A Day in the Life of a Professional Athlete - Little Bellas


Little Bellas

A Day in the Life of a Professional Athlete

Ever wondered what it’s like to be an elite athlete? Me too… The other day I got to the opportunity to find out. I went to Lea and Sabra’s house to meet with Sabra and get some work done for Little Bellas. Sabra made a super healthy lunch (totally what I would eat at the dining hall, wink wink) of a caprese salad. We watched the US vs. Germany game together, and Lea asked if we liked the shorts she had just bought at Gap. Everything seemed very normal.

Then Sabra asked me if I wanted to workout.  Okay, not so normal to have a mini-gym in your basement and workout in the middle of the workday. I am always down for a good workout, so what the heck, why not? She took me through what her and Lea do on a regular basis. I can’t post it here because it’s essentially what helps craft them into such stellar athletes, but I assure you, it is full body and HARD. I was working up a good sweat, doing fine, keeping up. The workout ended and we had to get right back to work. Can you say quick transition? My brain was still in workout mode a little bit, but we got a lot done.

Before I went home, Sabra surprised me with my new Specialized Fate bike. As I have already established, I am the ultimate noob of mountain biking. I’m on flat pedals and brace for a crash every time I go over a root. Giving me a Specialized Fate, the bike that World Cup riders ride, is equivalent to a Muggle riding a Firebolt for Quidditch in Harry Potter.

First off, the bike is really pretty. The frame is all black and has a light sparkle to it. Sabra says her Specialized Fate is sparkley-er than mine, but I retorted that mine is probably lighter and faster with less sparkles, so there!  Secondly, it felt super smooth. My last bike was nice and all, but either the roots shrunk, I got better at riding, or it’s a nicer bike. I think two of three are probably more accurate. Thirdly, I gullywhomped. Gullywhomping is a term we use at Little Bellas Vermont camps to explain a trail where there is a quick, sharp descent followed by an uphill slope, think of a mini valley.  She’s eight, so my pride was also at stake.  I don’t know if the bike comes with confidence booster, but I definitely was more self-assured on the Specialized Fate. Though I can’t tell you all the specs, I felt a big difference between the bike I was on and the Specialized Fate.  Next thing you know, I’ll be taking on World Cups. Watch out Lea!

The day after my workout with Sabra, I was impressed with the fact that I wasn’t THAT sore. I was sore, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t debilitated with lactic acid.  I did my normal lift in the morning and went on with the rest of my day. The next morning, I woke up from soreness. If you’ve never heard of DOMS (or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), I can now tell you a thing or two about it. My glutes felt like I had been squeezing them all night in my sleep.  My quads screamed, angry with me for putting them through such a strenuous ordeal. My arms cried for me not to pick anything up. I may be over exaggerating but you get the gist. Life as a professional athlete is hard, and I only did it for a day!

Being a professional athlete isn’t all fun and games. It’s physically and mentally challenging. There’s a lot more that goes into high-level performance than meets the eye.  On top of being a professional athlete, having a job can feel like a lot. At points, I’m sure it is incredibly overwhelming.  Even though I was sore and tired after my day with Lea and Sabra, I still had work to do for Little Bellas. I’m sure Lea and Sabra have to deal with this balancing act a lot. I think in order to stay on top of everything it is critical to be organized and flexible. Creating deadlines and having a schedule is important, but it’s also essential to be accommodating and versatile when things come up.

Lizzy Reed was a Little Bellas intern.  She graduated from Middlebury College in 2015.