Category Archives: Fitness

Workout Wednesday – Cycling Overspins

Welcome to  Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Bike trainer

This week workout is Cycling Overspins.

This is a fun workout.  Overspins are essentially sprinting with a light gear. The benefits are better pedaling efficiency and higher cadence. This workout forces you to increase your cadence beyond your normal range. Working at a higher cadence will strengthen those fast switch muscles that smooth out your pedal stroke.

During the workout focus on making good circles with your legs. Push and pull all the way through the stroke. If you are doing it correctly your upper body will be relatively still and your legs will be spinning fast. Imagine you are a duck swimming on a lake, calm on the top, and swimming away under water.

This workout should be performed on a spin bike or trainer. Aim for 20-30 RPMS faster than your normal cadence. If you normal cadence is 80 RPMS try to maintain 100-110. Set the resistance light, just enough to keep your speed under control.

This workout is not very taxing to your legs or cardio. It can be done at the end of another workout or on a scheduled easy bike day. I suggest putting on your favorite loud fast tunes and enjoying the workout.

Overspin Workout

  • Warm up 5 min
  • 3 X 1 min @ 60%/30 secs rest
  • 5 X 30 secs @(+20 RPMS)/ 30 secs spin easy
  • 4 min steady @ 60% effort
  • 3 X 1 min @(+20 RPMS)/ 30 secs spin easy
  • 4 mins steady @ 60 % effort
  • 5 X 30 secs @(+20-30 RPMS)/ 30 sec spin easy
  • 10 min cool down

Here’s great video explaining the basics of pedaling mechanics.

 

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Workout Wednesday – 30 Seconds to Improve Your Aerobic Capacity

Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Exhausted runner

Have you ever started a easy run and were completely out of breath in the first half mile? I know I have. You are not an out of shape slob, your body is just not ready to breath that deeply. If you spend your days crunched up at a desk in front of the computer all day, you are most likely breathing shallow. When you go to exercise your body has to open up those lungs to get ready to use that extra lung capacity.

Breathing and blinking are the only two systems in the body that are both involuntary and voluntary. Breathing, of course,  is the more powerful one. Your breathing regulates your heart rate, stress and your mood. By doing some simple breathing exercises you can increase your lung capacity, and feel great in the process.

Here’s the workout:

  • Breathe in for a count of 4
  • Hold it for a count of 2
  • Breathe out for a count of 4
  • Repeat 5 times

During in the inhale breathe deeply and fully from your diaphragm. During the exhale forcefully breathe out as much as possible. imagine filling up a balloon completely, and then letting out all of the air. This exercise takes about 30 seconds, and you can do it anywhere. For best results try this exercise 5-6 times through out your day. Its really great to do before a workout to get you lungs ready to work.

Monday Motivation – True measure of excellence

Merry Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Continuous effort not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential. – Churchill

How do you feel when you finish a race or workout, and know you have given it your 100% effort? Fanastic, most likely. How about when you miss a goal time by a few minutes? Probably not so good. We look for ways we could have gone a bit faster, and have some regrets. If you gave that race your 100% effort, then you have no doubts or regrets. It was the best effort you give on that particular day.

The universal is always placing obstacles between us and our goals. In triathlon, it could be wind, rain, heat, illness, flats, insects, flooded roads, inconsiderate drivers, inconsiderate racers, overzealous moto refs, pot holes the size of a trash can or any host of issues. (Sorry for the long list, I was listing things that the universe has thrown at me). These forces are beyond our control, and conspire to take away our PR. When the race gets difficult the only thing we can control is our effort. When you cross the finish, forget the clock, and know you pushed as hard as possible. Only you know, if you gave 100%, don’t cheat yourself.

Too Fat to Tri?

Me at said 5k This is a personal post. I want to share my thoughts and experiences, as others may relate or benefit from them.

At a 5k a couple of weeks ago, I had a good race and came in 11th overall. After catching my breath, and staving off the dry heaving, I found my family. My wife said to me, “It looks like you had a good race, you were the fastest bigger guy out there.” My heart sunk, and I was not happy with my performance anymore. She said it to be encouraging, and I wasn’t upset with her, but it struck a nerve. I am a bigger endurance athlete, and I struggle with that. Don’t get me wrong as I am big for an endurance athlete, but otherwise very active and healthy.

I train really hard, keep my diet mostly clean, but I can’t achieve the body type of an elite endurance athlete. My issue is most likely a combo of appetite and genetics. Everyone on my father’s side of the family is large framed, and quick to put on weight. I can have a perfectly clean diet for a month and lose three pounds. If I slip and have a bad week I will gain four pounds back. It’s frankly frustrating and pisses me off. It is completely frustrating to watch every calorie, train your ass off, and not see any result.

