Monday, May 26, 2014

For The Running Princesses

I apologize that this long but I hope you will bear with me.

First I need to say what an honor it is to be associated with such a wonderful team of Christian women!  Although you may not always agree on everything you support and love each other in the name of Christ and advance his kingdom, something most men could learn a lot from.

I am so impressed what you have accomplished as a club and as individuals. Many of you have stepped out of your comfort zone and have achieved remarkable success and I can’t tell you how motivating that is.  Many days when work is providing “challenges” I turn to The Running Princesses for inspiration and motivation. At the risk of sounding insincere, please know that I am proud of you.

Four years ago I was, to coin the title of a popular documentary, fat, stick and felt nearly dead.  I was overweight, out of shape and felt miserable.  On Christmas morning I had enough and asked God to help me find my place and help me get my physical life in order!  My dad died at age 47 and staring 44 in the face I was certainly a chip off the old block, in many ways I didn’t want to be.

As God so often does with me he hit me upside the head and made it clear that my body was the temple for his holy spirit and taking care of me was not a recommendation but a requirement.  May and I had been trying for years to get pregnant and I thought why would God bless us with a child when I wasn’t taking care of myself? 

The next day I committed to getting into shape but knowing how I am wired, working out for the sake of “working out” wasn’t going to happen. I am goals driven and a major goal was what I needed to help me on my quest for better health and wellness. I was watching the IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii and that day I made that my goal, to complete 140.6 miles of an IRONMAN competition.  While scared to death, afraid of the water, incapable of swimming and not able to walk to the mailbox without breaking out into a sweat, I asked God to guide me on this improbable journey.

Four years, forty pounds, thousands of miles, learning to swim and overcoming a fear of the water, God is answering a pray as I will compete in my first full IRONMAN on June 29 in Coeur  ‘d Alene, Idaho. God willing over the next month I am going to start that race healthy, something that has eluded many of would be participants. 

Today I wrapped up my last long training “Brick” and felt good about where I am at.  While having a strong workout, this week I received my office “Athletes Guide” which made it all too real and the butter flies began to settle in.  Can I really do this?  I

While I will never compete for the podium, I always compete as best I can and against myself and I am comfortable with that.  It’s been a journey and one that has been full of family, friends , fun and God’s blessings.

On June 29th at 9:00 AM EST (the start of the race MT time) I ask for your prayers for the following:
·         Pray for Elli, May and Martha Jo (MIL) or safety, fun and peace. While 14-17 hours is a long time for the competitor, it’s even longer for their families.  May and Elli have been so supportive of the last four years while I chased this dream.  She has been up at 3:00 am on numerous mornings as my getting up has disturbed her. She has moved her workout schedule to make sure I got my “miles” in, she has put up with the fatigue and moodiness that comes from this training and has even driven to the grocery store when I was too tired to drive.  I could not have done any of this without her. She and Elli are at every race cheering me on and there is NOTHING better than seeing both of them at transition points and at the end of the race. I love you both.
·         Pray for safety for all competitors
·         Pray that someone during that race knows the saving love and grace of Jesus Christ
·         And if you don’t mind, pray for me to be calm, in control, healthy and to finish that race strong but more importantly, pray that my effort is glorifying to God and to thank him for all he has given me.

It’s been a long, hard, tough and rewarding journey and thanks for letting me share this with you.  I think my mom actually got my name wrong because when people at work ask me “What am I doing this weekend” and I tell them my training or racing plan, they say ”YOUR’RE CRAZY” so crazy I am but it’s that crazy that opens the door to share a healthy lifestyle and the love and grace of Jesus.

You all have and can achieve incredible things.  Ask God for his guidance, is his love and his strength as you set new goals. Listen to his guidance, do it for HIS glory and enjoy the experience.  Thanks for your prayers and I hope I make you all proud on our trip to Idaho!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

REV3 Knoxville – What Could Have Been

My long awaited REV3 Knoxville 70.3 triathlon did not go according to plan in any way, shape or form!

