Care for a Threesome?

Let’s talk about one of the toughest competition fitness events that you can put your body and mind through. Triathlon.

It’s my belief that triathlon is the single greatest way for you to stay in the best shape of your life. Think about what this sporting event has to offer. Swimming. Biking. Running. When combined, these three activities can’t be matched for building the ultimate healthy body. If you’ve got the guts (and I do mean that), you should give this AWESOME sport a tri.

Before we start… You guys know what’s coming…

WARNING: Working out and exercise can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled or killed. The opinions, stories, and ideas presented here (and everywhere on my blog) are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend getting a complete physical and doctor’s approval before starting any type of strenuous activity. Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to workout and/or race, you do so at your own risk. In addition, working out requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good form. Never bounce or over strain! Now stop making excuses and get in the game!!!

Many people consider a marathon to be the toughest thing you can compete in… Others say that a century bike ride is unbelievably tough… You can imagine what folks say about swimming 2.4 miles… Well… Combining all three of these into one event and pushing yourself in each of them is sick beyond any individual sport. Triathlons will push you like you never imagined possible!

Triathlon is a relatively new sport

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. It was technically started in the 1920’s in France… But, it is widely recognized that the first “real” triathlon occurred in 1974 in San Diego. 46 people participated in that race, including Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan, the two guys who came up with the idea.

“Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!”
— Commander Collins, USN (1978)

Standard Distances

  • Sprint: Swim: 750 meter (.465 mi) / Bike: 20 K (12.5 mi) / Run: 5 K (3.1 mi)
  • Olympic (AKA Intermediate): Swim: 1.5 K (.93 mi) / Bike: 40 K (25 mi) / Run: 10 K (6.2 mi)
  • Half-Ironman (AKA 70.3): Swim: 1.9 K (1.2 mi) / Bike: 90 K (56 mi) / Run: 21.1 K (13.1 mi)
  • Ironman (AKA: Ultra or 140.6): Swim: 3.8 K (2.4 mi) / Bike: 180.2 K (112 mi) / Run: full marathon – 42.2 K (26.2 mi)

    Along with these distances there are several that differ slightly. The one that stands out the most is the “mini-sprint” or “super-sprint”; which is typically about half the distance of a standard sprint. This is the distance I would recommend doing (if it’s available in your area) for your first race.

    First Things First
    To start racing, your best bet is to get a membership at This membership will get you access to join most races around the country. And, you get a magazine when you sign up.

    After joining USAT, buy a book… The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel, who I consider the most knowledgeable and amazing coach in triathlon history!

    Next thing on your list of to-do’s is to find some local races. I’ve found that is a good resource… But, you can find tons of sites by simply Googling, “local triathlon races” or checking out the USAT website. Once you find one that gives you ample time to train for it (think two or three months if you’re in reasonably good shape), sign up and commit yourself!

    Finally, TRAIN HARD!

    A Few Tips and Pointers

    On my first race I learned a few things and I made a few mistakes… Let me tell you guys about some of these in the hopes that your first race can go a tad better.

    I pushed myself hard in the swim and paid for it as I tried to put my bike shoes on. I nearly passed out… Remember to push yourself hard but then taper off near the end of the first two events; which will make your transition better.

    My swim to bike wasn’t the only problem area… I also pushed myself hard to the end of the bike and found my calves literally locking up during the start of my run. I limped out of the transition area and spent the first five minutes hobbled and hopping. When my legs finally started responding I had lost some precious minutes!

    When I started my run, I had forgotten to take my helmet off. Honestly I would have forgotten to put pants on if that was part of it. I was dazed, confused, and lost… Stay calm and stay focused and you will be fine. Enjoy those first few mistakes you make and laugh at yourself. This is about fun!

    One thing that you can do to avoid the calf problems I had is to stand up out of the saddle during your last mile or so on the bike. Ease back a hair and do the pedaling in a way that you can stretch your calves. You might lose a few seconds because of this slowing down, but it beats the minutes you’ll lose if you don’t do it!

