Summer Vacation

Had 4 weeks off and loved every minute of it....well except when I slammed into a deer on the PA Turnpike after returning to PA from D.C.. Luckily no one was hurt. Here are a few shots of the family trip. Not much training went on but I was able to ride with the Presque Isle Cycling Club around the peninsula. Great riders there and real good guys who can really put the hammer down. They don't mess around. Really enjoyed being able to red line it with like minded riders even if it were only a couple times. I am sure to be back next summer to see if I can hang with them again. Anyways,,,,here are just a few pics. Hope to add some more.

Congratulations to David Rosa for winning the Portugal National Championships in XC Mountain biking. Big accomplishment and he worked exceptionally hard for this. David is just one of my clients who have used the Performance Management Chart and weekly TSS goals to his advantage this year.

Lost Fitness


Today's Bike Workout

Haven't posted any WKO+ computrainer sessions in a while. I am quite happy with my progress on the bike lately. I have been training consistently but not excessively. Only one long ride per month.


Nutrition and Losing Weight

When it comes to performance I would have to rank nutrition right up there in importance with rest/recovery & training regiment. The fact is nutrition is as much of a behavioral response to one's environment as it is a conscious decision to begin to make more healthy dietary choices. Everyone's weight is going to fluctuate but the goal is to stay within 5-8 lbs of your ideal racing weight. I believe there are so many factors that come into play when attempting to do this that just saying "make proper dietary choices." is a bit like saying "train hard". What does that actually mean?

Making proper dietary choices is based on the individual. Nine times out of ten, you know what it is you are doing that is preventing you from being at a weight you feel comfortable with. I have found that most individuals make very healthy choices throughout 95% of the day but then make one or two very unhealthy choices during the remaining 5%. These one or two unhealthy choices seem to come at the end of the day for most....when they have extra time on their hands and are able to relax.

Once you identify what those one or two poor decisions are, do your best to set yourself up for success during those times. Avoid buying those foods in the first place. Be more mindfull of when it is you are making poor dietary choices. Surround yourself with those that make healthy choices at work and during social events. The list goes on and on. The real solution is to sit down and honestly identify those one or two poor choices you are making and then set out to minimize this behavior. It is not easy since this behavior is usually serving a purpose and in most cases it is not nutritional in origin. Many times we eat mindlessly in order to comfort ourselves or reduce anxiety. It helps to think of food as fuel rather than comfort. If you are thinking of food as comfort it helps to identify other ways to comfort yourself though activity (reading/music/learning a new skill....).


Insights from today's ride.

Which Wetsuit to Buy?

I get this question a lot from my athletes that I coach. I have recently been reading about blueseventy's new wetsuit designs which are made for certain types of swimmers. If you legs sink in the water as mine do, you will want to buy Blue Seventy's Axis

If you are fortunate enough to have a more perfect body position in the water then you best bet is to choose the Blue Seventy Helix

These new suits aren't a bunch of hype or gimmicks either. They have been specifically designed to help facilitate a better body position in the water depending on your individual position.

I offer video taping to all my athletes who are able to meet up with me at my home training grounds in Arizona to help determine which body position they tend to have. Most of those who have swam competitively in the past naturally have a better body position in the water. Unless you are a natural swimmer the rest tend to be like me and drag their legs behind them which causes unnecessary drag and effort to swim at the same speed as one with a better body position in the water. The blueseventy axis is designed to have less buoyancy up front and more in the lower leg area which helps to lift your legs a bit more. However, if you are a natural swimmer with good body positioning in the water you will want the Helix which is more evenly constructed in terms of delivering buoyancy throughout the entire body.


Free App. Turns Your Phone Into GPS Run Device

For all those who have been on the line about buying a Garmin or Polar run device the wait is over. Here is a free application you can download onto your phone and use it as a GPS run device. I tried it this morning and it seems to work fine. Keeps track of average speed, calories, distance, and even tracks your course. It is free so give it a try. I really like it.


The Sport of Psychology

This is a great video summarizing what sport psychology is all about. Using psychology in sports is most likely the single most neglected performance enhancement strategy available to athletes. Training the mind for optimum performance is equally important as training the body. Setting goals, identifying mental limiters, and creating intervention strategies which are worked on daily to correct limiters is what sports psychology is all about.