The day stated a bit warmer than Saturday with a low of 50 and no rain. That was as good as it was going to get so everyone was happy.  I was relaxed and ready to race. I am in the best shape of my life and I am getting more confident in my swim.

While I will never be the guy that says “Hey lets go jump in an open body of water” just for fun, I am more confident in my abilities and am calmer and more at ease on race morning and today was no exception.

When it came time for my wave to go, I was surprised to see the water quite a bit cooler that it felt on Saturday and since it wasn’t going to heat up in 2 minutes, it was time to make the best of it.  I met a couple first time triathletes in my age group and they were nervous but I assured them it was going to be a good day for everyone, well the swim any way.  J

There was one man that had never done a triathlon before and like me he could not stop talking as he was nervous.  Ironically he even kept taking in the water as we swam the same course (ironic as you will see).  I could not make out what he was saying but we both got out of the water and I am sure he had a great day.

I got water in my wetsuit and jumped in for the floating start.  It was cold, dirty and busy but I managed to move forward and quickly acclimated to the water.  My plan was to take five strokes, stop, and sight but for some reason race day energy took over for common sense and I quickly found myself way off target.  After a course correction, I kept my head down and kept swimming. I noticed the water became choppy and I looked up and saw that I was close to swimming into the earlier swim group making their way down the back side of the course. OOPS.

I blame my poor sense of direction on the fact that my goggles filled up and I could not see a thing.  (More likely due to stubbornness) Couple that with swimming through what smelled like “boat fuel” I managed to find a kayak so I could grab ahold and empty out and reseal my goggles.  Goggles in check, it was time to get down to business with sighting every five strokes.

I picked up the pace on the back side of the course and managed to bring home a strong swim. I set my best time for a non-current aided race (the dam had the current basically at nothing) and I even swam nearly 400 extra yards!  So I have a few things to work on.

Out of the water I made a quick run to transition where I said hey to May, Elli, Scott and Stacy Rotluff and made my way on the bike.  I knew that once I got out of the water I had this race crushed.  Ironically three times this weekend for some unknown reason I kept thinking about not ever having a flat tire and boy was that a mistake!

Less than three miles into the race my front tire got a flat.  I stopped, actually got the tire changed and within the next mile the same tire flatted again.  I only had one spare and one CO2 cartridge so that was my day. I nice man in the support vehicle gave me a ride back to the start, I found May and Elli and we had an early trip back to Columbia.

So while my day ended early, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what I leaned today and what went well.

·         that I don’t swim straight in open water and only could I set a PR and add 400 yards to the total distance!
·         the REV3 Tri team and REV3 race series is a really great series with great people that are fun and family friendly.  I am definitely going back.
·         being a South Carolina and Memphis fan, I have five the University of Tennessee a hard time and there was no way Knoxville was going to let me finish that race! J
·         the odds of me getting two flat tires within one mile of each other are greater than the longshot to win the Kentucky Derby
·         I had a great nutrition plan for today (been working on that), I just didn’t get to use it!
·         It will be important to get more time in open water and to help May, Stacy and Tammy also spend as much time in the lake as possible to get used to open water swimming.
·         I can cover come obstacles in the water like chocking, goggles filling up and swimming though boat fuel and still have a great day.
·         I am a wimp to the cold and need to get over it.
·         Disappointments will happen in races and there is nothing you can do about it but it’s how you deal with those disappointments that is important.  It just wasn’t my day but it was for someone else I am sure and I am happy for them. The guy that pulled me out of the water and onto the dock was tall, had strong hands and a lot of enthusiasm for every participant.
·         The guy that came and picked me up was incredibly kind.
·         The Knoxville police are really nice.  I had a few minutes to chat with them after my second flat.
·         Community Coffee’s CafĂ© Special blend is awesome, especially at 4:00 am.
·         Horse racing is kind of fun to watch and interesting when you watch it with someone who knows a thing or two about the sport.