    In your transition area, make sure that you carefully lay things out ready for you to change into them… During your race your mind will be all mixed up and the easier you make the transition station the quicker you can get past it. I like to wear socks for the bike and run (some people don’t), so I wear very short socks to make them easier to put on. When your feet are wet, socks are freaking tough to put on! One thing that helps is to turn them halfway inside-out. This way you can stuff your toes in and then simply unravel them around your moist feet.

    I also bought elastic shoe laces for my tri running shoes, so I don’t have to waste fifteen seconds tying them. It’s the little things that will speed up your transitions!

    Get a tri suit (one piece or two piece is personal preference). The bike seat pad in a tri suit is thinner and won’t absorb water during the swim.

    Practice your transitions!


    As I mentioned, you should get The Triathlete’s Training Bible. But, if you don’t I can give you a few pieces of training advice. You need to train in all three sports. And, it’s important to prepare yourself for the bike to run transition by following some of your bike rides with an immediate run. These style workouts are commonly referred to as BRICK (Bike, Run, ICK!)

    After some of my swims I like to leap out of the pool and stand immediately. This is a bit of a rush, but it gets you used to the transition to bike.

    Along with training in each sport, I think it’s very important that you do some cross-training… I prefer weight lifting for my cross-training. And, don’t forget some serious core work. The core is the key to ALL three sports and will benefit you greatly!

    I hope that this article was helpful.

    And, let me know what you think. Also, tell me about your experience with triathlons.

    See you at the starting line,

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

    Distraction Tactics

    This article might or might not be what you expected when reading the title. Essentially I was thinking about how we humans use diversionary thoughts and practices to avoid facing the tough challenges we tackle in everyday life. Sometimes this strategy is on purpose and sometimes it is subconscious and we have no control over it. Even more important is the fact that sometimes these daily distractions can be positive, neutral, or downright damaging.

    Examples of bad distractions might include things like eight hours of television (when you should be working on the laundry), hours of video games (when you should be mowing the lawn), reading and posting on the Facebook (when there is a pile of dishes in the sink)… And the list goes on all the way to dangerous distractions like drugs and alcohol as a means to deal with your life problems.

    Alas, I didn’t start this discussion to focus on the negative, neutral, or other down side of distractions. Instead I wanted to offer some potentially handy advice on how to use distractions and diversionary thinking to your advantage in a positive and even inspiring way!

    A good example of this is one I often use to describe riding my bicycle up this particularly tough hill that I affectionately call, Church Hill, because it is a steep and nasty hill that happens to have a small church sitting up at the top. As I approach Church Hill I know that I am about to get my ass handed to me. I mean this in a good way. It is the acme of my workout, because it is very close to the end of my ride and this ascent is always epic. We are talking maximum effort and maximum heart rate for the entire two minute climb up this steep incline.

    It takes serious focus and determination to make it all the way up this hill staying in the saddle and riding the whole way. Just ask one of my many friends who have attempted this hill and found that their willpower or stamina (or both) just are not ample enough to succeed at this daunting task.

    The truth is, I have a little secret on completing this part of my workout. I NEVER attack the hill thinking about the whole thing. As a matter of fact, I break it into five pieces in my head. The initial phase ends at this sort of hump where the incline changes momentarily. As I start pumping up this hill, I put my head down and I grind it out, thinking to myself, I’m just going to make it to the hump today. You probably know where this is heading… Once I get to that hump, I re-gather my spirit and inwardly think things like, “That wasn’t so bad… Let’s keep going for a little while longer.” From there, I know this one particular house that is three houses up on the left from the hump position. I simply decide to ride to that point, then I will quit, pop out of my pedals, and walk the rest of the way up the hill. Of course, I make it there and take a few breaths and decide to move on. There is a street only two more houses up… Surely anyone could make it two more houses and be satisfied with stopping at that point. By now you’ve got my devious plan figured out

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    . That’s right, I push myself a little further to the Dodge truck parked a tiny bit further up the hill. Then finally I set my sights on the church. Once to the church I am home free, and the hill grade eases up a bit and I see the T-intersection mere feet away. I huff it out and finish the hill.

