Erika Binger is a former world triathlete and aquathlete champion. She has always been involved in some capacity with athletics and health. Growing up on a ranch provided a foundation in both of these areas, as she was often found working with the animals, climbing the hills, riding, working in the garden and spending time outdoors with her siblings. Growing up with fresh produce and meat was something she now feels incredibly blessed with, but at the time was normal. She believes, having grown up with these elements, that they contributed to the health she and her family still have today.
She started to be involved in sports during her middle school years and competed on her college basketball team her freshman year. After the first year, she decided to hang up her basketball shoes and donned a swimsuit instead. The swim coach had noticed her dedication and commitment outside of basketball practice and encouraged her to try the swim team, even though she had never swam competitively before. Binger went on to swim competitively for the remainder of her collegiate career and credits her swim coach with instilling one of her basic fundamentals she brings to her clients today –treat everyone fairly regardless of their experience and skill.
Upon graduation, Binger volunteered as a boy’s basketball coach at a Boys and Girls Club, during which time she also rode her bike the length of the Mississippi River to raise funds for the programming. She was offered the Athletic Director’s job, and during her career she developed and implemented a top-notch girls sports program – where prior to her involvement, there was none. At the same time, she grew the boys programming, and received several awards for her work. Simultaneously, she earned her Masters’ Degree in Organizational Leadership and began to get her legs wet in triathlon. She competed nationally and internationally in the sport, with numerous podium finishes. After finishing an Ironman, she decided she did everything in the sport she set out to do, and since she didn’t like biking, was going to focus on aquathlons.
She founded the V3 Youth Triathlon Team, which introduced and worked with many inner-city youth, in the sport of triathlon. Binger ensured the sport drew the athletes, but they would become top-notch individuals as well as athletes through the educational, goal-setting, nutritional, career and personal development aspects of the program. Several of her athletes have placed on the podium and the team won top honors at the national championships. In addition, every athlete that has completed the program is enrolled in college.
She also recognized the disconnect between spiritual and physical health, and was one of the founding members of her church’s (Impact Living Christian Center) Health & Wellness Ministry. The H&WM now hosts an annual 5K to raise funds for college scholarships. She is currently pursuing another masters’ degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.