This episode of the Female Athlete Nutrition podcast is with former professional runner Alexa Efraimson. A high school phenom and one of the best junior runners in US history, Alexa signed a professional contract with Nike aged 17, and ran professionally for 8 years. Alexa shares the highs and lows that came with such early success, including challenges with confidence and comparison as an elite athlete. We discuss how athletics can be a vehicle for personal growth, and how that intersected her recent athletic retirement and future career in nutrition.
Throughout her running career, weight and food became a constant and unhealthy obsession as Alexa fought to maintain her “fast” high school self. We hear how a lack of nutrition education and support hurt her mental health, as well as her food and body relationships. Alexa and I discuss the need for sports nutrition resources for all athletes, including working with sport-specific Registered Dietitians, and debunk myths around weight and performance. Now in grad school, pursuing a Master of Science in Nutrition and Nutrigenomics, Alexa wants to help athletes foster healthy relationships with eating and their bodies in her future career as a Registered Dietitian.
In this episode we talk about:
8:00 Alexa’s early running success: turning pro aged 17 as a high school phenom
13:45 Struggling with confidence and comparison
18:30 Personal growth and identity in athletics
21:40 Retiring from pro running; Losing the love for your sport
27:00 Alexa’s challenges with her weight and diet
30:50 The lack of nutrition education as a pro runner; the importance of dietitians for athletes
Follow Alexa on Instagram @alexaefraimson and me, your host Lindsey Cortes, on Instagram @female.athlete.nutrition
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