I should probably choose a different sport that better suits my body type, but I love endurance sports. I train everyday, not out of a sense of obligation, but because I love it. My workouts are my favorite parts of my day. I don’t feel well physically or mentally, if I go too many days without working out. My accomplishments in running and triathlon are some of my proudest moments. I am most alive when I am pushing myself to the limit, and pushing past what I thought was possible.

My size isn’t going to keep me from competing, because racing is what I really enjoy. There is always this nagging voice in my head telling my size is holding me back. I guess it’s insecurity, but when I am racing and all of the other athletes around me are 40-50 pounds lighter, I feel like a cargo ship in a pack of speed boats. I’ve shown up to group workouts, and been the biggest person there by 30 pounds. At that point I feel like, I’m fat Albert, and the rest are the gang. Am I just an impostor in a world of ectomorphs?

My results have steadily improved over the past few years, even though I have stayed the same size. This is a result of consistency and experience, of which I am very proud. Every so often my frustration with my weight and progress makes me want to quit. Or least go and train in solitude, where I am my only frame of reference. These thoughts of quitting only last a couple of days. I’ll find a race I want to do, sign up, and be motivated again.

I’m sharing my thoughts, not just to have a pity party, but because I’m sure others feel the same way. Society already has a bias against larger people. That pressure is even more magnified in the endurance community filled with super fit competitive people. In endurance sports your standing is determined by speed. When light = fast, this can be a losing battle.

I will continue to race and train for triathlon, because I love it. I want to help and encourage others who want to start in triathlon, no matter his/her size. I’m just as inspired to see the elite athletes fly through the course, as I am the person who had to make a major lifestyle change to finish. These athletes may not race at the same speed, but they both had to put in the same dedication and effort.

Will I ever find a diet/training plan that will yield the results I want? Will my body type keep me from reaching my true potential? I’m not sure, but I continue to train hard and work with the cards I am dealt.

Have you had a similar experience? If so, please share your story in the comments.

Workout Wednesday – The Leg Chiseler

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (HAHA)

This week’s workout – The Leg Chiseler

Chiseled Legs

There are two factors that determine how fast  you can push on the bike. These are your lungs and your legs. Your legs and lungs work together to produce power, but a weakness in either system will become a limiting factor. I experience this every winter winter when I train for a marathon and neglect  bike training.  When spring comes, and I get out on the road, I have the engine of a Corvette, and legs like a Smart Car. Leg strength is the key to increasing your speed, riding better in headwinds, and climbing. For those of your with some vanity, these workouts will make your go sticks more chiseled.

This workout  consists of on and off bike training designed to increase muscular strength in the legs. While these intervals can be intense, the focus is to get that burning sensation in the legs, not max out heart rate. Load up the tension, so your legs are working harder than your cardio. Aim to keep your cadence around 40-60 RPMs under tension. Ideally, this work should be done on a trainer or spin bike. That way you can control the amount of tension, and there are no interruptions.

On to the workout:

The Leg Chiseler

  • Warm up – 10 mins – easy spin
  • Warm up – 3 X 1 min/30 secs off
  • Main Set – 3 min climb increasing tension every minute (Heavy tension RPM – 40-60)
  • Get off bike and do 20 air squats
  • Easy spin 2 min
  • Repeat Main Set 4-6 times
  • Cool down 10 mins Easy Spin

This workout should be difficult, but know your limits. If you need a bit of extra rest between sets, take it. This type of workout is best scheduled with a rest day or easy day after. Leg strength work scheduled once every week or two, will be enough to see significant improvement. Remember to maintain the best pedal stroke possible. Focus on pushing and pulling the pedals and making circles. For more info on good pedaling mechanics.

Photo Credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/17/d5/98/17d598c3d928de6c1cc5b28feb67c10c.jpg

Is Life Too Easy? Let’s Get Uncomfortable.

Daily life for most, including myself, has gotten too easy. We spend the majority of our time in climate controlled houses, offices, and cars. Even worse most of that time is spend staring at some type of screen. I’m writing this at a stand up desk, so I’m way healthier. (Not so much). I can order pizza from my phone in 20 seconds. I can buy anything I desire, without leaving my home. I can binge watch hours of programs, and I don’t have to go to the movie store. Food is prepackaged, pre-cut, and ready in one easy step. Don’t get me wrong most of these conveniences are awesome. My monkey brain is always seeking to find pleasure and avoid discomfort.