These are some things that went right today……
·         I set a PR for my swim (even swimming 400 extra yards) and was calmer at the race start.
·         I didn’t get set in fire when I say through the boat fuel.
·         I didn’t get passed by any women 60+ years of age, because they started ahead of me! J
·         No snakes or gators seen anywhere. OK I know there are no gators in Knoxville but it’s a good story I am hanging on to from Augusta.
·         I got to meet many of the REV3 Tri team and made a lot of new friends.
·         No girl young enough to be my daughter paddled up to me in a kayak and said “Sir, are you OK?
·         No one called me Sir.
·         I got on the right bike in transition. As an afterthought that may have been a bad idea!
·         I had a great nutrition plan; I just didn’t get to use it.
·         I ate enough calories Friday and Saturday to fuel a 70.3 effort of which I only expended about 1.4 miles worth, so I should be good until Raleigh in two weeks.
·         There is nothing better than seeing May and Elli at T1 cheering me on and Elli yelling “DADDY” That was enough to make my day complete.
·         I have a good excuse to but a new set of deep rim wheels. You can never have too many wheels.
·         I didn’t swear after either flat (I don’t think) and I may have to work on that.  OK Just kidding! (now that I think about it I am pretty sure I said a cuss word or two in my mind when I found myself swimming into oncoming traffic)
·         Elli had a great time and probably expended more energy that I did this weekend.
·         May got to see a swim start (finally) and it was good for her to see all of these things get help prepare mentally for REV3 Anderson in October.
·         Stacy and Scott Rotluff came to check out the event and to provide support. Stacy got to see what it’s like and I think we have a new member to our triathlon family.
·         I didn’t crash when I flatted and no trips to the ER or even a band aid were needed.
·         May, Elli and I had a great ride home together.
·         It was good to see and spend time with Joe and Ilene.

So all was not lost. Anytime with my family is a good day and I will take it. Am I disappointed, I sure am but it was not the end of the world and I will be back.  I have Raleigh in two weeks so I need to get focused on that event!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

REV3 Knoxville – A Southern Experience

Well we all thought Mother Nature finally put old man winter into retirement but he got one last punch this weekend. What was temps in the 80’s a week ago, today was met with a low of 43 and a high barely over 60 with wind and a chill in the air.  Not what everyone was expecting for REV3 Knoxville.

With my bike checked into transition and a whirl though the expo, it was time to go test the water in the Tennessee River.  The course is 1.2 miles in length with a slight swim upstream then enjoy the ride downstream.  While this may sound daunting, the river flow is being controlled by the dam and there is little no current which will make for a nice race.

While I will never be the one that goes looking to jump into an open body of water, I can hold my own and have to trust my training, experience and just stay positive and calm.  I guess this is one time I need to practice what I preach in “How Bad Do I Want it?”

While freezing standing on the doc, I was pleasantly surprised to find out the water temperature was nearly 72 degrees which will make for a very comfortable swim.  Worries over, tomorrow will still be cold in the morning but the water will feel like a nice spa.

The bike course will be hilly and technical but will be good practice for CDA in June.  Looking forward to a crisp bike ride with temps starting in the low 50’s.  I had to stop by Dick’s Sporting Goods and pick up a tech shirt and running jacket that will work on the bike. Was pleasantly surprised to get them on sale and they match my bike.  What a great deal.

The run will have some hills and will take place on a series of trails that will be a nice change and a pseudo warm up for next years major endurance event, but hold on, more on that in the fall!  J

It was good to meet a lot of neat folks and looking forward to meeting many of the REV3 Tri Team members tomorrow.

May and Ellie were excellent support as usual and any man would be fortunate to have this level of unconditional love and support. Elli had a blast and May got a great introduction to triathlons REV3 style that will help her prepare for REV3 Anderson in October.

