Ken Cooper

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http://articles.latimes.com/2009/mar/30/health/he-aerobics30

http://cooperaerobics.com/Health-Tips/Fitness-Files/Circuit-Training-The-Best-of-Both-Worlds.aspx
https://www.cooperinstitute.org/2017/04/10/strength-training-for-fitnessgram

http://www.cbass.com/CooperBook.htm
http://www.cbass.com/COOPER.HTM
http://www.cbass.com/Aerobics40anniversary.htm
http://www.cbass.com/ClarenceBassCooperClinic15.htm
https://cooperaerobics.wordpress.com/tag/dr-kenneth-h-cooper/

A study published in October in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise provides evidence for the first time that even a little weight training might reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. People appear to gain this benefit whether or not they also engage in frequent aerobic exercise.

The study drew from an invaluable cache of health data gathered at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, where thousands of men and women have been undergoing annual checkups, which include filling out detailed questionnaires about their exercise habits and medical history. More than 12,500 records were anonymized for men and women, most of them middle-aged, who had visited the clinic at least twice between 1987 and 2006. The subjects were categorized according to their reported resistance exercise routines, ranging from those who never lifted to those who completed one, two, three or more weekly sessions (or whether they lifted for more or less than an hour each week). Another category was aerobic exercise and whether subjects met the standard recommendation of 150 minutes per week of brisk workouts. This exercise data was then crosschecked against heart attacks, strokes and deaths during the 11 years or so after each participant’s last clinic visit.

The findings were dramatic: The risk of experiencing these events was roughly 50 percent lower for those who lifted weights occasionally, compared with those who never did — even when they were not doing the recommended endurance exercise. People who lifted twice a week, for about an hour or so in total, had the greatest declines in risk. (Interestingly, the subjects who reported weight training four or more times per week did not show any significant health benefits compared with those who never lifted, although the researchers believe this finding is probably a statistical anomaly.)

“The good news,” says Duck-chul Lee, an associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and co-author of the study, “is that we found substantial heart benefits associated with a very small amount of resistance exercise.” As an associational study, the results show only that people who occasionally lift weights happen to have healthier hearts — not that resistance training directly reduces heart-related health risks. The data, though, does reveal associations between weight lifting and a lower body mass index, Lee says, which might be connected to fewer heart problems. He and his colleagues do not know the specifics of what exercises people were doing — lat pull-downs? dead lifts? squats? — or how many repetitions they did or at what level of resistance. Lee says he is in the early stages of a major study to examine some of those factors. But he doesn’t suggest waiting for those results.

https://firearmusernetwork.com/2016/01/05/strength-training-for-the-elderly-a-life-saver/

http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/walk-dont-run/

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Fitness Crazed

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Fitness Crazed
By Daniel Duane

I’m no scientist, but I sure like reading about science. I’m always looking through newspapers for the latest research about saturated fat and whether it’s still bad for you, or if maybe sugar is poison.

So when I found myself 40, fat and weak, I paid special attention to exercise science articles, in the hopes of getting strong. I found stories about cutting-edge studies that claimed you should do intense, brief workouts instead of long ones.

I hired personal trainers certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine in a training methodology “founded on scientific, evidence-based research.” They taught me to avoid cave man barbell lifts like squats in favor of tricky new exercises on wobble boards and big inflatable balls to stimulate my body’s core.

I learned about the “science” of muscle confusion — central to infomercial workouts like P90X, from beachbody.com. It’s a little hard to understand, but the idea seems to be that you change routines constantly, so that your muscles continue to adapt.

I had fun doing these workouts. Sometimes, when I stood naked in front of the mirror, I thought I looked better. Mostly, though, I looked the same. I mentioned this to an excellent trainer named Callum Weeks, in San Francisco. Mr. Weeks suggested that I focus on one aspect of fitness for a while, maybe strength. So I poked around Amazon and found “Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training,” written by Mark Rippetoe, a gym owner in Wichita Falls, Tex.

The program sounded like an unscientific joke. It called for exactly three workouts per week, built around five old-fashioned lifts: the squat, deadlift, power clean, bench press and press. But the black-and-white photographs were so poorly shot, and the people in them were so clearly not fitness models, that it seemed legit.

