Thursday, August 30, 2007

Energy...what gives it to you?

Is it your diet? Is it your exercise? Is it compliments from a friend? Is it a good book?

It wasn't until the last few months that I have realized that it doesn't matter how good you eat, or how healthy you can still be depressed, suck, procrastonate, not take action towards your goals and just be mediocre.

Why? Because you aren't using the biggest muscle in your body...the one between your ears, and if that one isn't working right, nothing else matters. Who hasn't heard of the Millionaire who wasn't happy or the perfectly tuned athlete that was depressed and took drugs to win? What really gives you energy (lasting longer than a double shot) is what you think about. Good nutritional fuel and a healthy body make it much easier to get in an energetic mood, but they are not enough.

I have helped a few people lose alot of weight over the last winter by focusing more on getting their energy and thinking in the right place than on what kind of workouts they did. Most of us know what to do, it is how we think about it that differentiates those who make progress from those who stay stuck.

Your thoughts are even more powerful than you realize, here are some clues:
  1. Think about the last time you had a deadline or race and knew you had to get very energetic right before deadlines, so you can see it is possible to increase your energy by what you think! Do you think success is related to what you are thinking?

  2. When you have a vacation coming up or a favorite person you are going to see you know is going to give you great feelings of love and get happy in expectation of these types of events. What are you thinking about that gives you this energy?

  3. When you have great things happen to you, you tend to feel better because you are thinking of all the great stuff you get to have and do. Good energy creates more good energy...momentum!

Here are some short cuts we use in our coaching to get you more energy.

  • Think about and be grateful for all the great stuff you have in your life and of all the great memories of your favorite times. You can play back all your "favorites" and feel your energy rise.
  • Get your body moving. That is why cycling or endurance sport is often called "cheap therapy", partially because you feel better when you get moving. A body in motion is taking action and making things happen. Move your body and move your mind. It sets the stage for improving your emotional energy...especially if you add in some great thoughts at the same time!
  • Imagine that you already have what you want, and enjoy how good that feels...I know some of you really struggle with this, imagining what you really want vividly. It takes practice but if you haven't heard of the "law of attraction" yet then check out the hit movie and book The Secret Get in the right vibrational energy for what you want and watch it come to you. Making simple statements to yourself to rewrite your "software" is a great first step. Decide what you want.

OK, now get out there and start thinking strong thoughts. The cool thing is that you can think whatever you want, you can visualize whatever you want. It is free, doesn't cost a thing. You can change your mind in an instant and start thinking whatever you choose to think. You decide the focus, and the more you take control and conciously choose what you are going to think and see the results, the easier it gets. Move your body! Walk, run, ride, try a new sport or anything to get your mojo working. Use some of the above ideas to spark your energy with powerful thinking. Mix it up if you are in a rut and use one of my favorite sayings:

"If something isn't working...try a new way of getting it done...mix it up...keep trying new ways until you get your goal." What is your goal for your energy each day?

Yours in awesome health and energy,

Coach Craig

P.S. If you want to work on some of these things one-on-one and (and learn the best training methods for your goals) just set up an hour of Private Lesson with me by e-mailing Heather:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cyclocross is the Best

OK, Road, Mountain, Track and Multi Sport are coming to the finish lines of their seasons so I can say this because in a month or so there is no more competition...Cyclocross is the Best! I have raced them all and each discipline has it's allure, but there is something magical about the time of year when the leaves fall, and the days get shorter. For most of the country it is football season and Baseball is entering the penant (Go Mariners!!!) but for those of us who have experienced the fun and challenge of two skinny tires with no shocks on all kinds of terrain with a few 15 inch high barriers thrown is definetly CROSS SEASON!!!

This time of year we always do 3-5 beginning cyclocross classes called Cross 101. We can do it for any group of 4 or more people who want to learn, and our weekend classes usually have 12+ people in them. We spend 2 hours teaching you everything you need to know to get started with Cross, and then give you a free coupon to try a race in the Seattle series. The reasons I tell everyone that cyclocross is the best way to get into bike racing are:

  1. It is you against the course, no drafting or team stuff to deal with
  2. You become a better bike handler and it makes everything else (except Mountain biking) seem easy. You won't believe how confident you feel when you get back on the road after doing some cross racing.
  3. Friendly and fun atmosphere. Cross draws all types and most people do it go get ready for something else or just to keep their fitness into the winter, so unless you are elite (and even then) it is good natured fun.
  4. You will laugh at yourself! Flailing is mandatory since there are all kinds of different courses. I remember watching the pro's in Portland at nationals for two winters. The course was muddy and it wasn't IF you would fall, it was how many times and how quickly could you get going again. See point #2 and be ready to feel like a kid again.
  5. The races are short (30 minute for beginnners and 60 minutes for elite) and there are many different divisions for Masters, intermediates and beginners.
  6. Free kids racing in the middle of the day. My 4 year old has been doing it for 2 years! At first we just pushed him around on his trike, now he is "ripping" it up on his Redline and really looking forward to it. There are 3 or so different groups of kids ages 2-12, really flat and short for the little ones with the bigger kids doing a lap or 2 of the adult course.

