Maximizing Your Efforts

A quality that we can all truly appreciate is when a person / program is dedicated to not wasting time and energy. 

I have watched athletes thrive on the Playtri concept that maximizes every minute an athlete has in and outside of their health and fitness goals/workouts.

I want to highlight on one aspect of getting the absolute most out of your efforts and workouts: THE WARM UP AND COOL DOWN!

Who wouldn't want to take advantage of the warm up/cool down, if I could promise - NOT ADDING A SINGLE MINUTE INTO YOUR WORKOUT-

I could teach your body and mind to be more efficient muscularly (both in technique and speed), metabolically (more fat efficient), and mentally (prepped as well as increasing the recovery rate between workouts)...  you would be crazy to not implement these quick and easy modifications to your workouts.


SWIM

WARM UP-

3min Dry Land (this is also a really fantastic way to train the mind/ body year round for those races that do not allow an in water warm up)

25 easy jumping jacks or jog in place to increase heart range and range of motion

15 reverse big arm circles/side to open the chest and shoulders

15 torso twists/ side to wake up the core and hips

10 reach down/ squat down to initiate hamstrings

10 calf stretches / side to lengthen the calfs

10 side and runners lunges

25 jumping jacks this time a little faster than at the beginning of the warm up

Within your normal warmup: after the initial 200 or so yards/meters, simply add 8-10strokes that gently picks up the pace to begin to increase heart rate and response. 

You can also do this within your warm up kick set.  Add 5-10sec of just a bit faster kick and then return back to your normal warm up pace. 

Again this is simply to wake the body up- not looking to set any new records!

Note to Self: this a great warm up pre race as well that can both be done in pool and open water races.

COOL DOWN

Put on your snorkel during the cool down. 

Every swim should have at least 150-200yd/meters of a cool down. We are all very tired at the end of our swims.  By putting on the snorkel, you are able to easily remind / train your body through fatigue to stay on top of the water through a continuous kick and consistent stroke.  This is a huge advantage in open water toward the last few hundred meters.


BIKE

WARM UP

Regardless if the workout is a training pace (zone 2-3) or race pace+ (zone 4-5), your warm up should be at least 5-10minutes long.  Research has shown us that in the older athlete or an athlete who is increasing their load count on a week to week basis should allow their body a longer warm up with a few exercises to stimulate and prepped the body for the main sets effort.

10-15min warm up routine

5min: easy spin

2min-5min: 20sec single leg drill/ 20sec single leg drill/ 20sec easy pedal- focus on a smooth pedal stroke, reducing all 'dead spots' while ensuring you are pulling the pedal through the back half of the stroke

3min-5min: 15-20sec high cadence/ 40-45sec easy pedal- to wake up lungs and prep legs for some work

COOL DOWN

Every workout must end with 5-10min easy.  Instead of just pedaling, go into a very easy gear and keep a 90+rpm. 

Metabolically- increases fat efficiency

Muscularly- increases circulation and is the simplest/ cheapest form of recovery

Mentally- allows the body to relax after a hard workout= the body will be less resistant to the next workouts' stress as you have "tricked" it and it will recall the ease of the cool down over the previous effort


RUN

WARM UP

Those that grew up running already know the advantages of an easy jog, followed by drills, and finishing up with some strides or pick ups prior to their main workout.  Watch the runners prior to their big events- they don't simply jump into the race- they allow the body to ease into the day, while daily revisiting drills and technique, and finishing up with some pick ups that initiate the effort in a controlled manner. 

10-15min warm up routine

5min EASY jog (at least 90sec-2min slower than your workout pace)

3min-5min: 20sec single leg drill/ 20sec single leg drill/ 20sec easy jog

2min-5min: 15-20sec pick up/ 40-45sec easy jog

COOL DOWN
Just like the bike, instead of pedaling, walk it out for at least 5 minutes!


Increase your body's natural ability to burn fat and recovery rate while encouraging the body to recover quickly so that tomorrow you can jump into your next session without hesitation!

Notice- I did not add a single minute into your daily training.  Our goal for you - stay healthy and consistent while maximizing your time and efforts!


