Sunday, December 27, 2009

2010 - New and Exciting Things!

Tigger, Daisy and Spec's Christmas presents!

I am so thankful for all the Christmas gifts my clients got me and my dogs. Yesterday one of my clients Jamie gave me these really great stuffed animals for my dogs. They were so cute, soft, and pretty that I didn't want to give them to my dogs. Especially Tigger....he is part chow/lab and gets frenzied with stuffed toys. He is like a crazed beast getting the stuffing out. These were so cute I had a hard time giving it to them but I did! I kept telling Tigger to be nice. He went crazy! Daisy guarded the one that was a monkey. She kept it close by and growled when anyone came close! She acted like it was a steak but did not eat it just protected it!

I have a video below of the spectacle! Don't mind the bike on the trainer in the living room! That is pretty normal I guess in a triathletes house. FYI - it is not always there it just happened to be there because I did a ride that day on my trainer and wanted to watch the Criminal Mind marathon on A&E while riding!

I also got a gift certificate from this really great store at the Fashion Show Mall. It was Luluemon Athletica. OMG the stuff they have is so cute but so expensive. It is really great workout gear!

I have some great things planned for 2010. My personal training business is the majority of what I do. I am trying to expand and grow my triathlon, running, and swimming clients. Each year it seems to get better and better. During 2009 I got some great things started and they will continue to grow in 2010. I partnered with Rockin Runners and will be coaching a running group for them in 2010. I will be coaching the group that is running from the Henderson location. It will be meeting every Saturday at BioMechanics of Las Vegas We will be training for the San Diego Marathon in May. It is a great price for the entire program. If you sign up you will receive a marathon program and be able to run Saturdays with a coach (which will be me). You will also get your entry into the race included in the price! It is a great deal. If you are not interested in this race still check it out because there might be one you are interested in or you may know someone who is interested!

I finally finished an endurance training guide that I will provide to all my clients. I also got a new Tanita Ironman Body Composition Scale. I will be able to provide a great assessment to all clients throughout their training. Here is a picture of the scale and the analysis form.
This scale provides so much information. It provides body fat % and muscle mass in total and in body segments. You can get your total body fat and muscle mass in arms, legs and torso. It provides hydration level, visceral fat, bone mass, BMR, metabolic age, and gives a physique rating on a scale of 1-9. The physique rating is based on the ratio of muscle mass to body fat. It is really great and very accurate. I tested myself and it tested me at 15% bodyfat which is right on target.

In 2009 I got custom Coach Cyndee apparel and I will still be able to offer that in 2010. There will be more items available such as jackets, jerseys, and bibs. I will soon be getting headsweat visors too.

I have been working with several clients one on one at my house on my computrainer. This is another service that I will have available. Clients can get one hour custom workouts on my computrainer. A computrainer is an amazing tool that you can use to improve your biking fitness. You can ride custom courses, do intervals, and hill all on your own bike. It will provide you with great information such as watts, pace, cadence, and heart rate. The workouts are targeted and very specific depending on what you are training for.

In January I will be doing the track and hill workouts again. I will provide more information about these in the future. I will be teaching my usual classes at LVAC and 24 Hour Fitness. They are:

LVAC Rainbow Swim 101 and Mechanics Tuesday and Thursday 5:15-7pm
LVAC Rainbow Spin 1:30 pm on Saturday
24 Hour Fitness Summerlin Spin - Sunday 8am, Wednesday at Noon

I personally am training for Ironman St. George. I will be traveling to St. George to ride the course several times between now and May 1st. If you are training for this event then contact me if you are interested in training with us.

I wanted to pass along a great tool that someone shared with me. It is a website called This website is an amazing way to see how the freestyle stroke is supposed to look. It is an animated person swimming and you can slow it down or speed it up. You have to sign up for their blog (which is great) and download the swimming guy to your computer. I would recommend everyone check this out!

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 - What a year!

The best part of 2009 I able able to train people, and make a living doing it! When I decided to leave the corporate world and train people full time, I was very nervous! It was very hard at first in 2008. 2009 has been much better. I really do have a great time training and coaching people. Not many people can say that about their job. I am very thankful that I can do this! I have several clients that made really great strides over the past year. I have clients that are a lot of fun to train. I have clients that give me grief for the entire hour I train them. It is all really fun and a challenge.