    I’ve been using this tactic and technique on this very same hill for six years now. You’re probably wondering how I can continue to trick my mind, considering that I’ve done this same thing day-in day-out several hundred times. Honestly I’m not sure how my mind hasn’t caught on, but it truly works. Believe me!

    I use this same thing for runs and even workouts with weights! I find myself laying on the bench saying, “Anyone could do ONE more rep.” You know how this story ends.

    Before closing up the post, I wanted to mention that I’m not the only one who uses the strategy and I did not invent it. I’m sure people have been doing some form of this since the dawn of mankind. Recently my buddy, Andrew, mentioned reading a similar usage in a Navy SEAL book where the soldier talks about getting through BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) and especially “Hell Week.” The author says that he was able to get through Hell Week by going “meal to meal.” Meals came every six hours, so he essentially told himself I will make it to the next meal and then quit. Of course when that meal came, he got some relief and rest and then got back into the training with renewed energy. He would repeat his previous statement and continue working with the intention of quitting at the next meal. He continued in this fashion for an entire week and finished Hell Week!

    I am sure that you have used this idea in something in your life, but hopefully my article inspires you to find other areas in life to use it. Remember, it doesn’t only have to be about workouts. It can be projects at work, yard work, chores, or any number of things.

    If you use this technique, please comment and let me know your super secret plan for success! What could you use it for?

    BTW – I also use this for my writing and even this blog… HA!

    Your faithful meal-to-meal writing buddy,

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.

    Fitness in a Nutshell

    There is a fad that is sweeping across America (and the world for that matter). It is categorized as healthier living. With more than 30% of Americans being classified as obese, it is time for this fad to kick into action!

    Gratuitous Disclaimer: I am afraid that before I talk about this fantastic subject, I must first warn you of the inherent danger associated with it… Working out and exercise can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled or killed. The opinions, stories and ideas presented here are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. You should seek a professional medical evaluation before starting an exercise program. If you choose to workout, you do so at your own risk

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    With that painful dissertation out of the way…

    Exercise is an essential part of life. Without it, our immune system falters, our muscles atrophy, and fat reigns in our bodies. On top of all that hype, I am in really good shape. As I type this Blog entry, my weight is 186 pounds and I have ~12% body fat. I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my life and I am 46 years old. Don’t let my young age scare you away… There are people in their 70’s who are still weight lifting and having excellent results and gains! Join the mayhem!

    There are literally hundreds of reasons to exercise… My top picks are these:

  • Functional Strength – I want to be able to help my friends move into their new house without suffering through three+ days of pain. I also want to be able to jump on my mountain bike on a whim and hang with others without agony and pain afterward.
  • Core Strength – I want my lower back and abdomen to be top-notched. I avoid injury in this area at all costs. It is important to me to maintain a very strong and healthy core, which is where most of your strength originates.
  • Joint Strength – My knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, and elbows used to ache me. Much of this pain stems from bleeds in these joints when I was younger. I fear that the blood has helped to deteriorate my cartilage, etc. Regular exercise has helped to stabilize each of these areas, and I no longer have any joint pain whatsoever.
  • Muscular Body – It is important to me to look good. I do not consider myself vain (not overly anyway), but I do take pride in the body that I have created through tons of hard work. I feel better about myself and more confident when I stand strong and muscular. This conveys in all aspects of my life.
  • Healthy Body – This one doesn’t really need any explanation. My immune system is already in a fight for its life (literally), so every little bit that I can do to turn the tide of that battle I will do. Exercise can lower your cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease, and even stop diabetes and cancer for starters…

    Those are just some of my reasons for staying in shape, but you get the point… Now, I want to address some of the more popular ways to achieve this so called strength and physical fitness level.

    In it’s simplest description, anaerobic training is bursts of high activity that trigger anaerobic metabolism and result in lactic acid creation. One of the most famous forms of anaerobic exercise is weight lifting. Athletes and fitness buffs use anaerobic exercise to strengthen and/or increase muscle. Basically, you work yourself until ample lactic acid builds up in your targeted muscle group and they fail.

