Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Clearing your driveway... for time!

If you are a PR Fitness Athlete, you better be clearing the snow from your driveway and sidewalk like this...

Not like this...

The training we do at PR Fitness isn't just about delivering fitness and performance, it's about being more fit for every day tasks and physical chores such as shoveling snow from your sidewalk and driveway.

When you wake up to a fresh snow, it's too easy and too common to think, "Oh crap! Now I gotta shovel my way outta here before I can get to work (or whatever)!" It's too easy to view a buried driveway as a nuisance rather than a training opportunity or a chance to do some "real" work. Why would you pass on a chance to engage in something as physical as clearing snow?

Often, tools of convenience, such as snow blowers, remove us from the physical labor that our ancestors had to do just to survive. Rarely do we have to hunt or farm for our food, chop wood to stay warm, or fetch water for the day. Done correctly, shoveling your snow covered sidewalk becomes not only a form of exercise, it can also be relaxing and energizing if you really focus on what you are doing and bring mindfulness to the task. Plus, you have an excuse to be outside and get fresh air and sunshine, something that most of us lack during the winter months.


Ladies - don't let shoveling the snow be something you rely on, or expect, your husband/boyfriend/other male do it for you! Grab a shovel and get crackin'.

Those with exceptionally large driveways: Where I grew up, and my parents still live, the driveway is 1/2 mile long. Shoveling is not a realistic option, duh! So, if you have an exceptionally long driveway, you can keep it real. Just do your sidewalks and a path to the car etc. Feel guilt-free in using a snow blower or snow clearing service for the big stuff. Hey, better yet, call Coach D's husband - he's a professional!

So, park the snow blower, grab a shovel and "whistle while you work". Oh, but before you do, check out the video below...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tick Tock...

The deadline for applying for Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap is midnight tomorrow! If you are on the fence, now is the time to jump. Email your application today and embrace the life you deserve to live. Or, go ahead and procrastinate another 48 hours, let the deadline pass and take a sigh of relief knowing that you have an excuse to not make a life change and to stay in your comfort zone. It's a choice and if you are not ready to pull the trigger and submit your application, you are not ready for the BTWG program. If you are ready, then get crackin' on that essay and send it in before midnight tomorrow.

Click on "how to join", follow the instructions, and get to typing your essay. What are you waiting for?

Email applications to:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Everyday Paleo

It doesn't get any easier than this, gang - baked chicken. Prep time = 10:00. Bake time = 1 hour. Jeff turned me on to this recipe via "Everyday Paleo" a fantastic Paleo eating web resource:

For me to suggest a recipe it has to fit within the PR Fitness nutritional philosophy, and it also has to be simple, fast, and few ingredients, otherwise most people won't use it (myself include).

In this case you simply purchase a whole chicken (organic/free-range preferred), wash it and dry it (inside and out) and lightly sprinkle with sea salt (inside and out). Place it in a baking dish and put it in a 450 degree oven for 1 hour. Feel free to get creative with the seasoning, I added a little "Old Bay", but just sea salt alone makes for a fantastic dish!

While I didn't mess around with "presentation" for the photo - it turned out perfect - golden brown, super moist and tender; way better, way cheaper, and way more healthful than anything I could have purchased at a restaurant.

Leftovers make for a healthful version of chicken salad. Oh, and don't be freaked out about "dark meat", especially if your chicken is organic/free range - the whole "dark meat is bad for you" thing is a myth. Yes, it is higher in calories, so you have to watch that, otherwise, throw down and enjoy!
Super simple baked chicken ("sorry" to my vegetarian friends), I served it with steamed broccoli.
For dessert? Blueberries and slivered almonds - yum!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Personal Training, PR Fitness Style

When you personal train at PR Fitness, you never know what you might be getting into. One thing I can assure you, no one compares to our trainers and no one gets you better results than our trainers!

One day you are getting strong in the gym...

Sherri, personal training client with Richard, strict curling 95#. Who is up for the challenge to top that?

One day you are doing Richards favorite workout, "Dragging the Line"...

On the rails in Lizton, taking a short break for a photo op. I've done this workout with Coach Richard several times. It's one of the best training sessions you will find!

Or, dodging a train while "dragging the line".
No worries. Sherri's training at PR Fitness helped her to possess the skills to jump the rails before the "Last Train to Pittsboro" could get the best of her... : )

Or doing some Old School Strongman Kettlebell work...

Bob, performing the "Two Hand Anyhow".

Get some! Contact Richard for details and to schedule your first session!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Walk, Don't Run...

"Walk, Don't Run" - Not just one of my favorite tunes from the legendary band, "The Ventures"...

... it's also the title of the latest installment on the PR Fitness blog written by PRF Coach, Richard Stent.

To improve your running, you may want to try walking. At the recent Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, the women's 20 kilometer walk was won in one hour and 32 minutes, and the lady finishing 4th, was 42 years old, and turned in a time of one hour and 40 minutes. So that is basically your half marathon distance, and those are times we would love to turn in as runners. The "small" difference is that there is a "big" difference between race walking and normal, fast walking. Race walking is a difficult technique to master and tough on lower portion of the body. However, hard walking (not race walking ) is what we were born to do, way more than running. You can walk at a good pace all day, and be recovered to do it again day after day. You have none of the pounding that comes with running, and if you are walking hard (and that means swinging your arms like runners/race walkers ), your metabolism gets a massive boost, as does your strength and overall fitness. You can spend long hours on your feet....which is critical to longer running races.

Another major benefit is that if you are a traditional heel/toe runner, it's mechanically the same, heel to toe. Irrespective of how you run, you can use walking as a recovery from running, or as serious training for a race. Try walking as hard as you can for two hours one weekend, you will be amazed at how tough it initially is, but also how good you feel afterwards. You can walk a half marathon in "normal" style, as long as you swing those arms, in around 2 and a half hours. Often, ego prevents us from this type of training. You know.." hey, I'm a runner, can't let people see I'm walking!" Hard walking is a good way to recover from the post running race BLUES. You have that depressed feeling, with no motivation to train. So, get out and walk and see how your mood recovers along with your body.

Once you graduate to marathons and Ultras, you will find that walking hard in training is invaluable, because of the time on your feet, and also because you will very much feel the need to walk during a long race, and hard and skillful walking will ensure you eat up the miles as well as resting vital running muscles. As you become a better runner, you will be able to outpace runners!

Hard walking will keep you seriously fit AND healthy. Runners tend to overdo training, especially the wrong training, and are fit but most often not healthy. Try it. Most runners ARE NOT doing it must be good!