I talked about Annette one of my clients in one of my first blogs. Annette lost around 25lbs and looks amazing. She has not trained with me for a few months but is still maintaining the weight loss. Below is a picture of her before and after. She looks great!

I just returned from the gym training several clients. Karla and Sandra both train with me and have become workout partners. They are a lot of fun to train. Karla has made some really great improvements. She has not lost weight but has gotten stronger. She still struggles with the diet part. She usually calls me the "demon trainer" (all in fun). She refers to the stretching area in the gym as the torture area. We rarely if ever stretch there. That is the place for a lot of core and balance work. She clearly does not like it! Sandra is great to train. She has never given me any grief about doing any exercise! Her and another client I trained tonight Jamie both do whatever I say without complaint! That is a rare thing in my business. Karla mentioned to me yesterday when I trained her that she made cookies for Sandra! I just about lost it! WHAT! Of course Sandra did have some. You guys are supposed to be workout partners! AND Karla you are trying to lose weight so why are you baking! I told her today to throw away her baking pans. I don't have any, why would I want to bake a dozen cookies to tempt me. OR better yet why would I want to give someone who is trying to lose weight COOKIES! Ok you get the point but I do really like training them. As much as a challenge as they are they are great! Karla will get the diet part, one day. Sandra gets it she just needs to do it and get back on track with it. They both put the time in training with me in the gym. But we all know that is not enough.

Mark is a client I train a few days a week. He is going to retire soon, so he is not working much and golfing a lot. He did his first half ironman triathlon this year and did really well. In training for the race he lost some weight and was feeling good. What I have not mentioned is how much Mark likes two things! Wine and brownies on a weekly sometimes daily basis. So once the triathlon was over it was back to the wine and brownies. Thankfully he does still ride his bike, so he is not obese. In fact we ride together sometimes on the weekend. He is pretty good on the bike. A month or so ago Mark came to workout. I noticed that he smelled like alcohol. I said, did you drink a lot last night? He said, "well actually I had some drinks this afternoon with a buddy". I must admit this is the first time someone drank and then came to workout! OK so one time no biggy, right? Well the other day as I was walking into the gym I saw him. He said, "just so you know, yes I have had some drinks" I said great this is going to be a great workout! So I took it easy on him and didn't give him anything too complicated to do. Mark is now in Hawaii for a few weeks most likely drinking wine and eating brownies. Wow what a life! Hopefully he will keep riding so he doesn't gain too much weight! He is supposed to bring me back Hawaiian coffee! Yum!

Alan is another client that is a super nice guy. Alan is not retired like Mark, he works a lot. He is usually at least a half hour late for his training appointments. His assistant calls me to cancel when he can't make it. Usually I can talk people into coming but in this case I can't! Alan always asks me if he is my most wimpy client. I tell him that he is not and when he does come in he works hard. That is unless he is training with other clients. Like my client Anne he tends to try and distract everyone by talking to them. He is such a nice guy and really likes to socialize! Alan thinks he eats healthy but he really doesn't. He like most people does not have health at the top of his priority list. Work is much higher on the list. I am not saying work is not important but there are always things you can eliminate to make working out and meal planning a priority. I have known Attorneys, CEO's, Vice Presidents, that all make it a part of their daily life and some how make it work. If Alan would do this he would be able to be healthier, feel better, have more energy, and not feel wimpy!

I train Andrea and Pam two days a week. They train together. They are in the black shirts in this picture. Andrea refers to me as the punisher. She is not a big fan of doing anything new, kind of like my other client Mark! I did get her to start doing some running and work on the bosu ball this year! This was a big step. Pam is as sweet as can be. She has the same or maybe more love for animals that I do. She actually bought Christmas presents for my 3 dogs. Tigger destroyed his in about 30 minutes. Spec wasn't sure what to do with his. He just watched it so nobody else would get it. Daisy was the only one that actually played with it like a normal dog would. When Tigger destroyed his he tried to get hers. Pam and Andrea are a lot of fun to train.

Anne is also in the picture. She is fun to train too. She has the best personality and is so outgoing. It makes it a challenge to train her because she tries to distract everyone else that is training...... AND she is good at it - talking that is. So usually I have to put her on a machine away from everyone else or make her run a lap. Sometimes I make her do burpe's with weights because then she can't talk because she is breathing so hard! She was the client that ran her first half marathon this year. We are also going to both run the Huntington Beach Half in February. She has suddenly decided she wanted to be a vegan. I warned her that this could be a bad thing for weight control. People tend to eat too many carbohydrates and not enough protein. Don't get me wrong I thing eating a vegan diet can be very healthy. But very few people can do it right. It takes a lot of work to cook and prepare foods so that you don't grab processed foods. I hope it works for her. She said she is just trying it out. She refused to give up her fur or leather so I am not sure she is a full vegan. Robert one of my other clients said she is vegan curious! Just checking it out! She may go back, who knows!

