Tag Archives: functional

Off-Season Update and Some Swag Nov 9 2015

Just a little update here on how things are going during the “off”-season. The rebuilding process is being established and I have been laying the groundwork for a solid foundation for the upcoming season.

Miracle Mornings…

After recently reading the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I have miraculously turned into a “morning person.” I have tried many times before, but it just never stuck. But by using the techniques in this book it is becoming a reality for me. I have now been waking up early every day for over a month now, including weekends. I believe that by focusing on the things that are really important to me as the reasons to get up early has made a difference. If you are interested in getting up earlier and being more productive with your days, I would highly recommend this book.

Pump!…You Up!!

So what am I doing with all the time I have during these early mornings? Strength training! If you have followed my training updates in the past, you know how strength work typically gets bumped first. Which is common in endurance athletes. Well, I have been working with Fernando Paredes from Fusion Fitness & Performance Studio to develop a solid functional strength program. So I have been fully committed to making this a regular part of my training and it is the top priority of my “Miracle Mornings.”

This new habit is becoming even more ??? since I am really starting to feel the impact it is making in my training. My run times are dropping and I am feeling more solid from the core when I run. I really believe this will be making a difference in my performance for the upcoming season.

The Pain Cave

Over the last 6-months I have been working on getting my “Pain Cave” in my basement up to snuff so I have a good place to train during the Winter months. I happy to report that things have come along quite a bit lately. I have recently had some Radon Remediation done in the basement so that I am not sucking down radon all Winter long. I just got the post-remediation test results back and they were < 0.3 pCi/L for a week long test (anything under 0.5 is considered fresh air), so that is good news. I also picked up a 43″ 1080p flat panel TV for my Zwift bike trainer rides which really puts you in the drivers seat. I moved my smaller flat panel over the treadmill, so now I have dedicated TV’s for each or I can watch a TV show on one while doing the Zwift ride on the other. Pretty sweet!

Pain Cave November 2015
Pain Cave November 2015


One other aspect that I have been working on is developing my mental fitness. A strong mind is essential in endurance activities. I have also been establishing a daily meditation habit with the help of the Headspace iOS app. Meditation seems to be quite the buzzword these days, but I hear more and more endurance athletes attributing a lot of their success to it. Through my early mornings, I now have been able to establish it as a new daily habit. I have to say it is pretty relaxing, but shutting my busy mind off is no easy feat some days.

I have also been reading Matt Fitzgeralds’ new book “How Bad Do You Want It?” which delves into the mental coping mechanisms that endurance athletes utilize to command amazing performances. It has been a pretty interesting read so far and I hope to post a review on it shortly as I wind down the last couple chapters here.

iThlete HRV Guest Post

I recently did another guest post on the iThlete HRV blog about my off-season and how my Heart Rate Variability has correlated with what I have been doing lately. Be sure to check that out. iThlete is also having a 15% off all sale on all HR sensors this month, so you may want to check that out too. I highly recommend the Finger Sensor for easily checking your HRV in the morning. They are also planning on releasing some new features to the iThlete Pro App this month which I am looking forward to as well.

Weight Loss in Endurance Sports

Runner’s world recently posted this article on How Weight Loss Affects your Running Speed?  In it they claim that you can drop 20 secs/mile for every 10 lbs you lose. Multiply that by 26.2 and you got a nice PR on your hands. Add that reduction to your watts/kg rating for a 112 mile bike and you just smashed your leg PR and probably an Ironman PR as well. Really provides a good motivation to drop those excess pounds during the off-season.

Unfortunately, this is one area that my “Miracle Mornings” have not provided too much help too. I have been trying to keep my net calories around 2100, but I am still hovering around the same weight. Unfortunately, I may have to cut that net figure down a few more hundred to see anything significant without increasing training load too much. What will make this more difficult is the holiday eating season is coming up too. Should be challenging.

So, since we are on the topic of weight loss affects to endurance activity, I dug up a few more articles on the topic that I thought were helpful….

