Ask Alexandra – July 2004

Question #1:

Dear Ms Paul,

I’ve been a huge fan of yours since Baywatch and look forward to your next endeavors. My question is…how did you juggle work, family & friends, exercise, activism, and fame?

Andrea M.

Dear Andrea,

It seems like, in America, we prize being busy, but I don’t like being too busy, because I find that I am not happy having too much on my plate.

I have a couple things that I do to help me keep my life in balance. The most important is that I say “no” more often – especially to social invitations, so I can keep the evenings for Ian. When I go out, I prefer to see my old, close friends that I am really connected to, and not spend time with people who are merely acquaintances. And I rarely “do lunch”, because that is when I do a lot of errands. I schedule my workouts in the mornings, when they wont get interrupted or cut short by work obligations. I try not to watch a lot of television, as I think that is a real time-waster. I also have a date book in which I write everything I have to do each day, and I really strive to complete those tasks. I am not procrastinator, so that helps me not be overwhelmed. Ian teases me, because I am the antithesis of a procrastinator, actually!



Question #2:

Alexandra: What has been your most challenging scene (or role) in a movie or TV show? I also want to say that you are a phenomenal actress, and a beautiful person inside and out. Great web site!


Dear Dean,

The most challenging roles, and the ones I like the most, are the roles that are least like me. Being a drug-taking prostitute in Eight Million Ways to Die was certainly a stretch, but roles like that are also the most fun because the research I have to do on the character is great!

Some roles might be closer to me, but there are particular scenes that are difficult. I find emotional scenes hard a lot of times – take after take and sometimes I have a hard time accessing the sadness by the time it comes to my closeup. And I find it easy working with kids – being a mom onscreen – even though I don’t have children myself. When I first started Baywatch, I found it hard to play Stephanie Holden because she was a much more powerful persona than I, but with time it became easier, and the more I played her, the stronger a person I became myself. So, as I infuse roles with pieces of myself, they bring out parts of me too.

Thank you for writing!


Question #3:

Dear Alexandra,

What is the best thing to eat the night before a 5K race if the race is at 5:00 pm the next day?
What about when the race is at 10:00 am the next morning? What about for breakfast?


Dear Caitlin,

I am turning your question over to my beloved husband, who is a triathlon coach and can give you a more thorough and accurate response than I!



All of my coaches and I have a philosophy that we live by: “Nothing New On Race Day”.

Something about the human condition makes us think that we should do something extra special just before a race to give us that extra boost or added advantage. The truth is that trying something new can often result in a poor performance or even a DNF (did not finish).

In preparation for a 5k, or a race of any kind, there is training to be done. As you progress towards race day you’ll have workouts that help you prepare for the distance and for the effort. That preparation time is also a great time to experiment with fuel. If you a big meal one evening you may feel kind of heavy the next day during the run. If you eat some dairy (cheese, ice cream, etc) the night before you might feel congested the next day during your run. If you eat something spicy it may result in heartburn, etc, etc. Training for an event is as much about getting in the miles as it is learning what works for you in terms of food.

If your 5k is at – say – 5pm on a Saturday, then you can probably eat nearly anything you like on Friday night. It’ll be more important that you eat lighter on Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon closer to the race. You still need to keep energy up with a blend of quality carbohydrates, protein and a bit of fat – but you should avoid feeling full. If your 5k is in the morning then the dinner should be early, light, and something that you know and love. You’ll sleep better and feel fresher in the morning. You MUST eat a breakfast before that race (you should eat breakfast before every training session as well), and that breakfast should be ~250 calories and about 90 minutes before the gun goes off. This could be nearly anything: oatmeal, a smoothie, toast & fruit, a couple of eggs, etc. I would avoid dairy and meat at that time. Think of the breakfast as the “kindling” that helps start the fire that will burn the body’s best energy source – fat.

Enjoy your race.


Ian Murray

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