Training Recap: March 3rd – March 9th

Base Training Week 10

Training is going well. Last week was a good week, but a little off due to last-minute teaching schedule change and my birthday.

Monday –

I ran an easy 3+ miles at lunch and was packed and ready for a swim after work. I got a call at 4:30 from the Bay Club fitness manager to sub the 6pm class, which I did. So, my swim turned into a spin class.

Tuesday –

I taught my usual spin class at Zone 3 Fitness. I was supposed to do a fartlek run during my lunch break, but I got caught up in meetings at work and thus moved the run to Thursday instead.

Reagan on our walk this weekend

Reagan on our walk this weekend

Wednesday –

Wednesday was a busy work day that left me in meetings late in Augusta. I was planning to swim at the Y and then attend a Junior League meeting, but I didn’t get back to Portland until later than expected. I was exhausted and just wasn’t feeling the swim. I opted instead to ride my trainer. I had a solid ride playing with single-leg drills and various power zones. Workout is below. I also finished up with some core/hip work.

WU: 10 min – build to Z2 HR

MS: 3x15min

Isolated leg set – (R: 0:45@60+rpm/0:15@90rpm both legs clipped in, repeat w/L leg) x2 1min relaxed pedaling both legs

4min@ 95-100rpm, aero, mod. pace

3min@ 95-100rpm, tempo pace

1min@ 95-100rpm, hard pace

2min@ easy spin

Repeat entire 15 min set, 2 more times

CD: 5min easy spin

Thursday –

Thursday was a big training day. Lunch was a 45-minute fartlek run. It was fun to add a little speed work into my run workouts again. I’ve been running so slow after returning from injury that it has been frustrating, but I’m beginning to see my pace become speedier and hopefully it will return back to my peak running fitness in 2012. After work was a 2800 yard swim at the Y. The workout was a mix of endurance and speed work. I felt a bit off, but was still able to hit my T-pace. After my swim workout, I had about 20 minutes to grab a quick light dinner before my pilates class that succeed to kick my butt.

Friday –

I woke up super sore from the day before, mainly the pilates class! We didn’t have pilates class for 3 weeks because of vacations and snow storms so it was a bit of a rough transition back. I decided against my 30-minute recovery run at lunch and just hit up my hot yoga class after work.

Saturday –

I taught another class at the Bay Club and got to see one of my friends who just had a baby whom I haven’t seen in a while. It was a fun surprise! It was also my birthday so I kept things easy today. I took Reagan for a walk in the afternoon because it was a beautiful Spring-like day.

Tried furball after our walk

Tired furball after our walk

Sunday –

I was supposed to do a 90-minute ride with a short t-run, but I was a little hung over from the two classes of wine I had the night before at my birthday dinner. Yup, I’m such a light weight! I did complete an easy 45-minute spin on the trainer though, which felt good.

This week is already off to a good start, but I might have to adjust a few workouts due to the incoming winter storm dropping snow/ice/sleet/rain, etc. I’m so ready for Spring!

Training Hours:

Swim: 0:50 (2800 yards)

Bike: 4:15

Run: 2:23

Strength/Yoga: 2:25

Total: 9:44

~ Happy Training!

Winter Training Blues…




I live in Maine. It snows a lot. And it’s cold. This winter has been no exception. I can’t complain too much because I choose to live here. If I really hated the cold and the snow then I would probably move south or to California. I will admit, I’m definitely thinking south or west coast for graduate school in a few years! Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I could ride my bike year-round outside instead of spinning in place for countless hours!?

Triathlon training thus far as gone well; but, I’ll be honest; I’ve missed some workouts and/or moved some round due to weather. I’ve found that it’s hard to swim when all the pools close early due to storms! It’s hard to run on ice! And it’s hard to get out of bed in the early mornings when the temperature is -20 degrees!

Excuses, excuses! This is has been a hard winter for training. I’ve discussed this with multiple athletes and we’re all in the same boat – spending countless hours on the trainer and/or treadmill! I’m beginning to feel like a hamster – around and round on a hamster wheel I go….

I’m lucky that I live in Maine where we have miles upon miles of trails that I can cross-country ski or snowshoe on. There’s plenty of ski mountains for downhill skiing and several fabulous hot yoga studios to warm up in afterwards. You know what they say… when life gives you lemons, make lemonade…

This past Fall I was out for several months with yet another hip-related issue where I wasn’t allow to run (or really do anything). I was finally able to resume running again around Thanksgiving. Winter began early this year in Maine and I soon found the roads too snowy, icy, and cold. Okay, perhaps I’ve become a total wuss this year!