Coach Richard is PR Fitness' Lead Personal Trainer, offering the best one-on-one coaching you will find in the area. He also teaches the PR Fitness "Intro" program, which all new PR Fitness athletes must complete.
Richard is a lifetime athlete, competing in various sports as well as endurance racing that includes multiple finishes of the Comrades Marathon (difficult 56 mile race), Ironman distance triathlons, multi-day kayak races, and more. He is also a veteran of the elite Rhodesian Light Infantry, a legendary airborne commando unit of the Rhodesian Army.
To schedule a consultation or appointment with Richard, email him at:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Body Bewildered

By, PR Fitness Athlete, Kelly Rota-Autry.

I can make my body do a lot of things, especially now, after a year of PR Fitness training.

  • I can make my core and arms lift really heavy stuff off the ground, sometimes even over my head.
  • I can make my legs run 13.1 miles on a crowded Indianapolis street or a hilly Eagle Creek trail.
  • I can drag a 100 pound tire behind me, throw a 14 pound medicine ball high against a wall, pull my chin up over a bar (with a little help from my rubber-band friend)
  • I can hold a crane pose – even side crane sometimes – and stand on my head.
  • I can wash away the day’s stress and funk in a bath of sweat, wood pellets and chalk dust – and my body just keeps saying "yes, yes, yes".
  • I can make my face smile through all of this, because quite frankly, it just makes me smile

But, here’s the rub:

  • I can’t make my uterus bleed.
  • I can’t command my hair to stop graying.
  • I can’t summon my sweat glands to stop soaking my t-shirts as I wrestle with sleep.
  • I can’t tell my body that it is not time to stop ovulating, not time to make THAT change.

I can find the mental focus to count down reps from 21 to 15 to 9, (even while lifting heavy stuff), but I can’t seem to control the urge to scream, to cry, or to not blank out at the most unpredictable moments.

I love all foods "paleo", yet crave to eat my weight in Pixie Stix (and would, given the time and the pixie stix!) I am so powerful, yet so powerless over this new phase of my life as a woman.

I remember in my 20s, how much damage I did to my body – no sleep, no real food, smoke, sporadic exercise and other unhealthy extracurriculars. Still, with a few sit-ups, a short run now and again, and a fad diet - BAM!, things were not perfect, but better (at least looking better).

Then, in my 30s I became a mother and lost any real connection to my body. It was just something I threw clothes on to get out the door and floated behind the children in a family photo. I did less damage, but also paid less attention. And under the weight of work and family and my own neglect, my body swelled – perhaps to fill the space left by my inattention, insecurity, and invisibility.

I'm now smack dab in the middle of my 40s, and my body is one big question mark. “Yes,” it says agreeably, “I will lighten up and tone up. But I will also ache all day for no apparent reason. I will wrinkle and blotch and sag in all the wrong places (is there a right place?) I will play ping-pong with your emotions and tease you with tireless energy and endless exhaustion. Game on, watch the curveballs … “

For a time, I was in denial, thinking "any day now, my period will start and life will go back to its pre, pre-menopausal state." And when it didn’t, I sent my husband on a 6 a.m. run to the pharmacy for a pregnancy test, just to be sure. Yep, certain now that this endless state of PMS is not going to end in a maternity leave, I accept this transition; it's not welcome and it's not not pretty. In between the tears and rages and melancholy, I know it is not hard, either. Losing loved ones is hard. Being a parent is hard. Balancing work and family is hard. Aging is not hard. It just is. And it is ironic to know that, along with the mania, there are some perks:

  • The beautiful strong women I am surrounded by who are aging right along with me.
  • The opportunity to share sage wisdom and life experiences with those who will listen, those who want to know.
  • The crazy confidence to finally live life in real time: To wear a bathing suit without shorts or a sarong! To speak my mind. To share my heart. To follow my gut.

If you read this, and you get it, awesome. I hope this speaks to you, in whatever life stage you are in, whatever change you face; whether you embrace it, or ignore it, it will happen. I’m just trying to live the best way I know – with an open heart, a kettlebell, a Paleo cookbook, a great community, and a wrinkly smile.



Kelly is a PR Fitness "O.G." - one of the Crew that has been there since Day 1. Kelly started her training with Chris several years ago as one of his Power Yoga students, seeking better health and life balance. In 2008 she enrolled in Chris' 12 week wellness program, "Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap" (BTWG). BTWG was a transformative experience for her and a true awakening. Not only did she lose unwanted fat and become more fit, she truly changed her life in all facets of wellness. Kelly has gone on to compete in sprint triathlons, road and trail half marathons, a 100K team relay ultramarathon, and more. These days you can find Kelly, and her husband, Matt, kicking butt in the workouts at PR Fitness, running the trails of central Indiana, and walking the talk of health, fitness, and well-being. Check out her BTWG blog by clicking HERE

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'Tis the Season...

For allergies...

Many of us here in the Mid-West suffer from seasonal related allergies and turn to over-the-counter medicines or prescription medications to offer relief. However, there are several practices and tools you can employ to help reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies, or in many cases, avoid them all together. The following tips have helped many of my clients overcome serious seasonal allergy issues and I'm confident they will help you as well. If you don't suffer from allergies, read on and incorporate these practices as well for good health!

Among other things, allergens trigger inflammation in the body. If you already have elevated levels of inflammation you are more prone to the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Additionally, if your immune system is deficient, you will not be able to naturally defend against the allergens present. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your immunity strong and inflammation low. Here are a few basics:
  • Clean up your diet - a diet that is high in starchy carbohydrates, especially grain-based carbs and sugar promotes inflammation. Wheat is a major culprit and should be avoided by seasonal allergy sufferers (or, in my opinion, avoided at all times!). I also suggest keeping dairy to a minimum if you suffer from seasonal allergies as milk can compound the problem of excess mucus.
  • Fish Oil - Omega 3 fish oil has many health benefits, including strong anti-inflammatory properties. I suggest taking 3-5 grams of high quality Omega 3 fish oil on a daily basis.
  • Train smart, rest well - As previous posts on this blog have suggested, recovery and knowing when to back off are essential to avoiding the pitfalls of over training syndrome (aka - under-resting). One of the many side effects of inadequate rest and recovery is inflammation. Include silent time/meditation into your weekly practice along with self-care and intelligent training to avoid unnecessary inflammation.
  • Green and/or White Tea - Both green tea and white tea are high in antioxidants which support immune function and good health. I suggest drinking at least 2 cups per day.
And, of course, I had to add my "secret weapon" for keeping the sinuses clear at all times, regardless of the season, yet it's also a powerful tool in the seasonal allergy fight...