Stacy and Scott Rotluff are also coming up to check out REV3 and to support me in my race.  They are good friends and appreciate their support. I think Stacy will get the bug and sign up for Anderson as well.  I love the REV3 series and team and doing what I can to help the triathlon community grow.

For tonight we have a wonderful dinner with Joe and Ilene Piscatello. We met them in Italy and it’s been over 5 years since we have seen them and it has been great to rekindle our friendship and share some laughs. Pasta is always good and with good friends its even better.

Looking forward to tomorrow with two main goals of fine tuning my nutrition and using this as a good training run for CDA.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Supersizing Part 3

One doesn’t have to look much further than our food sources today to see why we are gaining weight as a nation. Fast food chains crowd our cities, convenience stores are on every corner and supermarkets full of processed food.  In our efforts to embrace convenience we have become unhealthy and overweight.
For years it has been preached that eating fat, makes us fat and that is not necessarily the case.  While fat in the diet is important, the type of fat and what is consumed with that fat is extremely important. So if fat doesn’t make us fat, the question as to what does still looms large.
Two factors determine how much fat we accumulate and both have to do with the hormone insulin. When insulin levels are elevated, we accumulate fat in our fat tissue and when insulin levels fall, we liberate fat from the fat tissue and burn it for fuel.  Second, our insulin levels are largely determined by the carbohydrates we consume. Carbohydrates that are sweet, easy to digest and highly refined are troublesome.
The more of these high processed carbs we eat, the more insulin we secrete into our blood stream that our bodies turn this “sugar” into fat. In addition to the conversion of carbs to fat, highly refined carbs made from sugar and wheat in particular have a stimulating and addictive effect on the brain that makes us crave and ultimately eat more of these foods beyond our satiation.
Foods such as white rice, white potatoes, sugar, candy, cookies, pastries, cereal, high fructose corn syrup (found in many foods) pasta, breads, etc. have a high glycemic index which measures its effect on insulin production in relation to that of table sugar.  The higher the glycemic index, the more insulin that is produced and the more fat we gain. (Although diet sodas contain no sugar, the artificial sweeteners can have the same fat driving qualities as sugar or high fructose corn syrup besides tasting nasty).
Interestingly, many people will gain weight on a low fat diet because in many products the fat is replaced with sugar or high fructose corn syrup that we know spikes insulin and builds fat. Here is an easy rule of thumb, if it comes in a sack, box or wrapper, don’t eat it!
Additionally eating a diet rich in refined carbohydrates in unison with a diet in saturated fat and processed oils such as canola and vegetable oils can have an oxidizing effect on the cholesterol in our blood that causes it to stick to artery walls which can led to numerous health issues.  These processed and highly glycemic carbs make us eat more, make us fat and ultimately make us hungrier and more sedentary.
Carbohydrates still have a place in our diets such as the green leafy vegetables.  A diet balanced with lean proteins (preferably organic and pasture raised), moderate lower glycemic fruit and fresh green leafy vegetables coupled with exercise will to a long way to helping you shrink your waist and improve your health.

Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer and exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Planning, Goal Setting, Motivation, Measurement – The Keys to Endurance Sports Success

When I begin working with new clients, I have them fill out a detailed questionnaire containing a lot of information including personal background, medical history/conditions, previous experience, strengths, areas for improvement, training plans, etc. This information helps me get a feel for where the individual is current at in terms physical and training shape which helps me build a plan that meets the specific needs of each client.

Interestingly enough, there is one section that always has the most incomplete information or raises the most questions and that section relates to planning, goal setting, motivation and measurement.   Not surprisingly, this is the same information that a lot of people struggle with in their personal and professional lives.  As a Human Resources professional, I have been trained to help people set goals as a means to improve their performance and grow their careers.

I have always been a big fan of the planning and goal setting process so I thought it would be helpful to outline the various components and steps so you can apply them to help you meet your fitness and endurance goals.