Due to my injury, I’ve been taking my run training slowly. I’ve missed quite a few runs this winter due to icy roads and have done many on the treadmill (or as I affectionately call… the dreadmill). As much as I love running outside, I’ve decided to be smart and not run if the conditions are bad. I don’t want to risk injuring myself now as I just come back from an injury. It sucks, but I hope in the long run, it will pay off. Instead, I’ve spent more time on my bike than I have in a long while during base training and also strength training.

Oh, have I missed strength training! I’ve been participating in one or two circuit classes at Zone 3 Fitness (where I teach spin classes!) and a Pilates class once a week. In just a few short weeks I have already felt a difference in strength, especially in my core and hip region.

Source (Photo by Francis Bompard/Agence/Zoom/Getty Images)

Source (Photo by Francis Bompard/Agence/Zoom/Getty Images)

Here are a few of my tips to get through this cold and snowy winter:

  • Can’t run? Try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing!
  • Feeling weak? Add strength training into your training program. You can hit the gym or try out various strength-focused classes at a gym or studio.
  • Cold? Try a hot yoga class. Your muscles will thank you and you’ll warm up fast!
  • Bored on the trainer? Try watching a movie or listen to podcasts. Also add intervals into your workout to break up the time and for a more productive workout. Check out three workouts that I posted a month ago: A Few of My Favorite Indoor Trainer Rides!
  • Tired of the same ole’ routine? Try something new. Have you always wanted to try boxing? Or martial arts? Do something to keep you motivated and moving!

Spring will be here in about 6 weeks. At least on the calendar it will. Who knows when all this snow will melt though! Sometimes you just need to embrace the “suck” of winter and stay active. Just remember, athletes are made in the winter months! It may be cold and snowy, but there are plenty of ways to get in shape for the summer season.

~ Happy Training!

Monthly Training Recap: January

Hello bike trainer!

Hello bike trainer!

The first month of 2014 is already done! Whew… time does fly. January 1at marked the official beginning on my Annual Training Plan (ATP), although I really began base training in December. As I mentioned in a few of my posts, I decided to coach myself this year. I decided this for two main reasons: 1) I want to save some money, and 2) I wanted to try new training methods on myself before I “prescribe” them for my athletes. One of the biggest rules of personal training… never have a client do an exercise that you have not tried yourself.

So far things are going well. I had a decent start, but have missed some workouts due to weather and making changes to my schedule because of my teaching schedule. Let’s recap each sport:


I only swam once in January. Not a good start in this department! I get a corporate discount to my local YMCA through work and thus decided to wait to begin swimming until my membership at the Y began. My application got held up a bit in the office and thus my membership began two weeks later than I had hoped for. Yes, I could have swum at other pools but I didn’t want to pay the $3-$5 pool fee each time I went. My first swim went well though! I swam once in November since IMLP and that swim was a complete disaster. I really thought I was going to drown; it was that bad. However, I was completely fine and was hitting about 5 seconds slower than my normal 100 yard pace.


I spent A LOT of time on my bike and also a spin bike. I taught four spin classes in January and will be teaching at least 7 in February. I include these workouts in my training plan because I am participating in class on a bike. However, I do prioritize my own bike workouts outside of spin class. I generally aim for 3 rides a week, but sometimes only get 2 in depending on Junior League meeting schedules. My main triathlon goal this year is to rebuild my power on the bike and I believe that I am on the right path to do so. I was supposed to complete my first Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test this past Wednesday, but I wasn’t feeling well and thus have decided to postpone it until next week. I have been training on the bike based on HR and feel for the past two months while I regained some cardiovascular fitness and now I plan to transition to power-based training.


This winter has plain sucked for running! I’ve discussed this numerous times with my Chiropractor as she is training for the Boston Marathon in April. Since I am recovering from yet another hip issue, I decided to be smart about my run training. If the roads are icy and it’s super cold out, then I hit my bike trainer instead. I have gotten in a few quality short runs. I haven’t been cleared for running more than 5 miles at a time, so I’ve been focusing on taking it easy and just running in my endurance zone. My pace is extremely slow! Like 11-12 minute miles! Back in my peak running shape in 2012, I was running in my endurance zone at a 8:45-9:20/mile pace. Urgh! Patience my dear!