Neti pot
- Well, it's not such a secret anymore, thanks to the likes of Dr. Oz, Dr. Andrew Weil, but just a few short years ago if you mentioned the neti pot people looked at you like you had two heads. If you told them what it was and what you did with it, they ran the other way. Looking much like a genie bottle, you simply add a mixture of warm water and sea salt, lean over the sink, insert the spout into your nostril, tilt your head to the side and pour. Allow the water to run into one nostril and out the other. It takes some practice and getting used to, but once you get the hang of it you will quickly see the value of doing the neti pot on a daily basis.
The dastardly Neti Pot. Get one, rub the side, and make a wish for clear sinuses and allergy relief. If that doesn't work, read the instructions on the box, use it, and see what happens.

The neti pot is a practice that stems from yoga and has been used for countless years by yogis to keep the nostrils and sinuses clear and healthy. For the yogi, this enhances the practice of pranayama (breath work) and the ability for one to uptake Prana (Prana, as in life force, not the climbing apparel). For us, the neti pot is a simple, drug free manner in which to flush allergens from the nostrils. Additionally, the high sodium content solution works to kill viruses and dry up mucus (lovely, right?). Of all the tips suggested in this article, the neti pot is superior to each and every one. Many of my clients/students have found total relief from allergies by simply using the neti pot on a daily basis.

Even if you do not suffer from seasonal allergies, I recommend using the neti pot year-round. Daily, we pick up dirt and debris from the air and environment. I find the use of a neti pot highly beneficial after a long trail run, after mowing the lawn, or after being outside for a long period of time where we are exposed to airborne particles. Along with keeping dust, dirt, and allergens out of the nostrils, keeping the breathing passages clear and healthy enhances nasal breathing during training sessions (running, gym workouts, yoga, meditation, et al.) which is vital to performance.

There was a time when you could only find a neti pot at a yoga studio, or perhaps a real-deal health food store. These days you can find them at just about any pharmacy - I've seen them in Kroger's, Marsh, CVS, and Walgreen's, so there is no excuse for you to not have one and get started using it today!

Let me know if you have questions!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crash and Burn...

"Crash and Burn",
by PR Fitness Coach, Richard Stent

This is a subject that Chris has touched on, and is always aware of, when scheduling the workouts. " Crash and burn".

Look at the long road ahead, with regard to training. If you want to be training as intensely in 50 years, then learn to back off when appropriate. It is not a lack of character when you back off training, but the opposite. You need to know yourself, and how quickly you as an individual can recover, and how hard you can push in the next session. You need to regard yourself as an athlete, and most of the top athletes who are consistent over years, back off when needed. Backing off is sometimes a complete rest, or most often exercising to a point well short of maximum. If you are a hardcore daily trainer, this is essential: Push, relax, push, relax. One of the hardest things to do is to convince a " hardcore specialist" to follow this principle.

The consequences of consistently hammering yourself, without adequate rest ( which includes nutrition ), can be devastating. Chemicals in the brain change over time, and this can creep up on you oh so softly (see the related links below).

Explosive lifts in the gym, along with multiple sets of jumps, and exercises like kipping pull ups, place your joints under huge stress. Something will always give, sooner or later if you lack intelligence in your training or if you ignore the needs of your body when it comes time to back off.
If you have a love affair with training and pushing yourself, then just like the real thing:-D......a whole bunch of common sense is needed.

Click HERE and HERE for additional reading.

Coach Richard is PR Fitness' Lead Personal Trainer, offering the best one-on-one coaching you will find in the area. He also teaches the PR Fitness "Intro" program, which all new PR Fitness athletes must complete.
Richard is a lifetime athlete, competing in various sports as well as endurance racing that includes multiple finishes of the Comrades Marathon (difficult 56 mile race), Ironman distance triathlons, multi-day kayak races, and more. He is also a veteran of the elite Rodesian Light Infantry, a legendary airborne commando unit of the Rodesian Army.
To schedule a consultation or appointment with Richard, email him at:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What The...?

"Yoga Toes" and compression tights, a great combo for recovery and healthy feet.
Coach Chris' funky feet after Sunday's trail run. Read more to get the scoop on what's up with that!

Recovery is crucial to progress: Quality nutrition, rest, hydration, mobility/flexibility work, massage/self-care, and meditation/time in silence all play key rolls in getting the most bang from your training buck. As you probably know, it isn't just the workout that makes you more fit, it's also determined by how well you recover. The same truth applies after a race (such as last weekends 1/2 and full trail marathon), how well you recover is key to how quickly you can resume training at 100%.

Training at PR Fitness delivers the goods which allows you to train hard on a regular basis and you are more durable for endurance efforts and you remain injury free. Yet it all hinges on proper rest and recovery; without it, sooner or later you will have to pay the piper (advice I continue to learn and follow!)

Much like tapering before a race, or preparing for a workout, how you recover is a very personal and individualized thing, however there are certain things that work well for everyone and you can research that on various web sites and training guides. What I have to offer here are a few of my "secret weapons":
  • Chris' Home Brew (No not that kind!) - It's a well known fact there is a window of opportunity, post-exercise, when the body is primed for amino acid and glycogen uptake, both of which are key to rebuilding, replenishing, and optimizing recovery. While this window extends to about 1 hour post-exercise, it is ideal to begin replenishment within 30 minutes, or less. I use a post-workout "home brew" which is a concoction of quality whey protein powder, mixed with cranberry juice (8-12 ounces), and olive oil (about 3 teaspoons). A tolled it delivers around 40 grams of protein, 40 grams of simple carbs and around 15 grams of quality fat. Occasionally I will use other juice or adjust the volume of ingredients, but this mixture has worked well for me and it tastes relatively good as well.
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements - while holding several health benefits, taking additional Omega 3's aids recovery.
  • Ice Bath - I don't do this as often as I should, however, it really works (as much as it REALLY SUCKS!). Just fill your tub with cold water and if you can stand it, throw in some ice. Say a prayer, hop in, and stay in for as long as you can stand it (no more than 15 minutes). Parka and wool hat are optional. If you don't have time for an ice bath, showering with cold water for a few minutes offers some recovery value as well.
  • Okay, now that you are all smirking and thinking what I'm thinking about cold showers, let's move on...
  • Foam Rolling/Massage/Tennis Balls - if you can afford the massage by a pro, do it. Otherwise, spend time on the foam roller and tennis balls. Priceless and super effective for getting rid of residue, shuttling in fresh blood and facilitating lymphatic function.
  • Get Inverted - if you can do headstands, do it - otherwise simply prop your legs up the wall and rest here for 10-15 minutes. If doing headstand, shoot for up to 5 minutes, followed by another 5 with your legs proped up on the wall.
  • Compression tights - While I use these during long runs, I also find them exceptionally helpful for recovery. Get some! Wear them around the house or while you are inverted. After a bigger event or when my legs are more fatigued, I occasionally will sleep in my Skins-brand "Sox" (yeah, I'm weird).
  • Yoga Toes - Perhaps my biggest "secret weapon" - and the most unusual. One of my former coaches turned me on to Yoga Toes about 6 years ago and they have been a mainstay for me since. At $40, they are not exactly cheap, however, I've had the same pair for over 6 years and, they have a lifetime guarantee. Toe spreaders help to properly align the bones of your feet which are abused when crammed into footwear for hours on end. Yoga Toes also help to enhance circulation, neural function, and they facilitate recovery. I can tell you that after Sunday's 5.5 hour trail run, putting on my Yoga Toes felt like getting a full body adjustment from a chiropractor. Click HERE to visit their web site.
So, that's how I roll (no pun intended): Post workout recovery drink, ice bath, throw on the compression gear and Yoga Toes, spend some time on the foam rollers/tennis balls, and finish it up with some inversion work.