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Why FTP should not be your only focus

In the first part of this 5 part series, I discussed the limitations and restrictions of using only the FTP as the sole evaluation of current fitness.

When calculating performance ability, we want to see both our capability through both field testing (ex: FTP 20 min Time Trial) as well as how our bodies respond to stress, removing the mental aspect of load (Blood Lactate Testing).  Without both, you are possibly missing out on optimal training opportunities. 

Why else should FTP (Functional Threshold Power) not be your only focus in establishing current fitness-

#2- How efficient is the athlete in controlling their power at different cadences AND different positions in and out of the saddle?

It is one thing to hit your FTP on the trainer, in perfectly flat / calm conditions, at a controlled cadence.

We want and need options in controlling our power, while maintaining the same effort (heart rate), regardless of circumstances or terrain. 

Just a reminder, we use heart rate as a reference to evaluate how hard the athlete is actually working to produce a certain power.  It is very important to evaluate this, as the athlete is getting more fit, that heart rate (effort into the interval) will drop.  In other words, as the athlete becomes more fit, the effort gets easier and takes less toll on the athlete metabolically and muscularly.

Now back to my point of needing more than simply FTP to know if the athlete is getting more fit and/or on track to reaching their goals.

I not only want my clients to be able to hit their FTP / Race Pace power numbers, but I want them to be able to repeatedly sustain this threshold at cadences and positions in the saddle that mimic complicated race-like conditions, specifically wind and hills.  Most athletes average 80-90rpm on the flats but typically climb at 65-75rpm, depending upon the grade and length of the climb.  Many athletes struggle to maintain and not overshoot power on the climbs and in windy conditions, power is harder control and can conditions may be erratic and unpredictable. 

So when looking at an athlete's file, I want to see that Client X is first able to sustain their FTP for at least 2x20min, at the normal 80-90rpm, in a seated neutral position on the saddle.

From there, I will to challenge the athlete to sustain the same FTP at 50, 60, 70, and even 100rpms. 

Not only am I gauging their power, I am also referencing heart rate to see the discrepancy between their normal cadence interval (80-90rpm) compared to the "climbing and decent" rpms. Again, the heart rate will be lower (less distress muscularly and metabolically over time) the more fit / comfortable the athlete is, at their specific FTP.

As soon as the client has mastered this, I challenge the athlete to maintain that same FTP, while utilizing the four different positions in the saddle: mid saddle, tip of the nose of the saddle with a higher rpm, back of the saddle utilizing a slower more 'paddle boat' like pedal stroke, and lastly standing out of the saddle. 

Ideally, as a coach you could throw the typical FTP interval of 2 x 20minutes at a client and within that 20minutes, you could have the athlete alternating different positions in and out of the saddle AND at different cadences and see if the athlete can control their watts within a 20watt range, while maintaining their heart rate within 3-5beats .  Once the athlete has accomplished this, then we know the client is proficient in utilizing their Functional Threshold Power. 

As an athlete and a coach, I want options in maximizing potential.  Utilizing FTP, while simulating complicated and ever changing race conditions is key!

Look forward to sharing the next installment, #3/5 of reasons why FTP should not be your only focus, within the next couple of weeks.

Happy training! 

Indoor Training

Good Morning & Happy New Year!

With these temps, comes a lot of indoor training.

Here is the upside= QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY!!!

Wanted to send you a few reminders that you need to consider when moving the majority of your training indoors.

 

SWIM-

1- Maintain as much of a consistent body temp as possible in and out of the pool. (wear warm clothing in and ensure you quickly dry off post workout/ warm clothes prior to leaving)

2- Drink water consistently throughout the session.

 

BIKE-

1- Wipe down your bike after every workout.

2- Clean your chain at least 1x/week.

3- Use a trainer tire.

4- Warm up and cool down adequately in every session. 

Your body temp is lower and your response to stimulus will be slightly delayed bc of the colder weather= make sure you stay well below TP (zone 2) BOTH power and hr rate.

Consider including either short drills or pick ups to prepare the body for the sessions longer efforts.

5- Drink at least 1bottle / hour of plain water.

6- Make sure you have a fan or good ventilation to the training area to keep the body temp regulated.