I’ve been strength training like a boss! This is the area that I have really excelled in lately, which is good for me because I miss strength training and my hip needs the strength gains. Since I began teaching at Zone 3 Fitness, I have access to all their classes, which are awesome! If you live in the Greater Portland (Maine) region then I highly recommend you check them out. There is a free Seven Day pass on their website HERE!

The Base Training phase is a perfect time to focus on one's weaknesses within the sport of triathlon.

The Base Training phase is a perfect time to focus on one’s weaknesses within the sport of triathlon.

Goals for February:

  • Swim 2-3x a week – My goal is to swim at least once or twice a week during my lunch break if my schedule allows and once or twice a week in the evenings or the weekend. If I can swim a 4th day that would be awesome. My focus is mainly to get comfortable again in the water.
  • Run at least 3x a week and build up my mileage – My main goal here is to do it injury free and thus I need to be careful with building my miles up slowly. My body has already built some leg strength again running, so I know it will come with time. I want to build a solid base here and thus must embrace the idea of slow and steady!
  • Continue with strength training – My body adapts quickly and well to strength training. I find that my body loses weight more quickly when I strength train on a regular schedule and therefore I will include it in my schedule at least twice a week with added specific hip and core focused work as well.
  • Train with power on the bike – After my FTP test I will train using my power zones on the bike to increase my FTP and my bike fitness.
Here is a butt-kicking full body workout for you!

Here is a butt-kicking full body workout for you!

 ~ Happy Training!

Periodization Basics: Base Training

The Base Training phase is a perfect time to focus on one's weaknesses within the sport of triathlon.

The Base Training phase is a perfect time to focus on one’s weaknesses within the sport of triathlon.

Periodization is generally broken into 4-5 phases or mesocycles: base building (general preparatory), strength, speed, racing & maintenance (competition phase) and recovery (off-season).

Base building is one of the most important phases of an athlete’s annual training plan because the base phase sets the stage for the year. The major goals of this phase are:

  • Build cardiovascular and muscular endurance
  • Improve VO2max
  • Build base mileage and distance of long workouts

Joe Friel once said “As much as 80% of race-day fitness comes from the base period.” (Ch 25; Triathlon Science)

The amount of time spent in the base phase can vary depending on the athlete’s goals and fitness, but generally lasts between 12 to 16 weeks in duration. The base phase is mainly about training for time and mileage to build cardiovascular fitness, but not for speed.

The first and most important step for any athlete in the base phase is to assess their “limiting factors,” i.e. their weaknesses within the sport. Perhaps the triathlete is a weak swimmer or lacks power on the bike. What ever the athlete’s weakness may be, the base phase is the perfect time to focus on those weaknesses.

Once weaknesses are determined and goals are set, the coach and/or triathlete must determine how much time in the athlete’s life can reasonably be devoted to training.


Most triathletes tend to be weakest at swimming because swimming is very technical. For athletes looking to improve in swimming, frequency of swimming becomes arguably the most important aspect of training. Usually a minimum of three 60-minute sessions per week is recommended for skilled swimmers. Novice swimmers might need shorter and more frequent sessions to see improvements.

The energy systems that the coach and/athlete choose to focus on during the base phase are unique to the individual needs of the athlete. However, they generally include improving the aerobic capacity, developing anaerobic power, maintaining aerobic and anaerobic endurance, and improving stroke technique and mechanics.


The intensity and duration for a large majority of base phase training can be described as relatively low intensity with increasing duration. It is important early in the base training phase to determine proper intensity through field or laboratory-based testing. Field testing is most often utilized for the everyday athlete. Athletes who train with a power meter should undergo a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test to determine proper power zones while athletes training with a Heart Rate (HR) monitor should undergo a HR test to determine proper HR zones.

During the base training phase, triathletes should spend about 50% of their total weekly training volume (hours) on the bike. This normally translates to about 3-5 workouts per week. One to two workouts will be steady-state endurance, one workout will address power and/or neuromuscular development, and then one or two workouts will focus on race-specific demands.

Steady-State Training – Generally longer rides performed nearly exclusively at the aerobic base intensity that is defined as 55-75% of FTP (power-based training) or 60-70% of maximum HR (HR-based training)

Neuromuscular Development – This type of development is generally achieved through either sprinting or big-gear work. Neuromuscular training in cycling is all about recruiting the maximum number of muscle fibers to produce peak force and power.