Goal Setting – The SMART Method

A goal is nothing more than a short or long term target you wish to achieve.  It sounds easy enough but it’s amazing how difficult this can be for most people. If done correctly it is the key to unleashing your true potential and will make for a much more rewarding experience.

The SMART goal setting method is simple and effective and like many things today SMART is an acronym:

S- Specific
M – Measureable
A - Attainable (there is a second A – Adjustable)
R – Realistic
T – Time specific

Let’s take a look at each one individually.  While each of the components listed below will make up one goal, they will provide a framework for you to use to build a strong plan to help you achieve each goal.

Goals must be specific in nature to be effective.  The more specific or targeted, the more information you have that will direct your overall efforts towards goal attainment.

A key buzz word today is “metrics” which is nothing more than measurements.  One of my favorite sayings is “What Gets Measured Gets Results.”  You must be able to measure progress towards your goals. As noted above, the more specific your goal, the easier it will be to identify measurements.  If you cannot answer the question “how will I measure my goal?” then you need to more clearly define your goal. Setting dates, distances and times not only provide for easy measurements, they provide targets and move you to action.

Your goals must be attainable to be effective.  I also like to have different levels of goals from easy to stretch goals, meaning you have to work hard to achieve them.  Many times you have one major goal with many small goals in support of your main goal.

A second “A” I like to add is adjustable. As with all things in life, things change so you need to be able to adjust your goals based on circumstances in life. For example one of my goals was to complete my first half Ironman the summer of 2012.  Unfortunately I broke a rib and could not train for the 8 weeks before my event. I adjusted this goal to completing my first half Ironman the summer of 2013.

This can be hard for people, but goals must be realistic. As I mentioned above, I believe that folks must have easy goals but also have stretch goals that challenge one to new levels of performance and confidence. This is part of the fun.  However, goals must be realistic or they can act as a deterrent and frustrate you. For example, a goal of running a marathon one month after beginning an exercise program is not realistic and will only set you up for failure.

Time Specific
Goals must be time specific in order to measure your progress and to know what to shoot for. They also help you identify plans and resources. A goal to run a marathon without a target date is nothing more than a wish, not an actionable goal.

Short Term and Long Term Goals
I like to break goals down into short term and long term. Short term goals are those goals that are one year or less in duration where long term goals are 1-5 years and 5-10 years.  By setting short and long term goals you have a solid action plan to help you achieve new heights. What you will find is you will have many short term goals under each of your long term goals.

Let’s take a look at examples of a short term and long term goals using the SMART goal setting system.

Short Term Goals

“I want to start walking one mile a day, three days per week beginning May 12”

This is a simple SMART goal that would be a good first step for someone new to exercise.

“I will run the Governor’s Cup Half Marathon on November 11, 2014, running the entire distance and finish in under three hours.”

This is an even better example of a SMART goal in that it is very specific, it’s measureable (did you run the marathon on the date and in the time allotted and did you actually run it) attainable and realistic. For some it may also be a stretch goal.

“I will complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon at the REV3 event in Anderson, SC on October 19 with a swim time under an hour, a bike time under 2 hours and a run time under one hour and 30 minutes.”

“I will run the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon at an average pace of 10:00 per mile”

Long Term Goals

“I will complete my first IRONMAN triathlon in Arizona in November, 2017 with a swim time under 2 hours, a bike time less than 7 hours and a marathon time under 6 hours”

It may seem simple but goal setting helps you identify what you want to do and serves as the top of the pyramid with the next sections describe how to plan and measurements your goals.

Visual Support
For goals to be effective they MUST be written down and reviewed daily. I use two methods for my goals.