What’s my Optimal Racing Weight? | TrainingPeaks

Why is Weight So Important in Cycling? Part 1 | TrainingPeaks

Why is Weight So Important in Cycling? Part 2 | TrainingPeaks

Trainer Season…

As we are now heading into Trainer Season, DC Rainmaker just published his 2015-16 Trainer Recommendations. I would highly recommend reading this if you are in the market for a trainer this year. I will probably be saving myself over $200 this season just from reading this and getting a new controlled trainer sooner than I planned to. Worth a look.

Some Macca Drama

Looks like there is a bit of drama going on with Chris McCormack over some accusations being made from surf legend, Sunny Garcia. I first heard about this over a week ago on the TRS Radio Podcast during the beginning of episode 62 with Gordon Ramsay & Lew Hollander. But I haven’t heard anything new since then until I saw this post on Slowtwitch today. Sounds like some pretty serious allegations so we will see how that plays out.

Well, that is all I got for now. Hope everyone is enjoying the off-season and renewing their motivations for the upcoming season. Take care and happy training!



Triathlon Strength Training Workshop

One of the things I love about triathlon is that you can be constantly learning new things and techniques. The sport is relatively young and very complex, so it provides for a wealth of new discoveries. I love taking new techniques, trying them out and putting them to the test. Every once-in-a-while you pick up a little “nugget” that really makes a huge difference. One past example for me was when I discovered Chirunning, which took me from struggling to run 3 miles to efficiently running 6-7 over a very short time period. I still utilize these techniques and they have forever changed my performance for the positive.

Well, yesterday I think stumbled upon another one. I know that strength training is import, but I struggle every year to maintain a consistent program through the season. I had the gym that I go to create a program for me for triathlon, which consistent of a few functional movement exercises and a bunch of traditional “body building” style muscle isolation exercises . While the functional movements were a nice addition, there was no explanation what they did or why I should do them. As I move through other isolation-style exercises(ie. db chest press, cable rows, leg extensions, cable curls and pushdowns), I struggled in my head to understand how they apply. I knew there has to be somthing better.

Sometime last year I stumbled upon a workshop in November called the “Ultimate Off-Season Strength Training Workshop” by Todd Wiley and Fernando Paredes in nearby Doylestown, PA.  I thought this may be the perfect thing I need to get on track in the off-season. Unfortunately the workshop was rescheduled for January 10th, so I struggled along with my previous workout until the date finally arrived.

On January 10th I drove down to the Fusion Fitness Studio near Doylestown, bright and early to attend the full day seminar. I met Todd and Fernando when I arrived. The “gym” or studio was quite different than I expected. There were no racks of free weights and dumbells lining the walls. Instead there were lots of bands, a large tractor tire, and a few cable-type machines I had never  seen before. I was the first to arrive and eventually others sauntered in before we started.

Todd Wiley, who is a former pro triathlete and currently well-known coach, gave some of his background and explained how Fernando’s techniques had basically revived his worn-out body after 25 years of training. He had basically given up training until going through this program. Fernando took over and went on to explain the theory behind what he does and why it works. He used great analogies too, to really help you understand the concepts. I was all ears. I instantly knew this was that different program what I was looking for.

One of the example Fernando used that really hit home was when he asked, “Would you use a football, golf, basketball or body-building strength training program for Triathlon?” Obviously we all replied “No”, but he pointed out that we were doing just that. Hmmm? He also went on to explain that we need to train the body as a full system how everything is connected. Therefore we need to train it that way. He stated that by making our body more efficient, we could than perform at the maximum performance we are all capable of. It all made a lot of sense.

We then moved on to each of us(about 20-25 of us) performing 3 parts of a Functional Movement Screening(FMS) test. The tests consisted of a deep squat while holding a bar above our head, holding our arms out and pulling each arm behind our backs and measuring the distance between our hands, and lying on our backs raising each leg individually up as far as we could. These three tests would be rated on a scale of 1-3, 3 being good, to indicate where are muscular deficiencies and imbalances were. The first step is to correct these items so that the rest of the body did not need to compensate. As I figured, my shoulders were my biggest imbalance(L-1,R-2) due to my past injuries. My hips also showed up as weak(1’s) which is also affected by the shoulder issues.

