904’s Fittest: The Austin Twins
When we try to determine the strongest triathletes, we look at swim, bike and run splits. But when determining the most powerful innovators in our community, we look closely at social reach. For identical twins, Ryan and Aaron Austin, the record is even. The brothers have been competing side by side as long as they can remember; they’ve also spurred each other in service to Jacksonville’s youth. When we find something that’s important to us, we are committed to it. Ryan and Aaron’s commitment to family, ministry, and triathlon have put them on the podium in a number of different arenas. 904Fitness interviewed these twins to learn how they prioritize and how they stay on top .
904F: What does your non-triathlon life look like?
AARON: I am married to my beautiful wife, Rachel, and I have two daughters, 3 and 3 months who are the joy of my life. I am a pastor at Southpoint Community church and lead a college campus ministry at Southpoint.
RYAN: I am married to the beautiful Shelby Austin and have a baby daughter named Olivia, who is my pride and joy. She is 13 months old. I am a pastor at Southpoint Community Church and oversee the middle and high school ministry. Working with young people is my dream and passion.
904F: Have you both always performed equally well in triathlon?
AARON: Pretty close.
RYAN: We honestly go back and forth. Aaron is a stronger swimmer and cyclist, while I am usually better at running. We usually come in side by side or pretty close to each other.
904F: How did you both land a spot on the Stellar Team?
RYAN: Owen Shott invited us to be on the team, which was a huge blessing. The Stellar team is a group of elite triathletes sponsored by Stellar, Jacksonville Running Company and Open Road Bicycle. It’s a blast being on the team! Everyone is down to earth and has a good time, wanting to perform well but not taking it too serious where you can’t have fun. While all the free gear is great, the best part of being on the team is the camaraderie and teammates that you get to do life with. Stellar Tri Team started one year ago and is growing.
904F: How does training and racing affect your work and family lives?
AARON: I try to keep training and racing in its place. My bro and I don’t like to take away from family time and we don’t think it’s worth it to take away from leading college students. At the same time we want to do well. It’s tough to balance when you want to win at everything. I would rather lose triathlons and win in fatherhood any day. Danny Domingo, a highly respected athlete has helped us to realize triathlons are just a sport. Family and friends are far more important. Therefore, that means we may not have as much time to train but we will make it count that much more.
RYAN: It forces me to be incredibly disciplined with my time. I do not come home and watch T.V. after work or stay up late. When it comes to family and friends triathlons are second. They are far more important to me. Triathlons are just a fun hobby.
904F: What are your triathlon goals this year / and beyond?
AARON: Place top ten in world age group. Place top ten in Olympic National championship.
RYAN: Top 10 at the Olympic Distance Age Group Nationals and do well at Age Group World Championships in Canada. I hope to break 1:58 for Olympic Distance this year.
904F: Of the swim, bike, run, which sport is your strength and weakness?
AARON: Pretty equal in all. Whichever one we train in the most is the best. Currently that’s running.
RYAN: Running is my strength. Cycling is probably my weakest. For cycling my weakness is hills and power output. This year I am trying to do more force training such as hill repeats to get me stronger. Another aspect I have added is weight training. I am doing squats, step ups and lunges twice a week to build muscle mass and explosion for the bike. I am also trying to capitalize on my strength in running by building a bigger base this year by increasing my distance in long runs.
904F: As a competitive athlete, how do you balance personal training with mentoring amateurs?
RYAN: The key is to have fun with the sport and do it with others. I say go all out in training as long as you keep God and family before triathlons.
904F: Do you have twin bikes?
RYAN: Yes, we both ride the Cannondale Slice.
904F: Give us a sneak peek into a week of your training log.
Monday – 12 mile run
Tuesday – 1 hr easy bike
Wednesday – 1 hr easy bike, pull-ups, squats and sit ups
Thursday – 40 min run w tempo, 30 min swim
Friday – 40 min swim, 30 min core and legs
Sat – 2.5 bike
Sunday – Rest
Monday – Long run 1:20 with 30 min swim
Tuesday – 2 mi tempo run warmup, 3x1mi tempo, 2 mi cool down, swim 30 min doing speed skills (800M warm up, 10×50 drill, 5×50 kick, 5x100M paddles. 200 cooldown)
Wednesday – 1 hour spin on trainer with weights (3×20 pull ups, 3×30 squats, 3×40 step ups, 3×20 lunges, abs)
Thursday – 1 hr easy run with 30 min swim (800M warmup, 10×50 drill, 6x200M tempo, 200 cooldown)
Friday – Swim and yoga (Swim: 800M warmup, 10 x50 drill, 5x 50 kick, 30×50 descending, 200 cooldown), P90x yoga
904F: What’s in your fridge right now?
AARON: Coconut Kefir, coconut milk, eggs, Sheeps cheese, veggies, tea, Gatorade, brown rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, chicken, beef, sausage, spelt sprouted grain bread, almond butter and dates. Probiotics is the secret. My fridge is filled with probiotics, veggies, gluten free, high carb, foods. Health food is pivotal when you are super busy and trying to be good at everything. For rides I love Gatorade though. There’s nothing like simple sugars on a 100 miler. And dates drenched with almond butter, honey and salt.
RYAN: A lot of avocados (good fats for training), mixed dark green lettuce, veggies, strawberries and blueberries, coconut milk, almond butter, organic eggs and bacon, sheep’s cheese (great fat and protein), almond butter, fish oil (great for inflammation), Inner Eco probiotics (great for a healthy gut and immune system).
5’7” 145. All American. Qualified for Team USA. Focus on Sprint and Olympic Distance. Best races- 2011 Turtle Crawl Triathon: 1st place. 2013 Jax Tri Series Race 1 for Olympic Distance: 1st Place. 2007 Beaches Fine Arts Series race 1: 1st place. 2013 Sprint Age Group Nationals: 8th place. Qualified for Age Group World Championship. Personal best for Olympic Distance is 1:59.
5’9” 155. All American. Qualified for Team USA. Focus on Sprint and Olympic Distance. Best races- Age Group National Championship Sprint- top 18. Qualified for Worlds. Won Jax TRI, Fernandina