The book came in the mail and then I went to the gym and, per Mr. Rippetoe’s instructions, did three sets of five reps in the squat, deadlift and standing press. Then I went home and drank milk. Two days later, I did three sets of five in the squat and the bench press. I repeated this basic pattern, alternating the deadlift with the power clean, for a year, adding a little more weight to the bar in every lift, during every session.

Now for the astonishing part: It worked. I was able to lift a tiny bit more every single time, like magic — or, rather, like Milo of Croton, the ancient Greek wrestler who is said to have lifted a newborn calf and then lifted it every day thereafter, as it grew, until Milo carried a full-grown bull. In my own case, I eventually squatted 285 pounds, deadlifted 335 and bench-pressed 235. Those numbers will not impress strength coaches — I weighed 215, after all — but they were a marvel to me.

This raised a question: If all the latest cutting-edge scientific research says that outdated barbell movements have to be updated with core stability tricks and then integrated into super-short high-intensity muscle-confusion routines, how come none of that did much for me, while the same five lifts repeated for a year caused profound structural changes to my body?

The answer, it turns out, is that there are no cutting-edge scientific studies.

I don’t mean that exercise physiologists don’t conduct brilliant research. They do. I mean that they rarely research the practical questions you and I want answered, like which workout routine is best.

“A lot of physiologists come into the discipline because they fundamentally like exercise,” Martin Gibala, an exercise physiologist at McMaster University in Ontario, told me. “But you learn very quickly that there’s not a lot of research money out there to fund applied studies.” On matters as simple as how many sets and reps best promote muscle growth, Mr. Gibala explained, “We can’t nail down the answer.”

Even if the funding were there, Mr. Gibala says, “That’s not state-of-the-art research that you’re going to publish in the best journals and advance your career.” Instead, he says, physiologists study questions of basic science, “like the molecular signaling proteins that regulate skeletal muscle adaptation.”

You know, those.

Of course, Mr. Gibala and his peers are not the problem. The problem is that everybody in the fitness industry grabs onto this basic science — plus the occasional underfunded applied study with a handful of student subjects — and then twists the results to come up with something that sounds like a science-backed recommendation for whatever they’re selling. Most gym owners, for example, want you to walk in the door on Jan. 2 and think, Hey, this looks easy. I can do this. So they buy stationary cardio and strength machines that anybody can use without hurting themselves, often bearing brand names like Sci-Fit (Scientific Solutions for Fitness), which might more accurately be described as scientific solutions for liability management.

As for personal trainers, I’ve known great ones. But the business model is akin to babysitting: There’s no percentage in teaching clients independence by showing them basic barbell lifts and telling them to add weight each time. Better to invent super-fun, high-intensity routines that entertain and bewilder clients, so they’ll never leave you. The “science” of muscle confusion, in other words, looks a lot like the marketing tradecraft of client confusion.

THEN there’s the matter of our collective cravings. From cable news to the nation’s great newspapers, there is a tacit understanding that in fitness stories you and I want to hear variations on exactly one theme: that a just-published research paper in a scientific journal identifies a revolutionary new three-and-a-half minute workout routine guaranteed to give you the body of an underwear model. So powerful is this yearning — this burning ache to look good naked and have great sex and live forever — that even the best-intentioned of fitness journalists scour every little academic study for anything that might justify telling you that same sweet story, one more time.

Steven Devor, an exercise physiologist at Ohio State University, says that people in his profession have become painfully aware of this problem. “A lot of my colleagues would rather poke themselves in the eye than talk to the media,” he says.

The real harm, however, is caused when this fog of misinformation distracts from a parallel truth. Namely, that athletic coaches the world over conduct applied research all the time, and know precisely how to get people fit. If you train for a sport, you already know this, whether you realize it or not. Anybody who has trained for a marathon, for example, knows that regardless of what some TV fitness reporter says about some uncontrolled observational study with 11 elderly subjects somewhere in Finland, the web abounds with straightforward marathon-training plans that go like this: Every week for several months, take a few short runs midweek and a single long run on the weekend. Make sure the long run gets a little bit longer each time. Before you know it, you’ll be able to run 26.2 miles.

