by Team Snapbac
Perri Goldstein is not your standard athlete who falls in love with a sport as a child and then dedicates a lifetime to it. However, no one can argue that she’s not an incredible athlete now. She tackles obstacle course races like Spartan and throws down at CrossFit Games. For someone who didn’t connect with athletics until adulthood, Goldstein is a phenomenal example of what we can achieve when we put our minds to it. She shared with us some great advice for athletes and those striving to reach their physical goals. She also got personal, telling us why she followed this path and what she wants others to know about struggling in the dark.
As most athletes fall in love with a sport at a young age, we were wondering what made you realize you were not into sports as a child?
The first sport I ever played was soccer. I was, by far, the least athletic person on the team. I didn't like to walk, let alone run, and so they put me as goalie. I was equally bad at that, and I made the parents angrier than the other kids on my team!
Did you ever think you would become an athlete later in life?
Absolutely not! I was a singer and actor and even went to college for Musical Theatre at the Boston Conservatory of Music! My whole life revolved around the pursuit of "the stage," and so fitness, to me, was just looking and staying in shape, so I could book more roles and get more parts! (Even though I did truly love it!) It wasn't until an experience, later in life, that I had to really work at becoming an athlete and have only recently started calling myself one and truly believing in it. It did not come easily or naturally to me, at all! Now, I can't imagine my life without my sports.
Well then how did all of this turn around? Do you mind telling us your fitness journey and what inspired you to make this radical change?
After a severe bout with suicidal depression, I discovered the sport of Obstacle Course Racing. It was a game changer for me because it taught me so much about myself and what it means to face life's obstacles without fear. I learned that I was mentally and physically capable of getting through any situation life threw at me, and it was the sport that gave me back all the crucial self-esteem one deserves to feel about themselves: confidence, drive, motivation, determination, passion, self-worth.
You voluntarily choose to climb mountains, face hard to beat obstacles, get a little dirty and roughed up. I mean, what other sport could be a more perfect metaphor for how to attack your life?!
I have never felt more strong or powerful than I do when I get out on course.
After learning all the incredible stories about, and meeting the "elite" athletes in, our sport, and how new the sport was, I knew that I had a chance to focus my new found energy and passion towards getting really good at something else for the first time. I knew that I had an experience that could be shared, and people could draw inspiration from the experience that I had been through. So, my goal was to become a great athlete, so that I could share my story, and be a light for others in an otherwise dark place, and help them see that it is never too late to change your life.
Wow, that is truly humbling and incredible. What keeps you going and inspired when things are good and there are no mountains to climb?
The people I meet and connect with every day, the incredible stories of triumph that they share, continuously inspire me to keep pushing and become a better athlete. And on that journey, I have become a better person. I have since discovered and began competing in CrossFit, as well, because it truly humbles you and makes you realize how hard you have to, and should have to, work to achieve your dreams and goals.
I am all about growth...personal growth, mental growth and, of course, performance growth. Chasing PRs, learning new things about who I am, discovering new perspectives, trying something new and scary, meeting new people...these are all the things that keep me going. I am always on a quest to be a better version of myself today than I was yesterday. I also chase laughter and smiles...AND FOOD.
Some of our readers are currently pursuing their own athletic goals and dreams, and many have challenges as well. What would you say to them to keep them inspired?
Do not be afraid. Do not compare yourself to others. Do not judge yourself. We are all on our own journey, and what matters is not how you stack up against everyone around you, but that you are learning, and growing, and gaining valuable lessons from the goals and dreams you wish to pursue. What you don't want to do is regret having not tried something out of fear of failure because even the best person at everything will eventually be bested by someone else. You HAVE to do it for you. Don't focus on the destination; there doesn't have to be one. Focus on the journey, and pray the journey goes on for a very long time.
It's never easy trying something new for the first time, but there was a first time for everything you ever did in life, and you're here right now, and you're doing just fine.
There are so many times in life that we must be our own cheerleaders. What motivational methods do you use to be successful on your own?
I try to focus on my thoughts and actively and consciously change them. If I hear a negative thought slip through, I will catch it and change it to something positive! For example, "You can't do that," will become, "You will be able to do that with time and practice, so don't worry, just keep it up!" And so on. It's an ongoing practice, and it takes work! But your thoughts control your energy, reality, and emotions, so you want to shift to being as positive (and realistic) as possible. The shift will bring a constantly empowered energy that allows you to say "yes" to more opportunities with a curiosity and excitement that you have never experienced before.
Doing this, along with staying very consistent with my fitness regimen, forges a constant state of confidence that tells me that I am ALWAYS capable, no matter what circumstances I am thrown into!
As an athlete of your caliber and particular sport, there is some serious training required. When you are staying in shape and preparing for your races, what is the most important thing to remember?
NOT TO OVER-TRAIN. I am going to keep this one super simple.
That makes sense! As an athlete, you put an incredible strain on your body. For those moments when you do over train or injure yourself, what are your go-to treatments for pain or soreness?
Yes! I love my Snapbac Complete Training Clothing. I tend to have issues with my knees and would often use sports tape to "hold myself together," but when I race and train in my Snapbac, I feel like a superhero. The true compression and support have been an absolute game changer! Before any workout or event, I will warm up a therapy pod and place it right where I need it and will start my warm up with it on. Sometimes I even workout with it on! Then I will train and immediately apply a cold therapy pod to the same spot. This has made an unbelievable difference in my recovery and overall maintenance.
I am also a huge fan of turmeric for inflammation and recovery. It is a miracle supplement!
They say, "you are what you eat." As an athlete, how important is diet to you? Are there any specific dietary programs you like to follow while training or resting?
Diet is equally, if not MORE, important than your fitness routine. You cannot out-train a bad diet, so they say, and you can’t make progress without the right diet for your goals.
I love macro counting because it takes all the guess work out of how much and what you should be eating.
I worked with a macro coach, Kristen Graham, who helped me dial in my diet. She and I both believe in a balanced diet, no Keto/Paleo/Fad diets, with a 40/30/30 split in macros. I really think you need carbs, protein and fat to keep your machine running smoothly. I mean, they all exist and have been scientifically proven to work best when paired together!
That doesn't mean you can spend your macros on pizza, cake, cookies, French fries and chips just because it fits, but it does leave some room in there for you to enjoy your favorite foods. Depriving yourself is NOT the answer and often leads to stress, binges, and overall unhappiness. We don't need that!
Depending on what my goals are, I will tweak my macros if I am bulking or cutting, and (news flash) don't lower your caloric intake on rest days! Your body still needs those macros to heal and repair!
You shared a little about how suicidal depression became a motivator to learn about your own strength and abilities to overcome through OCR and now you use your influence to reach others who may be fighting similar battles. What would you like to say to them?
I would really love to break the stigma around depression and suicidal depression. It is not fair that people with mental health issues feel like they need to hide in the shadows for fear of being labelled.
After experiencing it myself, it is something that happens TO you and is NOT who you are. It is no different than cancer, or a cold, and it is not the person’s fault.
Too many people are dying and going untreated out of fear of how society will treat them if they were more vocal and open.
This is why I AM so vocal and open. Nothing bad has ever come to me from doing so, and I want others to feel empowered to share their story with family, friends, and doctors to get the help they need.
I do not want one more person to suffer alone in the shadows.