Have these conveniences of modern life made life too easy? Are all getting soft mentally and physically? I would argue yes, but who cares what I think. Look at your own life, and think, “I am too comfortable, too often?” If the answer is yes, find a way to break away from the comforts of daily life, and find a challenge to overcome.

Let’s tie this into triathlon or any other challenge. Find a new challenge that will push you out of the comfort zone, and accomplish something meaningful to you. From great struggle comes great reward. This is the main reason I participate in the endurance events. When I know I am pushing my limits in training or a race, I feel most alive. I am using all of my will to overcome a challenge, and I come out stronger on the other side.

Participation in triathlon, running races, and obstacle races has increased dramatically in the past 5 years. I think people are craving that sense of accomplishment and adventure that comes from struggle. They spend most of their week sitting at a desk, under mental stress. On the weekend they want to get outside and release the negative energy through some strenuous physical activity. As humans we are meant to move under our own power, and grow through resistance and recovery.

Shared struggle is also a great way to bond people together. Have you ever done a hard group workout, and when its over everyone has something in common. We can empathize with their struggle, and relate to that person more closely. If you meet anyone who does the same type of events as you, you will instantly bond over the experience.

A small helpings of discomfort can add up to a more robust life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to work or the grocery store. Race your kids in the street. (My favorite). Grow some of your own food. Lift something heavy. Sign up for an event.

If triathlon is a challenge you would like to incorporate in your new uncomfortable life,. check out the start page

Monday Motivation – Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Have a Marvelous Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Exhausted runner

“From great struggle comes great reward”

When was the last time to said to yourself, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done”? How did you feel as you were saying it? Did you have a smile on your face? Most of those super hard things we encounter are not that difficult, it just seemed impossible before you began. It was so difficult because your inner voice was convincing you, it was beyond your capabilities. Keep pushing the limit of what is your “hardest thing”, and you will grow as a person immensely.

Keep the measure of your hardest thing relative your your own capabilities and progress. Don’t get wrapped up in comparing yourself with the achievement of others. We all have to set the bar for ourselves. Each person is just in a different place on the path.  Keep making forward progress on your own path, and keep reaching for that next hardest thing.

What is your next hardest thing?

Race your first Triathlon :)?

Run a PR 5k?

Give a speech?

Whatever it is, put in your full effort, and know you are making a break through.

FTT 8 Week Sprint Training Plan is Here!

FTT Sprint Training Plan face book banner

FTT Sprint Training Plan

Are you ready take on a new life changing challenge, and race your first sprint triathlon? Or, have you signed up for a sprint triathlon and you are looking for the perfect plan? Check out the FTT 8 Week Sprint Training plan. In 8 weeks with about 5 hours a week you will arrive to the start line of your first sprint triathlon ready to go. Continue reading FTT 8 Week Sprint Training Plan is Here!

Motivation Monday – Hardest part of a workout

Have a Marvelous Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Opened door

Last Sunday I had my last long run before the marathon. The schedule called for a 20 mile run with the last 10 miles at race pace. It’s a long workout, and I wanted to get done early, so I set my alarm for 5:00. I get up and dressed no problem. Then, as I am getting ready to leave my mind starts making excuses not to do the workout. I’m thinking, its too cold 22F, maybe I should only do 16, I could go later. After 15 minutes of whining and stalling, I finally get out the door. Once I am running I feel great. It was one of my best runs in this training cycle.

I know it sounds cliche, but getting out the door or showing up is the hardest part of working out. It’s a constant battle with your inner laziness to get moving. When you win the battle you feel great. The more times you don’t give in to the voice telling you to stay home, the more power you have to make progress.

Here a couple of tips to making showing up easier:

1. If you doing an early morning workout, lay out your clothes the night before.

2. Find a workout friend. You are way less likely to skip the workout, if someone else is counting on you to show up.

3. If you don’t feel like running, just go and run one mile. After a mile, if you still feel like stopping, quit. If not, finish out your workout.

4. Have a plan B. If you plan to run in the morning, but you wake up  to a monsoon. Have an alternate plan to run on a treadmill, or do some cross training.

Do you have any tips that make getting out the door easier? Please share in the comments.

Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – DIY Tri, Red Beard, and a Kilt

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from David PowersDr. David Powers:

David:

Doing a triathlon has been an item on my bucket list for years, but I kept putting it off. Last week I finally did it. I basically, said, “Screw it!” and hosted my own. If I’m the host, I have to do it, right? My goal was to take an entire group of people who’d never done a tri before, and give them a low stress chance to do something awesome. We all completed, including three kids ages 7, 10, and 12.
Awesome David. You made your own path the triathlon, and brought the next generation with you. Very inspiring.
To read more about David’s DIY triathlon, check out his blog:
Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.