Race-Specific Demands – Each race an athlete competes in has certain features that make it unique, such as big hills, long windy flats, etc. Athletes should focus on training for these conditions. Also, distance is important, such as Ironman vs. sprint distance.


The classic base training protocol for running is to perform low intensity, high mileage; however, exercise physiology research is still debating if this method is best for athletic performance. Some newer research has suggested that athletes should spend 80% of their training at or below aerobic threshold and 20% of their training at higher intensity. Most triathletes train using HR for running. A widely accepted training concept for run base training is designed around running in the aerobic endurance zone, which is generally defined as 60-70% of maximum HR. Phil Maffetone, a legendary endurance sport coach, suggests subtracting your age from 180 and using that number as your maximum HR during base training. For example, if you are 40, your maximum aerobic HR would be 140bpm. Over time, your running speed will increase at the same HR because your cardiovascular fitness has improved. Another age old training protocol is increasing training load (volume – either time or mileage) by no more than 10% each week. Science has yet to support this concept, but incorporating rest or recovery weeks is key to a good periodized training plan to reduce injury potential.


  • Builds cardiovascular and endurance fitness
  • Improves VO2max
  • Intensity is generally performed at low intensity (55-75% of FTP and/or 60-70% of  Max HR)
  • A good time to focus on weaknesses in each or one particular sport

~ Happy Training!

Launch Party Specials!

In honor of the official launch of Big Sky Multisport Coaching & Personal Training I am offering a few discounts to new clients! The offers are good through the end of the month! So check them out and contact me through the “Contact Form” below. I hope to hear from some of you! 🙂


~ Happy Training!

Big Sky Multisport Coaching: The Official Launch!

As you have probably seen and I have mentioned a few times before, my blog/website has grown and changed over the past few months and I’m finally excited to say…

I am officially launching my personal training and endurance sport coaching business!


I’ve been working behind the scenes to dot my “I’s” and cross my “T’s” to get everything in order to make this little dream of mine into reality.

First, I would like to give a big shout-out to my very talented cousin, Chris, at Blue Planet Graphics for designing my awesome logo for me! If you’re in the market for a logo, graphic design, or car wrapping then check out his business at Blue Planet Graphics.

Currently I am offering the following services:

  • Triathlon Coaching
    • Monthly Coaching at two different levels to meet your athletic goals while being wallet friendly
    • Pre-built plans for various distance races
  • Single-Sport Coaching (monthly or pre-built)
    • Cycling
    • Running
  • Personal Training
    • At home, your gym, or anywhere you like
    • At Zone 3 Fitness
    • Online structured monthly programs
  • Fitness Class Instruction
    • I currently teach a Spin & Core class Tuesday nights at 5:45 at Zone 3 Fitness
    • Small group training and/or boot-camp classes
  • Writing
    • Freelance writing in fitness, health, and/or science

As always, I will continue to write weekly in my blog on topics ranging from my own personal training stories to exercise physiology and fitness to travel and everything in between. If you ever have any blog post suggestions please feel free to contact me using the “Contact Me” tab in the above Main Menu.

You can connect with me through the following social media platforms:





So please check out what I offer and share with your friends, families and co-workers! Fitness and endurance sports are my passion and I love helping others achieve their goals. So let me help you reach your goals in 2014! 🙂

Thank you all for the wonderful support!

~ Happy Training!

Periodization Basics

If you have a coach or are following a solid, structured training plan then you may be familiar with the term periodization. Not only is (and should) periodization be part of endurance training, but also strength training programs as well.

Periodization can be defined as training for specific physiological benefits, such as cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed, and power. Periodization began its roots with Hans Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) model, which describes the body’s biological response to stress. Leo Metveyev and Tudor Bompa are considered the modern-day fathers of periodization.

Periodization is divided into three cycles:

  1. Macrocycle – The overall phase of your training plan. This generally tends to be a 12-month time frame, but could be 3-5 years depending on an athlete’s goals, i.e. competing at the Olympics.
  2. Mesocycle – The mesocycle is the number of continuous weeks of specific training that emphasizes a type of physical adaptation, i.e. strength or speed.
  3. Microcycle – The microcycle is typically a one or two-week cycle that includes daily variations in your training plan.