Robert started training with me a few months ago. He is very funny. He has not ever really worked out in his life so that alone is a big change. He is very dedicated to the workouts and recently had to cancel for one of the first times since he started. He said he was more scared to tell me he couldn't make it then calling his boss as work! He was sick so I didn't give him too much grief. I did give him grief the day he came and worked out really hard and then went home and ate a frozen pizza. He claimed the dogs ate some of it but I have my doubts. If he could only begin eating better he would see amazing results. For some people it is about small changes and hopefully the small changes will come for him. I suggested small changes such as eating more vegetables or opting for salads rather than fries at the drive through. Most anyone can do these things and in some cases they lead to other changes.

Unfortunately I can't talk about all my clients or this would go on forever. I really enjoy what I do and the clients I have. Several clients that stopped training with me over the year, I really do miss them! As a trainer you get to learn a lot about people during the short time you are with them.

In my next blog I will talk about some really great programs I will be involved with for 2010!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Off Season Training, My Best Running Partners, and More

I had to add this picture of my dogs. I walk my dogs almost everyday. I tell my clients I don't consider walking them exercise it is just a bonus. I have a client that will tell me she exercised because she walks her baby in the stroller. I told her that is bonus and not exercise! I walk my dogs because they love it and because I owe it to them as their owner. The bigger one in the picture sitting up is the best running partner! She will easily do a 5-7 mile run with me and then walk with the others a few miles. My dogs are the greatest! If you have dogs, don't take them to the dog park and let them run around the park while you stand around. Why not take them for a walk and get the bonus (exercise) I get everyday! Dog parks seem great in theory but they are contributing to making the population FAT! I don't need the walk, I am not trying to lose weight but I still make time to do it. I train people who are very fit (triathletes and runners) and I also train people in the gym who are wanting to get fit. It doesn't matter which category you are in you can still get the bonus exercise (it won't hurt). It may take some time away from watching TV but trust me that is OK! I have another client Carla that works at one of the local casinos here in Las Vegas. She tells me she gets some exercise because it takes her 20 minutes to get from her car to the area in the casino that she works in. I told her simply, this was not exercise, it was bonus! The bottom line is quit making exuses and get your butt in the gym and anything else you do is the extra bonus that may help contibute to making you a healthier person. BTW my dogs get carrots for their snacks, fish oils on their dog food in the morning.......they are three healthy dogs! Oh and they are some of the best looking dogs around.

I wanted to expand on one of my posts about off season training. I mentioned that it is time to do long slow training and this is correct to a point. That is not to say that you will not do any higher intensity workouts in the off season. It is always a good idea to push yourself in both off season training and close to races. Continue some interval work in all areas of triathlon training in the off season. Pushing yourself in the pool will only help you in the future. Doing a good interval workout on the bike once or twice a week is great. Incorporating intervals on the run once in a while will only help you during race season. You may not do as much in the off season but you still need to incorporate it into your training. How much will depend on your current level of fitness. If you are not fit and have not been working out at all then my suggestion might be slightly different.

I currently have my very funny Train With Cyndee Tech Shirts available on my website. I had to take a picture when 3 of my clients showed up in them to train with me at LVAC. Below is a great photo of Andrea, Anne, and Pam all in Train With Cyndee shirts! Thanks for representing!

If you like these you can email and I can get you one. They are also available on my website

The client in the center of the photo finished her first half marathon at the Vegas R&R Half. She was so excited she signed up for the Surf City Half in February in Huntington Beach CA. She got me to sign up too. Several others I coach or have coached in the past are now going to do it. Josh, Nancy, Denny, Adan, Anne and me are all planning on going for the race. It should be fun.