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Different stages of a lunge push-up with bands

Next, Fernando split us up into groups based on how we scored on the test. Each group had a different corrective exercise to do to resolve their weak area. The shoulder group were also  given the hip exercises to do since they related. These basic looking exercises were actually quite challenging to do when done correctly. Fernando explained that by doing these each day we can correct our weakness and imbalances and bring the whole body into a more harmonious system.

The remainder of the morning we moved on to his core Restoration & Fitness routines for overall body strength. These are the typical routines you would do a few times a week as your strength training all season long. Fernando also pointed out that the word “core”, that seems to be thrown around quite profusely these days, is more than just your abdominal area. It is your whole upper torso or upper core and your legs or lower core too. It is all one big connected system. The exercises we did were so atypical from the traditional strength exercises we normally do. There was a lot of band and plain body only style movements. An open mind is surely required for those old-school weightlifters. But, I could tell that this stuff is effective by how it involved many different parts of your body and also your brain too. It is a very “Whole-istic” program.  I also found myself thinking that all of this stuff can easily be done in the comfort of my own my home and I could probably save a few dollars on the gym membership. We were even given set of bands to take home as part of the workshop.

Endurance Sports, Race, Sports, Training, Triathlon, functional, movement, multisport, strength, tri
Bosu ball Push-up with broomstick to maintain proper spinal alignment

After a lunch break, we went through some of the more advanced “Performance” routines that we could eventually progress to over time. Todd then spoke about bringing it all together and implementing this in with our overall triathlon training program and some other assorted tips.

Endurance Sports, Race, Sports, Training, Triathlon, functional, movement, multisport, strength, tri
Todd performs Leg Curl on the Ball
Endurance Sports, Race, Sports, Training, Triathlon, functional, movement, multisport, strength, tri
Todd performs Leg Curl on the Ball

Dr. John K Marino, a certified sports physician and Ironman, and his assistant Nikky spoke for a bit on injury prevention using foam rollers and lacrosse balls, which I personally do fairly regularly. He kind of lost me though when he dismissed Chirunning over Pose and other running programs, because it was too “out there” and “up on the toes.” It was pretty obvious he was not very familiar with Chirunning since it heavily stresses a midfoot strike and not being “up on the toes” as he stated. But whatever, not everyone can know everything about everything.


Endurance Sports, Race, Sports, Training, Triathlon, functional, movement, multisport, strength, tri
Derek performs Pull-up on TRX straps while Fernando assists

Finally, we wrapped up with a highly motivational and tear-jerking story by Derek Fitzgerald. If you haven’t heard of Derek, he had battled and survived cancer, suffered from extreme heart-failure, actually dying twice, received a new heart transplant and ended finishing Ironman Lake Placid 2013 only two years later. It is an amazing story. I had heard about him myself right after I had completed my first Ironman Lake Placid that same year. Derek, with the help of Fernando, has basically rebuilt his body from all the surgies and entrophy he had undertaken and is now a endurance machine that fully honors that person who donated their heart to him. He also has a plethora of endurance events planned for this year culminating in a bike across the USA, from LA to Atlantic City, to raise awareness of Cancer and Heart Disease. Check out his website at http://www.recycledman.com for more details and how to help him out.

After a quick Q&A session we wrapped up the workshop promptly at 5:30pm. It was a long day, but I felt I had a full toolbox to take with me. I think that these routines, done on a consistent basis, will give me a little more to eeke out some more performance improvements in my racing. Anything that will get me closer to that sub 12 hour Ironman I am all in. So, I hope to start implementing this immediately and I will try to touch on any improvement I see in my weekly updates heading to Ironman Coueur d’Alene. I will also be attending a Toddy Wiley Lake Placid camp this year which I think Ferndando will also be participating in too. So hopefully we will get some more information as we go.

If you are interested please check out Fernandos’ website at http://fusionfitnessandperformance.com

Thanks for reading!