In order to fully understand the concept of periodization, one must understand the six basic principles of exercise physiology:

  1. Stress – In order to build endurance, strength, speed, and/or power, you must stress each of these physiological systems in order to grow and adapt in these areas.
  2. Adaptation – Your body will adapt to physiological stress over time. This is how the body becomes fitter, stronger, and faster. Adaptation in a nutshell is the body’s response to physical stress.
  3. Progression – Over time the body will adapt to its current training and thus in order for your body to continue to improve, you must increase and change stresses.
  4. Specificity – Training should be specific. If you want to build more power on the bike, then you must train for power on the bike!
  5. Individualization – Every person is unique and responses differently to training stress. Training plans should be specific to an individual to maximize the outcome.
  6. Reversibility – Rest is critical, especially a few weeks of unstructured training at the end of the season. Training gains will reverse when extended breaks are taken, so try to be active throughout the year so you don’t lose too much fitness over time.

The body has several physiological  energy systems that it utilizes to produce energy for movement. Here is a brief overview of each:

  • ATP-PC system (phosphagen system) – This system is utilized first by the body because it requires no oxygen. However, it can only provide energy for about 8-10 seconds. This system is used most during short sprints and strength training.
  • Glycolysis – This system starts after the ATP-PC system ends. No oxygen is required to break down glucose or glycogen to pyruvic acid. It generally lasts for a couple minutes at most. Glycosis is often referred to as the anaerobic system.
  • Aerobic System – The aerobic system begins after about 2 minutes and requires oxygen to produce ATP (fuel source of the body). As long as your body has oxygen then the aerobic system will produce energy.

When a coach builds an athlete’s Annual Training Plan (ATP) or macrocycle training plan, they will break down the plan into mesocycles or blocks. An ATP usually breaks down into the following training blocks:

  • Base Building – A majority of athletes will spend most of their training cycle time in base building. Base building generally lasts between 12-16 weeks, depending on race schedule and goals. This block is focused on developing aerobic endurance and building mileage.
  • Strength Building – The focus of this block is building muscular strength. This block generally lasts between 6-8 weeks.
  • Speed Building – The focus of this block is on developing neuromuscular movement and building speed. This block generally lasts between 6-8 weeks.
  • Racing & Maintenance – This period focuses on racing and resting between races. This time period varies depending on the athlete’s season and goals.
  • Recovery – The focus of this block is to recover and rest from a long season. Training is generally unstructured and easy. This block lasts usually between 2-4 weeks.

The above information is just a basic introduction to periodization and training plans. As a coach I love creating training plans based on the periodization concept and the individual athlete. As an athlete, I am a strong believer that the concept works. Over the next few months I plan to provide a more in-depth overview of each training block or mesocycle to help you understand your own training plans. Stay tuned! 🙂

~ Happy Training!

2014 Goals: A Year of Adventure, Stability, and Growth


This year I decided to pick three words that I hope will describe the upcoming 365 days in 2014. Adventure. Stability. Growth. These three words have multiple meanings to me, but in summary the words are synonymous to the goals that I will work towards achieving this year.

2013 started off a bit rough, but as the months passed on, I started to move my life in the right direction – where I wanted to go. You can read my 2013 recaps HERE and HERE if you missed them last week.

2014 Goals:


  • Grow in my job – I have been in my current job for just over 3 months now and I really love it thus far. Throughout my public health graduate studies, I would have never thought that I would find a job in healthcare technology. It was a topic that never really interested me; however, now that I work in the field, I love it. Not only is healthcare technology important in the United States, but globally, where my heart lies in global health and international development. My job is challenging and rewarding. Each week I am learning new skills that will only improve my work quality and also aid in my future career development. In 2014 I look forward to working hard, learning new skills, and furthering my future career path.
  • Grow my business – If you have read my blog for a while you have probably noticed the changes over the past couple of months. I plan to officially launch my new business in a couple of weeks. I started my own coaching and personal training business because it is my passion and I find great satisfaction in helping people achieve their goals. I don’t plan to make a million dollars in my business, but a few extra dollars to help pay my student loans would be nice. I have some interesting plans and opportunities in the future so stay tuned for future developments! 🙂
  • Learn French – This has been one of my goals from early fall 2013. I want a future career in global public health and international development, thus I need to become bilingual, or at least competent at a second language. I’ve been slowly practicing my language skills via software programs, but I will continue in 2014 with french lessons at The Language Exchange in Portland. I don’t naturally pick up language quickly, so this is going to be a tough goal, but it is necessary and important for my future career goals.


