranch or bleu cheese? Or neither?
ST: Oh, I really like homemade bleu cheese dressing, with the hunks of cheese in there.
WR: Ah, so then I assume you also prefer chunky rather than creamy peanut butter?
ST: Actually I’m more of an almond butter person.
WR: I can’t argue with that. Well thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Shayna, and share your fitness regime as well as your chicken wing dipping preferences. Best of luck to you when this year’s AFT season starts back up again!
You can follow Shayna’s 2020 season with the Red Bull KTM Factory Race Team and buy tickets to your local AFT race at americanflattrack.com.