Let me know what works for you, or if you have questions.

Be Well,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Enjoy the Silence...

"Enjoy the Silence" - not just a bad Depeche Mode song.

Spending time in silence is one of the first steps in cultivating true mental/spiritual strength, focus, calmness, and balance. As mentioned in the previous post, we are not talking about the ability to suffer through a hard workout or experience. Rather, we are talking about the ability to remain strong when necessary, yet surrender when appropriate; the mental/spiritual maturity of knowing when to push and knowing when to yield. Or, in the immortal words of Kenny Rogers, "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em; know when to walk away, know when to run". All kidding aside, if you are willing to give it an honest shot, you will be amazed at how this simple practice can improve your training, performance, and your life.

Without devoting time to silence and training the mind, our thoughts control our reality; a reality that may or may not be accurate. Without proper training and awareness, our reality is shaped by our reactions and responses to the world around us, we are influenced by our experiences, biases, conditioning, genetics and our filters. While our perception may occasionally be accurate, there is a good chance it isn't the case. In each moment, each instance, we get to chose how we perceive and how we react, yet without first observing our thoughts we have no awareness. Furthermore, if you never spend time shutting the heck up, turning off the external noise and work on quieting the internal noise, you will have no insight let alone true mental/spiritual growth.

Let me give you an example, if something takes place during your day and you react by becoming angry, upset, or stressed and you arrive for your workout feeling angry, upset or stressed, I can almost guarantee that your perception of the workout will be off as will be your performance. You will most likely feel frustrated, have loads of negative self-talk in your head, too much tension in your body, and much of the session will feel like a struggle. Sure you will leave feeling like a million bucks, but the hour you spent training was more of a suck-fest than necessary.

On the other hand, if you were to have the same experience prior to class, but you respond with equanimity, clarity and calmness, you will arrive at PR Fitness with an entirely different attitude. As a result, you will have a more positive experience in your training. When the workout becomes difficult your body will be less tense, your movement patterns will improve, and you will utilize oxygen more efficiently, thus improving performance. When you are in a positive frame of mind, your inner dialogue will be words of encouragement, patience, and empowerment which further shapes your workout experience and performance. You still go home feeling like a million bucks, but your experience of getting there was entirely different.

Another thing to consider is that while completing your workout temporarily take some of the pressure (stress) off the pressure cooker of life, in short order the pressure inevitable returns. Devoting time to silence ultimately helps to turn down the heat of life which lowers the pressure long term.

"So what?", you may ask. Hey, if the first example sounds like you and you are perfectly happy with that, then I say continue on your not-so-merry way. Who am I to throw a monkey wrench in your misery? Yet, if the first experience sounds like you and you are ready for a change, then today is your day.

Personally, my goal in my training encompasses far more than physical performance, PR's, and fitness; it's also about (more importantly) becoming a better, balanced human being. I train to learn more about myself and the world around me. I train to cultivate insight into my own ego, hang ups and short-comings and then to work towards improving in these areas. I train not just for physical capacity, but also for mental and spiritual fitness.

At the end of the day, any A-hole can pick up heavy weights, run far, run fast, do a sub-4:00 "Fran", but who cares? Isn't it more impressive to have a decent physical capacity, yet also posses a spirit of humility? Isn't it more admirable to have a 6:00 "Fran", yet posses strength of character? And, isn't it more impressive to run slower, yet exude peacefulness?

If you are still reading and on board to "Enjoy the Silence", here is your homework:

How: Just sit in a comfortable, upright position with good posture. Focus your attention on your breathing. Focus on the sensation of the breath coming in and out of your nose. Once you are focused on the sensation, just keep your mind steady on the sensation and count your breaths to 10, then start over again. Each time you get distracted, just go back to counting. It's that simple, it's that difficult...

How Long: First timers will do well to set aside 10 minutes per session. Once you are consistently sitting for 10 minutes per session, begin to add a couple minutes to each session until you work up to 15-20 minutes per session. Don't stress or be in a rush to get to the 15-20 minute mark, that approach pretty much destroys the point of the practice. In this practice there is no "goal" or measure of "success".

How Often: For beginners, I suggest 3 times per week. Once you are consistently spending time in silence 3 times per week, bump it up to 4 times per week. Eventually, you should devote time to silence 5-7 times per week. Again, be patient and don't rush in to sitting more often. Make this a sustainable practice, not a burden on your already busy day.

When: Pick a time of day that works in your schedule. Initially, there isn't any one time of day that is better than another - the key is to just sit! I prefer right before bed, when everyone else is in bed and the house is quiet, or first thing in the morning, while everyone else is still sleeping. If you are like me, these are the only quiet times of day in our house!

Where: In a location you are not likely to get interrupted. For some, you may have to resort to a closet, the bathroom, basement, hide in the garage, etc. I'm only half joking on this one. You gotta do what you gotta do to make it work. No Excuses!

What not to do during this time:
  • No music - it's a crutch and a distraction. If you need some noise to drown out the background noise, turn on a fan.
  • No iPhones, Crackberry's, laptops or other electronic gadgets - leave the phone off and in the other room.
  • No prayer or sorting out "problems" during this time. If you want to pray or "think", do it after the session - this is quiet time and time to train your mind. If a great idea or the solution to world peace comes to you during this time, forget about it until you are done - it will still be there...
  • No dozing - it may become hard to stay awake during your session, just do your best.
  • Oh, and no Facebooking, or Tweeting during this time!!!!
If you have questions, let me know. I'm here to help.

"3, 2, 1... Sit!"

Until next time...