Mole Skin
The first thing I do is take some time to prayerfully think about my goals.  What do I want to accomplish and more importantly why. I recommend you do this initial phase in private.  Think past what you have done and stretch your sights to embrace something that may be a challenge or difficult to attain.  Dream, commit and do!  Be careful who you share this process with.  Not everyone will embrace your ideas nor will they be supporting. Goals mean change and many people are not comfortable with change and when uncomfortable they can laugh or ridicule you. (Personally if someone laughs at one of my goals or tells me I can’t do that, it just fuels my passion and determination to make it happen. I am just praying someone tells me I am not capable of completing the 2015 Leadville 100, it may be just what I need to fuel my drive to do it. )  However there is power in sharing your goals with others that share your interests and you know will be supportive and hold you accountable to achieving your goals.

Once you have your goals or ides, get a Mole Skin or other nice note book, a nice pen and commit your goals to paper!  There is something powerful about writing your own goals in your own handwriting.  It will stimulate your brain and subconscious to work on your goals at all times. It’s amazing how many things I commitment to paper and never look at for weeks and find that I have achieved the task at hand.  This notebook will also sever as a place to capture ideas, new goals, etc.  I like to commit a small investment in a nice notebook and pen as you will be using it daily. 

Power Point Slides, Business Cards and MyRoadID Bracelets

The next thing I like to do is print my goals on business cards and on individual PPT slides.  (I have attached some of these tools in the shared folder).  I place these goal sheets everywhere and I do mean everywhere. I have them next to my bed, on my mirror, on my wall at work, in my notebooks at work, in my goal notebooks, etc.  The idea here is to make them visible so you are looking at them all the time. I even place them on the floor in front of my face when I am doing pushups to keep me motivated and to remind myself what I am doing this for.  Visual support is key.

I also have my main goals printed on business cards for two reasons. One I use them as book marks.  Two I use them when talking to friends that I know will be supportive of my goal.  This is a bit interesting in that I am not so much looking for their support as I am publically committing to a goal as a way to hold myself accountable to meeting the goal. After all we all like to do what we say we will do. A good example is my public commitment to complete and Ironman triathlon when I could not swim and was afraid of the water.  I wrestled with my inability to swim for years so I needed to make my goal public as a way to hold myself accountable to achieving the goal or looking like a fool.

One other unique tactic I like to use is called MyRoadID.  First, ANYONE that runs, bikes, swims or does any activity needs to go to and purchase one of these bracelets or anklets. They are designed to contain your personal information like medical allergies, contact information, etc. in case you have an accident and are non-responsive. I prefer the Velcro ankle strap.

I also use MyRoadID as a vehicle for my main goal. Using their Elite bracelet, I simply type in my main goal information and wear it as a bracelet at all times.  On days I don’t feel like working out, I look at my goal on my wrist and boom, I work out. It also serves as excellent conversation pieces that can help you share your goals with others which, as discussed can serve as an accountability tool.  It is also a good way to start conversations with others about fitness and faith.

Planning and Priorities

I love the goal setting process and find it stimulating, fun and rewarding. If done right over time you will find yourself with numerous goals. When looking at race goals you need to have A, B and C races. Let’s take a look at each of these.

You will want to have one or two “A” races each year.  This is your ultimate goal you have and everything leads up to that race.  You will then have “B” and “C” races that serve as support races for your main race.  Although you will compete in your “B” and “C” races, you will use these as training events and not compete in them at your maximum effort.

For example, my “A” race this year is Ironman Coeur D’ Alene. This is what I am building to have a max effort in. My “B” race is REV3 Knoxville Half Iron distance race and my “C” race was the Palmetto Half Marathon.  You use your “B” and “C” races as nothing more than training events and NOT max effort. It also provides you an opportunity to practice new techniques, strategies, etc.

What’s Next?

There is one issue that I want you to be aware of and that is post-race depression.  Most people set a goal of competing in a large race.  They spend months or even years planning for it and all their energy, passion, training and focus go into this event.  The event finally arrives and you have a great time then it’s over.

For many folks this leaves a huge void that can be very depressing and can zap your motivation to train.  You spent so much time and energy going into this even that once it is done you are left with emptiness, almost like suffering a loss of some sort.