Recent Trip

These are pictures of my recent trip to San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. What a beautiful location and definitely a triathlete's training paradise here with year round training opportunities with the Sea of Cortez in your front yard and the mountains in your back yard.

Last Night's Workout

Just wanted to post last nights workout. It is a love hate thing for me with tempo rides on the trainer. I love what they do for my cycling ability....but I hate the pain they put me through.


On-Line Coaching:
I have been a coach now for over five years and really feel that my services are a great value to those serious about achieving their fitness and athletic goals. I was I have this great service that is getting results for those I am currently coaching. I just wish more people knew about it or could experience it to discover what I and my athletes already know.

How can I share this with others who maybe new to on-line coaching, may not trust it or have faith in it and/or have become dissatisfied with their current coach because he or she does not put the time, effort, and attention into their program that they feel is necessary for them to stay motivated and progressing forward.

Coaching Philosophy:
I view coaching as being a partner with the athlete. As a coach, I view myself as helping to facilitate and challenge the growth of the athlete in both their physical and mental limits. Continuously consulting with the athlete concerning progress, workouts, and challenges takes time but it is what coaching is all about. There is nothing more exciting to see when an athlete accomplishes something they previously thought impossible.

Coaching Method:
I use a multi-modal approach to coaching in which I take the best aspects of various methodologies and combine them to fit each individual athlete's specific limitations. I put a great deal of faith into "the numbers" and track all clients' Training Stress Scores (TSS), Chronic Training Loads (CTL), and Training Stress Balance (TSB) for all activities.

What Sets Me Apart From Other Coaches:
This is in-part related to my training methodology. I take the time to create incrementally increased weekly TSS goals for all athletes as part of their annual training plan. These TSS goals are then run through a program that projects your estimated level of fitness for up to 3-months out. If you follow the program and reach your weekly TSS goals you will arrive at your projected fitness level. However, it is common to have to adjust TSS goals based on each athlete's progress and ability to handle greater loads. As athletes enter their workouts via their actual weekly totals are loaded onto their training calendar and then compared with their planned weekly TSS goal.

"Okay, I Don't Understand TSS/CTL/TSB...I Just Want To Train."
That is why you have a coach. I worry about your data and all you need to do is enter your duration, heart rate and/or power/pace info, and I take care of the rest.

How Can This Be Accomplished On-Line?
It is really quite simple. I have listed the process below:
1) Goal Development via phone.

2) Annual Training Plan Development. Including TSS and CTL projections done by coach and centered around your goals.

3) Daily workouts developed each with an individual purpose to move you closer to your goal. These workouts are automatically emailed to you.

4) Each individual receives their own Performance Management Chart which displays and tracks their training progress.

On-line coaching is quite effective in terms of goal achievement and bang for your training buck.

1) Considering that personal training usually runs $50.00 to $75.00 per hour at 2-3 sessions per week and on-line training runs commonly for $200.00-$350.00 per month with 7 training sessions or more per week.

2) Your coach is always available for questions or concerns via email or phone.

3) Progress and data are tracked and quantified on a weekly basis by athletes estimating their efforts or by downloading their workouts from their power meter and swim and run devices.

Hopefully this brief description of how on-line coaching works will allow you to make a better decision in terms of achieving your goals.

I realize that you may still have more questions about on-line training and how this all feel free to email me at with any further questions you may have. No question is to trivial so don't be shy about asking...


David Rosa Competing at Portugal National Championships

This is a video clip of David Rosa (Elite MTB XC) competing for the Portugal National Championships last year. I have been coaching David on and off for over a year now and he is showing great progress in his 30 second, 1 minute, 5 minute, and 20 minute power. David's goal is to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London for his home country of Portugal. David will have his sights set on July to best his last year's effort at this same race featured in the above video. David is shown at 8 minutes 4 seconds into this clip.

This clip pretty much sums up my high school basketball experience.


Tempo Ride

I have been lately making good use of my computrainer as this file suggests. I love doing my tempo rides and interval workouts on my computrainer which allows me to get in extreme quality no matter what the weather or time of day. I have been gradually increasing my duration on my tempo rides while pretty much keeping the same intensity.