  • Become more financially stable – The last couple of years have been a bit tough financially. Last year I took a risk with my career and it did not pan out as well as I hoped. The last couple of years were also riddled with unexpected purchases, i.e. lots of car repairs and health bills. My graduate student loans also kicked in and I quickly realized that about a third of my monthly income goes directly to SallieMae and Nelnet. Awesome. With my new job I received an increase in pay from my old one. I need to buy a new car some point this coming year and thus I have begun to put some cash away for that big-ticket item. I’m still driving my little car until it dies for good (or is going to cost me a zillion dollars to fix). I also plan to stash some money away again into my emergency fund since it became low due to said expensive car repairs. For the past few months I have created budgets and reviewed my spending habits to determine where I can cut back. Going into 2014 I feel pretty comfortable with my monthly budget and I have been researching ways to live more frugally. Stay tuned for that journey.
  • Travel – It’s ironic that one of my main goals is to save more money and live frugally, but I also seek adventure outside the US. I haven’t been to a new country in a couple of years and thus, 2014 is the year I discover a new part of the world. My mind has gone crazy with ideas, but I yet to commit to anything yet. I may travel to South America with a friend, go on a medical mission to a developing country, or take a solo trip to Southeast Asia or Europe. I love daydreaming about traveling the world and I know this year will be the year of an adventure. Anyone looking for a travel buddy? 🙂
  • Volunteer more – This past fall I joined the Junior League of Portland, Maine and have met some pretty fabulous and inspiring women. The organization is built on giving back to the community, which is one of the main reasons I joined. I look forward to volunteering around the community with the JLP, but I also hope to give back to my community in other ways. I have been researching various organizations related to my career interests and will be making contact soon so hopefully I can help in any way needed.
  • Read a book once a month (or more) – I love to read and you periodically will have book reviews on my blog. For a collection of old book reviews click HERE. I’m an avid reader and I usually read daily, whether job related papers or pleasure reading. My goal in 2014 is to finish a book at least once a month; however, I would like to read more than just 12 books a month. Heck, in the past 5 days I have almost finished all three Hunger Games books. 🙂 I have a stack of half-finished books so I will start my reading list there.


Health & Athletic:


  • Injury Prevention – I plan to focus a lot this year on injury prevention and prehab. I was struck with a lot of hip/knee/IT-band issues last triathlon season and I don’t want a repeat this year. Now that I’m confident that my chiropractor and I have identified the underlying cause of my chronic right hip issue, I know where to target my prehab exercises. Much of my issues are fascia-related, which often take 12-18 months to fully heal and thus it will be a long-term goal to return to normal human movement patterns.
  • Weight – I’ve mentioned before that I’ve struggled with disorder eating in the past. I still have relapses often and thus I need to focus on living healthy and forgive myself when I make mistakes. I’m so use to negative talk about my body image that sometimes it is often tough to shake a stick at it. I’m slowly accepting my body and learning to create a healthy body image through exercise and a “diet” that works for my body. I’ve played with different “diets” (note: I use the term diet to refer to food in general, not your typical diet to lose wieght) over the past couple of years and have discovered what works and doesn’t work for me. I will continue on this journey over the next 12 months.
  • Triathlon – I announced my tentative 2014 race schedule about a month ago. You can view it HERE. My “A” race is Timberman 70.3 in August with a few local races spattered in between. I tried to keep my race schedule light this year to save money (racing is expensive!), making sure I keep my body healthy, and also to enjoy other fun things in Maine, like hiking, rock climbing, and go to the beach with friends just for fun (apparently brining your wetsuit to swim is frown upon with “normal” people). I would love to qualify for Age Group Nationals. If I qualify for this coming season then I won’t go because Timberman is so close, but I would consider 2015 depending on the locale. My very, very far-reaching goal who be to qualify for 70.3 Worlds at Timberman but the chances of that happening would be that of me winning the lottery (and I would actually have to purchase a lottery ticket to do so)!


So what are your 2014 goals? Anything fun and exciting? Want to travel together?

~ Happy Training!


12 Days of Christmas Workout


It’s that time of year… we’re too busy drinking eggnog and munching on gingerbread men cookies, shopping for presents, getting drunk at the annual company holiday party, and/or attempting to hang Christmas lights on the house without breaking our necks to hit up the gym!

