Staying Healthy and Fit through the Holidays - By Coach Amari Holmes

It's that time again...

You are going to be pulled in 100 different directions, (ex: office party, neighborhood cookie exchange, attempting to be the PTA parent of the year who hosts the kids holiday class bash, chaperoning the high school winter formal dance and after party, happy hours, multiple family get-together's (because clearly we need to eat multiple helpings of turkey, stuffing, ham, lamb, cranberry goop)... OK, even writing about all these 'fun festivities' begins to stress me out- no I am not kidding, I am sweating, my heart rate is elevated, and I should be recording this as part of my workout for the day... so instead of falling victim and allowing your health and fitness to fade, here are a few EASY steps to follow throughout the chaos!

1. STAYING HEALTHY = Setting Personal Boundaries

A. Sleep

6nights out of the week, commit to going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. 

Every one's needs are different on this subject, but most research has shown for you to consistently feel good, support a healthy immune system, and balance your daily commitments and activities, adults need roughly 7-8hr of rest/night.  And just a reminder, we all know that the technology should be turned off about 1hr-90min prior to going to bed. 

Create an atmosphere that is calm and promotes relaxation, recovery, and restfulness.

B. Nutrition

Listen to your body! 

Let go of the idea that you "deserve" that extra piece of cake and make feeling your best a priority when you select what you want to put in not just your mouth but your body.

No doubt there are a lot of treats and sweets this time of year, and I encourage you to indulge, but with some thought and mindfulness.

Have that truffle, or couple bites of that pie- but then walk away. 

Live with a deep satisfaction rather than the endless cycle of shame and regret from taking down the whole tray of goodness. 

What and when will make you feel your best- again, hear out what your body wants and needs- it is pretty brilliant!

C. Hydration

Go buy a package of 3-5oz Dixie cups.  Every hour fill one of those bad boys and make sure you drink it within the hour.  You will probably notice you are actually thirstier than that little cup, but at least start with this amount.  Staying well hydrated is key in staying healthy through the winter months.

2. STAYING ACTIVE AND FIT = Setting Personal Daily Expectations

A. Find your Pack

Group workouts and having friends counting on you to show up are one of the best solutions to making the time to workout.

Just like any other appointment on your schedule, I recommend you block the time off in your calendar, gear up, and go.

Trust me, there is something that the whole group or even just that one person gets out of counting on you to come push them.

Peer Pressure at it's finest... Ask some of my clients, there is nothing like getting a text message mid-day because you chose to hit the snooze button rather than come enjoy the sweat out!

B. Create Personal Benchmarks

So there are no true races on your schedule right now- maybe not physical races but there are plenty of races against the clock at work, kids school, shopping, parties, etc...

Why not create a 'race' or time trial that you choose to challenge yourself and see your personal progress on a weekly basis.

Example, every week you run the same 30min route. Instead of just plugging away at the same pace, what if chose once a week to go for it and try to beat last week's time.

There is something about finding the simple pleasure in pushing your body that we forget- throw out the heart rate and power gadgets and just go with it- enjoy!

C. Something is ALWAYS better than nothing!

So you get stuck on a conference call, so what you get stuck in traffic on your way home.... Not every day is going to go as your calendar is so neatly laid out.  And many times, the things that come up, really put a damper on your time and the availability to get outside before the sun goes down now with the shortened days. 

So, again- there are always solutions! 

Put on your shoes for a quick 20min body workout.  It might not be exactly what you planned but guess what, your body will be happy you got in those squats, lunges, planks, and push ups.  Get creative- you are not bound to the same gym equipment, pool, or bike- try something new with friends: indoor rock climbing, tennis, rowing, yoga, whatever your hearts desire.

And even better, ask a friend to join in and redefine the term Happy Hour!

Staying Healthy and Active is a choice- and it probably will not come easy this time of year.

But my hope is that you will be responsible with your choices and time, set some boundaries and expectations, because you deserve to feel and be at your best.

I believe in you!


Motivation by Coach Amari Holmes

What is motivation? The Webster dictionary defines it as:

1. The act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something.

2. The condition of being eager to act or work.

3. A force or influence that causes someone to do something.

Every year around this time, everyone starts chatting about motivation. Days are shorter, holidays are around the corner, the race calendar is coming to a close...

But on the flip side of that same coin, there are those who looking ahead, diligently maximizing their time, while attacking each session with focus and purpose.

Regardless, which 'side of the coin' you reside, we all could use a positive influence or force to pump us up and get our mojo flowin'!

