Marcus Armstrong Has A New Coaching Plan for Conquering His First Indy 500

In his IndyCar debut season last year, Marcus Armstrong earned five top 10 finishes in the 12 races he competed in, which was good enough to take home the IndyCar Rookie of the Year award despite competing in five fewer races than the other newcomers.

The New Zealander had spent the prior three years in Formula 2 as a member of Ferrari’s Driver Academy. He won four races and achieved four podium finishes in that time. The transition to both the States and IndyCar have gone better than Armstrong could’ve imagined. He’s currently ranked 11th in the standings and will be making his Indy 500 debut this weekend.

Ahead of the 108th running of the 500, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver gave M&F a peek into his training habits, how working with physiotherapist Angela Cullen has helped him eliminate distractions and trying to maintain clean eating in the States.

Courtesy of Marcus Armstrong

Marcus Armstrong Prefers Training Solo

t that Armstrong doesn’t mind having a training partner, he just feels less productive because there is always the temptation to engage in conversation which can take away some of his focus.

What’s Marcus Armstrong Listening To

Armstrong says he prefers to listen to Reggaeton during his cardio sessions. This comes from his time spent over in Italy where the genre was predominant. He will deprive himself of music for the first 20 minutes of the session to not get too hyped up and will close out the final 40 minutes with his tunes.

If it’s a low intensity, heavy weight day, Armstrong will opt for Fox Sports Radio for pure entertainment.

Best Part of Training

Being healthy is a natural lifestyle choice in the Armstrong family. His father Rick was a judo champion in New Zealand and is still very into maintaining his fitness. Armstrong’s mother’s partner is a former Tour de France rider, so training comes naturally for the IndyCar driver. There is also the mental boost it affords him.

“I draw inspiration from being more prepared than everyone else,” Armstrong says. “Arriving to a race knowing that no one else is — well maybe not, but in my mind — hasn’t done anymore training than I have and that I’m as good as I can be is very important to me.”

Worst Part of Training

matter how much training has been a part of his life, Armstrong says the amount of time it takes to make sure he’s at his best is probably the only negative he could think of.

Offseason Prep

During the season, Armstrong doesn’t have the time to train the way he would like to and as soon as the season is finished, he’s already beginning the task of reaching his goals for the upcoming season. When he competed in Formula 2 and 3, his goals were always to be as light as possible because of the performance benefits while in the car. w, he focuses on being as strong as he can to handle to stress that is placed on his body from the car.

Marcus Armstrong with Angela CullenMarcus Armstrong

Connecting With A Fellow Kiwi

Last year, esteemed physiotherapist Angela Cullen announced her departure from Formula 1’s Mercedes team. For over seven years, she had been the close confidant of seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton. As Armstrong was preparing for his first full season in IndyCar, he was introduced to the fellow New Zealander last winter. Since being connected, she’s helped Armstrong in ways beyond his fitness.

“She’s very good with her mental training,” Armstrong said. “Her biggest input from a physical standpoint is the yoga, meditation, and a mental aspect that not many people understand. Being at the top of the sport and consistently being as good as you want is very hard.

“She certainly knows where I should be putting my attention and cutting out distractions has been a massive focus for her because in motorsport you do have a million distractions because it’s just the reality of our sport. Unless it’s delivering performance, we don’t do it.”

Cutting Out Distractions

Like in any sport, the world of motorsports comes with a ton of distractions. From media obligations, meeting with sponsors, and off-the-track duties, there is a litany of things that can take Armstrong’s focus away from what his goals are. However, he considers discipline being on of the areas he excels in. Even with things he doesn’t particularly enjoy, like his evening sauna and ice bath sessions. He knows it’s needed and only aids in helping him when it’s time to train or perform.

“I believe that mindset comes from my family,” Armstrong says. “We are very focused and if it’s not going to help what we want to achieve, then we’re not going to do it. I’m a very all or nothing guy when it comes to all of this. I guess you could say that I’m a bit boring sometimes, bit hopefully it will pay off very soon.”

Marcus Armstrong Meal Plan

Fast throughout the morning

  • Protein shake following cardio sessions (Greek yogurt and frozen
  • Omelette

Evening Meal

  • Salmon, green vegetables, quinoa
  • Possibly another protein shake


  • Lots of peanut butter
  • Fruits
  • Hummus

“I actually have struggled on my own to keep my eating as clean as possible here in America relative to when I lived in London and Italy before,” Armstrong said. “A lot of effort is put into clean eating here in the States. We probably spend too much money on food in order to achieve that (laughs).

Follow Marcus on Instagram @marcusarmstrong

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