Those plans works for the same reason Mr. Rippetoe’s protocol works: The human body is an adaptation machine. If you force it to do something a little harder than it has had to do recently, it will respond — afterward, while you rest — by changing enough to be able to do that new hard task more comfortably next time. This is known as the progressive overload principle. All athletic training involves manipulating that principle through small, steady increases in weight, speed, distance or whatever.

So if your own exercise routine hasn’t brought the changes you’d like, and if you share my vulnerability to anything that sounds like science, remember: If you pay too much attention to stories about exercise research, you’ll stay bewildered; but if you trust the practical knowledge of established athletic cultures, and keep your eye on the progressive overload principle, you will reach a state of clarity.

More:
http://threestormfitness.com/evidence-based-answers-to-fitness-and-nutrition-faqs/

Military Fitness

2 Comments

Prior to discovering barbell training I did little more than exercise exclusively to score well on the Army APFT and was usually good for a max score or close. After choosing to make barbells primary and now spending almost no time “training” for the APFT, I continue to hit maxes but can now do so against the scoring standards for personnel half my age.

For any of these Cooper-based tests, adding 1-2 sets of push ups and sit ups as a finisher after the real training is done is more than enough practice/conditioning for the test. On non-training days I’ll alternate between 100-200 meter intervals and running about three miles. Starting about a month before the test, this sets me up for an easy max.

Attending an NCOES school, I found it easy to hit the prescribed maximums and then lead others in the Army’s current Physical Readiness Training program (http://www.armyprt.com) For a person following a good strength training program, maxing out on “army pilates” takes about two weeks of conditioning at best. The most difficult part is memorizing the ridiculously-long lists of exercises.

MAJ Long explains why:
http://startingstrength.com/article/why_does_the_army_want_me_weak

More:

https://startingstrength.com/article/a_strength_based_approach_to_the_apft

I have found with any program if you do not believe in it, the results will be marginal at best. Which would explain why some cadets had marginal improvements. I have said for a long time that the Army is a bunch of untrained runners, running a lot, in a box. The problem however stems deeper than just improper programming and useless training. Many times there just simply is no plan because the leader simply does not know what to do. And whats the easiest thing to program? “We are going for a run today”.

I am the company medic for an infantry company. Physical fitness is a huge part of our job. I see every injury sustained by troops before they go to the next level of care, if needed. I see roughly 2 people a day while non-deployed with 90% of those injuries being over use. While deployed I see roughly 2 people A MONTH! Due to the nature of the beast while deployed, soldiers essentially do what they want for their programming. Their routines involve weights. Not running. Unless there is a problem with them not being able to perform their job nothing is said. They do the dumb stuff out of fitness magazine. But they believe in it so fervently the results, if you can call them that, come regardless.

Until the military gets actual trainers dispersed at the Strategic leadership level that can teach leaders how to train troops, and those leaders provide troops with purpose, direction, and motivation regarding PT this redundant problem will remain.

http://startingstrength.com/resources/forum/mark-rippetoe-q-and-a/64903-air-force-pt-test.html

http://threestormfitness.com/evidence-based-answers-to-fitness-and-nutrition-faqs/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/well/move/even-a-little-weight-training-may-cut-the-risk-of-heart-attack-and-stroke.html

https://firearmusernetwork.com/acft-dumb-and-dumber/

https://firearmusernetwork.com/army-combat-readiness-test/

A study published in October in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise provides evidence for the first time that even a little weight training might reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. People appear to gain this benefit whether or not they also engage in frequent aerobic exercise.

The study drew from an invaluable cache of health data gathered at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, where thousands of men and women have been undergoing annual checkups, which include filling out detailed questionnaires about their exercise habits and medical history. More than 12,500 records were anonymized for men and women, most of them middle-aged, who had visited the clinic at least twice between 1987 and 2006. The subjects were categorized according to their reported resistance exercise routines, ranging from those who never lifted to those who completed one, two, three or more weekly sessions (or whether they lifted for more or less than an hour each week). Another category was aerobic exercise and whether subjects met the standard recommendation of 150 minutes per week of brisk workouts. This exercise data was then crosschecked against heart attacks, strokes and deaths during the 11 years or so after each participant’s last clinic visit.