Here are a few ways to keep moving forward and give yourself "No Excuses!" to stay on top of your fitness and training:

1. Get Real.

What would make your 2017 triathlon season a "Win!"???

Do you want to get faster? Stronger? Leaner? Step up a distance?

Guess what... Whatever the goal might be- it is going to take some discipline, dedication to a detailed approach, and lastly- it has to fit your lifestyle and commitments to family, friends, and professional aspects that fulfill your life.  Consistency and Congruency in and out of sport will always help keep the athlete motivated and 'in check'.

Consider sitting down with a coach or individual who has 'walked the walk'. 

Evaluate what you 'say' you want, what it 'really' will take, and make an educated decision to establish your 2017 WIN!

2. Break it Down.

So now that you have your goals in mind for 2017- break down the sport into small weekly steps.  So what if you can't run a 10k off the bike at a 6min pace!

Week one, try starting at a simple interval like 30seconds at that 6min pace, recovery may vary between 30sec-90sec, and repeat for the main set of the workout.

Remember, when adding load onto the body- first always consider decreasing the recovery rate then safely you will be able to start increasing the duration of effort.

Yes, this approach will take weeks if not months to pull off that goal on race day. But guess what, nothing comes without a little sweat - and how satisfying is it to see on a weekly basis you are getting closer and closer to your goal!

3. Peer Pressure. (AKA: Group Workouts!)

No doubt, working out with others can bring out the Tiger in you. The atmosphere will expose your strengths and weaknesses.

Not only will group workouts push you but many times you will learn something new about the science of training and principles that may apply to other facets of the sport.

What do you have to lose really, try something new! Trust me, you can only gain from the experience.

4. Quit Wasting Time.

Time is limited for everyone, especially this time of the year. 

Let's play the 'Instead of this, Consider that' game when attempting to add load onto the body without robbing you of more time away from everything you have going on...

A- INSTEAD OF THIS: Heading to the gym for an hour swim

CONSIDER THAT: Jump in the pool warm up for 5min, throw down 25-75yd/meter intervals with adequate rest for 20min and then head to the weight room for a 30min weights session focused on squats, lunges (forward, reverse, rotational, lateral, every which way), and core to simulate a quick swim to bike brick workout.

B- INSTEAD OF THIS: Riding outside every weekend for 3-4hr in your training pace (aerobic zone 2-3)

CONSIDER THAT: Hit the bike trainer for 1hr, alternating race pace (threshold zone 3-4) to HARD-VO2 efforts (zone 5-6)

C- INSTEAD OF THIS: Running the same route, on concrete, at the same pace

CONSIDER THAT: Find some grass or a trail.  Tackle some rollers or hills for 30min-1hr. 

There are thousands of ways to keep fitness on the body- really, your imagination is the only thing holding you back.  Think outside the box and have fun doing it!

5. Find a Cause.

There are events all over the country to not only get people moving and healthy, but they also many times are designed to bring attention to a specific cause or non-profit.

If you can't get yourself to roll out of bed for your own reasons, think about heading over to one of the local 5k's to either race or volunteer for their purpose.

Whether you are contributing to support others or finally feeling a bit of fire from guaranteed positivity floating around, you will find a new enthusiasm to continue pushing your own limits.

6. All else fails, Take a Breath.

Sometimes, we just need a break.  Part of maintaining the motivation to train week in, week out is understanding that there is a balance.

But guess what, THAT DOES NOT MEAN TO SIMPLY HANG IT UP & SIT ON YOUR DUFF.

No rather what is it,are you metabolically, mentally, or physically exhausted???

Use that same time you had set out for training to regroup: get a massage, foam roll, elevate the legs, focus on adequate and valuable nutritious meals, take a nap and ensure you are getting enough sleep at night, read a new book on a totally different topic...

Notice again, taking a break does not mean doing nothing- there is a responsibility in finding your reset button to help you recharge and get back to what you love doing!

These are all great ideas to keep your blood moving- but at the end of the day, you will have to be the one to jump in and break a sweat.

No one is going to do it for you, but hopefully with these ideas and the many more out there, will help you stay 'IN IT'.

Keep your mojo flowin'... 2017 season is roughly 16weeks away!

