Episode 115 – Erin Ayala – Body Image, Giving up Smoking, and Competing in 200 Mile Races

I knew instantly when I heard Erin speak that we would have so much in common. Especially when it came to our stories about body image, challenges, endurance events, not being one for moderation and it was indeed true. Our stories have many parallels and I am confident her story will strike a cord with you.

Erin’s story is not one of always being an athlete but rather one of recognizing the kind of person she wanted to be, the values that type of person had and changing her life to become that person.

We also talked about body image and the challenge of being a “not typical” (whatever that means) athlete in sports where sometimes body size and shape can and does matter. We both get pretty heated with our opinions on the way women are judged on size rather than skill.

Erin is also an accomplished cyclist, a sport I do not know much about, and I think you’ll enjoy hearing about a self-supported, 200 mile GRAVEL bike race.


Interview with Erin Ayala


About Erin:

Dr. Erin Ayala is a psychology professor and a licensed psychologist who specializes in sport psychology. She is also an endurance athlete and cyclist. She began running in graduate school, which led to her participation in triathlon and other endurance sports. She has completed several marathons and long course triathlons (70.3 and 140.6 miles). Currently, Dr. Ayala is a member of a women’s cycling team in Minneapolis and competes in road, gravel, and cyclocross races. She claimed a top 10 finish in the Dirty Kanza 100 mile gravel race in 2017, and completed the Dirty Kanza 200 mile endurance event in 2018. Dr. Ayala has previously volunteered for a couch-to-5k program for domestic violence survivors in Upstate New York, and is committed to introducing more girls and women to the benefits of sport.



Fun Facts About Erin:

1. Fitness accolades: Top 10 female in 2017 Dirty Kanza 100 mile bike race; Top third of finishers in Dirty Kanza 200 mile bike race in 2018; Minnesota State Road Champion for category 4 women in 2018; Minnesota State Cyclocross Champion for Athena women in 2018; Ironman Lake Placid finisher 2015; 9 (or 10?) marathons; 7 (or more?) 70.3 mile triathlons; Hiked over 30 high peaks in the Adirondack mountains.

2. I am not a fan of chips or popcorn, but can be easily bribed with cookies and brownies.

3. My spouse and I are beekeepers and have 2 hives in our backyard.

4. I’ve never broken a bone *knock on wood*

5. I’m a certified scuba diver 6. I have a really sensitive vasovagal response, which means I’m known to faint at the sight of blood. Not fun, but unique!



Find Erin on the Web:

Premier Psychology – https://www.premiersportpsychology.com/about-premier/dr-erin-ayala/

Instagram  – https://www.instagram.com/slow_twitch


Twitter  – https://twitter.com/AyalaErinPhD



Erin will be back on the podcast to talk about her professional expertise, sports psychology. I can’t wait to dig deep into that topic!






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