Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don't believe everything you read and a few more supplements on my top list

Above is my new logo for my business. At the bottom of the blog you will see a picture of the t-shirts that are now available on my website. The design below is on the front of the shirt and the logo at the top of this page is on the back top of the shirts. They are a great tech material.

This last weekend a few of us went to the lake to do a brick workout. It was really good to finally get back on my bike. I was running so much over the past several months that I rarely (ok, not at all) got on my bike. Saturday we did a short ride, run, and swim at Lake Mead. Today me and Cory went for a ride after I taught spin. My legs were a little tired and my butt now hurts! I know that will go away once I am on the bike more. I forgot how much I enjoy riding. Cory is a good match for me to ride with. We are pretty equal on the bike. When you are looking for a training partner it is important to find someone close to your level. If you train with people above your ability you will likely over train and push too hard. On the other hand if you train with someone who is a lot slower you will not train to your potential.

In my blog the other day I talked about my top five supplements. I forgot to mention a few really great supplements. So many people have trouble sleeping. Sleep is one of the most important things to help in your training. A good night sleep lets your body recover from your training. Two supplements that I like and have personally used are:

  1. Natural Factors Tranquil Sleep
  2. Recovox -

These two supplements have been life savers for me. When I am training a lot for something like an Ironman, I find I have trouble sleeping. As good as exercise is for you it increases the production of a hormone called cortisol. If your cortisol is too high you might have trouble sleeping, trouble losing weight, you may lose muscle, and training may be a struggle. Recovox helps keep cortisol levels low. This is an amazing supplement. I find when taking this I can have a day of hard training and feel as fresh as can be the following day for training.

Now I want to talk about something that really bugs me. Being a personal trainer and triathlon coach I have a lot of people asking me questions about health and training all the time. I give them my opinion, and then sometimes I hear from them, "Well I read on the Internet that....". I have one guy that swims at the club I work at during my swim class. He is an Internet junky. He just recently got into the sport of triathlon (he has done one). He must spend every spare second reading everything online he can find about triathlons. The worst part is he believes everything. There is so much junk out there you cant believe everything you hear or read. What I do for one client might be completely different for another. Everyone is different and responds different to a variety of training. It is very important to take bits and pieces of what you read and ultimately find what works for you. Take it all with a grain of salt. A great example is, all the diets that have come out over the years. Some of the popular diets have been promoted by physicians. Does that mean they have worked or been healthy? The answer is NO! Ultimately what works to lose weight is workout more and eat less. Sure you want to eat healthy foods too but lets face it weight loss is not rocket science.

This is an image of the new tech shirts available on my website at They are really great shirts and pretty funny if you ask me!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

This weekend brick and my top 5 supplements

This weekend I will be doing a brick workout at Lake Mead. Anyone is welcome to join. I will be doing an easy/moderate bike for an hour leaving at 7am from Boulder Beach. A short run will follow. The run will be moderate pace for 3-4 miles. Afterward there will be an easy recovery swim in the lake. Bring lots of fluids and sunscreen because it is supposed to be hot.

I wanted to talk about my top 5 supplement picks. I worked most of my career in the vitamin industry. Because I spent so much time in the vitamin industry (over 15 years) I get a lot of questions about supplements. Let me start by saying there is a lot of garbage out there. Anything that seems too good to be true is most likely not worth wasting your money on. On the other hand, there are a lot of beneficial supplements that can really help you in your training. I have my top five supplement picks for athletes.
  1. Multiple Vitamin - some choices are, Natures Way Alive (with or without iron - must take 3 a day), Life Extension ( requires you to take 9 pills a day), Twinlab Daily One (with or without iron - one daily), GNC Mega Men or Womens Ultra Mega (two daily)
  2. COQ10 - about 100-300mg daily and make sure you buy Ubiquinol form. Some good brands are GNC, Jarrow, Life Extension
  3. Multi-Mineral - My choice is Mezotrace
  4. Fish Oil - I like the Natures Way Fisol product because it is coated and does not break down until it reaches the intestines. This eliminates the fishy burps that you might get from other brands - yuk!
  5. Zyflamend by New Chapter - this product helps decrease inflammation. Let's face it almost anyone (athlete or not) has some type of inflammation. This product does wonders if you have bad knees, back etc. You can take it daily to keep things in check. If you feel a lot of pain you can take up to six pills instead of taking advil.
Do not get a vitamin at Costco, Wallmart, or any grocery store. Go to a health food store and buy a good name brand vitamin. You can also get most of the above supplements at The Vitamin Shoppe. Make sure if you go into The Vitamin Shoppe you check their online prices because sometimes they are cheaper and they will honor those prices. Another good website to shop for the above items is

How strong of a multiple vitamin should you get? That depends on how much you train and how well you eat. You also need to think about how many pills a day you are willing to take. Everyone should take a good multiple vitamin. That is the most important thing to take even if you think you have a very healthy diet. Your multiple vitamin will most likely contain minerals. So you might ask, "why do I need to take a mineral supplement?" When you train you lose more minerals than the average person by sweating. If you sweat more than the average person you are losing even more. This can lead to fatigue, cramping, and headaches. It is good to have the additional minerals as a reassurance.

