Getting things done and doing them well is no new concept to recent college graduate, professional triathlete, and Zoom Performance coach Alex Libin. Though he is a new transplant to the Colorado Springs area, this Des Moines native is making waves in the triathlon pro ranks in just his first year as a professional. We sat down with Coach Alex to hear more about what makes him tick as a coach and athlete.
ZOOM PERFORMANCE: Tell us a little about yourself.
ALEX LIBIN: I recently graduated from the University of Iowa and am currently completing class work at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to earn my RD and enter the sports nutrition master’s program there.
My days are typically filled with training, eating, napping, studying and working. In 2013, I took my professional triathlete card and am trying to live the dream and make it all work out. Triathlon doesn’t quite pay the bills however, so I also coach for Zoom Performance, the same coaching company that got me started on my athletic journey back in 2008. Being a recent college grad, I couldn’t be happier with where my life is right now.
I have a younger brother, Michael, who is 8 years younger than me and already, smarter, stronger and most importantly taller than I was at his age.
I live with my girlfriend Kelli Putnam, who is largely responsible for turning me into the person that I am today. She’s awesome!
ZP: What is your background as an endurance athlete?
AL: My endurance athlete career started itself back in high school. I swam all 4 years of high school and qualified for state my senior year. Prior to this I had very little swim training experience, I knew how to swim and that was about it. I entered swimming hoping to learn how to flip turn and gain some proper form. And for me, trial by fire was the best way to get that done.
I was also on a junior cycling team during this time. I never really got any good at bike racing, but the skills and knowledge I gained during this time became invaluable as I developed as an athlete later on. Plus it was on this junior team that I would end up meeting the people that got me involved with triathlon in the first place.
Although I tried football first, I eventually found myself running cross country. Turns out I had some natural ability when it came to running and even though I only had 2 years in the sport, I made my way to state my senior year.
Senior year of high school I got into off-road Xterra triathlons. The laid back atmosphere, awesome courses, and new challenges got me hooked into triathlon. Once college came around I took a little bit of a hiatus from sports…too many college distractions! But I eventually found my way back and have been turning triathlon into my life more and more ever since. It’s crazy how a little sport and can give a lost college kid so much direction and purpose.
In 2010 I began to focus more of my energies on triathlon and my sporting career. Over the years I watched as my training and performance increased. I started out with local races and soon found myself traveling around the country to race tougher competition on bigger stages. This progressive build up eventually led to me becoming a professional in 2013. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and a ride that I hope to keep building upon.
ZP: What is your background as an endurance coach/education?
AL: I received my B.S. in human physiology from the University of Iowa. Being a curious mind, I always questioned why I was doing a certain workout a certain day. So I took it upon myself to combine my formal education with what I really wanted to know. I began reading extensively about anything endurance training related – books, research studies and even magazine articles. I used this knowledge to help answer questions that others had, and was eventually able to put everything to good use by becoming a coach and having a few athletes under my guidance.
ZP: What is one thing about you that many people don’t know?
AL: I was born in Moscow, Russia. I’m frequently told I don’t look Russian, whatever that means….
ZP: And, how did you find your way to Zoom?
AL: I began my own triathlon journey with the help of Zoom coach and co-founder JJ Bailey in 2008. As I progressed as an athlete and through my studies of human physiology I became more and more interested in the coaching side of endurance sports. I began an internship with Zoom in 2012, learning both the coaching and business side of things, eventually gaining my USAT Level 1 certificate and becoming a full-fledged coach in 2013.
ZP: What is your coaching philosophy?
AL: I believe that motivation requires structure in order for it to be maximally productive. Through my many years of training experience I have found that applying yourself to an incredible endurance feat can provide you with the self-confidence and accomplishment that will drive you through all facets of your life. The proper training structure can help you achieve not only your athletic goals, but to also help you get the most out of life. Because when training is going well, life is going well.
ZP: What is your goal as a coach when working with an athlete?
AL: My goal when working with an athlete is ensuring that the athlete gets to their target race or major goal happy, healthy, and ready to rock. By having an open line for communication, I try to build a relationship with the athlete so that questions are asked and answered. By addressing minor concerns early and learning that there is no such thing as a dumb question, it allows me to ensure that the risk of injury is minimal and that the odds of success are maximized. By being goal-oriented and holding each other accountable to those goals, I really enjoy building relationships with my athletes and seeing them progress.
ZP: Any final thoughts?
AL: My goal as a coach is to ensure that my athletes are reaching the goals they set for themselves and becoming happier in their everyday lives. Whether it’s getting back in shape, winning their age group at a major race, trouncing their local rivals, or just gaining some confidence, it’s the greatest feeling in the world to be able to help someone set new limits and achieve their goals!