In honor of the season, I have created a fun circuit-based workout based on the classic 12 Days of Christmas Song.

You start with the first day of Christmas and go through 12 rounds of each set of exercise just like you would sing the song (which you can do while you go through the circuit if you wish!).

Take at least 30-60 seconds rest between each interval round depending on your fitness level.

The exercises:

  1. Plank – The plank is one of the best core exercises you can do! Please choose a plank variety that fits your fitness levels. Beginners can start on their knees and progress onto their toes. Advanced “plankers” can go into a yoga high plank, lift one leg, or use balance boards or the TRX to add difficulty. For more information on how to do a plank, please see this post. Remember to really suck the belly button into your spine to engage your core and keep a flat back.
  2. Pull-ups – Not everyone can do a strict pull-up. I am one of these people. Completing a strict pull-up is one of my main goals for 2014. If you don’t have the upper body strength to complete a strict pull-up then you can use the pull-up machine at the gym, use a band to assist you (this is my preference), or do negative pulls. I love this blog post from the BodyTribe on pull-ups! Or, just substitute pull-ups for a different exercise, such as 30 sec of mountain climbers.
  3. Wall sits – Wall sits are a great way to tone your legs. I remember having to do minutes of these during swim dry lands in high school. So not fun! Place your butt and back against a wall. Slide your butt down the wall so you are now “sitting” in an invisible chair. You want to work towards getting your thighs parallel to the floor. Keep your knees directly over your toes. Do 3 rounds of 20 sec holds with 5-10 sec rest between or if you’re feeling like a glutton for punishment then go for a 60 sec continuous hold!
  4. Burpees – Everyone’s favorite exercise! Start in a high plank position. Jump your feet to your hands and stand up. Depending on your fitness level, you can either just stand up or jump in place. Then put your hand back on the ground and jump your feet back into plank position. Again, depending on your fitness level, you can do a push-up or just stay in a plank. Here is a good video of how to do a proper burpee.
  5. Push-ups – Push-ups are one of my favorite exercise and not to mention very effective one too. Push-ups primarily work the pectoral muscles, triceps, and anterior deltoids. I’ve worked with many women who have told me they can’t do a push-up. By time I’m done with them, they can do push-ups. Most people do push-ups incorrectly. Stay away from military style push-ups, unless you’re in the military and have to pass your PT test. Bring your hand position in so your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width. Make sure as you lower your body down into the push-up, your shoulders are over your hands. I find most people will have the hands slightly in front of their shoulder adding more stress to their shoulder joint. Keep the core engaged and think plank position (straight back!). Lower to at least 90 degrees. Here is an excellent video on correct push-up positioning.
  6. Triceps Dip – Find a bench or chair to use. Face away from the bench and place your hands behind you. Your butt will slide off the bench and you will lower your butt down like you were to sit in a chair. Your arms will bend to 90 degrees. Your feet can either bend at the knees (easier) or be straight out (harder). Here is an article with some helpful pictures.
  7. Hip Bridges – Hip bridges are an excellent glute activation exercise! Lay on your back with you feet on the ground. Move your heels as close to your butt as possible and place arms by your side. Push through your heels and lift your hips up to the sky. Squeeze the glutes and hold for 3-5 secs. Lower down and repeat. Here is a step-by-step guide to hip bridges. Remember to suck the belly button into your spine to engage the core at all times!
  8. Squats – You can do squats multiple different ways, but in this instance I suggest just plain ole’ bodyweight squats. Focus on proper form and keeping a nice straight lower back. This Huff Post how-to is a good little article if you’re not familiar with squats, but don’t focus so much on the little picture. Make sure your knees don’t go over your toes and only go down as far as your comfortable. If you feel your balance is off, place a chair or bench behind you or hold onto a table as you squat down. I find that clients who have had head injuries (or just poor body awareness) in the past need a little extra support when first learning to squat.
  9. Shoulder Presses – These can be completed either sitting or standing. I recommend starting in a seated position unless you have a strong core and good, solid balance. A shoulder press can be done with dumbbells (recommended!), a barbell, or even kettlebells. Start with arms at 90 degrees and slowly press dumbbells up to straight arms. A more detailed step-by-step can be found here.
  10. Reverse Lunges – Lunges are great exercises for the butt and legs. Reverse lunges are especially good at targeting the quadriceps, which are important muscles in cycling. Personally, I find it easier to teach reverse lunges to clients and then progress to forward and finally walking lunges. Remember to keep your core engaged and keep shoulders above the hips at all times. If you have good balance and looking for more of a challenge then you could hold dumbbells by your side or add biceps curls as you lunge your foot backwards. Here is a good article on reverse lunges.
  11. Medicine Ball Wood Chops – If you don’t have a medicine ball then you can use a dumbbell, kettlebell, or even a cable machine at the gym. Stand in an athletic stance with left arms raised with medicine ball above head to the left. “Swing” the arms down to the right side by the right hip as you would chop wood. “Swing” back to the top position. Don’t allow gravity to do all the work by engaging your core. ACE has a decent step-by-step guide here, but I don’t recommend starting with a split stance foot position.
  12. Bent-Over Rows – A strong back is important for health and athletic performance. Too many people have weak backs due to our current lifestyle choices and professions. Sitting at a computer for 8-hours a day can do a number to the body! Bent-over rows can help bring the shoulders back by strengthening the middle back, lats, and biceps muscles. These can be done with dumbbells or a barbell. I suggest dumbbells. Stand with your legs at hip width distance. Hinge at the hip and really suck in the belly button to the spine to create a nice, flat back. If you have dumbbells, palms can face into each other or away from you. If you have a barbell, then palms face away from you. Keep your core still and move your arms up until you can squeeze your shoulder blades together. Pause, and lower in a controlled manner. A good step-by-step can be found here.