Be Well,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Filling in the Gaps

If I were to ask you "What is the biggest deficiency in your training? What do you feel like you most need to work on or improve?" What would you say? Most common, the response would be related to deficiencies in strength, power, technique, skill, cardio fitness, nutrition, etc. As your coach, would you be surprised if I told you that any and all of the above responses are incorrect?

While you may stink at doing Squat Cleans, or you may have the cardio capacity of an 80 year old emphysema patient, there is one area that is, literally, head and shoulders above the rest when it comes being a well balanced athlete and one who is truly "fit" - that would be the training of your mind.

When I say "mind", I'm not referring to your "intellect" or ego-mind. In fact, in our culture this part of our mind is chronically over-trained/under-rested. We feed our mind on books, magazines, newspapers, internet, Facebook, Twitter, radio, television, education, conversations and so forth; to the point that our mind becomes as unhealthy as our body.

Additionally, I'm not referring to "mental toughness" in terms of being able to hang tough in a hard workout, or the ability to suffer through pain of the physical, psychological, or spiritual nature. Rather, I'm referring to the mind/spirit that is at the very core of "you". In fact, what I'm referring to lies at the opposite end of this spectrum of hardness. I'm talking about the ability to quite ones mind and the quality of stillness or softness; the ability to narrow ones sustained focus on a single point without wavering, without being blown off course. I'm also talking about the ability to direct ones thoughts and responses, rather than having your mind run a muck in a million different directions, constantly in a state of reaction(s) based on past experiences and fears.

Having spent the last two years immersed in the current "Western" approach to physical training and hybrid training (CF, et al), the one glaring deficiency I see in all these modes, styles and approaches is the heavy emphasis solely on the physical disciplines, performance outcomes, and practices that help to forge "elite fitness" and mental toughness. While I'm clearly a huge fan of this style of training in some respects, I also recognize the shortcomings and how all the "hardness" creates an imbalance in terms of creating a truly healthy, fit, balanced human being.

Long before there was a "PR Fitness", there was this... Chris, sitting meditation. St. John's USVI, around 2004. (Sorry for the poor picture quality. It's borderline a miracle that this photo even still exists. Yeah, a lot shorter hair and a lot less tattooing back then!)

Over the years I've also spent a great deal of time in the "softer" disciplines of yoga, mindfulness practices, and meditation. Years before PR Fitness and long before there was a "CrossFit", "Gym Jones", or "Mountain Athlete" I was a student and teacher of the multi-disciplined approach to fitness and wellness: weights, aerobic conditioning, flexibility/yoga, proper diet and meditation. I spent years as a Wholistic Fitness Teacher, yoga teacher and a meditation guide. With over a dozen years of practice, I learned that while many people in the yoga and "spiritual" community have cultivated very nimble and flexible bodies, they are generally very week in terms of true physical strength and power; they can bend, twist and contort and they can sit in meditation for hours, experience mental equanimity, or even have "mystical" experiences, yet they cannot pick up heavy stuff and often lack true endurance. This is not true fitness and well-being!

My contention is that to be a truly fit and balanced person, you must possess ability, competency and skill in the physical arts and all it's components: strength, flexibility/mobility, power, endurance, agility, and so on. Yet, you must also possess an equal balance in the mental and spiritual realms: calmness, peace, and the ability to flow and manage stress. You should also be capable of maintaining healthy, meaningful relationships and be integrated to things outside yourself and things bigger than yourself.

Having been around the fitness block (multiple times), I have yet to find a program or system that truly delivers in all facets of fitness and well-being. Yet, I can tell you that we, at PR Fitness, are headed in that direction and welcome you along for the journey.

In the upcoming weeks I will share lessons, practices, techniques and assignments which will help to cultivate greater balance in your training, and in your life. I would encourage you to embrace these practices and truly deploy them to the best of your abilities. I would also encourage you to share your thoughts and experience here by posting "comments". And finally, I would encourage you to ask questions or email me if you need anything:

Be Well,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

High Five Escalator

There are a million ways to get people out of their comfort zones and ruts (our specialty at PR Fitness). Here is another way...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Facebook/Twitter Challenge

The PR Fitness Facebook page currently has just over 90 "fans". As soon as we hit 150 fans, we will have a drawing for a one month unlimited membership to PR Fitness. Click HERE to go directly to our page.

Need more incentive - okay, here goes.... we currently have 20 "followers" on Twitter. Once we hit 50 followers on Twitter, we will give away another month of unlimited sessions at PR Fitness. Click HERE to go to our Twitter page.

Do your thing, Social Media Ninja's, and tell all your FB friends and Twitter followers to hit up our FB and Twitter pages.

Look for more giveaways and prizes coming soon as PR Fitness nears it's one-year anniversary!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yoga for Functional Movement and Performance

Alright, PR Fitness Athletes, time to pony up and git yo butt into the Thursday evening yoga session. I know a few of you are excused due to time commitments and other obligations which make it impossible to attend. For others I know child care might be a challenge (check out Kidz Depot!). Yet, there are some of you who have yet to check out our yoga class because of your "priorities" - as in, "I can only come to class 'X' number of times per week and I want to get my butt kicked in class, not do yoga!" If this is you, I would challenge you to shake things up for 4 weeks and see what happens - forgo one of your regular classes with us and attend Yoga from 6:40-7:40pm. I guarantee you will see improvements in your movement patterns, you will feel better AND you will improve your performance.

My classes are not your typical yoga classes (whatever that might mean), rather, I emphasize postures and movement that enhances joint mobility, improves functional movements patterns, and boosts performance. Often, I break out the foam rollers, tennis balls and other devises of torture and doom for myofacial release, trigger point work, and self massage. What does all that mumbo-jumbo mean? You will move better, be more pain free, squat deeper, and posses the capacity to move your body/limbs through a healthy range of motion. Additionally, you will perform better in your day-to-day activities, get more out of your training sessions, improve athletic performance, and recover quicker after your workouts. Have trouble doing full squats? How about overhead squats? Have sticky shoulders, tight hamstrings or low back pain? Get to class this week! You will be glad you did.

How low can you go? Here, one of my private clients, Bob, demonstrates healthy mobility of the lower body, shoulders, and thoracic spine. The challenge is to stand as close to the wall as you can, extend your arms overhead, assume a full squat position, and then stand back up - all without touching the wall. The goal is to be able to complete this maneuver with your toes in contact with the wall

For those not currently doing the monthly unlimited, let me sweeten the pot to help entice you to come to yoga - from now through the end of September, those who are current members of PR Fitness, i.e. you are paying for at least one class per week, you can attend your first yoga session for free and each additional class will only cost you $5.

Be there!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Upcoming Race - Who's In?