7- Pump tire to at least 105-115psi every workout prior to tightening the trainer to the wheel.

8- Make sure to either completely remove the bike or stress on the tire from the trainer after every workout.

9- Hills= unless otherwise said= climb for 1min at 65-75rpm and recover for 1min at 80+rpm

 

RUN-

1- Warm Up and Cool Down

Again, your body temp is lower and your response to stimulus will be slightly delayed bc of the colder weather= make sure you stay well below TP (zone 2) hr rate & at least 90sec/mile SLOWER than your main sets determined efforts.

Consider including either short drills or pick ups to prepare the body for the sessions longer efforts.

2- Drink at least 1bottle / hour of plain water.

3- Make sure you have a fan or good ventilation to the training area to keep the body temp regulated.

4- Warm up and cool down at 0%

5- Main set of TP or intervals, set treadmill at 1%

6- Hills= no higher than 4% and unless otherwise said= climb for 1min up to 4% and recover for 1min at 0%

 

HEALTH-

Most people assume that they get sick bc getting out in the cold weather- they forget the reality that when it is cold, EVERYONE avoids the outdoors like the plague= all germs and gross gunk literally sits in the air, ready to pounce on your immune system.

Not to mention your immune system is compromised for multiple reasons but to name a few= alcohol, sugar, travel, lack of sleep, whatever your poison, the holidays do a number on us!

Through the winter, I STRONGLY recommend:

1- Vitamin D

2- Turmeric

3- Probiotic

4- Vitamin A

5- Apple Cider Vinegar: 1Tbsp / 8oz water in am & pm, if you have a sensitive stomach start with 1/2Tbsp / 8-12oz water

 

Also, if you happen to get sick (esp the chest crap that is going around)- DO NOT get an antibiotic... WHY???

In short, antibiotics severely disable the immune system and its function.

Immune system= 80% of it is in the digestive system and regulated by the "gut flora," microbes.

Being broad= you have roughly 85% "good microbes" to 15% "bad microbes" in the gut.

Most folks= this ratio is severely skewed in favor of bad microbes, which in turn has the effect of seriously weakening the immune system.
Talking antibiotics= not only are the "bad microbes" killed off, so too are the good microbes= leaves the gut almost completely depleted of beneficial, immune response-regulating gut flora, & consequently a seriously compromised immune system.

 

With this knowledge what is the BEST solution over antibiotics:

1- SLEEP: AT NIGHT! When the sun is down - aim for 8-9hr/night BUT avoid daytime naps as much as possible

2- ELIMINATE: dairy and gluten

3- INCREASE: roughage and berries for antioxidants

4- REDUCE: all sugar and processed foods

5- ELIMINATE: alcohol completely

6- MINIMIZE: caffeine

7- INCREASE: water intake, 4-6oz water/hr outside of training

Keep what you put into your body VERY SIMPLE- if what you are throwing into your body creates more stress and inflammation- CUT IT OUT!

 

Here's to a healthy and fun winter of training!!!!

If you have any further questions, please feel free to email me!

5 Part Series: Why FTP should NOT be your only focus

Many athletes are starting to getting back into the groove - to start the year off, we have our athletes put their bodies through field tests and lactate testing in order to establish new benchmarks. When it comes to the bike, outside of buying new greatest, lightest, most aerodynamic machine one can buy, rumblings of FTP or Functional Threshold Power numbers start to fill the air.  FTP or Functional Threshold Power testing is essentially what maximal sustainable power output an athlete can hold for one hour. 

 

Although FTP is a great predictor of one's endurance performance and ability, it absolutely is not the one only way to evaluate current fitness.

What is athlete's potential metabolically and physically, outside their mental limitations?

FTP testing is done many different ways, but the most well known on FTP test is a 20min time trial.  

There is a reason that the Time Trial Road Race is considered the, "Race of Truth".  If done correctly, it takes almost everything out of you... 

But here is the kicker, maybe counting on a single hand, do the number of athletes in the entire world gain absolute knowledge of their potential in this test.  Why? 

Because our mind is our limitation- when it gets hard, whether we like it or not, we back down- I don't blame you, it is just the way the human body has survived and evolved.  