Amari is a firm believer in creating a life and training plan that is consistent and congruent - meaning that whatever the goal is, both in life and sport, we need to ensure that our mind and our efforts are focused in one direction. Amari is an Ironman Hawaii World Championship, 8x 70.3 World Championship qualifier. She has been coaching athletes in a variety of sports since 2002 with a wide range of goals from getting in shape to qualifying for world championship events. For Amari the next big thing is, SHORT COURSE!  There is something about going back to the mechanics and sharpening the skills needed to compete with the best in the world.  The goal is to focus on gaining speed at the Olympic and the 70.3 distances.  Again, thinking beyond 2017, the hope would be to take the strength and speed gained next year, back to the Ironman distance the following year.

No doubt, as always, lots of racing on the 2017 horizon- hope to see you out there!

To learn more about Amari Click Here.


Are You Recovering Right?

We know you think about getting 'race ready', but are you RECOVERY ready? All too often, athletes focus so much on the training and execution of a race, they sometimes forget that there is still some work to do in the days following a race. We cross the finish line, grab a banana, maybe some chocolate milk or a beer (please not both simultaneously!), and bask in the glory and perhaps relief, of a race completed.

After completing, stretching is occasionally contemplated, rarely achieved, and many just find themselves doing the "post race shuffle" the days succeeding. So if we spend so much time training and planning before, why are we not thinking about the important things after the race?

Recovery is a discipline that needs to be incorporated into every training plan, no matter what race we do. Helping the body to mend and heal after the intense workout it is put through allows us to grow as athletes and increase our performance. This can also lead to a more enjoyable training experience, perhaps completely changing one's perception of the race in general!

So how do we help the body recover? Well first, we realize that it all begins before the end of the race. Proper nutrition and hydration post workouts, compression to allow for a faster repair of muscle and tissues after our longer workouts, and flexibility training to release knots and elongate muscles fibers, allowing better biomechanics and form throughout training, all help with how we perform after race day. Wearing the proper shoes, both during and after workouts gives the joints the support they need to keep logging mile after mile. And of course, cold therapy, such as cryosaunas, allow for an accelerated recovery of the entire body (not to mention all the other added benefits!).

Playtri can help you with planning and training your recovery.  We have cryosaunas available in some of our store locations with multiple buying options depending on your need. We also carry a diverse offering of recovery tools including rollers, trigger point recovery, and compression. Stop by your local PlayTri store and talk with one of our training experts to get the tools and knowledge needed to ensure you bounce back quickly after each workout and race.


Drills to Improve Your Bike Skills and Speed

Triathlon is Swim, Bike and Run but inherently there is something attractive about having a FAST bike split or the fastest bike split at a triathlon. The bike leg of triathlon is the one sport where you can buy speed as well as find FREE speed.

Free Speed:

  • Pedal Mechanics.  Most people MASH the pedals when they need to be spinning smooth circles.  To improve your pedal mechanics do single leg cycling drills and think about a square for your pedal stroke.  Up your bike cadence.  If you are not riding between 80-100 RPM you are losing speed. 
  •  Bike Handling. Triathletes are notoriously bad bike handlers.  Being able to corner and descend safely and quickly will take minutes off your time and decrease your perceived effort.  To corner better, brake before you enter the turn, start wide and look where you want to go.  If you are able to carry more speed through the turns and hills you will save your legs by not having to push hard to get back up to speed.
  • Ride with a cycling specific group.  Pure cyclists ride differently then triathletes who's goals are to ride at a constant pace.  Cycling pelotons are like living organisms constantly changing, speeding up, sprinting, and taking turns pulling at the front of the group.
  • Head for the Hills.  You may not live in the mountains of Colorado but you can find the biggest hill in your area and do hill repeats on that hill.  Doing these workouts will immediately increase your threshold for cycling.  

Pay for SPEED:

  • Race Wheels
  • Aero Helmet
  • Sleeved, Tight Fitting Tri Suit
  • If you are on a road bike a Tri bike will up your average speed.

If you have more questions about how to improve your cycling you can email me at wes@playtri.com.  If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more, you can go the www.playtri.com/wes


Tips and Tricks to Stay Safe on the Road!

  • First and foremost always wear a helmet when you are on your bike. Having an up to date helmet and always wearing it will be the number one thing to protect you on the roads.
  • Make yourself visible.  Wear bright colors and if you are riding in the early mornings or evening use bright headlights and taillights.
  • When possible ride with others. 
  • Wear a Road ID or download emergency type applications on your phone that can track you while riding as well as having your emergency contacts in the event of an emergency.

At Playtri we offer 8 FREE bike workouts every week.  To see all free workouts click here. 

If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more, you can go the www.playtri.com/wes