This is a real issue and can affect folks in different ways with different severity. One way to combat this is to ALWAYS have your next big event (long term goal) lined up ahead of time.  That way when one event is done you can reflect on how much fun it was training for and competing in the event and then turn your attentions to doing the same for your next endeavor. Having your next event in mind will help limit post-race depression and get you back to training once you have had adequate recovering time.

Personal Mission and Motto

For some folks having a personal mission statement and motto for their athletic pursuits can help build a platform for their goals, training, plans, etc.  It serves as your guiding principle and as a reference point for your activity.  Here is a sample of my personal mission statement for my endurance purists:

“To be the best I can be in all my pursuits, challenging myself and others to do extraordinary things, experience personal growth through helping others grow and to glorify God with all I do!”

You can print your mission on the back of the business cards that contain your goals or simply make mission statement cards.  Building on mission statements, I also find it helpful to have a “Motto” or a phrase you can use when you need to be motivated. It is something short that can be repeated to yourself or included on all your goals.  I have two that work well to keep me motivated and driven, especially when striving for stretch goals and in the middle of a tough competition:

“How Bad Do You Want It?”
And this one I borrowed and adapted from Ann Prince:

“Pain is temporary, accomplishment and Jesus are forever!”

Positive Affirmations

Another tool is the use of positive affirmations.  This is in essence writing your goals as if they have already happened. This can have a powerful effect on the mind. The mind only knows what you tell it so if you tell it you do something or are something, it will take it as fact.  I used this technique a lot when I was learning to swim. A few sample affirmations I used include:

“I swim freestyle fluidly, effortlessly and with perfect form”

“I swim freestyle easily and comfortably over 1.2 miles in open water”

“I tread water for minutes on end with ease”

One thing you need to be careful of is negative affirmations.  A good example is “I’m not afraid of the water” or “I don’t sink in the water.” Your mind can easily translate this to, oh, “I’m afraid of the water or I sink” What happens when I say “Don’t think of pink elephants?”  Hard not to think of, well, pink elephants.

What positive affirmations do for you is help train your mind (hey we train our bodies right, why not the mind) to make what you are trying to achieve a reality.  For me in my IRONMAN training in my mind I am already an IRONMAN and have completed the full distance.  When I show up on race day, although I will still have nervous energy, my mind will take over and say “Hey we have done this, it’s just another race, let’s roll!”

Your Training Plan

Once you have set your goals, decided what you want to do and have a training plan for your race, the next step is to commit this training plan to paper. For all my plans I utilize the two page per day calendar system from Levenger. I take my plan and I write each day’s work out on the corresponding day in green or orange. These are positive colors and stick out. For example Monday may say, “Bike 120 minutes and run 40 minutes.”

This way you have a detailed plan of what I need to do each day. In effect it is a mini goal for the day.  Why two pages per day?  First I can book my workout(s) by the associated hour and add any other training related items like strength training, a nap, etc.  I cannot over emphasize the power of writing you plan in your own hand writing.  On the other page I write any notes about the workout that I need to do such as –“ 10 minutes of hill drills every 20 minutes on the bike and run three 2:00 intervals during the run.”  Then once the day is complete and before I go to bed I write down how my workout went, how I felt, did I achieve my goal or not and why.  If I know I have to write how I felt and did on the workout, it helps me hold myself accountable to actually doing the workout. If I miss a workout due to no other reason than just not doing it, I don’t want to leave the page blank. It’s all about planning your work, working your plan and holding yourself accountable.

I hope this information is helpful to you in setting goals and building your plans for success.  Our minds are extremely powerful and they respond to what we tell them. I have heard people say, “I really want to run but could never run 6 miles!”  Well guess what you never will. Even though you may really want to run 6 miles, you have told your mind, “nope can’t do it” and so you have closed off many opportunities. Be careful of you self-talk.  It just as easy to be positive as it is negative so make it a new habit.