Toeing the start line of an endurance race is a fantastic way to put your fitness where your mouth is. It's also an excellent way to overcome excuses and fears. Many "athletes" train day in and day out, yet turn the other way when it comes to signing up for a half marathon, ultramarathon, triathlon, adventure race, or other endurance event.

Where one places in an event matters very little. In fact, you learn far more about yourself when you don't win or don't even place well in your age group. The lessons and rewards come from committing to an event, training for the event, preparing for the event, and participating in the event. The key is to take each step with conviction and a light heart. Embrace the obstacles that crop up in your life which make getting in your workout a challenge. Embrace the days you have to miss a training session because of other responsibilities. Embrace the great workouts; embrace the one's that suck as well. Unless you are a paid, sponsored athlete, there should be very little pressure on you to perform - enough to keep you motivated, yet not so much that it creates undue stress in your life.

While participation in a short endurance race (5K, sprint triathlon, flat 1/2 marathon, etc.) is a great way to stay motivated and enjoy your fitness, I promise - you learn far more about yourself when you are 5 hours into an endurance event, on the brink of exhaustion, wanting nothing more than to quite, than you can learn in 10 years of therapy. When you are completely broken down, stripped of your pride, your ego, and your defenses, you discover who you really are - you always walk away (or limp away) a better person, regardless the outcome.

If you are interested in an upcoming endurance event that is taking place right in our back yard, check out the upcoming Eagle Creek Trail 1/2 marathon and marathon. Already, I know of two PR Fitness athletes who are doing the 1/2 marathon and I just signed up for the full. If you are interested, get signed up. If you are interested, yet nervous, get signed up. If you would rather get a root canal than run a 1/2 marathon on the trails of Eagle Creek - see a psychiatrist, then sign up. Okay, I'm kidding about the psychiatrist thing (a little), but sign up. Myself and the other coaches at PR Fitness are happy to help get you prepared for the upcoming race, so let us know if you need help. Richard and I are planning to host a few training runs and "special events" at Eagle Creek this fall, which will be great training opportunities to get you ready for your race.
Be sure to email me when you have signed up-

Here is the link to learn more about the race and get registered:
2009 JFK 50 Ultramarathon, Hagerstown MD - Race Result: DNF. Pulled from the course at mile 35 for reaching the checkpoint 15 minutes past the cutoff time. Personal Results: learned more about myself mentally, physically, and spiritually in 35 miles than most people will learn about themselves in a lifetime.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

CrossFit Games

The 2010 CrossFit Games kickoff today - the team events are already underway, the Masters division begins later this afternoon, then it's the official "opening ceremonies" and the first individual WOD of the games.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the games. I admire the abilities of the athletes, but, in my humble opinion, the games really skews what's at the heart of CrossFit. Many of the athlete's have become "specialist" in CrossFit, often doing 2, 3, or even more WOD's in a day. I love the attention that the games is getting and will get and some of what that will do for this style of training as a whole - CrossFit is going to get even more huge than it is and the media attention of the games is going to do a ton towards making that happen. Yet, at the same time, I'm still not a big fan. Fan enough to follow the events of the weekend and cheer on my "favorites", but that's about it. In fact, I'll be glad when they are over and the CF main site gets back to posting videos that are not all about the games.

Okay, enough of my personal views. If you are interested in following the games, just go to: and you will find far more than you ever wanted to know about the games and the athletes. They even have a live video feeds if you want to check it out.

"Average" CF athletes stats compared to some of mine. Indulge me a little and check this out, and BE SURE TO READ ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM - you might find this as interesting as I did. The first stat is the average competitors stat, the second number is mine:

Age: 29 - 42
Height: 5' 5" - 5'10"
Weight: 138 - 195
Max Deadlift: 303 - 325
Max Back Squat: 221 - 285
Max Clean & Jerk: 157 - 185
Max Snatch: 121 - 135
Max Pullups: 32 - 25
Helen Time: 9:03 - 9:58
Fran Time: 4:12 - 6:40
400m run time: 1:13 - 1:20
5K run time: 22:30 - 26:00

Here is the funny part - the "average" stats listed above are the averages of the WOMEN competing this year!!!!! That means that if I were competing against the women, I'd get my a$$ kicked in most events!

Here are the real averages of the guys, as posted on the games site:
Age: 28 - 42
Height: 5'8" - 5'10
Weight: 188 - 195
Max Deadlift: 470 - 325
Max Back Squat: 383 - 285
Max Clean & Jerk: 271 - 185
Max Snatch: 209 - 135
Max Pullups: 52 - 25
Helen Time: 7:39 - 9:58
Fran Time: 2:43 - 6:40
400m run time: 1:01 - 1:20
5K run time: 19:44 - 26:00

So, as you can see, I'd really get crushed by the guys. Wonder how I would stack up against the new division - "Masters", which is 50+....

Enjoy the games, just don't get hung up on it - focus on what our training is all about - getting fit, training hard, self improvement, community and so much more.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dances With Dirt 2010

As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words", so I'm going to let the images below tell most of the story regarding Saturday's race. The teams did great - with the factored in handicap, our PR Fitness "Kettle-Belles" came in 10th overall and the PR Fitness Dirt Nappers came in 49th. While I'm not 100% certain how they figured who finished where, as it was done on the honor system and when your last runner crossed the line, at the end of the day, where we finished mattered very little. Both teams did their best and they had a great time along the way. By far, the post race celebration was worth every moment spent on the trail - sharing stories, lots of food, a couple beers were passed around (thanks, Joe), and tons of laughter.

On a personal note, I had my worst performance ever in an ultra. The driving directions for my crew/support that was sent in my race packet were bogus, they were for last years aid stations - the route was different this year, so I only saw my crew (Jody, Becky, and Christian) three times during the race. I ran a great deal of the race with only a few drinks of water. At one point, I ran the equivalent of a half marathon with only water (I should have seen my crew 3 times during that stretch!). Unfortunately, I can't fuel up with they typical aid station fair as all the high sugar crap wrecks me - I'm better off with nothing than that stuff. Rather than carry everything with me, my strategy was to have my crew meet me, which worked out beautifully last year when the directions were accurate. Lesson learned, don't trust the race directors directions and always take fuel in a race like this.

I was right on pace until around mile 18 where with hardly any fuel or water, things quickly went downhill. Leg cramps set in, blurry vision, the whole 9 yards. I've never had this happen, I actually had to sit down a couple times or take a knee. Walkers started passing me, old people with walkers and oxygen tanks started passing me, and I think I even saw a turtle and a couple snails blow by. It was humiliating for the ego. A passing mountain biker gave me a hit off his water bottle which helped for a while. And, yes, it's true, if you read Jody's Facebook post - my survival instincts were on high alert for anything that might help, I found some trail mix scattered on the side of trail and ate a few M&M's and peanuts which also gave some temporary relief (I think a few bits of dirt and leaves made there way in as well - talk about "trail mix"!).

