Friday, January 30, 2015


I hear from people on a regular basis they want to get into shape or have tried to start and exercise program and failed on more than one occasion.  They seem genuine in their desire to get healthy and make fitness a part of their life but they keep coming up short.

One question that ultimately comes up in the conversation is “Chris, how do you do it?  You have a job, family and consistently workout and stay in shape. Just how do you do it?”  While there is not one answer to that question, it’s a fair question and the first one to ask yourself if you are serious about getting into shape.

Everyone has different motivations for what they choose to do and when they do it. I use Ironman as a means to stay in shape and have a better quality of life. I also choose to get up and exercise at 4:00 am so as not to take any time away from my family and I am at my best early in the morning. For others its different, you have to find what works for you.

Here are some tips to help you get on the right track with your exercise program.

Own the Commitment!  It’s that simple. You have to think about what you want to do, why you want to do it, build your plan and own the commitment.  As I told a friend of mine the other day, you have to want the change in behavior and lifestyle more than you want to maintain your current state.

Remove Self-Imposed Limitations. Self-imposed limitations are things we have in our heads about how we conceptualize our own potential and what we are capable of accomplishing. I am convinced that exercise, training and getting in shape is more mental than physical.  Negative self-talk such as “I can’t lose weight or I could never run a 10K are very damaging statements and program the mind to make them a reality.

Set Goals! Identify what you want to accomplish, build a plan and set goals and have a reward in mind for when you meet your goals.  I am goal driven so my participating in Ironman competitions and marathons are smaller goals to help me with my overall goal of maintaining and improving my fitness. Have fun with it.  Plan your work and work your plan.

Muster Motivation. Find what motivates you and use it frequently. For me its goal sheets that I look at frequently and a list of items as rewards for when I reach my goals. 

Monitor Your Mood.  There will be ups and downs and days you are not feeling it, are sore or just plan lethargic.  Be mindful of your mood and do not let “excuseitis” creep in.  Our minds will do many things to try and rationalize skipping a workout or several. Know when it’s OK to pass such as when injured or sick and have a plan to get going on days when you just don’t feel like it.

HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Diet or Deadly?

With the Holidays drawing to a close many people reflect on the good times with family and friends, the fun they had opening presents and just how much they enjoyed the abundance of good food!  It’s about this time that attention turns from holiday cheer to the scale and waistline!

Some research has shown that people can gain in excess of ten pounds during the holiday season!  Unfortunately it goes on much easier and with a lot less work than it comes off. January is usually the busiest times for health clubs as people have a renewed focus on getting in shape through exercise and eating right.

Unfortunately for many diet soft drinks have worked their way as a staple for healthy eating.  The argument is they contain no calories and no sugar or high fructose corn syrup so they must be healthy and provided some relief to any lingering sweet tooth.

While this logic on the surface seems sounds, consumers of diet soft drinks should be wary of the ill effects diet soft drinks pose to their health. Aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in many foods including diet soft drinks is considered by as “by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to food!

Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug.

According to Dr. Mercola, Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as part of aspartame dangers include headaches, insomnia, joint pain, memory loss, breathing problems and countless others.

Further research highlighted by Dr. Mercola by researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame: brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia and diabetes.          
If the above isn’t bad enough, let’s look at the reason people drink Aspartame laced diet soft drinks in the first place, to lose weight (it surely can’t be for the taste!) While zero calories seems to be logical for promoting weight loss, aspartame does the exact opposite.

According to research shared on, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are primarily promoted to diabetics and those concerned about their weight. This promotion continues to manipulate the general public despite the fact that artificial sweeteners have repeatedly been shown to produce the exact opposite effects.

Research shows that aspartame worsens insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar.  The insulin response to sugar is what triggers fat storage in the body. This, Artificial sweeteners have also been found to promote weight gain, in more ways than one.  The very reason you may be drinking diet soft drinks to lose weight is likely having the exact opposite effect in weight gain, not to mention all the other ill effects noted previously.

HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Is There Magic In Those Ears?

It’s New Year’s Day and I finished my last hard work out before the Disney World Marathon weekend which is just days away.  I am kind of sad the hard efforts are over as tapering is hard for me, but with the aggressive and demanding last month of training, training I have NEVER experienced before, I am actually welcoming the taper and associated recovery and rest.

We are always excited to race at Disney as we have made this an annual family vestige.  Both grandmas, May, Elli and I will all return to our childhoods for a week as we enjoy the magic that only Disney can supply.  Having the grandma’s along is always fun, but it also provides May and I the chance to sneak away and have some alone time as well.  That is if we can actually stay awake long enough to enjoy Downtown Disney.

While signed up for the Dopey Challenge, if I had a chance for a “do over” I would have signed up for the only the Marathon. Always up for a challenge, it’s only been recently that I desired a do over.  Since that is not going to happen, I am hoping there is some serious magic in those big old ears that are so becoming to Mickey Mouse.

Back in August, coming off a very disappointing triathlon season with numerous illnesses and over aggressive goals and aspirations, I set my sights on making 2015 the year that it all comes together!  With IRONMAN Louisville on October 11 my main goal, I decided to sign up with QT2 Systems to help me reach my goals.

While getting my USA Triathlon Level 1 Coaching certification this summer in Charleston, I was blessed to have a large majority of the class taught by Jesse Kropelnicki, Founder and Managing Director with QT2 Systems.  I learned more from Jesse in one day that I had learned in four years prior and knew immediately that if I wanted 2015 to be the “BEST” racing season in my career, I needed to learn from the BEST.  I have not been disappointed.

Since mid-August my fitness has gone from what I thought was really good to being in the best shape of my life!  With an awesome coach in Pat Wheeler, I am going into Disney ready to let it all rip a week from Sunday!  The best part is while I am in the best shape of my life, Pat reassures me we have only scratched the surface and by far, the BEST is yet to come!  That is not only encouraging but exciting. Every race since joining QT2 has resulted in a PR and I am enjoying the process.

This year I am racing at 49 and have always run the Disney Marathon well.   While I have no expectations on the marathon (OK that is really a bold face lie) as my sights are squarely set on IRONMAN Louisville, I can’t help but let the gremlins sneak in a push my inner self to do the absolute best I can for the Marathon.  It’s a pride thing, but if not a challenge, why do it?

I plan to run the 5K, 10K and Half at a recovery pace and actually enjoy the events in a different manner than I have in the past.  While that is easy, it will still take a toll on my legs and my body and thus the wish for the do over. 

With The Core Diet as my fueling plan and some recovery tactics in place, I am looking forward to leaving my mark on Disney with the best effort I can give.  During training I have learned to run a LOT on very tired legs and have built up a lot of physical durability but maybe more importantly I have developed a higher tolerance to discomfort and built some mental toughness. 

I am excited this year to not only have Pat Wheeler and the QT2 Systems team helping me with my training, I am excited, honored and humbled to be racing for the QT2 Team as a member of the Advanced Team. While not the fastest or strongest, I am passionate and looking forward to representing the team with energy, enthusiasm and professionalism.

So the recovery begins and the anticipation for the Marathon builds.  While I am hoping for there is a little “Magic” in those ears, I am more confident in my training and abilities and looking towards leaving it all on the race course come race day.  Who knows what the time will be when I cross the finish line, but I do know I can rest well knowing I gave it my all and represented the team to the best of my abilities.

HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous triathlons, running races, marathons, ultra-marathons, and other endurance events.  He is a member of the QT2 Systems Advanced Race Team and is coached by QT2 Systems. @QT2 Systems,,