COQ10 is an antioxidant and provides cellular energy. I take it to feel better, wake up without feeling tired, have sustained energy levels all day and on top of all that it fights free radicals. It is one of the best supplements around. There has been a ton of research on it as well. The Ubiquinol form is the better absorbed form of it. If you take this form you can take half the dosage and get the same results. Always take it in a softgel not powder form. Take a minimum of 100 mg a day.

If you have any questions about anything I listed here feel free to email me at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are you inside fit and outside fit?

A few weeks ago I took a client of mine to the lake. We were going to run and then swim after our run. This client runs several times a week on the treadmill in the gym and is a descent swimmer in the pool at the gym. She does strength training with me 3 times a week. I thought it would be no big deal. We would run and then go for a quick swim in the lake after the run. In Las Vegas it is pretty hot in the summer. We started early at 7am and it was already close to 100. I frequently run outside in the summer in Vegas so 100 was not a big deal for me. We had plenty of water for the run so off we went. I felt great! I noticed about 10 minutes into the run, my client said go ahead and was slowing down. I went ahead and after a while I went back to see how she was. At this point she was walk/running. She said she was fine so I went ahead. Then I ran a little more and turned back around. She was stopped when I found her. She was clearly having trouble with the heat. We went back and she walked most of the way back. Then I said lets go get in the water that will feel good. Well to me it did! She swam out about 50 meters to the first buoy and had to float on her back several times going out. Once out to the first buoy she clung to it for dear life! This is someone who can swim pretty good in the pool. When you cant see the bottom of the pool it is a completely different story.
She came to the gym to train with me the following week. She said (joking) that I tried to kill her! She then proceeded to say that she came to the conclusion that she was inside fit not outside fit. At first I thought she was talking about inside her body but then I got it. She is fit if she is training in the gym. She can run pretty good and pretty far on the treadmill. She can swim good in the pool as long as she can see the black line and touch the end after each 25. She is NOT fit outside the gym. Running outside is different then running in the gym on the treadmill. Outside you have a variety of weather conditions and natural inclines that will challenge you.
The more I thought about what she said the more I realized that a lot of people fall into this category. Those are the people that think because they run on the treadmill, and take spin class, that in a month they will be able to train for a triathlon. To all of the people in that category, I would tell you to do the following before you commit to the race:

  • Go to the nearest open water and swim in it. Do this with someone who is a good swimmer and CPR certified!
  • Take your bike outside (hopefully you have a bike) and find a good course to ride.
  • Go for a run outside on a rolling hill course.

Once you do all of that you can determine how long it will take you to get ready for your first triathlon. A sprint triathlon seems like a pretty short distance. When you put it all together outside with all of the natural elements it becomes a little more challenging.

In summary I would tell anyone training for their first triathlon to ask themselves if they are inside fit and outside fit. Then I would set a realistic time frame to train for the race. If you don't set a realistic time frame you are setting yourself up for failure, injury, or just plain having a miserable time. Triathlons can be a ton of fun but be smart with your training.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back In Action

After several days of recovery my legs are finally feeling normal. The 50 mile run I did Saturday destroyed my legs for two days. I was able to teach a spin class yesterday and my legs actually worked. I am not sure my toenails will be normal for a while but I don't need those to walk!

I get a lot of calls from people wanting to train for their first triathlon. Recently I have had a number of calls from people training for a few of our local triathlons in September and October. It seems to be more popular now than ever before. People see the distances of a sprint triathlon and think that they can do it. They don't think it through. They don't give themselves enough time before they contact me. People think they can do it on their own. As the date gets closer to the event they realize they need help. That is when they call me. In a lot of cases it is too late for me to realistically help them be successful. Some of the things you must consider before embarking on your first triathlon are listed below:

  • Do you have a working bike? If so when is the last time you were on it? Believe it or not people really do think about doing triathlons and they don't even have a bike.
  • Have you recently tried to swim a lap in the pool and can you do it without swallowing the entire pool? People think that swimming as a child and getting in a pool periodically for fun is swimming! It takes months to gain endurance in the pool. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to develop technique and endurance to swim a sprint triathlon. If you have not swam much as an adult give yourself a year to fine tune your swim technique and develop endurance. Just because you are a fit biker or runner that does not mean you will be fit in the pool!
  • Can you afford all the training accessories needed, race fee, and, possibly travel? You may need a swim/triathlon coach, bike, bike accessories (shoes, helmet tools), pool supplies (fins, goggles, pull buoy), swimsuit, triathlon apparel (not a necessity but nice to have), heart rate monitor, waterproof watch, running shoes (good ones), sunglasses, supplements (sports drinks, multivitamins etc.), wetsuit, cold or warm weather clothing. I could continue but I think you get the point.
  • When was the last time you swam in open water? Swimming in open water is NOTHING like swimming in the pool. It will be important to swim in a lake or ocean before the event.
  • How much time can you realistically dedicate to training? Are you willing to sacrifice other things such as going out at night with friends to get up early for a training day?

