Josh Amberger is a 28 year old, Brisbane born and bred, professional triathlete and the newest Bexters Ambassador. We asked Josh a few questions about racing, recovery and what keeps him motivated to push that little bit harder every race, here’s what he had to say.
Bexters: How did you get into triathlons?
Josh Amberger: I grew up in a very sporty household in Brisbane, and I was learning to swim from only 8 months old. I grew into a competitive lifestyle quickly, racing by the time I was 5 or 6. Training at a high capacity is all I’ve ever really known. I transitioned from swimming to triathlon at age 14, when I was disenchanted with the single sport after I wasn’t growing as fast the other kids, which gave them a massive advantage over me. It was clear rather quickly that triathlon was where my interest was, and within a couple of years I’d made my first Australia junior elite team for the ITU World Championships in 2006 held in Lausanne Switzerland. From this point, it’s been a steady progression from short to long course racing.
B: What is your greatest sporting achievement?
JA: Winning my most recent title, the 2017 Ironman Cairns Asia-Pacific Championships. Ironman has been something I’ve been building towards physically and mentally for a long time, and in only my third start of Ironman racing I’ve been able to clench a regional championships title, which is something totally unexpected.
B: What is the best part of competing in triathlons?
JA: It’s the ultimate lifestyle sport. The variety of training options and locations is supreme, all of which can be done indoors or outdoors and in some of the most serene and diverse locations around the world. We race in exciting locales, and get to experience new cultures and culinary offerings every time we travel.
B: What is the worst part of competing in triathlons?
JA: Living in a constant state of fatigue during a long training block whilst preparing for a big event. This basically means foregoing most social commitments and general adventure! After a good result however, all the sacrifice feels very much worth it!
B: Any pre-race rituals?
JA: Not really. But if anything stands out, I definitely like to listen to a lot of music in the days prior to a race, and brand some good song lines in my head for race day! Recently in Cairns, I managed to replay an epic song by an underground metal band called Caladan Brood in my head for the whole 8 hours!
B: What is a must have/ must do in lead up to a race?
JA: Hydrate, stay off your legs as much as possible, carbo-load and keeps your muscles supple. I find bathing in Bexters Crystals in the days leading up to a race extremely valuable for muscle relaxation.
B: What is your best training tip?
JA: Don’t train like a maniac, try to keep everything controlled. Control on mileage, and control in intensity. Triathlon as a sport can be all-consuming and very addictive, and people take their mileage and intensities to unsustainable levels. The biggest mistake I see people make is training themselves into a deep hole by neglecting control.
B: How does your training differ in preparation for a 70.3 Ironman vs. 140.6 Ironman event?
JA: Ironman training is all about training menacing hours and adapting to the fatigue to be able to endure the extremes on race day. This is ironic considering my advice in the question above, but the trick is having the intuition and good health to be able to push your body to its farthest limits, and know when to pull it back again to rest and absorb the load to ascend to new levels of fitness. 70.3 in different in a sense that while still being a 4hour + event, you can train at much higher intensities and lower load, as you’re able to race at a greater intensity on race day. You could race to your highest level in 70.3 off 25 hours training a week as a professional, but those hours will not get you anywhere near your peak for Ironman racing.
B: What motivates you?
JA: The feeling of satisfaction is most motivating to me. Whether I finish a race 1st, or 5th, or even 10th is inconsequential if I raced to my potential on that very day, and squeezed every bit out of myself to go as well as possible. It’s hard to beat the feeling of satisfaction in knowing that there was no way I could have possibly gone any better on the day.
B: How do you recover after a race?
JA: There’s different stages of recovery. Initially, it’s all about getting some calories in to replace muscle glycogen. This can sometimes be tricky as eating can be the last thing we feel like after an endurance event, but it’s critical. After this point, I start to look at reducing the inflammation throughout my body. This is best achieved by a Bexters Soda Crystal bath as well as light massage. It’s okay to enjoy a beer or a drink, just make sure you nail those first couple of things before letting the hair down!
B: What is your best piece of recovery advice?
JA: Look forward to recovery. Some athletes just want to go like the clappers in training all day and don’t give recovery the time it needs on the other side. At the end of a long training day, you need to be able to reset and bounce back for the next day to most effectively adapt to the training stress for maximum performance gains.
B: What is a common recovery mistake you see athletes make?
JA: Some athletes add unnecessary complexity to a really simple task. Stick to recovery methods that are time proven, easily accessible, and not mired in anecdotal tales of effectiveness. I love Bexters Crystals because it’s simple and inexpensive, and has stood the test of time.