Greenville resident Alfred Olivetti is committed to fitness. Really, really committed.
His race history includes 4 ironmans, 10 marathons (2 Bostons) and countless triathlons. Alfred began his triathlon career in 1996 while earning a doctoral degree at West Virginia University. And that was it. He was hooked.
After graduation, he opened 2 triathlon stores in South Carolina, eventually selling one and keeping the other, On On Tri. On On Tri is a Greenville business dedicated to providing triathletes, runners and cyclists the equipment and knowledge they need to meet their athletic goals.
Alfred explains that his knowledge of products, training, injury prevention and all-things triathlon and running stems from his own training experiences, as well as his hands-on service to athletes through his business. He especially has a knack for fitting running shoes, bike-fit and positioning and leading triathlon camps and clinics.
He kindly shared his expertise with GNH:
GNH: With the new year, many people are resolving to finally get fit. What’s the best way for non-exercisers to get started with cycling?
AO: I suggest joining a local/neighborhood group ride that has some friends–or welcomes newcomers–so that it’s less intimidating and more of a good time. It’ll also give you the opportunity to learn some of the “rule of the road” for cycling.
Also, a great option is joining a spin class at a YMCA or other fitness facility. This will offer the opportunity to build strength and confidence before hitting the road for the real-time experience.
GNH: What’s the biggest mistake (or mistakes) that you see new fitness enthusiasts make?
AO: The biggest mistake is treating fitness as a destination and not a journey or process. Fitness is a lifestyle, not a goal to be discarded once achieved. Take the long road and don’t get pigeonholed into a single sport. Experience everything, and find out what you enjoy the most–this will ensure longevity.
“Fitness is a lifestyle, not a goal to be discarded once achieved.”
Another mistake is believing that there are absolutes in the world of fitness. There is no absolute way to gain fitness; everyone is different and requires a unique approach. Learn what works for you and make it a priority in your life.
GNH: Having a goal in mind like a competitive event can be great training motivation. What kind of training is involved to get in good enough shape to participate in a triathlon?
AO: Triathlon training involves adequate time in the pool swimming and doing drills, cycling on the road or on a trainer and running. Training programs should be unique to the individual based on his or her strengths and weaknesses–and, upon the time available to train. Don’t think you have to be in your best shape to participate– just get to where you can avoid injury and enjoy the experience. Then, the triathlons will feed upon themselves, and you’ll find yourself doing more and more.
GNH: What does Greenville offer to runners and cyclists that’s unique?
AO: Above all, Greenville facilitates a healthy lifestyle –whether through the Swamp Rabbit Trail system, the bike lanes, the countless sporting events, and the numerous group activities hosted by the retail outfits that cater to the athletes. It’s the attitude in Greenville that fitness is a priority that makes a difference. I hear it from visitors all the time–“Greenville just makes you want to exercise”–especially when you go out for a run or ride and see hundreds of others doing the same thing.
“I hear it from visitors all the time–“Greenville just makes you want to exercise”–especially when you go out for a run or ride and see hundreds of others doing the same thing.”
GNH: If you had to recommend just one product for new runners and one for new cyclists, what must-have items would you recommend?
AO: For runners, the proper footwear is paramount. That’s why our niche of fitting people in proper running shoes is so valuable.
For cyclists, it can be something a simple as a good tune up on their bike so that it operates easier and makes for a more enjoyable ride–or, maybe a good pair of cycling shorts so their “tush has more cush.”
GNH: I notice that your own fitness history is very impressive, filled with ironmans, triathlons and marathons! I’m so curious: What does your exercise schedule look like most weeks?
AO: My exercise schedule is very sporadic, which is my downfall. I wish it were more consistent. But with daughters of 5 months and 4 years, wife, business, events, etc. (you know the story), life gets in the way.
That said, in triathlon season I try to run 4 times per week, cycle 3-4 times per week and swim 2 times per week. In running season, I try to run 5 times per week and cycle 2 times per week. I sprinkle some strength workouts in when time allows.