Jessica Baxter is a TriDot Coach, IRONMAN Certified Coach, Metabolic Efficiency Level 1 Training Specialist, and six-time IRONMAN. Having completed over 100 races of various lengths, including two 100-mile ultras, she is founder of Baxter Performance, which specializes in metabolic efficiency and optimizing nutrition for optimal health. She is also on the board of directors for Real Life Angels and Competing For Hope and is a three-time race director of Race for the Halo. A resident of Houston, Texas, she and her husband, Keith, have two boys, Austin and Ashton.
What were your initial impressions of TriDot?
I’m a data nerd, junkie, geek, whatever you want to call it. I’m fascinated with it. And that’s what TriDot is based on. I’m always trying to make myself better through data and see how I can push myself harder through wattage and cadence, swim stroke, anything you can think of. That’s what I love about it.
It’s not a cookie-cutter plan, like most programs are. There are thousands and thousands of plans and specific workouts to better yourself. TriDot locks down who you are as a person and as an athlete – your age, your sex, where you’re at on a fitness level – and it customizes a plan and individual workouts for you and you alone.
How does it differ from other training you’ve encountered?
A lot of people read articles, study training, implement and test, and find out what works best for them. They may spend entire seasons in the process. TriDot takes all that tedious work out of the way and says, “Here it is. This is what works. If you don’t, you won’t see the results. It you do, you will.” It takes all the guesswork away. From an individual workout to an entire season of workouts, it saves you a ton of time.
Each workout is so detailed. I feel like I walk away having really nailed it and that I’ve had a quality workout compared to in the past when I just went out and biked for an hour. After a TriDot workout, I feel like I’ve really kicked butt on the bike or had a good quality swim or run. Everything is so intense that you don’t have to do so much. It’s quality over quantity. I love that.
How has your training benefited from using TriDot?
This is by far the best training I’ve ever implemented. Every workout has a purpose. Most are very intense and you walk away feeling like you did way more than just go for swim, bike, or run. And I’m spending less training time than what I’ve done in the past.
How did you get involved in coaching?
I’ve been told for the last four years that I should consider coaching. The timing just didn’t feel right then. I didn’t feel like had enough experience as an athlete to relate to others. In the spring of 2015 I learned about TriDot and (TriDot coach) John Mayfield asked me what I thought about coaching. I told him I didn’t think I was ready and he asked me to think about it.
John asked me again about coaching and I told him I didn’t have any certification. He told me that was OK, and that what I did in the community and how I inspired others are what makes a good coach. It’s more than just having a certification.
I started thinking about it and it eventually felt like the right time. Then I met Jeff Booher and it all fell into place the way it was supposed to. Shortly after that, IRONMAN University started offering courses. I signed up through them and earned my coaching certification.
How does TriDot help you as a triathlon coach?
Instead of spending hours creating training plans with detailed workouts, I get to focus on the athlete, making sure their schedule is arranged for their life, monitoring their mental and physical health, and helping them find balance in life.
What excites you about coaching?
I know where I came from and what it took to get where I’m at now. I love to motivate other athletes and watch them improve. I love being in that entire process with them of overcoming fears or taking them to the next level. A lot of athletes that come to me are attempting something for the first time – whether it’s a half or a full. It’s fun to listen to them talk and remember that I used to be in their position. I can honestly see it from their perspective because I was there myself.
I also try to comfort them and help them find balance in their lives with friends and family. A lot of what I do is make sure athletes don’t overtrain or undertrain and that they stay motivated and happy. It’s been fun and rewarding. I’d say I spend 70 percent of my focus on the mental aspect of training. It’s about training them to have a proper mindset and know why it’s important to do something one way and not another.
It’s also about teaching them to have the right mental motivation. I often have athletes write down all their fears and concerns and then we go over them one by one. It’s like being a therapist. It’s so much more than just saying, “Good job on the workout or work on this.” It’s way more than that.