Fitness

Super-Compensation

❝Gluttony does not produce hunger.❞~Matt Dixon In his groundbreaking book The Science of Winning, Jan Olbrecht PhD defines and illuminates the principle of super-compensation. It is the part of the adaptation phenomenon where physical performance increases above the initial level, which is the goal at the end of a training block and before starting the next cycle. It occurs because the body’s rebuilding efforts continue for a short time after returning to baseline to better equip itself for future stress. But if we get greedy and overextend ourselves then recovery time must be extended thereby diminishing opportunities for super-compensation. Dr

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Stress…Response

Within minutes of the sun rising over Mauna Kea the air temperature noticeably rises. Today’s ride was done and dusted before sweltering temps and trade winds could overly impact my workout. This is in contrast to a ride last week when temps were 10°C warmer and my heart rate was upwards of 30 beats per minute higher. Both environments are useful, but it’s important that the body and mind are prepared for the differing stressors—that workouts and recovery are coordinated to allow for healthy development. The goal of all training is to provide the body with adaptation stimuli. The goal

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Capacity & Power

“Most triathletes are doing too much [high-intensity work]. You don’t need more than 1 HIT session per week.” ~Jan Olbrecht PhD “Many recreational athletes are scared [that they’re] not training hard enough. What they need to be thinking about is training easy enough, and long enough in the low-intensity sessions to build biological durability so that the high-intensity sessions really can be developmental.” ~Dr. Stephen Seiler Dr’s Olbrecht & Seiler, two highly respected leading sport scientists, are very clear that most people place too much emphasis on high-intensity training (HIT). Let’s take a look at the reasoning. The physiological engine

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Endurance Training

❝What is very clear is that the best athletes in endurance sport spend ~90% of the time below the first lactate turn-point.❞ ~Stephen Seiler, PhD & Dean, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences and Nutrition, Universitetet i Agder, Kristiansand, Norway Building fitness takes work. A very important part of it is knowing how hard, how much, how often, and why. The last one—why—affects everything else. The reason for doing something changes so it’s important to continually revisit the question. It can empower you to healthy excellence or lead to disease. It can build you up or provoke injury. The first

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Prep & Base Training

Prep & Base

In my post entitled Off-Season, I quickly summarised the most important phase of the year, off-season, for recovery of the mind and body. In this post, I’ll outline the next two phases. The point of sharing this information is to help facilitate the process of learning, and to help athletes avoid some of the pitfalls or at least lessen their time in them. The two meso-phases after Off-season are Preparation and Base training. The underlying foci in both are the accumulation of training volume, building strength and improvement in technique (form). The base phase consists of three micro-phases, each with small

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Downtime

Off-Season

It took me many years to learn the importance of downtime. This year, I finally headed advice from Alan Couzens and took an entire month of complete rest. Alan, Mike James, and many others know the importance of enjoying another 4-6 weeks, after the complete rest period, for really light, even unplanned exercise. This is sometimes known as the Transition phase. Between time off and ‘soft’ month that’s 8 weeks of no training!! It’s been an incredible experience for me these last 7 weeks to watch the progression in my mind and body as structures heal, the mind recharges, and

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2nd Place Overall

Endurance Insights

One of the overarching reflections I have of racing Ultraman Canada 2019 can be summarised as, “Where did that performance output come from?!” In one regard, I wouldn’t have extrapolated my prior data and experience to predict the achieved results. On the other hand, there are clues to be found in the methodology and mindset. I entered the event believing in the possibility of achieving excellence. This is fundamental because without a positive mental attitude a low ceiling is already cemented into place. Removing perceived boundaries provides room for potential to express itself in extraordinary ways. Keep in mind, however,

