In this Spartan Fit franchise, we sit down with our Spartan FIT Coaches to get their best fitness advice and discover what makes them tick. Next up: Lala Duncan—the former fashion industry pro now puts her design know-how into workouts.
After 15 years as a fashion designer, Lala Duncan decided to make a serious career change to becoming a fitness coach. “I started to realize that we were no longer designing clothes to make people feel good about themselves but rather to hide the things about their bodies that they didn't like,” says Lala, noting that was her sign, of sorts, that it was time to move on. “It's been the best decision I have ever made.”
Duncan traded the shiny fashion industry for a gritty powerlifting/Strongman gym in Hong Kong. “It was there that I decided I want to become an athlete and a coach,” she says. “I took the opportunity of living in Hong Kong to travel and learn from the best weightlifters in Asia.”
The next stop on her journey took her to Copenhagen where she continued to coach at one of Europe's most competitive CrossFit boxes and was invited to train at the Olympic Training Center in Moscow. Then, she came full circle, returning to the States, this time as a trainer at Dogpound in Los Angeles.
Get to know Lala in the Q&A below, and train with her on the Spartan Fit app.
Q&A with Fitness Coach Lala Duncan
On Training, Performance & Fitness Philosophy
SPARTAN RACE: What’s your training philosophy?
LALA DUNCAN: My training philosophy is simple...lift to be stronger so that you can live longer. I don't think that my philosophy is unique, I think it's misunderstood.
SR: What about when it comes to nutrition?
LD: I do not have a nutrition philosophy. I try to eat enough to support my training and don't deny myself the occasional glass of wine, burger, or ice cream sandwich.
SR: What inspires you?
LD: Women and advanced-age individuals training inspired me, but nothing motivates me more than when I witness a client achieve something that they once thought was impossible. It's euphoric to me.
SR: What trends do you see bubbling in fitness?
LD: I try not to get too involved in trends, especially when it comes to the fitness industry. I believe in good old fashioned strength training: building and maintaining muscle is the key to a long and healthy life. Trends are just that, they come and go. Strength is essential.
On The Mental Game & Recovery
SR: How do you work on your mental fitness?
LD: Training and physical exertion is mental fitness to me as well. I can't have one without the other. However, in addition to training, I like reading books on the subject. Currently I am reading Relentless: From Good, to Great, to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover, who was Michael Jordan's strength and conditioning coach for 15 years.
SR: What does a recovery day look like for you?
LD: I don't take "recovery" days as I am not currently training for anything other than living my strongest, best life. I move or train in some capacity everyday. Having said that, I try to maintain myself on the daily by going for walks, muscle soaks, sauna, and ice [baths]. If I feel I need it, I'll do it, but it's never scheduled.
SR: What does being Spartan FIT mean to you?
LD: Spartans were people of courage and discipline. The same goes for training. Competition aside, it requires courage to take your health and fitness into your own hands and discipline to follow through with it day after day. Through [the] Spartan Fit [app], individuals all over the globe can be in control of their fitness and become Spartans in their daily lives.