 

In Playtri coaching, we evaluate three main aspects of a client's fitness: physical, mental, and metabolic factors.

That said, we do Blood Lactate Testing to remove the mental aspect and review only how the athlete handles stress and load metabolically and muscularly.

One of the best things I can do for my athletes is to USE BOTH RESULTS FROM THE LACTATE TESTING AND FTP TESTING... How???

Ex: An athlete completes the 20min TT and finds that their FTP is 280watts, and yet her Blood Lactate Testing exposed that they are capable of sustaining 315watts.

 

This shows, as of that moment, the athlete ALREADY HAS 12.5% MORE PERFORMANCE POTENTIAL TO WORK WITH!  

If you were to rely solely on the FTP, you will miss out on truly knowing where you are and settling for less than your body and training can handle.

 

If you are willing to evaluate your current bike fitness through not just the FTP lens, you will see endless possibilities in your training and racing to stay motivated.

You will continue to improve not just your power output on the trainer but rather make a significant impact on your experience out on the road and/or races!

Mental Training & Motivation

"Ironman is more than just a race to test their bodies, but a culmination to a commitment, made a long time ago!"- Ironman 2017.

I absolutely love everything about this quote.  It is a beautiful reminder that everything great in life, that we decide to thrive in, takes relentless dedication.

When we are willing to establish our goals (because goals do take guts), we are agreeing on a pact or unspoken contract that we are willing to do whatever it takes.
Reality check, goals demand responsibility. 

 

So, what happens when you flinch at the obligation and start to dig your heels in, finding little motivation to do what you said you wanted to do???

Motivation is not something you can fake.  

But let me suggest that instead of getting caught up with your personal resistance, challenge your allegiance and point your attention to what you can do.

 

Check out these 3 aspects and you will find a new gear and a mental edge in your training.

1- DIAL IN YOUR NUTRITION

Any time you are willing to eat better, you will FEEL better.

I could really over complicate this one, but let's keep it super simple:

A. Add greens to every meal. 

B. Pull out from your diet anything that comes from a bag, bottle, or box. 

C. Drop the alcohol. It is no secret, alcohol is a depressant- are you really shocked that drinking one too many suds can mentally take away from your focus???  

Ultimately you control what goes into your body- EAT to feel your BEST!

 

2- CREATE A RALLY ROUTINE

Most of us don't give sleep the credit it deserves.  Watch a toddler who missed his nap or is sick, their last resort is to have an absolute melt down in the grocery store.

Why? Because they don't feel good and they can't find a solution to their frustration... guess what, we too have our own mini-meltdowns when we don't take care of ourselves and this will absolutely impact your consistency and drive. When you are having these moments and are struggling to stick to the commitments of your goal, make sure you have what I call, a rally routine.  

Instead of simply skipping the workout and heading out for happy hour or reaching for the basket of fries, pull together 2-3 recovery methods and prep your body for the task tomorrow.

EX: foam roll for 15min, take a 20min nap, hop in the cryosauna, grab a massage, sit in the sun for 20min, take your dog for a walk... on and on.

This isn't only about the physical strain of training but it greatly reduces the mental stress and will motivate you back to your inward agreement and goal.

 

3- PICK YOUR COMPANY WISELY

My mom used to say, "Surround yourself with people better than yourself... if those around you are 'winning', you too 'will win' one day... "

There is absolutely nothing wrong with removing people, places, and things that bring a negativity or distraction into your life when you are attempting 

to do something you have never done before.  

In the same breath, this is a journey and part of its richness will come from being surrounded by like-minded individuals who demand that you too bring positivity to the table and a special energy to sharpen one another.  

This year, outside our normal Wednesday morning runs, I have started to create small squad workouts within my clients schedules.  They know the accountability to one another, they honor the challenge of pushing one another, and they leave the complaining at the door- they are there to work!

Find your tribe and ditch those that accept or even encourage you to be less than what you can be.

 

Just because you are struggling, and you will have days that you will battle yourself and your goals, focus on what you can do!

This is the mental edge that you won't find in a sports psych office- rather I dare you to redirect your energy and time to what you can control.

"Where your mind can go, your body will follow."