Get A Power Meter:
A power meter is invaluable in so many ways in both training and racing. Looking at the data isn't really that complicated as it looks but just like looking at an IQ test or other test data from various disciplines,,,, a power meter will quantify your experience on the bike and either validates or refutes what you are suspecting in terms of improvements, performance, strengths, and limiters.
All this analysis isn't quantum physics although it may seem quite complicated at first.

Over the years I have really grown to love this aspect of coaching as it provides some hard evidence and objectivity to an otherwise very subjective task. Being a psychologist as well, I see a great deal of overlap when using data to make recommendations and conclusions. You have to look at the whole athlete and not just the data alone when making training decisions.

With my athletes I use a very time intensive method which is designed to track weekly TSS totals and compare those with the TSS goals I have set for them. I also track how they are feeling based on the volume of training and if it seems they are overly fatigued we re-calculate their TSS goals and TSS progression with a one of a kind program designed to predict future CTL based on TSS totals. This is all coordinated with their race schedule and annual training plan. Athletes update me on EVERY workout and I review EVERY workout to see their comments and get their feedback. Then based on all the data, athlete feedback, goals, and race schedule I then adjust their plan as we progress. There are continual revisions to their schedules as well as TSS goals but I find that this keeps everyone on the same page and progressing forward.


What To Do With Race Shirts? Make A Quilt!

I recently decided to clean out my closets and realized how many race shirts I had collected over the years. Outside of giving them away I had heard of others having their shirts made into a quilt. I thought this was an excellent idea and decided to have one made. I have a lot of memories wrapped up in my shirts. They represent a great deal of work and emotions from all my races spanning back to high school and collegiate track and field events all the way through my cycling and triathlon events of today. I really could't part with those shirts. So having a quilt made the most sense from an emotional standpoint but also from a recycling standpoint. Why waste all that material? These quilts don't come cheap but in my opinion they are well worth it. Here is a picture of my quilt which is in the process of being constructed.


Behavior Modification & Losing Weight

Here is a great little android application one can use when attempting to change a certain repetitive behavior. The application is free and is called "Buzz Clock"

This application is free and was initially intended to remind busy individuals of commitments or time schedules. However, this application can also be used to create a sense of mindfulness and adherence to targeted behavioral goals.

It is basically an application that sets your phone to buzz at regular or intermittent intervals. Once you have decided on your target behavior set your phone to buzz randomly and/or on regular intervals throughout the day. Every time the phone goes off it will reinforce your behavioral change creating positive momentum and help keep you more on track. Studies have shown that these simple reminders go a long way in terms of keeping individuals on track with behavioral changes and goals.

Resistance Training Isn't Just Found In The Gym

It is commonly known that in physics the harder or faster one pushes against an object the more resistance is produced in the opposite direction. We commonly accept this without even thinking about it. However, there also exists another form of resistance in the field of psychology or behaviorism. That rule is simply; The harder one tries to push someone else to perform a certain behavior the harder the other person will push back with the exact opposite behavior. In other words, the more you want someone to do a certain thing the more that person feels compelled to do the exact opposite. This phenomenon is usually exacerbated when there are emotions and relationships involved.

Examples of this are usually seen among interactions parents have with their children. However, these interactions are far from being limited to paren/child interactions. For example, have you ever tried to coach your son or daughter? This is a typical situation that most parents find themselves in. Wanting to pass down that knowledge they have gained to their kids. Usually, the son or daughter fights this tooth and nail. As a parent, you don't realize that this is not a personal issue against you but rather your child's natural reaction towards feeling controlled. Some of the best coaches out there have resorted to hiring fellow coaches in order to coach their own kids for this reason alone.

Spouses also will experience this "resistance" phenomenon in similar ways. One spouse pushes the other to become more fit or eat healthier and what inevitably occurs is the exact opposite behavior. Again, the resistance is not as much as being intentionally defiant as it is being a normal human reaction to someone exerting pressure on another. It really doesn't matter if that pressure is intended for the benefit of the other person. It will be perceived as unwanted and the resistance phenomenon will take hold.