I made it to the mile 23 aid station, I had no choice but to throw down on as much food and hydration as I could stomach - down the hatch went a giant Snicker's bar (gift from a fellow runner), bag of potato chips, fistfuls of trail mix (sans leaves and dirt!), cup after cup of water, the rest was a blur. I stumbled out the the station. 20 minutes later I came back to life.

The last 8 miles went great and I was able to get back to consistent running. The finish was emotional, for sure, and while I didn't reach my time goal and my finishing time is an embarrassment, I did accomplish my primary goal which was to finish the race and raise money/awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. What kept me going during the dark time was the support from you guys. And each time I stopped or wanted to quit, I thought of the Wounded Warriors we were running for - I thought of what these Hero's go through every day, their pain and suffering, and how they would think I was acting like such a baby - "suck it up, buttercup" - quitting was not an option.

At the end of the day, what matters most is that in conjunction with this race, we raised another $500 for the Wounded Warrior Project! "Thanks" to all those who ran, those who donated, those who supported, and to Fox 59 for letting us talk about our project.

If I get a race report from any of our team members, I'll be sure to pass them along as well.

Now, on to the pictures from the day. Photo credits go to Jody, Joe, and Bobbi - thanks guys! Warning, several of these are very "dirty" and may not be suitable for all viewers...

Vanessa, after a muddy section. Don't be fooled, it was actually much worse!

A rare moment, Chris in a really bad mood - realizing that the crew driving directions were bogus. Thanks for capturing the "moment" Jody : )

PR Fitness Coach, Richard, at the start line

Richard on a rare section of road, rather than trail...

Kelly is either doing some yoga between legs to recover, or showing off : ) Good job, Kelly. Not sure what the girl in the background is thinking...

Vanessa and Sherri - always such the downers, they NEVER know how to lighten up and have a good time... NOT!

Chris and Christian with the PR Fitness "Kettle-Belles" at the finish:
Sherri, Sherry, Kelly, Vanessa, Cindy

Rob, at the finish - a very, very dirty man...

Joe and Vanessa in a horrible mood at the race. You can really see the misery in their face and how bad the day was...

Rob sandwich with Jen and Cindy. Are they sisters?

Jen and Lisa near tears...
Things got a little rough and the National Guard was called in for crowd control... or maybe that was one of the more enthusiastic teams going for the spirit/costume award...

4 of the 5 PR Fitness "Dirt Nappers" near death. I think the 5th member had already been taken to the morgue by this point...

No, I'm not pointing to my shirt, I'm pointing to my collapsed lung and ruptured spleen. The medal is for coming in last in the womens 90+ age group.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

PR Fitness Tech Jersey

Here they are guys, get 'em while they are hot! Our first round of PR Fitness workout shirts. These jersey's are wicking fabric tech shirts, much like an "Under Armour", or "Dry Fit" style shirt.

If you are interested in purchasing a PR Fitness workout jersey, please email me your size and how many you want. The ESTIMATED cost is $30 per shirt. However, once I get all the requests in, I will know the exact amount. Shirts are "mens/unisex" so select your size accordingly.

Here is a "mock up" of what the shirts will look like. Trust me, they will look even better once the "professional" gets a hold of my design:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting Started

In the past couple weeks I’ve posted several videos at our main site (, if you haven’t already watched them, do so! It will be well worth your time and if nothing else, will get you thinking about how you eat, everything you’ve been taught about nutrition and everything you “thought” you knew about diet.

Over the upcoming weeks I will share what I have found to be the most basic and effective principles when it comes to diet. Please know that my goal as a coach is NEVER to help someone simply “lose weight”; that’s easy, yet it’s not always the healthiest approach, nor the most sustainable thing to do. What I coach is how to eat for optimal performance, health, fitness, and well-being. To me, these qualities and eating for longevity are far more important than what the number on the scales or body fat meter shows. And, in reality, if one is eating for performance, health, fitness, and well-being, the “aesthetic” component will take care of itself.

Principle #1 – The 90% rule:

When it comes to diet and sticking with the plan, I never expect perfection from myself, nor my athletes. Expecting perfection breeds frustration, negative self image/thought issues, deflated motivation, and a lack of results. What I do expect is working towards 100% compliance, yet allowing a 10% deviation from the nutrition plan. If we do the right thing and make the right choices 90% of the time, we will garner fantastic results and improvements in our performance as well as our overall wellness. Doing the right thing 90% of the time also allows you to live a little and enjoy an occasional treat or indulgence – guilt free!

Here’s the rub, the farther down the scale you slide, things change exponentially. For example, if you drop down to 85%, you will still see some positive results, yet improvements happen much slower and your performance will suffer. Once you drop to 80%, you are likely to be the “Mayor of Plateau City” and seeing the early signs of backwards progress, you are also setting yourself up for long term illness and dis-ease. Anything below 80% compliance and you are exposed to the many negative side effects of poor nutrition: weight gain, inflammation, fatigue, frequent illness/colds/allergies, stiff muscles and joints, declines in performance and more.

Putting the 90% Rule into practical terms:

You can do this a couple ways – Let’s say you eat 5 meals/snacks a day, 7 days a week. That equates to 35 meals/snacks in a week. 90% of 35 is 31.5, so let’s round up (to be safe) to 32. That means that 32 of your meals/snacks each week should be impeccable and on par with your plan, allowing you 3 meals/snacks for a treat, or other indulgence – just don’t get carried away and blow it with 3 trips through the drive through for a super-sized meal. That brings us to another way you can approach the 90% rule.

Grade yourself – this can be a little tricky as it’s more subjective than the above approach. In this case, you review each meal/snack and grade yourself from 0%-100% in terms of food choice, quality, timing, volume, and so forth. You have to be honest with yourself, yet you also have to know exactly what you are supposed to be eating, when you should be eating, how much you should eat, and that’s where I come in. In upcoming posts, I will share additional principles as well as what foods we should be eating and what foods we should minimize or avoid.

Coming next time – “What foods to chow down”. Thanks for reading, please post your thoughts and opinions to “comments”.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Dances With Dirt , Gnaw Bone - Team Relay

This post is especially for those who are on the PR Fitness team(s) for the upcoming "Dances with Dirt" team relay in Gnaw Bone. More to come...


