(EN) Keeping pace with Munich-based triathlete, doctor and author Marie-Luise Klietz
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(EN) Ever since she was a child Marie-Luise Klietz has loved sports. For the doctor turned blogger and author, running in nature is like meditating.

(EN) For Marie-Luise Klietz, every weekday morning begins before sunrise. After a quick espresso and a large glass of water, she slips into her sports clothes and running shoes or, alternatively, into a bathing suit. And off she goes, taking her favorite route through the Munich Olympic Park, the park with the picturesque Nymphenburg Palace or towards the Oberschleißheim Regatta Course.

This portrait is part of our collaboration with ClassPass and our joint campaign, #bethebalance, which takes us to Berlin, Munich, and Paris. Learn more at the end of this story.

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(EN) “Everyone has to create their own motivation. It’s only when it comes from inside of me that it lasts.”

(EN) As Klietz describes the ideal start to a new day, she reflects on the magic of the quiet morning hours: “The sun is rising, the city is awakening, and I think it’s nice that I’m on the road before all the hustle and bustle begins. I am totally on my own,” says the doctor, who is also the founder of the fitness community Fitmedmary and co-owner of the medical blog Doctor.Aesthetics. “Running is meditative for me. I only pay attention to my footsteps, that calms me down a lot. That’s how I let my mind run free.” She jogs for about 12 kilometers before returning home to her apartment in Munich’s Neuhausen district, which she shares with her boyfriend Matthias. He also works as a doctor, and loves sports and triathlons as much as Klietz. Their home is bright and spacious, with two racing bikes leaned up against the wall in the living room.

When she was twelve years old, Klietz participated in her first triathlon, and as a teenager she was a competitive swimmer. Until 2011, she was a member of the national triathlon team and traveled to competitions worldwide. “Sports and fitness are the means through which I’m able to balance out the stress of everyday life,” she says. “I feel the rush of endorphins being released and afterwards I have so much more joie de vivre and energy.” Physical activity is also a mental anchor for her. Through her continuous training, she gains assertiveness and willpower: “Exercise also has hormonal effects—more testosterone is released, which makes you more efficient.”

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(EN) Every weekday she drives to the doctor’s office at Lake Tegernsee where she is completing her specialist training as a dermatologist. She continues to educate herself in a goal-oriented and disciplined way, while still managing to train for about ten hours a week. A challenge, which keeps pushing her forward. As of August, the workload will increase and at the end of September, her and her boyfriend will participate in her first Ironman in Cervia, a seaside resort town in Italy.

“Everyone has to create their own motivation. It’s only when it comes from inside of me that it lasts.” Her early education also helped to shape her. “My parents are mover and shaker types. My dad did several Ironmans. They have always driven me.” Another motivating factor is the constant exchange she experiences with like-minded people: “I continue to develop myself through this communication because I challenge myself.” She is part of a virtual triathlon community with about 800 members. They travel together in groups to a training camp in Mallorca. And of course, she also benefits from the trainings, which she leads in the English Garden, because she meets athletes with different levels of performance: “People who are better push me.”

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(EN) When Marie-Luise is short on time, she swears by high intensity training. For example, it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to do the Tabata workout, which was developed by the Japanese sports scientist Izumi Tabata. An interval of 20 seconds of workout is followed by a 10 second pause, repeating the sequence eight times. After three to four sets, you’re done. “You can barely get up afterwards, but it’s the most effective workout for metabolic optimization, muscle maintenance, and fat burning.” What matters most to her in fitness is finding a healthy middle ground. “You don’t have to exercise every day to optimally impact your health. Just 30 to 40 minutes three to four times a week is enough.”

Dermatology was her dream job: “For me, it’s a nice combination of classical, surgical and aesthetic medicine.” As a dermatologist, Klietz deals intensively with the positive effects of sport on the skin: “It supports blood flow, creates a better structure and more vitality.” If you see Marie-Luise’s clear complexion, it’s hard to imagine that she was ever struggling with skin problems herself. But during her second state examination at the end of 2016 she had “bad skin”, as she describes it in retrospect: “I felt uncomfortable and never went out without makeup.” Hormonal fluctuations, but also an unbalanced diet with an excess of dairy products were, in her opinion, the trigger. With the help of vitamin A acid tablets, she got the problem under control within nine months’ time.

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(EN) “Running is meditative for me.”

(EN) What are her rules for a healthy lifestyle? No simple sugars, no smoking, low alcohol and of course—sunscreen. “Sunscreen is the best anti-aging agent. Many people are not aware that UVA radiation is strong even in bad weather. If I never use sunscreen, I’ll inevitably get wrinkles later on.” But she also pays attention to what’s good for her diet: low carbohydrates and lots of good fats, avocados, fish, and nuts are often on her menu: “Low carb is good for the skin.”

After spending just a few hours with the native Thuringian, you can sense her immense discipline, paired with an open-minded mentality. In her daily life “there is no dead time.” Her days often end late. After a stressful work day, Klietz prefers to do a low intensity training in the evening, which means running for about an hour without any pressure. At midnight she goes to sleep to get enough energy for the next day. Looking ahead continues to get Klietz around the world and in contact with the people who motivate her, from one discipline to the next. Her big dream: she wants to qualify for the Ironman in Hawaii 2020.

(EN) Marie-Luise Klietz has been a fitness aficionado her whole life. From the time she gained her swimming license to the first triathlon she completed at the age of 12, physical activity has been a major part of her life. For two years, she has been training to become a dermatologist in Tegernsee near Munich.

This portrait was produced in collaboration with multi-studio fitness membership ClassPass, as part of the campaign #bethebalance. ClassPass and Freunde von Freunden believe in seeking balance: It helps you find the calm when you need it, and provides you with an intense workout when you want to lose control. Over three stories, we focus on how to keep the balance in your community, in leading a mindful lifestyle, or in stepping out of your comfort zone from time to time. Sign up here for a one month free membership with ClassPass in Munich.

The series also features an interview with Berlin-based actor and entrepreneur Gizem Emre and Paris-based jewelry designer Louise Damas.

Text: Annette Walter for FvF Productions
Photography: Boerge Sierigk for FvF Productions