Resistance training in the psychological sense is akin to resistance training in the physical sense. The more you push the other person the more resistance is created. The individual you are trying to help actually builds up a negative reaction to your efforts. This is not just true in parenting circles but also in all those relationships you find yourself in.

It is much better to lead or pull than to push. Pushing someone in your direction will only lead to more resistance on their part. However, using that person's already present momentum to move them forward in a more correct direction is much more efficient strategy and produces greater results in less time.


I Guess I Am A "Recovering Triathlete"

Having time to reflect on myself and my views concerning the sport of triathlon, I have come to the conclusion that I am what I would call a "Recovering Triathlete". Much like other addictions, you can not really grow as an individual until you admit you have had a problem. Too much of a good thing is not good.

At the same time you don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Triathlon is in fact a great sport and offers a great many positive outcomes both physically and psychologically speaking. I guess my main concern is that the negatives not be overlooked either. With the athletes I coach and those I come into contact with I feel it is my duty to not only share with them my passion for triathlon but also make them aware of the pitfalls of the sport.

It helps to initially define what it is you want to get out of the sport when you realize you have fallen in love with it. It is very intoxicating when you see your performances improve over time. The bar will inevitably be raised higher and higher. Before you get caught up in the competitive drive of it all it is important to keep everything in perspective.


WSJ.Com Article

I have to admit even I was a bit surprised when Wall Street called to interview me concerning my post/article below entitled "Divorce by Triathlon". Here is the article.

Having now read it I am even more convinced that Olympic and Sprint triathlons are the way to go when it comes to enjoying a healthy and competitive life style. Unfortunately, all too often I see or hear about those who have spent years piling on the miles in their quest for age group supremacy in the 70.3 and full Ironman events.

In fact, I was one of those individuals myself. Not that wanting to be the best you can be at something is a bad thing. It isn't. However, please take a look at the sacrifices you are making in order to get there. Some may not be so obvious to you at this point in your life but maybe painfully so at a later point in time.


Multi File Quadrant Analysis and Recommendations

It has been a while since I did one of these but I am reminded of the important aspects a simple multi-file quadrant analysis can reveal. For those not familiar with quadrant analysis and what each quadrant represents from a neuromuscular standpoint please visit this link.

This file is from an elite European professional mountain biker whom I am training. We track his training stress on a weekly basis and have set training stress goals for him to reach. Main thing is to make sure he doesn't over do things before he comes to nationals this year in July.

He is looking to improve his limiters and race his strengths. Here in the graph above we see that his strength lies in low cadence/high force output. He is a great hill climber so he can produce a good deal of force at a low cadence which implies that he has a good mix of slow twitch and fast twitch muscles. How much of each no one really knows without doing a biopsy of the muscle fiber. Either way, it is important to know where his strengths lies and even more important to know what to do about improving his limiter.

Speaking of limiter,,,,that would happen to be his ability to maintain his power output over time. Please See Power Profile Below. He is a great climber, his limiter seems to be his sprinting ability when compared to other cyclists. He is quite able to get up to speed but has difficulty maintaining that speed on the flats. He relies heavily on a lower cadence after reaching top speed and may want to consider increasing his cadence earlier on in his all out efforts. Once up to speed you can see that he attempts to maintain that speed by shifting his time over to quadrant I (high cadence/high force)and does a pretty good job of it....

Based on this analysis it is recommended that he improve his force at high cadence on the bike (Quadrant I). This is referring to his fast twitch muscle fibers. Enhancing those fast twitch muscle fibers through the use of limited plyometrics in the gym along with continued 1 minute efforts should help bridge the gap for this highly motivated mountain biker.


Mike Boyle On Solutions for Muscular Imbalances

Mike is really on the cutting edge of training not just professional athletes but also kids. His insights into how to go about fixing common problems such as lower back pain and knee pain are quite interesting and valuable.


My Favorite Movement (Kettlebell Shots)

This is Dave Schmit (The Band Man). This guy is full of great ideas. I love this kettelbell movement and Dave throws in an even more difficult element with his band. Check out Dave's site as it is loaded with great exercises like this. You can tell this guy really loves what he is doing and it shows in his presentation and his athletic build.