While surfing the Internet over the weekend I came across a really good article on proper running technique. I thought I would include it in my blog because I think almost anyone who runs could benefit from it. I found it on It is by another coach named Rich Strauss an associate of Joe Friel. Below is the article as it showed up on the trifuel site. The best thing I got from this article was to go through the checklist periodically when your running. I tend to run and let my mind wander, when I should really be thinking about my form. I did a 6 mile run this morning and just focused on a shorter stride. Anyway hopefully you will get some good information from it like I did. So here it is:

Proper Running Form
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Source: Rich StraussBio, More Articles
Many people believe that you are born with either good or bad running form, and that there is little that you can do to change it. We have all seen "natural runners," and envy their fluidity and grace. But by knowing a little bit about the physics of running and trying to adopt some of the common traits of all "good" runners, it is possible to improve on what you're stuck with.
Physics: Your body's center of gravity is in your midsection. Any force that is applied to the ground in front of this center gravity acts as a braking force to your forward movement. Picture a runner with an exaggerated running stride. Every time he plants his heel forward of his body, he applies a braking force, slowing himself down. In addition, before he is able to apply force to the ground and move his body forward for the next stride, he must wait until his body has moved directly over his foot. If you look at the form of most good runners, you will see that their feet strike the ground directly beneath their body. Running with this shortened stride is also characterized by a "mid-foot" strike (not on the heel, not on the toes, but at about the ball of the foot) and a high cadence, or "quick feet."
System Checklist
Now, having said all of this, don't watch me run. My wife Sue says that rather than run, I "lumber." But she also says I've gotten much better. This is my "System Checklist" that I use to critique my running form as I run. I start with my head and work down my body.
Head: Neutral position, don't look or down. Try to think of centering your head on your shoulders. Face muscles are relaxed and loose. Try to feel your facing bouncing with each stride. Sunglasses and a hat always help.
Shoulders: Relaxed, loose, but not "hunched forward." Think of "running proud" with your shoulders back, but don't try to actually pull them back. This creates muscle tension and is a waste of energy. Any forward lean must be supported by your lower back, changes your center of gravity, and results in wasted energy.
Arms: Any excessive side to side motion, or swinging across your body is a waste of energy. Try to think of everything moving in a straight line and in one direction: forward. Keep your elbows in and bring your arms up in a straight motion. Hands should be relaxed and loosely cupped.
Hips: Very important. This is the home of your center of gravity. Try to run with your hips forward. Pretend as if you have a rope tied around your waist and someone is pulling you forward with it.
Feet: I changed from a heel striker to a mid-foot striker and I'm convinced that this has kept me injury free. Try it if you want, but just beware. But regardless of how you plant your foot, you can try to plant it directly under your body and your center of gravity. Try running with a quick cadence of 88-90+. Simply count the number of times that your left foot strikes the ground in one minute. It will feel strange at first, but if you practice enough it will become second nature. Also, think "quick feet." Try to make as short as possible the time that your foot is on the ground. I've gone from 82 rpm at my IM pace to 90+. One of the most satisfactory compliments I've ever gotten in a race is when a spectator said "good cadence" to me at mile 25.5 at IM California. I spent a lot of time working on this and its nice to see it paid off.
Miscellaneous: Limit your vertical oscillation: run forward, not up and down. Try this trick: run with a hat and pull the brim down to just over you eyes, so that it takes up half of your vision. Run, look forward, and try to keep the brim of your hat steady on the horizon.
Count your cadence: just like counting your strokes in the pool, I have found that the act of counting my cadence on the run focuses my mind on my running form. Every 5 minutes or so I'll do my little system check above, and then count my cadence. It keeps me in the game and prevents my mind from wandering.
Not good runner, but I'm trying.
Rich StraussFounder, Crucible FitnessRich is a Joe Friel Ultrafit Associate, an Ironman World Championship Finisher, a USAT certified coach, and the founder of the Pasadena Triathlon Club in Pasadena, CA. Rich has personally trained over 250 Ironman finishers since 2001, and helped thousands more coach themselves more effectively through his training articles and active discussion forum. His endurance training company, Crucible Fitness, offers a range of personalized coaching and performance services, including FIST certified bike fitting and metabolic analysis with the NewLeaf system. He also sells affordable half and full Iron distance training plans through TrainingPeaks. Visit for a complete list of services.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rock And Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon and Full Marathon Recap and 23 miler recap!

Have you ever heard of a 23 mile marathon. Read on and you will hear about my version of one! December 6th was the inaugural R&R Las Vegas Half and Full Marathon. I had a number of clients doing both distances and I was doing the Full. I will recap my day and then let you know how all my clients did!