OK, I could go on, but you get the picture. Come try cross, or at least come out and watch one...speaking of which, we will have a tent at the first big race of the year Starcrossed Sept. 22nd all afternoon and evening. by and say hi or have a beer in the beer garden and watch the great racing. You gotta try it!

Seattle Series information is here:

Spin to win,

Coach Craig

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Preparing for Exercise in a Hot Environment

by Coach Tammy Metzger, B.Sc.

Since I’m heading off to do the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred ride in Texas at the end of this month, I hit the research to get some ideas on how to get my Pacific-NW body ready to perform in temperatures above 75F. As with most things in life, I feel a big part of it is mental; accepting the heat instead of thinking about how cool it may be at home. I spent a few days in New Orleans back in the summer of ‘05, and I was miserable until I accepted the fact that my clothes were going to stick to me, my body would feel like it was covered in slime, and there was nothing I could do to change that. Once I embraced that reality, I was much more content. So, accept the heat… embrace it even…. What else?

We know that carbohydrate utilization increases in hot environments, so a modified carbohydrate-loading protocol, along with establishing an early and consistent fueling strategy will be integral to success. This will also help to keep up with the increased fluid needs, which are much more likely to be the limiting factor while exercising in temperatures close to or in excess of 100F.

In the December edition of the Cycle U News I published an article on glycerol-loading. At that time, I was unaware of research published by Dr. Lawrence Armstrong back in February 2006, but the findings from his lab back up my original conclusions. Dr. Armstrong’s work on hydration at the Human Performance Lab at The University of Connecticut is very highly regarded. His lab has found a greater plasma volume during exercise, as well as improved exercise capacity in heat (37C / 99F) after rehydration with glycerol (1 g/kg BW) in addition to water (1). Possible side-effects of glycerol-loading include a “heavy feeling” due to increased water storage, and gastro-intestinal distress. As with all things, test your individual response prior to event day.

Another important consideration is keeping the stomach actively emptying (gastric emptying) to assure fluids and fuel are getting to the intestine for absorption. Creating gastric distention can initiate the gastric emptying response early, thereby improving the chances of keeping it going. Immediately before your event starts, ingest 5 mL/kg BW of water or sports drink (2). Follow up with a high-frequency of fueling in smaller amounts.

Luckily, staying hydrated will not necessitate the elimination of my morning java. Once again we turn to the Human Performance Lab at UConn for research that indicates caffeine intake has no effect on thermoregulatory responses to exercise in the heat (3). Do you think I can safely check my French press for air travel? Hmm… maybe not.

And the final consideration in this Hotter ‘N Hell adventure is protection from the sun. Keeping a fair-skinned individual such as myself from burning to a crisp during a century ride under the scorching Texas sun necessitates a little foresight. For guidance in this area, I turn to recommendations from Gordo Byrn. Gordo’s numerous Ironman competitions, not to mention Ultraman Championship, have given him a little insight in this area, which he graciously shares with the rest of the endurance sports community (4). He recommends using water-based sunscreen, and to begin application the night before your event, and again in the morning. Of course, the HHH is not a ‘race’ for me, so I will be doing mid-ride applications as well, and hopefully the base of color I have acquired in recent weeks will help protect me from too much damage.

Stay cool out there, and wish me luck!
Coach Tammy

1. Kavouras SA, Armstong LE, Maresh CM, Casa DJ, Herrera-Soto JA, Scheet TP, Stoppani J, Mack GW, Kraemer WJ. Rehydration with glycerol: endocrine, cardiovascular, and thermoregulatory responses during exercise in the heat. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2006; 100(2):442-50.
2. Burke L & Deakin V. Clinical Sports Nutrition (3rd ed.). Australia: McGraw-Hill. 2006; 374.
3. Roti MW, Casa DJ, Pumerantz AC, Watson G, Judelson DA, Dias JC, Ruffin K, Armstrong LE. Thermoregulatory responses to exercise in the heat: chronic caffeine intake has no effect. 2006;77(2):124-9.
4. Byrn, Gordo. G-tips. Online database.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Cyclocrossin NW Style!

Weeeerrrrrrrrreeeee Baaaaaaaaaaack!

That's right, last night was the first cross practice of the season and 30 brave soul's buckled up for 2 hours of fun in the dirt and sand. The weather was overcast and fall like, which made it all the more sweet!

As a bonus we had 3 tons of sand brought in so our Cross Campers could work on their squirly sand skills to prepare for South SeaTac's opening race on Labor day and subsequent Seattle Series forays into the deep thick quick-sand of Southie Practice makes perfect.

What a great time of year, I always mark it by the arrival of the blue angels, which means it is time to go buy a new pair of running shoes and get busy!

Here's to Cyclocross in your eye and a great season of suffering.

Coach Craig