The findings were dramatic: The risk of experiencing these events was roughly 50 percent lower for those who lifted weights occasionally, compared with those who never did — even when they were not doing the recommended endurance exercise. People who lifted twice a week, for about an hour or so in total, had the greatest declines in risk. (Interestingly, the subjects who reported weight training four or more times per week did not show any significant health benefits compared with those who never lifted, although the researchers believe this finding is probably a statistical anomaly.)

“The good news,” says Duck-chul Lee, an associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and co-author of the study, “is that we found substantial heart benefits associated with a very small amount of resistance exercise.” As an associational study, the results show only that people who occasionally lift weights happen to have healthier hearts — not that resistance training directly reduces heart-related health risks. The data, though, does reveal associations between weight lifting and a lower body mass index, Lee says, which might be connected to fewer heart problems. He and his colleagues do not know the specifics of what exercises people were doing — lat pull-downs? dead lifts? squats? — or how many repetitions they did or at what level of resistance. Lee says he is in the early stages of a major study to examine some of those factors. But he doesn’t suggest waiting for those results.

Strength Trumps All Health Markers With No Inflection Point

2 Comments

Dr. Jonathon Sullivan responding to a query concerning possible negative outcomes from strength training:

Where is your peer-reviewed, properly controlled data to indicate that progressively increasing one’s strength with heavy training causes an inflection point to the negative in either performance or “health” in populations? And what is the consensus of the data as to exactly where this inflection point will occur for any individual or population?

Well, it won’t be found here:

In a study lasting nearly two decades involving 8,762 men aged 20-80 it was found that, “Muscular strength is inversely and independently associated with death from all causes and cancer in men, even after adjusting for cardiorespiratory fitness and other potential confounders… Muscular strength was independently associated with risk of death from all causes and cancer in men. These findings are valid for men of normal weight, those who are overweight, and younger or older men, and are valid even after adjusting for several potential confounders, including cardiorespiratory fitness.”

TL;DR: Increased muscular strength trumped all other indicators of health and was the single best predictor of reduced mortality in a 18.9 year study involving 8,762 test subjects and categorizing them into low, middle, and upper strength groups. The stronger people proved harder to kill and no inflection point was found.

Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2453303/

Associations of Muscle Mass and Strength with All-Cause Mortality among US Older Adults
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28991040

Weightlifting is good for your heart and it doesn’t take much
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181113115430.htm

Research indicates strength training may be more effective for heart health and overall health than cardio, especially for older people.
https://knowridge.com/2018/11/for-older-people-weight-training-is-more-important-than-cardio-exercise/
https://nypost.com/2018/11/19/lifting-weights-is-better-for-your-heart-than-cardio-study/

If we imagine some yet-to-be-found inflection point of negative health from increased strength does exist, the number of humans taking up barbell training that manage to reach that unicorn is too low to consider.

Why Weight Training Is Ridiculously Good For You

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Experts say it’s well past time to discard those antiquated notions of what resistance training can do for your physique and health. Modern exercise science shows that working with weights may be the best exercise for lifelong physical function and fitness.

“To me, resistance training is the most important form of training for overall health and wellness,” says Brad Schoenfeld, an assistant professor of exercise science at New York City’s Lehman College. During the past decade, Schoenfeld has published more than 30 academic papers on every aspect of resistance training—from the biomechanics of the push-up to the body’s nutrient needs following a hard lift. Many people think of weight training as exercise that augments muscle size and strength, which is certainly true. But Schoenfeld says the “load” that this form of training puts on bones and their supporting muscles, tendons and ligaments is probably a bigger deal when it comes to health and physical function.

“We talk about bone resorption, which is a decrease in bone tissue over time,” he says. When you’re young, bone resorption is balanced and in some cases exceeded by new bone tissue generation. But later in life, bone tissue losses accelerate and outpace the creation of new bone. That acceleration is especially pronounced among people who are sedentary and women who have reached or passed menopause, Schoenfeld says. This loss of bone tissue leads to the weakness and postural problems that plague many older adults.

Resistance training counteracts all those bone losses and postural deficits,” he says. Through a process known as bone remodeling, strength training stimulates the development of bone osteoblasts: cells that build bones back up. While you can achieve some of these bone benefits through aerobic exercise, especially in your lower body, resistance training is really the best way to maintain and enhance total-body bone strength.