The morning was very cold in the 30's. This years course was new and actually went right in front of my housing complex on Hacienda. This proved to be a critical factor in my overall performance! I was getting a ride to the marathon because I only live about 3 miles from the start. I planned on taking a cab home after the race. My goal was to finish in a PR of 3:35. My best time in a marathon was 3:39. Even though I wanted to PR, I did not have as many long runs as I would have liked. I did have a ton of base from running a lot this year. I completed a 50-mile in August and another marathon in May. I knew the part of the course going from the strip to Durango was going to make it a bit challenging to pull off a 3:35. I was in corral number 4. They had 29 corrals and I was getting annoyed when I saw people in the wrong corrals. If you are supposed to be in 7 or 8 don't come to 4! This is a small little thing that bugs me. Your corral is designated by your estimated finishing time. Basically the faster people in front and slower in the back. So at 6:15 we were off and running. I decided to carry a watter bottle in one of those things made by Fuel Belt that enables you to hold it without really gripping it. I have used these all year when I was training and during my 50 miler. This was the first time I used one in a marathon (and the last by the way). I felt awesome for the first half through mile 13 my time was 1:45. I was right on track. I threw away my water bottle at about mile 10 because my shoulders were feeling it. I slowed down on the uphill portion of the course but not too bad. At mile 16 I passed my house for the first time. At about 18 my shoulders were feeling it and I slowed more but I was sure I could still do 3:40ish. Then I started seems so silly to run 3 miles past my house only to wait for a cab to bring me back home! I kept thinking that over and over until I got to the turnaround on Hacienda. Then I was more on track to do a 3:45-55ish. I decided (pretty easily I must say) to stop at my house at mile 23. I went home ate two packages of top ramen (I don't recommend anyone do this it is not very healthy!) I really wanted something warm! Then I took a warm bath to thaw! I was so cold. In reflecting on this race, I don't think I was ever really excited about doing this race in the first place. I waited until the very last minute to sign up. I am glad I didn't finish because I heard it was like a two hour wait for a cab! The best part was all the text messages asking me how I did. When I told people I stopped at mile 23 because I was home they would text me back and say "really or r u kiddn?" I would say 90% of people said this and I was like yes I really did stop! Some said "u only had 3 miles 2 go and u just stopped?" I replied, "YES!" I guess if you know me well you know that I don't usually do things like that. It proves to everyone (ANNE and ROBERT) that I am human. I couldn't resist the temptation of my home!

Now let me talk about some really great things that happened yesterday. A couple people I train finished the Half and Full. For some it was their FIRST time running in an event. It is always really exciting to see and hear about someone finishing their first event. I have a client named Anne (who I mentioned above). Anne always says that I am just not human because of what I do (Ironman, 50mile runs etc). For almost a year I have been trying to get her to either do a triathlon or a running event. She has actually trained for several things but didn't actually do them. She likes training for them but doing them freaks her out. So she was going to do the half marathon. She didn't actually sign up online so I was doubtful all the way to the end that she would actually do it! She went to the expo Friday and signed up! I was so excited but as she has said many times she has no problem signing up and then not doing it. So I was still worried all the way until she showed up at my house race day morning! I was so excited when she did show up! She ended up finishing in something like 2:35! Outstanding job!

Alam is another client I have and he was running the Full. He came to me ONLY 2 months ago and wanted to run in the marathon. I was not thrilled because he really did not give himself enough time to train for a Full. He really wanted to do it so I started him on a program. Alam followed the training and finished in something like 4:21! That is excellent.

Several others that I coach and people I know did great. Kit finished in a record time for her and did an outstanding job! Gabriella and Heather finished in just over 2 hours for the Half! Sheletha who was injured had to walk the Half but finished and got her medal!

The race was much better organized than last years Vegas Marathon. The new company putting on the event does a great job with a few exceptions. I guess on the Half Marathon course they ran out of water! This a ridiculous thing to happen in a marathon or half. Everyone is paying OVER $100 to enter and there is 27,000 people running AT LEAST HAVE ENOUGH WATER. I guess they also ran out of GU. They will most likely send out questionnaires so please fill them out and give them feedback so next year can be even better.

Everyone is on a high and hopefully will start thinking ahead toward their next event. I trained Heather today in the gym and she wants to do the Full Marathon in May in San Diego (which by the way is a great race).

So even though it was not my day what makes it a great day is knowing everyone I trained finished and felt the feeling of finishing their first race.