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Injury

It’s taken me four days to acknowledge my situation enough to write about it. Injury isn’t easy for anyone to accept. As an athlete in preparation for scheduled races, being side-lined in any way causes frustration on at least two levels. I want to exercise because it’s a big part of my physical and mental health. Also, I’m not moving forward as planned or as desired. Put another way, I’m not meeting my expectations. Anyone who has done relationship work may recognise the keyword—expectations—as a major hindrance to conversation and connection. It is equally destructive in athletics. First, what did

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Cabin in the Woods

Workload

In athletics, there’s a term called Heart Rate Drift. It indicates our body’s response to work over time. In everyday life we might call this running out of steam. In either case, the effect may not be initially obvious. In the graph you can see how my heart rate increased over the course of 5 high-intensity intervals (no.’s 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10). Notice that my run pace increased during the first three intervals as I ramped up the effort. (I held back a bit on the first couple because I didn’t want to flash burn and have nothing

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Recovery

Nature for Recovery

A walk in the woods is an excellent way to support recovery from a myriad of life events. Recently, I strolled through the woods after finishing a long run and three days of back-to-back larger training volume. Fresh air, sunshine, forest terpenes, nature’s quietness mixed with soothing sounds of wind in the trees and bird song, and a distinctly grounding energy are very supportive. One of the reasons the best athletes in the world can absorb a lot of training is that they rest between sessions like the best in the world. Not everybody has that opportunity. We devote time

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Z1 Training

Slow Cook It

When you crank the thermostat the room heats quickly. On an already warm day, it takes quite a while for the temperature to reach liveable levels again. The human body works in a similar fashion. With intense exercise, the system throws fast burning fuels into the furnace to meet and maintain required energy levels. In then takes time to recover and replace the resources consumed. In other words, once you burn your britches you have to stitch a new pair, walking around exposed in the meantime. The smarter move is to nudge the thermostat, letting the tissues and processes heat

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Skog

Chop Wood, Carry Water

If you’re seeking balance in your life, I submit that developing and nurturing consistent, healthy practices will provide what you’re looking for. Often advocated as an optimal state, perpetual balance can become stagnant. Far more important is steadiness; durability that bestows a degree of internal calm, or stability in the midst of disorder, noise, turmoil, chaos and stress. Through consistency, we promote dependability, firmness, and perseverance that provide the ability to act clearly, perhaps even with wisdom, and to do so from the perspective of personal care and wellbeing. The human body does not seek balance; instead, it pursues homeostasis—the

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Training Intensities

Smart Training

Most of your training should be Low Intensity Training (LIT); 90-100% in fact! The remaining amount ought be High Intensity Training (HIT). All work over the moderate intensity zone is decreasingly economical because the rate of oxygen consumption versus power output is disproportionally high (compared with low intensity). A small amount of severe intensity training is beneficial for stimulating neuromuscular pathways, some improvements in cardiac response, as well as to strengthen connective tissue (assuming type and amount of load is appropriate for the individual). The reason we stay out of the middle is that “heavy” training creates a high burden for

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Consistency

Consistency

That hurt. …And I loved it! After two months of fluctuation it’s time to dig in again and get some solid, steady training done. Today, I FINALLY got back on a trainer! It’s been fabulous to live in a splendorous (new) location, journey to two races, build new friendships, and revisit an intriguing city. But between unstable weather, a few body tissue issues, recovery time, and travel days I’ve become increasingly uneasy with the lack of consistency. For the next two months I’ll be in one location, and hopefully with limited distractions. Some will consider me a nutcase for saying

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Stress + Rest

Jedi Force, Jedi Rest

Perhaps the placebo effect so often talked about is actually psychosomatic medicine. A research article entitled Chronic Psychological Stress Impairs Recovery of Muscular Function and Somatic Sensations points to this. There are physiological *AND* psychological costs to training. Stress is a disruption from the homeostatic state, regardless of the type of stimulus. We break ourselves down with the plan, and goal, of building ourselves back up––stronger than before. However, I often see athletes and coaches emphasise the first part of the improvement equation: Stress + Rest = Progress Rest is where ALL the adaptations, the advancements, occur. Without recovery progress

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