And there you have it, the 12 Days of Christmas. As a disclaimer, ALWAYS check with your health care provider before you start any new exercise routine to ensure you are healthy enough to exercise. Not all these exercises may be suited for your current fitness level, please use commonsense and don’t do anything that causes pain or injury to your body.

~ As always happy training and happy holidays!

November Goals

Story of my life...

Story of my life…

Now that October is over with its time for some new November goals, but let’s review my October goals and see how bad I failed well I did…

  • Continue building my running fitness with zone 2 running. About half way through the month I’ll begin adding more speed and Half marathon specific runs to my training plan. The November half is not an “A” race and thus my time goals are not anywhere close to setting a new PR. Running has halted to a zero due to some pelvic issues and thus both half-marathons are off the books for the Fall 🙁
  • Work on core strength and improve my overall mobility and stability. I enjoy trying new things so I plan on trying out BarSculpt at Pure Movement, hit up some yoga classes and also some boot camp-like classes at some of my favorite studios. I’ve been a total yoga rockstar lately due to the fact I can’t do any running at the moment because of my pelvic issues. I also can’t do any strength training because of the pelvis so no BarSculpt until I get clearance from my doctor.
  • Devote at least 30 minutes each day to work on my french learning skills. I’ve been doing pretty good with this, but still need to continue…
  • Clean up my eating and focus on making a majority of my meals at home. With the new Fall weather I can break out my crock pot and make lots of yummy soups and stews! Yay! I’ve been doing well with this, but that damn Halloween candy…
  • Find a place to volunteer at and make contact once I figure out my new work schedule. I joined the Junior League of Portland (which I absolutely love!) and have found a place to start volunteering at that is related to my career interests 🙂
  • Write and update my blog on a regular basis! I’ve been slacking lately, but I have some really awesome ideas for posts. They just haven’t happened yet. I wish I come just connect my brain to my computer and write posts as I think about them (which happens a lot during my training sessions). The transition to the new job as been a bit tough with my schedule so I’ve been slacking a wee bit, but I have some good posts in the future and also a new blog look in the works too!
  • Grow my coaching and personal training business. Hint hint: I’m accepting new athletes and clients! Still working on this (and always will!) 🙂

November Goals:

  • Getting my pelvis back into alignment (literally!). My pelvis is getting twisted again and putting apart at my pelvis symphysis, which is actually quite painful. I’ve been working with my chiropractor to get my pelvis back where it should be so I can get back to my daily routine. Yoga had been helping some and I recently got a massage that released a lot of the tension in my right adductors.
  • Making meals at home and eating out less. I did quite well with this in October and will continue to make this a habit going further.
  • Continue with my french learning.
  • As soon as I get the okay from my chiropractor I hope to begin bike training again on my trainer. Last year I lost a great deal of my bike power and I hope to spend the winter regaining my power back to its 2012 numbers.
  • Continue to be a rockstar yogi! 🙂 I can almost hold a decent crow pose!

~ Happy Training!