Monday, March 29, 2010

PR's From Last Week

  • PR Fitness co-owner, Jeff Porter, improved his "Helen" (CrossFit WOD) time by 90 seconds last week. In addition, he did it with a heavier kettlebell. Last time around, he used a 35# kettlebell, this time around, the 50#. That is a huge improvement, especially considering the 15# increase on the KB. Good job, Jeff!
  • Yours truly had 2 PR's last week. On Monday I improved my Deadlift 1 RM 5#, then on Saturday, had a PR for 10K run. I would like to claim a PR on my 15K time (which was my fastest 15K), however, I can't say it was legit as Joe and I (who I was running with), stopped at the 10K mark to regroup with the rest of our Indy Mini training team. While we were clipping along at a pretty good pace, I had no intentions of setting a PR, which is often how it happens - just putting in a good effort without concern for time. This allows you to relax and flow, rather than getting tense and stressed about going faster or claiming a PR. What I find interesting, from an Exercise Physiologist/Coach perspective, is that these improvements took place at two opposite ends of the physiological spectrum - 1RM and endurance (and at a body weight that is 5# less than last time I did 1RM deadlifts, which typically hurts your 1RM lifts). Generally, it is accepted that in order to gain strength, you sacrifice endurance and vice-versa. To a point, this is true, especially for specialist athletes. However, for the well rounded athlete, who consistently trains all metabolic pathways, you can continue to excel without such sacrifices. If I wanted to be a running specialist or power lifting specialist, then sure, I would have to forfeit certain components of fitness, however, this is the the very reason I've chosen to train in an integrated fashion over the last 13 years, rather than become another "fringe athlete".
Set a PR recently? Let me know!

Be Well,

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Wall Paper?

Train at PR Fitness...

Do a race...

Bring us your bib number and/or medal to display!
A few of Coach Chris' bib numbers on display at PR Fitness.
Let's get the walls plastered with these, shall we?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Feedback and another "PR"

Sherri, reporting on her recent 5K race, setting a PR, and her experience of running in her New Balance 205 racing flats.

"LOVE THE RUNNING SHOES! Decided it was time to give them a little longer workout today to see how my feet fared. I did the Big 10 Hoops 5K downtown and had a pace of 10:16 and a finish time of 31:55 (personal bests and I'm thrilled especially since I really didn't feel like running today). Anyway, I think my finish time is due in part to my feet not being so heavy with those clunky heel-strike shoes...noticeable difference in weight compared to the racers. Is it possible to really love a pair of shoes? I think so."
Good job, Sherri! I have the same shoes and LOOOVE them. If Jody would let me, I would probably sleep in them : )

Thursday, March 4, 2010


After a couple weeks of emphasis on work capacity, durability, stamina and endurance, Thursday night we shifted to a strength focus. It was exciting to see the ability and improvements among our athletes; several PR's we set and new lifts were learned.

I'm always excited when someone can rip through a MetCon WOD lightening fast, yet nothing gets me as excited and inspired as seeing people surpass their perceived abilities and limitations. Strength is King in the fitness world, and often, it is either overlooked, or for many they are fearful of picking up heavy weights. I often wonder if I took the numbers off of the weights and just told our athletes to just pick it up, would they be able to lift more than what they think they can. I know the answer to that is a resounding "yes". I've been in the fitness game long enough to know that 90% of our ability, accomplishment and success is what goes on between our ears, not lifting technique, or anything else.

The past month and a half of being in our new "box" has been the most satisfying and gratifying time I've had as a coach in the last 17 years.

PR Fitness co-owner, Jeff Porter, getting strong under a Push Jerk. No Fear Zone!

Thanks, to all of you for your support and for being a part of the team.

Be Well,

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Q & A

"I also wanted to update you on my shin splint dilemma. They are getting worse with each run and I am getting more frustrated. I have never experienced shin splints and my pain tolerance is extremely high but I have to tell you for the training run I have only been able to get up to 3 minutes and I can't run anymore. I am not giving up and I don't want to be Debbie Downer or anything but it is not just my shin, it is my arch in my foot as well and it is really starting to suck. I have never been able to run and I really want to make this my goal to start running but how do I get past the shin splints????" - B.

B., I really wish more of our team could have attended Saturday's session. Along with the workout, I went over some self care/maintenance stuff. Mainly we focused on using tennis balls for massage, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy. Below are a couple instructional videos which can be helpful and demonstrate some of what I covered in class. Unfortunately, the videos do not show everything I covered, yet performing these self care techniques will go a long way towards helping your shins stay healthy while you are learning the new running form.

I suggested to our group that rather than spend vast amounts of time massaging their entire body with the tennis balls, which can be too time consuming, they should instead pick an area of the body to focus on each day, work that area for 15-30 minutes and then hit other areas the next day. Doing what you learn here along with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (good old "RICE") should do the trick. If it persists, let me know and get it checked out right away.

One thing I like to add to the techniques shown in the videos, is that when you find a hot spot and work on it for a few moments, continue to hold the ball on the hot spot and then add some mobility by making circles with your foot and doing some flexing movements. When working above the knee, do the same and then work some knee flexing and extending while holding the pressure.

While you can purchase the tools featured in each video, I find it cheaper and easier to simply buy a tube of 3 tennis balls, tape 2 of them together, and use the other ball to do any isolation work or to roll laterally across the muscle tissue. Foam rollers are fine for bigger muscles or for really tender areas, but ultimately they are not as effective.

Keep me posted!

Here you go:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Running the Rails

Earlier today I had one of the more interesting runs that I've had in a long time. I met up with fellow PR Fitness Coach, Richard Stent, just West of Pittsboro and for a very unique run; something I had never done before, yet something Richard is quite familiar with - rail road running. We jumped on the tracks and headed West. Sure, I've ran on abandoned tracks when I was a kid, or a "rails to trails" kind of thing, but never an active rail system.

At first, it was really tricky to get the hang of running atop of rail road ties and rock. I wasn't sure what the best strategy might be, so I just followed Richards lead and did my best to let things flow. The head wind was stout at times, yet I really didn't care as I was in good company and way too focused on my footing to care about wind or cold.

After 45 minutes of running, we decided to turn around and head back. Our pace quickened on the return leg and I really began to find the rhythm and flow as I let my instincts take charge and not "think" so much. I also noticed my strength was good and my running technique was making the transition to running on the unique terrain of the day. The final 30 minutes were really quite enjoyable and I can see why Richard makes "Running the Rails" and regular part of his running routine.

We ended up covering just over 6.6 miles, but I gotta tell ya, the mental and physical impact felt more like a 10 mile trail run with hills. The training effect was fantastic - mental focus, skill and accuracy in stride and foot placement, leg/lower leg/foot strengthening, stamina, endurance, it was all there.

I can't condone running the rails, as I don't want to be responsible for any of you getting splattered by a freight train during a training run (heck, I don't even know if it's legal), yet I'm sure I'll do this style of training again in the near future.