It is not that I want to talk anyone out of doing a triathlon or marathon. Let's face it that is my job, so the more people that do it the better for me. I do want people to set attainable goals and be successful at achieving those goals. I try to be very straight forward with everyone and let them know what they are getting into. A sprint triathlon seems like it would be very easy. It is far more difficult than you might think. The best advice I can tell anyone is to really think it through before doing it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

50-mile run - Completed

I have to thank everyone who donated to my cause to raise money for the NSPCA by running 50-miles in San Francisco's Headlands run. I want to recap the day and let you know what it is like to run 50 miles of HILLS. When I decided to raise money for the NSPCA I thought I had to do something that would catch peoples attention. I thought a 50 mile run would certainly do that. I picked the Headlands run after looking into several 50 milers. I picked the Headlands knowing, I would have some hills but what I encountered was THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE. I do not say that casually because I think I have done some pretty tough things in my life. I have done several Ironman races and this run was far more difficult than any Ironman. I paddled across the Molokai channel in Hawaii with a group of girls in an outrigger canoe and this was considerably more difficult. Fifty miles in itself is a hard task but add 10,000 feet of elevation change and that adds a whole new challenge.

I woke up 8/8/09 feeling rested and ready to go. I get there and pick up my race number and chatted with a few other crazy people. This race is called Headlands 50 and 100. Not only do they have a 50 miler but there are people crazy enough to do 100 miles. I had a goal of finishing in 10 hours. I quickly realized I was the rookie at this event. Everyone I spoke to had done several of these. I tried to get a few last pointers as we walked to the start line. I noticed that everyone had these things on their ankles and I inquired about what they were. They keep things like rocks from getting in your shoes when running on trails. Since I hadn't ran any trails in preparation for this race I did not even think about that problem. I didn't run any trails for several reasons. Most of my running is alone or with my dogs and I don't feel comfortable running trails by myself. There are also not a lot of trails in Las Vegas. The few that we do have require driving to get to and that wasn't convenient for me.

As we started the run I noticed most people started out walking (we were going straight up a big hill about a mile long). I was trying to jog up it until I realized I was the only one jogging and everyone else was walking! I decided to follow the pack and walk. After about a mile directly up hill I began to jog. The hills in this run were the steepest hills I have ever seen in my life. The ups were as bad as the downs. The hills were miles long. About 2 miles into the run I had to adjust my goal of finishing in 10 hours to just finishing! I made it to mile 25 in 5 hours. I thought that was pretty good considering the hills. At about mile 30 my quads were really beginning to hurt from the downhills. Everyone seemed to be able to run fast downhill except me. I guess this was from not training enough on hills. The downhills were harder for me than the uphills at this point. The next thing to go were my toes. I could tell my toenails were going to fall off because they began to hurt every time my toe touched the front of my shoe. This really sucked because I still had about 16 miles and at least 1/2 of that was downhill. Every step downhill was so painful. I just wanted to be done! At 8 miles to go I began to think I was going to be able to do it. Normally I could run 8 miles in just over an hour. This eight miles took me 2 hours! About a mile to go and I was looking down at the finish line. Yes, I was a mile up and had to go all the way down to the finish. Each step felt like a knife going into my toenail! I made it to the finish in just under 12 hours.
Today my quads are so sore. The thought of sitting down, getting up, or stairs is frightening! I find myself waiting until the very last minute to go to the bathroom, if I have to go. I am pretty sure I will lose 4 of my toenails.
On the bright side I raised almost $3,000 for the NSPCA in Las Vegas. I am so happy and thankful that everyone was so generous. The run though difficult had the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. It was amazing and I will have those images in my head forever. I sometimes wonder why I do crazy things like this. Ultimately I am not happy unless I have a challenge and even though I pushed my body to its limit I did something that most people couldn't even imagine doing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It is getting close

Saturday I will be running 50 miles at the Headlands run in San Francisco. I feel ready to get it over with and get back on my bike. I have not been riding much except teaching spin classes. It will be good to get out on the bike. For those clients training for the local triathlons, I will soon have some organized rides since I wont be running so much.
We had our usual open water swim this past weekend. There was only one person who had a panic attack! There will be several more open water swims before September. The next one is tentative for August 15th or 16th.
Tonight we are having a track workout at the Rainbow LVAC at 6pm. We will meet at the stretch area. Tonight we will do 1/2 mile and mile intervals. Bring lots of water and a towel!
I will probably not update until after my run this weekend. Stay tuned!