The Ugly Betty star was one of the hundreds of athletes participating in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in Malibu, California last month (Sep16), when she took on the strenuous challenge of a half mile (0.8 kilometre) swim, an 18 mile (28.9 kilometre) bicycle course, and a four mile (6.4 kilometre) run.
America, 32, trained for months for the race, which she tackled with her husband Ryan Piers Williams, and she confesses the hardest part of her triathlon preparation was eating only nutritious foods all the time.
“I trained for five months… It was so hard!,” she said on U.S. cooking show The Chew. “Swimming is so hard, and also, when you’re done swimming, you’re starving. I’ve never been so hungry than when I’m done swimming.”
She continued, “Feeding yourself is the hardest part of training, I find, because I’m hungry every hour-and-a-half, two hours. I have to eat something and it’s hard to always have something healthy, and it’s not just like (any) food, you need food with the right stuff, protein, iron, and all that kind of stuff.”
Cooking such meals was also complicated by America’s sensitivity to gluten, which can cause bloating and severe discomfort, among other issues.
“I’m gluten-free because I absolutely have to be, like, I don’t have a choice,” she explained. “I’m very, very sensitive, so it makes it a little bit challenging to find good meals that I can make which are gluten-free.”
America’s efforts paid off as she successfully crossed the finish line in three hours, 42 minutes, and she was still able to hit the red carpet at the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards just 24 hours later.