Good luck and here is to a lifetime of successful goal and endurance pursuit accomplishments!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Supersizing Part 2

Today we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic in our nation as are most developing nations.   But the big question still remains. Why are so many adults, teens and children overweight or obese?
Obesity and overweight has been linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, asthma, many instances of cancer and other weight related diseases.  We are told by medical authorities to exercise on a regular basis and eat less as if that was some newfangled idea that countless millions would never have thought of.  
If it were this simple, obesity and being overweight could be linked to the simple equation of calories in vs calories expended or the more simply put “overeating.”  In the book “Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, he states that according to the World Health Organization, “overweight is an imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.”
But is this the genesis of all weight issues?  According to Taubes this way of thinking about our weight is so compelling and so pervasive that it is nearly impossible NOT to think about obesity and excess weight in this fashion.  But is this really true?  I have known many people that exercise for a great length of time each day and still have trouble with unwanted weight.  If it were simply an issue of will power to eat less and exercise more, we would have a fraction of the obesity and overweight issues in this country than we do today.
So if eating less and exercising more does not appear to be the magic equation, is there any hope? The answer is yes.  While exercise and eating in sensible quantities is a necessary part of any good health management and weight loss routine, simply cutting back calories is not the answer. While there is always a sacrifice to achieve anything in life, in trying improve heath and lose weight, the real question is “what needs to be sacrificed?”  Eating fewer calories is simply too general a statement.
Another reason the calories in vs. calories out is not a completely accurate statement is the fact that we are all different as individuals.  Some people can eat very moderately, exercise moderately and gain weight while others can consume thousands of calories each day, engage in no exercise and be thin as a rail. We are all different so taking a look at some simple science will give individuals some information upon which to base their weight loss strategies for their own situation.
So what makes us fat? Instead of defining obesity as a disorder of energy imbalance or excessive eating, we need to identify what regulates fat accumulation. Once this has been identified, we can begin to tailor strategies that will help you lose weight and improve health as part of a lifestyle change.
Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer and exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Supersizing Part I

On a recent business trip, I was patiently waiting for my flight that had been delayed. I was reading a copy of Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss in which he explains how the food we American’s eat today has made us as a population overweight and in ill health.
With the plane at the gate and the unloading of passengers about to begin, I decided to observe those passengers deplaning to see if Moss was right in his claim that we have become unhealthy and overweight as a nation. As the people walked into the gate area, I counted total people and those that appeared to be carrying some extra pounds around their midsection.  Over 90% of those I observed had noticeable bellies among other areas supporting extra weight.
While I don’t mean this as criticism, it got me to thinking why Americans on average seems to be gaining weight and becoming less fit by the year.  When we were in Italy six years ago we didn’t see five fast food restaurants in the entire country. Upon returning home, we saw 20 fast food restaurants within 10 minutes of the airport!  Have you ever tried to eat healthy in an airport?  Finding the arc of the covenant may prove an easier task.
Studies have shown that on average, Americans continue to gain weight and with the increased weight has come an astronomical increase in chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, asthma and dementia not to mention a host of other diseases such as muscle and joint issues associated with unhealthy lifestyles.  This has become known as “Disease of Affluence” or “Western Disease.”  Unfortunately other countries that are adopting more western eating and lifestyle habits are experiencing the same increases in obesity and chronic illness.
So the main question is, “What is making us fat and unhealthy and what can we do about it?”  Sounds like a simple enough question, but the answer is not as easy to identify.  Perusing the heath and diet section of your local book store you will find a myriad of diets from vegan, Paleo, Adkins, vegetarian, South Beach, and the list goes on that promises to cure us from our battle with weight gain and chronic diseases.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will delve into this subject on a deeper level and provide some thoughts as to why we are gaining weight and some things to consider when trying to improve our health and reduce our waistline. While I am not a doctor and don’t recommend you make any changes before you consult with your physician, I do want to give you some things to consider when having that conversation with your physician.
Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer and exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.