    For strength training, most people will try to do between four and eight repetitions of exercise in each set. By doing eight or fewer repetitions, you are primarily targeting the fast twitch (power) muscles. It is essential that you bring the muscle group to complete failure (sometime beyond failure with advanced techniques like negatives, stripping, etc.)

    For mass training (think bodybuilding), most weight lifters will shoot for muscular failure between eight and twelve reps. This allows the fast and slow twitch muscles to be a part of the exercise and gives the most overall growth (hypertrophy) potential.

    Endurance training (and/or trimming) usually entails doing more than twelve repetitions, as this will primarily use slow twitch (or endurance) muscles. And, fat is burned as you keep your heart rate high for an extended period of time.

    The jury is still out on what type of aerobic activity is better than another. I use aerobic exercise like running to burn fat. I shoot for three days per week (with rest days between each session). During each daily activity, I try to workout for 45+ minutes and get my heart rate into a target area of 75% of my maximum predicted heart rate (MPHR = 220-your age). I should mention that I do not believe in this formula, because I am 46 years old and have had my heart rate up to 189! Your true MHR can be determined by a physician using a standard Stress Test.

    This is my go-to (favorite) cardio-based training. As a hemophiliac, I find the bike riding is easier on my joints (hips, knees, and ankles) than running, so I can train more often and go for longer times. Also, for whatever reason, I find riding exhilarating and fun!

    I believe that running is the most popular of all cardio (aerobic) exercises. Probably because you can do it pretty much anywhere and you don’t need any equipment to do it. Heck, many people even run barefoot, although I don’t recommend this. I struggle with the boredom of running long distances, but do like a short 6 mile or so run. If you’re just starting out running, make sure that you don’t increase your distance by more than 10% per week. Otherwise, you’re inviting an injury!

    Except to get from point A to point B, I don’t walk much. I find it boring and it takes forever to get what I want from it. Instead, I will run or use the elliptical. I should mention that I do walk before and after my runs as a warm-up and cool down. I also like to do one walk per week with my wife as a “getaway” for both of us, since we’re soulmates and best friends.

    I know that many people swear by walking, so I didn’t want to leave it out… However, it ain’t my cup of tea. To reiterate, I do walk a good distance each day, but not for exercise, I use it to get from point A to point B.

    I swim a couple of times per year. If I had a heated pool (or indoor) I’m sure I would do this on a regular basis. I think that swimming may be the best way to get a serious aerobic workout. If you do this, good on you!

    There are many other forms of aerobic exercise (far too many to list here). I just covered the tip of the iceberg… But, you get the general idea.

    Stretching is great to help relieve muscle aches after workouts and runs. It’s also keeps you flexible, renews energy, and helps to avoid injuries. For this reason, I believe that stretching should be a part of everyone’s workout plan. I stretch on my aerobic days. I stretch large muscle groups by slowly (never go fast, bounce, or jerk) moving into the stretch and holding it for 22 seconds. Near the end of my 22 seconds, I strive to stretch just a little bit deeper. Also, I only stretch after my workouts, as I have found that cold muscles do not stretch nearly as well and you might even invite injury or pain while stretching cold.

    Have you heard of HIT (high intensity training)? It is incredible! Essentially, it consists of lifting weights two (or fewer) days per week. Each workout is a full body workout and it only takes 27 minutes to complete. On top of the anaerobic benefits, you also get aerobic benefits too. This is because there is very little resting in HIT and your keep your muscles working the entire time by a neat thing called “time under tension.”

    I know what you’re thinking, How can you get a full body workout in fewer than 60 minutes per week? I’m here to tell you that it works. I have been doing HIT for more than four years now and I have made steady strength and mass gains since starting. For the first time in my life, I am relatively injury and pain free. If you wanna give HIT a try, start by checking out Dr. Ellington Darden’s HIT forum:

    Also, I would suggest picking up his book: The New High Intensity Training.

    What do you do to stay fit? Do you stretch?

    That’s it for exercise… If you would like to learn more, simply drop by my forum and checkout the Fitness board here:


    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

    You can rest assured that we will never SPAM your email account, and it’s only used to send the latest articles.