More research links resistance training with improved insulin sensitivity among people with diabetes and prediabetes. One study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that twice-weekly training sessions helped control insulin swings (and body weight) among older men with type-2 diabetes. “Muscle is very metabolically active, and it uses glucose, or blood sugar, for energy,” says Mark Peterson, an assistant professor of physical medicine at the University of Michigan.

During a bout of resistance training, your muscles are rapidly using glucose, and this energy consumption continues even after you’ve finished exercising, Peterson says. For anyone at risk for metabolic conditions—type-2 diabetes, but also high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome—strength training is among the most-effective remedies, he says.

Strength training also seems to be a potent antidote to inflammation, a major risk factor for heart disease and other conditions, says Schoenfeld. A 2010 study from the University of Connecticut linked regular resistance training with inflammation-quelling shifts in the body’s levels of cytokines, a type of immune system protein. Another study from Mayo Clinic found that when overweight women did twice-weekly resistance training sessions, they had significant drops in several markers of inflammation.

More research has linked strength training to improved focus and cognitive function, better balance, less anxiety and greater well-being.

If all that isn’t convincing enough to turn you onto weights, perhaps this is: maintaining strength later in life “seems to be one of the best predictors of survival,” says Peterson. “When we add strength…almost every health outcome improves.”“It used to be we thought of strength training as something for athletes,” he adds, “but now we recognize it as a seminal part of general health and well-being at all ages.”

Read more:
http://time.com/4803697/bodybuilding-strength-training/

http://threestormfitness.com/evidence-based-answers-to-fitness-and-nutrition-faqs/

Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study
https://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a439

Running Fast and Injury Free

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Running Fast and Injury Free
by Gordon Pirie

Gordon Pirie was a British long distance runner most famous for his silver medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in the 5000 meters. The 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of Records lists Gordon Pirie under the Greatest Mileage entry, stating that he had run a total distance of 347,600 km (216,000 miles) in 40 years to 1981. That’s over 100 miles (160 km) a week every week for 40 years! The irony of this is Pirie gives three reasons why runners get injured, and one of them is too much “long slow distance” (LSD) mileage! In all fairness, he does believe in a balance of various types of running and to include strength training as a component.

Running Fast and Injury Free is partly biographical and partly an outline of Pirie’s training approach. From the introduction:

“In the last 45 years, I have participated in three Olympic Games (winning a Silver Medal in the 5,000 metre race at the 1956 Melbourne Games), and have set five official world records (and a dozen or so more unofficial world bests). I have faced and beaten most of the greatest athletes of my time, and have run to date nearly a quarter of a million miles. Along the way, I have coached several of Great Britain and New Zealand’s best runners some of whom have set their own world records. In addition, I aided the late Adolf (Adi) Dassler (founder of Adidas) in developing spiked racing shoes, on which most of today’s good designs are based. This brief list of some of my accomplishments is presented in order to lend credibility to what follows”.

Pirie lists what he considered the three biggest causes of injury among runners. First, few runners know how to run correctly. Improper technique puts undue strain on the feet, ankles, knees, back and hips, and makes injury inevitable. Second, most running shoes today are designed and constructed that make correct technique impossible (and therefore cause chronic injuries) due to a misconception that a runner should land on his or her heels and then roll forward to the front of the foot with each stride. In designing their shoes, most shoe companies fall prey to this incorrect assumption. Third , is an over-emphasis on mileage in training, especially “long slow distance” (LSD). Without the constant maintenance of a proper balance in training including sprinting, interval training, weights, hills and long-running – a runner’s body simply will not adapt to the stresses it encounters on a day to day basis.

His recommendations on strength training are especially interesting. He devoted an entire chapter to weight training.

A race is an all-out effort over a short period of minutes or seconds. The aim of weight training for runners is to simulate as closely as possible the movements used in running their special event, and hence the demands which racing makes on the body. In this way, the body’s strength can be developed, with an emphasis on ensuring that the body is balanced in strength, and not lopsided with one side stronger than the other, as commonly occurs because most people are either right- or left-handed. A runner should be equally strong in both sides of the body – left and right – and have balanced strength between the front and back of the body… Many of the runners who decry the positive effects of weight training have gained their superior strength with the assistance of a good Doctor or Chemist. Others – like Sebastian Coe and Steve Scott – are open about the significant role that weight training has played in their training… You should aim to work to at least two-thirds or more of your body weight with bar-bells. The ultimate test is to be able to lift the equivalent of your own body weight over your head. When you can do this, you will be strong enough for running events.

