Q&A with PowerUp Tri Podcast Hosts Matt Lieto and Jordan Rapp

Q&A with PowerUp Tri Podcast Hosts Matt Lieto and Jordan Rapp

ON April 30, 2019 by Zwift

Hosted by former pro triathletes Matt Lieto and Jordan Rapp, the PowerUp Tri Podcast delivers in-depth discussion of all things multisport to the Zwift Tri audience. Special guests join our hosts to discuss recent news in the world of triathlon along with favorite topics like the business side of pro triathlon, nutritional strategy, work-life balance, training tools, and equipment.

Listen/follow/subscribe on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Podbean.

We sat down with Matt and Jordan to learn more about themselves and their goals for the podcast. A few useful tips were gathered along the way. Enjoy!

Does the world need another tri podcast?


[MATT] Agreed, but I think we can touch on some “real” subjects with a little different perspective, with some cool folks, and make it worth the listen!

Say I’m an amateur triathlete with a few sprint races under my belt. What’s in it for me?

[MATT] Well, Jordan and I think pretty highly of ourselves and surely have far too much of our brain filled with information about triathlons. No doubt we’ve got a few insights to share that could make the journey into more and longer triathlons an easier one.

[JORDAN] Who knows? I can actually still remember being an amateur triathlete with only a few sprint races under my belt when someone made the truly ludicrous suggestion that I should “go pro…” Well, somehow it all worked out and here we are. So maybe nothing more than a few more sprint races (which would be fine) or maybe you’ll make a decade-long career out of it and end up working for Zwift in the end…

What’s your favorite show segment and why?

[JORDAN] Any segment where I get to hear Matt’s mellifluous voice. The PowerUp segment is actually my favorite. PowerUps are, I think, one of the best parts of Zwift. Certainly the most “game-y.” Good reminder that training can be fun.

[MATT] I do love a good PowerUp. Mine would be a donut or treat of some sort that would have me sitting on the side of the course, with a smile on my face. I’m also a fan of the Flip the Script segment as it lets our guest host really turn the tables on Jordan and I and put us on the spot for once!

Who’s your dream guest? Dead or alive.

[JORDAN] Dan Empfield. Long story that… longer still if Dan tells it.

[MATT] My dream guest host would be Craig Alexander. Even though he stole a couple of World Championships from my brother I think he’s got lots to share and would keep us on our toes! A legend!

What other podcasts are you fans of?

[MATT] I am a huge fan of Freakanomics and This American Life, kind of the old guard in podcasts but they still keep me listening. Oh, and the Moth. I love a good story.

[JORDAN] Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History.” And Radiolab.

What do you hope to uncover with special guests?

[JORDAN] How much more imperfect they actually are than their social media channels would have us believe.

[MATT] I hope to dig a little deeper into topics that affect all of us triathletes and skip the “What’s your favorite color” questions. Get right to the goods!

Did you have a friend/parent/sibling/mentor who pushed you into the sport?

[JORDAN] I was a rower and I knew of several rowers who did triathlon. Cycling is pretty good cross training for rowing, so there are a lot of cyclists, and then a small number of those cyclists are also triathletes. I thought I wanted to be a bike racer, but then my mom saw a sign at the health club we belonged to, “Do your first triathlon,” so she contacted the guy running it and really got me started.

[MATT] This one is easy for me. My brother, Chris Lieto, was my first inspiration. Watching him race Kona in 1998 inspired me to change my life completely. At the time I was 250 lbs and watching him made me believe I truly could change my life. I did and even eventually became a pro and used him as inspiration every step along the way.

Matt racing Wildflower. Photo credit Kaori Peters.

What do you wish you had known back when you started your pro triathlete career?

[JORDAN] How “short” seemingly endless periods of time are. Like, if you need to take a month off, that’s really not all that long. In a positive way. Like, you can take a month off and regain that fitness pretty quickly. Having the courage to step away for a block of time would have, I think, made some years much more productive than they were because I tried to keep on pushing.

[MATT] Agree with Jordan on this one. A career is long, those moments of struggle are short in the long run. On that note I wish I’d known to enjoy the process more, win, lose, or DNF.

What advice would you give to someone considering their first triathlon?

[JORDAN] Swim more than you think you need to. If you finish the swim feeling good, everything else is so much easier. Shortchanging the swim is the most surefire way to have a bad race. Everyone discounts the swim because it is the shortest part. But because it is first, it’s the only thing that impacts the whole day.

[MATT] Don’t wear a speedo or briefs of any kind. Chafing is real.

Best tri investment under $200?

[JORDAN] A good, water-resistant chamois creme. Chafing slows you down in so many ways. It makes it harder to stay aero. And it just hurts. A bit of lubricant will make you faster and happier.

Jordan riding IM Arizona and IM Texas (photos credit Eric Wynn, IG @theewynn)

What single tip changed how you approach training?

[MATT] Consistency over time produces results. Period. Do the work, do the kind of work that allows you to keep coming back and you’ll get better. Try and push to the point of failure and you’ll lose consistency which will drive down performace.

[JORDAN] I’m actually not sure that there was one. I think of training as largely an extension of core personality. At least for me, I can’t ever really think of an “a-ha!” moment in training. Certainly not with regards to how I approached it.

What do the first 20 minutes of your day look like?

[MATT] Mostly a high 5 to myself for making it another day and then some of what Jordan’s making! Then usually having some quality time with Mili dog before the day begins.

[JORDAN] Coffee. I actually made a video of it… https://vimeo.com/188424642


Thanks for reading! Be sure to listen/follow/subscribe to the PowerUp Tri Podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Podbean.