Ever met a person with such infectious positive energy that they make your day a whole lot better just by smiling your way? Well that’s Maggie Nolting. Maggie is an actor with an athletic emphasis, HBIC at November Project (more info here), Nike training collaborator, fitness model, and all around amazing human being. You may also recognize her from coverage of completing a half marathon in crutches in 3 hours 32 minutes and 13 seconds, beating 43 people running on two feet – yeah, she’s that kind of inspirational badass.
Maggie trains hard all the time, and she doesn’t let any of life’s obstacles get in the way. If she is injured, you’ll see her in November Project doing one-legged burpees for 6 minutes straight, still finding the energy to cheer every person on and have a big ol’ smile on her face. She will make you sing your name to a whole group of strangers at 5:27 am, and convince you that everyone has that much energy in the morning, before sending you off on 30 minutes of the most positive hill repeats… ever.
As you can imagine (and see), Maggie has a spectacular bod. We sat down with Maggie to find out what she eats to fuel her long training days and look fabulous and lean.
What does your weekly exercise regimen look like?
It’s not uncommon for me to do three-a-days. Yoga, yoga with weights, swimming laps, Camila’s Flywheel class, and November Project workouts (which usually consist of hill repeats and/or body weight exercises) are my go-tos. I pick three depending on what works best with my schedule that day. I’ve been struggling with a broken foot for the past year, but when I’m on two feet I try to mix in some track workouts and trail runs as well.
Do you follow any nutritional restrictions?
I’ve been vegetarian for 15 years.
What is your morning nutritional regimen?
I drink a 16 oz bottle of warm water right away in the morning (I guess warm water is supposed to better for you but I just don’t like cold drinks). If I’m rushing to a morning workout I’ll have an 8 oz cup of cold brew with a splash of soy milk. If I’m going to work before exercising I’ll have the coffee but also eat breakfast, otherwise I’ll eat breakfast when I get back from working out. Typical breakfasts are: a big bowl (or sometimes 2) of non-fat Greek yogurt with almond butter, a banana, and cinnamon; or two bagels, one with egg and cheddar cheese and one with veggie cream cheese. I make my breakfasts big and eat until I feel significantly full, otherwise I get unbearably hungry later in the day when I’m exercising.
What do you normally have for lunch?
My lunches are kind of all over the place. Often when I leave the house after breakfast I’m not back home until dinnertime, so I keep a bunch of snacks in my car to keep me going between jobs/workouts. Almonds, Clif and Rx bars, dried mangoes, and dates are my jam.
Afternoon Snack? How do you aim to control portions?
I don’t worry about controlling portions. I eat when I’m hungry and I eat pretty big meals; about the same size meals as my 6’4 runner boyfriend. My body needs the fuel!!! I also drink about a gallon of water every day. In general I’m attracted to healthy foods but this has actually come back to bite me. I’ve discovered (after spending 9 months in a boot and 6 on crutches) that I don’t have great bone density. My sports physician told me I need to be more purposeful about replenishing calories after a tough workout day. For example, if I run 20 miles to train for my marathon, I shouldn’t waste stomach space by eating tofu and asparagus and brown rice (a typical dinner of mine), because even if I have a gigantic plate of that I won’t consume enough calories to get back what I’ve lost. So, on days where I’ve worked out more intensely than usual, I go straight for the high caloric stuff, like guac and ice cream. It seems counterintuitive to me that as a runner I need to eat “unhealthy” at certain times to stay healthy, but eating mostly clean wasn’t fueling my body enough for all the activity I want to do!
What do you have for dinner on a normal day?
Usually a grain, a protein, and a vegetable stir-fried and mixed together in a big bowl. Trader Joe’s is my go-to grocery store, so a typical dinner is half a package of lentils, half a bag of spinach, and a veggie sausage stir-fried, with hot sauce (on everything…I have a problem). Or I’ll do quinoa, soy chicken, and mushrooms, something like that. Homemade pizza and taco night is a pretty popular dinner too. I probably eat 6 tacos (tortilla with rice, beans, soyrizo, mushrooms, guac, cheese, salsa) or 4 pieces of pizza on those nights.
Late night snack? Desert?
I’m not very big on late night snacks or dessert after meals, but I’ll never turn down an ice cream cone outing in the middle of the day.
Alcohol - what are your views on it?
We’ll just leave it at I work hard and I play hard :)
Do you have any tips for people trying to maintain a specific nutritional regimen? What tips or tricks do you use on yourself?
I find joy in being active and I eat so I can best maintain that. My tip for people is to spend less time worrying about what your body looks like and more time celebrating what your body can do.
You recently went through an injury. How did you modify your nutritional regimen during periods of recovery/ periods of less physical activity?
I didn’t worry about it, and probably kept my eating habits about the same. For the most part I remained active while injured, although not quite up to my normal caliber. I absolutely had moments of insecurity and would look in the mirror and feel like my body wasn’t as in shape as it used to be, but I’m lucky to be surrounded by smart, supportive people who gave me a reality check. At one point my boyfriend said to me, “You just did a half marathon on crutches. Are you really going to look at your incredibly strong body and criticize it?” That snapped me back down to earth; for me, nitpicking over food is frustrating and a waste of time.
A lot of people look up to you for maintaining such an active lifestyle through your injury. Do you have any words of encouragement for people who are going through a similar situation who may be scared to try it and/or feel shy?
Always listen to your doctor and to your body, but get creative. Try to focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t. My first month after breaking my foot I was in a plaster cast and had to swim with a waterproof cover over it. It was cumbersome and I was a slow swimmer to begin with, but I was so excited that I could swim at all! I left the pool every day feeling unstoppable. Maybe you’re injured and you can’t run, so use that time to get really good at biking, or planking, or push-ups. Set goals for yourself and train for them. Most importantly, surround yourself with good people who make you feel like you can do anything.
To follow Maggie's incredibly inspirational journey, be sure to follow her at @MaggieReiss.