Before I began weight training, I was a long distance and cross country runner who could grind it out with anyone, but a constant loser in a sprint. A diet of hard weights, however, turned me
into a complete competitor, one who could pour on the pace and still sprint madly at the finish.

Before getting onto the specifics of an effective weight-training protocol, here are some general guidelines about fitting weights into your overall programme:

How often should one do weight-training?
Every second or third day is about right, along with a full running programme (curtail your weights several days before a race). Your weight training should also continue through the height of the racing season. Do not give away all the good training you have done just when you need the greatest amount of strength.

How hard should the weight-training be?
There are two types of weight sessions: (1) a full-out session in which you do all and every exercise as hard as you can; and (2) an easier session with half-dosages of fewer exercises. It is not uncommon for a tired runner to feel much fitter after a moderate session with the weights. These sessions seem to flush out your muscles. On the other hand, the full-out, go-for-it, maximum sessions tend to put the body down a bit, and numb it for a while; so those sessions should never be attempted near to a race day (say within six days). The body does cope easily with easy routines, however, and I sometimes even find that a few exercises with strong weights before a three-hour running session can bring fantastic strength into the running, making it feel much easier. I have always found my best running fitness – when I was able to set world records and finish races in stunning fashion – to be absolutely tied in with my best form with the weights. The stronger I was at grappling with the weights (combined with a lot of hard running), the better I was on race day.

Pirie is basically describing a HLM (Heavy-Light-Medium) template, 2-3 times per week, recommending to warm up light and then ramp up to a weight you can handle with good form for about six repetitions and then increase in each session in a steady, programmed manner from there. Free weights are ideal and lifts specifically recommended include presses (working up to pressing a barbell loaded to bodyweight over head), rows (using 2/3 bodyweight and increasing from there), cleans, deadlifts (starting at bodyweight and increasing from there), and chin ups. This is very similar to the advice given by noted strength coach and competitive lifter, Bill Starr.

Running Fast and Injury Free
by Gordon Pirie
Free download:
https://www.scribd.com/document/13695/Gordon-Pirie-s-Running-Fast-and-Injury-Free/

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-5k-not-the-marathon-is-the-ideal-race/

Mark Allen on Strength Training

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Are you over 35 years of age? Do you have a limited amount of training time? Do you want to reverse — or at least slow down — as many aspects of the aging process as possible? Are you an endurance athlete looking for an extra edge? Do you want to boost power, reduce fatigue, guard against injury and increase your late-race energy reserves?

Well, who doesn’t? And strength training can be the tool to help you accomplish each of these universally sought-after benefits. In fact, strength, or resistance, training is one of the most commonly overlooked means to improve endurance athletic performance.

All too many triathletes sacrifice strength training in favor of additional swim, bike or run sessions. This is unwise. In fact, a well-executed strength-training program can allow you to carve up to 25 percent out of your swim, bike and run volume while improving performance and enjoying better race-day results.

I fought going to the gym for years until I reached my mid-30s. Suddenly, speed work started to look more like steady-state training, and I could no longer override a lack of power on climbs with desire. My race performances started to suffer. I could see that even with a huge volume of miles out on the roads, my fitness was not what it was in my 20s.

Adding resistance training was the next step, but I had a problem. I had no idea how to design and integrate a strength program into triathlon training. I was also intimidated by the gym because I felt like the scrawny weakling on the beach compared to the hulks pushing around weights that would crush me. So there I was, the Ironman champion, embarrassed to go into the gym.

But my desire to win was even stronger than my embarrassment. I was introduced to a top strength coach, a woman named Diane Buchta. She led me through an entire season of weights, focusing on building overall body strength and, eventually, muscular speed.

The results were dramatic. In the first full season I used [a strength program] I won the Triple Crown of Triathlon: the Nice International Triathlon, the Zofingen duathlon, and the Hawaii IRONMAN.

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