Juggling her work as Union President for the Memphis-Shelby County Education Association, traveling the world, and maintaining an extremely active lifestyle, Dr. Anntriniece Napper, 48, proves that you can do it all. Having recently completed her 100th marathon in all seven continents and 50 U.S. states nearly twofold, the mind-body-spirit guru shares her experiences and tips for starting the new year strong.

Despite running track most of her life, Anntriniece wanted to take her fitness goals to the next level. When an American Heart Association pamphlet arrived in her mailbox in 2002, she decided to give marathons a shot, subsequently landing on the newfound motivation she was searching for.

Anntriniece joined the Memphis Road Race group, where she developed camaraderie with fellow runners and cultivated a more involved relationship with the sport. She completed her first marathon in 2003, yet wanted to push her body further.

Soon after, she lost her grandmother to a stroke and her grandfather shortly thereafter. She decided to run a marathon in their honor in 2005. As races continued to pop up on her radar, Anntriniece began steadily leaving her footprints around the world, one run at a time.

She now treats fitness as a daily non-negotiable, similar to eating and sleeping, because of its many benefits, such as the prevention of chronic illnesses. “I want to live a healthy lifestyle for as long as I can without someone taking care of me… I don’t want to be in the hospital for something preventable.”

Though dedicated to a clean diet and workout regimen, she avoids restrictive behaviors such as counting calories, opting for a more holistic approach that focuses on eating to fuel her body and feel her best. A fan of intermittent fasting, Anntriniece follows a mostly plant-based diet, including carbohydrates and plenty of fresh produce. She gets her proteins and healthy fats from nuts and a combination of vegetable proteins. Anntriniece also drinks 100 ounces of water a day.

Over the years, Anntriniece found what works best for her own body and performance, reminding readers that diets are never one-size-fits-all.

Her exercises take this same integrative approach, running about four times per week at Lifetime Fitness in Memphis, and doing lower impact activities such as swimming, yoga, and pilates. She also does lightweight strength training and closes out every workout in the sauna for muscle recovery.

Anntriniece uses a classic runner’s tactic known as pyramiding, in which a person alternates between running a combination of shorter and longer distances to improve speed and endurance. The regimen not only improves her running times but is also restorative for mind-body health, a crucial component to fitness success. Daily meditations and weekly church goings serve as fuel for her spiritual wellbeing. “If you put God first, there is nothing that you can’t do.”

Anntriniece has been able to travel the world to run marathons in some beautiful locations, including Hawaii, Antarctica, Tokyo, and Brazil, just to name a few. For 2022, Anntriniece will do the LA Marathon in March and then six World Major Marathons. To afford these trips, Anntriniece practices finance management and living within her means. She cuts costs by opting for reasonably priced clothes, cooking at home, and avoiding expensive habits such as drinking and smoking.

“Material things—they’re here today and gone tomorrow… when you travel, no one can ever take those memories from you.”

By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Tindall Stephens