Angi Greene Fletcher: Athlete, Model, Mother
Angi is a successful Triathlete, fitness model, and mother. Because of her impressive athletic talent, her physical beauty, and her loving relationship with her son, Angi is the kind of woman that many of us aspire to be like. After interviewing Angi and hearing her speak on this podcast, I have definitely become one of those women… but not necessarily just for the reasons mentioned above. She is so much more than a beautiful athlete and her commitment to fitness is about so much more than booking modeling gigs or winning races.
For Angi, triathlon training was a literal lifesaver. She went from pack-a-day smoker to competitive triathlete all while balancing her career and raising her son as a single parent. She has dozens of races under her belt including a World Championship Half Ironman in Beijing. Medals are nice, but all the training is about much more than awards and accolades. Every run, bike, or swim is an opportunity to strengthen her mind and appreciate life. Her daily training sessions shape her in ways that go way beyond the physical.
"I cried for weeks before I left for Worlds in Beijing. I felt insecure, scared, unprepared and not worthy..... but through the help of my amazing husband and friends who love me and believe in me I was able to push myself and ride the fastest bike of my life coming in 6 fastest in the world. Don't listen to your fears. LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST" -@angigreen, IG
Fashletics: Angi, how and why did you get into triathlon?
Angi: I got into triathlon when I was at a very low place in my life. I was doing so much harm to my body. I was depressed, going through a divorce, single parenting, smoking and drinking way too early in the day. A friend of mine was getting her Pro card for triathlon at the time and her and her husband who I had known for a long time helped get me out of my funk step by step. She gave me all of her hand me down equipment… everything from a bike to a wetsuit to running shoes. They taught me how to swim, ride my bike, and proper running form. It gave me something to get me out of the therapist office and onto the open road where I could breath and sweat and work hard at something completely out of my comfort zone.
F: What did you discover about yourself on these long, grueling rides?
A: I found that I could actually do it. I used to tell myself (like I think we all do at times) that I can’t do it. I had no idea how I would make it through my divorce. I had no idea how I could raise my child without a “perfect” family in tact and I didn’t know “how” I could live with the guilt of getting a divorce.
Most times the things we tell ourselves we can’t do aren’t tangible. But when you are physically doing something and you don’t have a choice to quit…. (much like child birth when you go in to labor your body takes over and you literally cannot quit because that baby is coming out one way or the other). I found strength inside myself that I had no idea existed until I was in a situation that forced it out of me.
F: You mentioned that the only reason you quit smoking is because cycling is harder than quitting. Can you elaborate on this?
A: Quitting smoking was hard for me. I tried to quit a handful of times but I didn’t have the proper motivation to live my life without the joy of having that moment of peace with my coffee. I was addicted to the “moment” of smoking even more than the cigarette itself. I loved the idea of my “smoke break”, the warm velvety smooth coffee…. the moment of sitting outside in nature and inhaling slowly and feeling that sense of my body relaxing with each exhale. Smoking was a sort of meditation for me and I didn’t even realize it. So the habit was hard to break.
It wasn’t until I started cycling… and cycling HARD that I knew I needed to quit. It took over 6 months for me to quit coughing from my intense workouts and the clearing that had to take place in my lungs. Working out that hard was way harder than quitting smoking. Eventually I wanted to get better…faster…. stronger and so I finally had a motivation to quite smoking.
F: What are some unhealthy habits that you had to break in order to become a competitive triathlete?
A: I had to break the habit of negative self-talk. I was so used to putting myself down in my own mind…. telling myself I can’t do it… I’m too slow… I’m not good enough… comparison prison. I literally had to almost coach myself and tell myself I COULD do it. It felt stupid at first, like I was lying to myself or pretending, but I had to fake it until I made it. And now I practice positive self-talk in every area of my life. Not just for sports but also for public speaking or every other area I feel self-conscious or anxious about.
F: How does this idea of habit building and braking apply to triathlon training?
A: I would consider myself a “creature of habit”. Some people love adventure and crave traveling and seeing new things and always doing something new and exciting. That’s not me. I am a homebody and don’t like change. So breaking habits is harder for me initially. I had to break the habit of smoking and not eating healthy because I wanted to change my life and not be depressed anymore. I needed to start taking responsibility for my life and my choices and stop being a victim and a martyr. I had to learn about nutrition and make that a new habit. Training for anything helps give you a routine that can also help you form or break habits.
F: How has training improved/changed your life aside from (or in addition to) the obvious physical benefits?
A: I truly believe Triathlon saved my life. (I mean maybe if it wasn’t that, God would have saved me some other way….) but it did. I ended up in the hospital in a way that I don’t like to talk about on a very dark night and knew that if I didn’t get healthy I would end up not being around for my son.
Training for the 3 disciplines of triathlon forced me to overcome some huge fears like my paralyzing fear of the ocean - I didn’t even open my eyes in the pool for fear of the deep end. Through that baby step process my decisions in every area of my life became more clear and focused.
I was able to deal with my depression and make choices that helped me become more vibrant and healthy and strong. I accomplished things I never ever thought possible or even dreamed I could do and thus was able to apply those lessons to my life and knew that I could also be brave in other areas.
I quit going to different therapists and sitting on their couches and hearing their opinion on my life and took my life in my own hands. I spent hours of my bike and really sat in my misery and took a long hard look at what I had inside of me to get me to the other side.
F: What is your greatest source of motivation?
A: My greatest source of motivation for anything in life is that life is short. I have had way too many examples now of people’s lives ending here on earth and I want to make every moment count. I want to live a healthy vibrant life so that I can be of utmost potential to help others because that’s ultimately what I believe we’re here for - to help others. Life is not about being happy. Life is hard and we need to help each other make it through with hope and love and kindness, and that starts with being kind to yourself.
Working out is a privilege. In most places outside the US, working out is not a chore. It’s such a privilege for us to go to a gym or to take time out or our day to go workout.
My son is a huge source of motivation for me obviously. Making sure I’m healthy so that I set a good example for him to follow and so that I can have enough energy to play with him and make awesome memories.
Being a mother is learning about strength you never knew you had and dealing with fears you never knew existed.
F: What advice do you have someone who says: “I just don’t have the time”?
A: Everyone has the exact amount of time in their day, people just have different priorities. There are seasons in life. I chose not to race the last 2 years because I couldn’t dedicate enough time to training. I will again. But for now I apply the most amount of effort to the best of my ability in the allotted time that I have.
F: As Fashlete of the Month you are receiving a customized charm with the phrase of your choice. Can you tell us a little bit about what you chose and why?
A: “You’re doing it.” Because every time I told my midwife I couldn’t do it while I was in labor, she lovingly looked at me and whispered “you’re doing it”. And I will never forget that. I have to tell myself that when I get down on myself for not being where I want to be in life…. "I’m doing it". I’m doing life…. I’m living it and it’s not over yet…. Thank God….