With Fitness Tips from Scott Wietecha
To get the best tips on healthy living, you need to ask an expert. And who better than four-time St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon winner Scott Wietecha?
To say that Wietecha knows about fitness is an understatement. He’s a physical education teacher at Jack Anderson Elementary (JAE), coaches JAE’s Cross Country Team and leads the Music City Super Squad, a running club for elementary through high-school aged kids in Middle Tennessee.
Wietecha’s love for running started in middle school, and he ran throughout college. But he says, “If you live by the stopwatch, you’ll eventually die by it as well.” And after college when he started working full-time as a teacher and training as well, it became too much. So, he took a hiatus for several years. That, combined with his love for eating, led to a 40-pound weight gain.
To lose some weight and improve his fitness Wietecha started running again, then decided to train for his first marathon. He states, “I wanted to do it low key, as a bucket list thing, but after a few months I got sucked back into it. I was back to chasing my times again, wanting to see the stopwatch get faster and faster.”
Wietecha says he likes to keep in shape throughout the year, not just during his peak running season. That means a daily exercise routine that typically includes a 10 to 12 mile run in the morning and another five to six mile run in the evening. “When you run that much you’re burning 4,000 calories a day so I can cheat more with food,” he says.
But, Wietecha says he feels the best when he’s eating clean, staying away from fast-food and pizza, which he admits is a real struggle. Smoothies are a treat he enjoys to get in extra fruit and by adding yogurt, to get protein as well.
As Wietecha’s work as a teacher and coach will attest, he’s also committed to giving kids a solid foundation from which to lead active and healthy lives. He states, “When I’m running I’m only in control of my own destiny, but when I started helping these kids improve, to be more confident in themselves, I realized I enjoy coaching a lot more than my own running.”
His Music City Super Squad began in 2015 as a “guinea pig project” to bring young runners from across the area together to improve their skills and share their love for running. “With the Super Squad I can impact kids from so many different schools, on so many different levels,” says Wietecha.
His dream is to have a cross country league for elementary kids in Sumner County that has three to four races. The Sumner XC Showdown this past fall was Wietecha’s first attempt, and he’s thrilled with the success, “We had kids from 20 different elementary schools; 90 percent of them were first-time runners. They loved it, and so many are asking more about it, it’s a great start.”
As for fitness tips for adults, Wietecha says it’s not just about exercise. He believes eating and calories are key, “People say weight is 80 percent of what you eat, and I really think that’s true for people who don’t exercise a whole lot. Diet becomes so important.”
When it comes to exercise, Wietecha says while running is great for losing weight, burning calories and cardiovascular fitness, “for overall health you definitely need to add something else like weight training for strength.”
For kids, it’s about keeping them active. Wietecha says to introduce them to a sport, to exercise and to make it fun. From his perspective as a coach, “You want them to run faster, to do better, but you can’t make it a chore. I don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of speed now for a love of the sport later.”
He goes on to say, “I want them to be running throughout school and the rest of their lives. I tell the kids all the time; you have plenty of time to run fast.”
Overall, Wietecha says that fitness should be a balance of hard work and setting goals, but also keeping it fun; something positive that you can enjoy.
As someone who’s won four St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathons, placed 8th at the USA Half Marathon Championships and had countless other running achievements, it’s a formula Wietecha has clearly perfected.
For more information on Music City Super Squad, visit MusicCitySuperSquad.com.