Monday, February 21, 2011


The days are short and cold here in Colorado but the stoke factor is HIGH.

This weekend I am flying back to Los Angeles for the CrossFit Endurance "Endurance War Tour"...

It has been seven months (!) since I left Huntington Beach for Boulder, and this has been the longest stretch I have spent away from the ocean (and oxygen) in many years. My salty, pelagic soul is weary and itching to get back!

The timing of this weekend could not be better. Yes, I am excited about getting back to the beach...the sight, sound and smell of the ocean..."home". However, ironically, the forecast is for 50s and rain, and there will not be much time for surfing, catching up with too many of my friends or visiting my old breakfast spots. The seminar is action-packed and nonstop from Friday night until Sunday. The weekend will be totally dedicated to dialing-in my POSE running knowledge and CrossFit Endurance programming & training with CFE founders and coaches Brian Mackenzie and Doug Katona.

If you have the kind of hours on your engine, mileage on your body and "less than ideal" biomechanics like me (AND especally if you have a goal of lifelong health/fitness) it is 100% mandatory to focus on technique, skills and form. I am after constant improvement in fitness without injury, and I like to share the best information as it becomes available with my coaching clients.

Many athletes pay attention to detail in the weight room or with their aerodynamics on the bicycle for example, but totally ignore technique when it comes to running. Eventually it catches up with you in the form of an injury, and you are wasting energy in the meantime with an inefficient gait. Who doesn't want "free speed"? We pay thousands for it on the bike...

In Hermosa Beach I look forward to catching up with good friends and teammates Christian Burke and Cyril Jay Rayon at, makers of the best multivitamin for endurance athletes commercially available, SportMulti FeedTheMachine and SportMulti are really starting to grow, as more and more athletes are finally starting to question and consider the science of fueling and the sources of their multivitamins.

As a former "Volume Warrior", my association with CrossFit Endurance might appear to be a signal of the coming apocalypse...but au contraire mon frere...I look forward to sharing more on this in the near future. Regardless of your protocol-of-choice, if you are an endurance athlete and your are NOT leveraging CrossFit, you are missing out more than what you might realize. Trust me, you have holes in your game.

My background of 20+ years of passionately studying nutrition + endurance sport competition + strength training + military + martial arts + CrossFit + business and time management experience is all coming together in a beautiful synergy and today I have greater CLARITY of exercise program efficacy (congruent with a "real" life) than ever before.

Goodbye, comfort zone! Hello, evidence-based fitness.

Suffice it to say there are very Big Things are happening this year which I cannot wait to share them with the Tribe!

Sometime in March/April I will launch a program for Adventure Racers and other endurance athletes. I will begin working with a handful of new athletes (of ANY level) on a case-by-case basis.

If you want to be comfortable and just be a "weekend warrior", this program probably won't be for you. If you want to change your body, mindset and life, then let's talk.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Are you Shoulding all over yourself?


This time last year I was finishing a strength workout at a small gym, and overheard a conversation between two guys I didn't know, but familiar faces. "Laurel & Hardy" seemed to be contently going through the motions, not sweating or even breathing very hard. They were doing some low-intensity isolation movements while discussing television shows, their need to 'eat better' and complaining about how busy they were and how they wish they had time to get into better shape.

I lost count after the 3rd or 4th "I know I really should, but...I really would, if only, but...I used to be able to _____, but now I don't have the time". I noticed that I was in the gym for around 45 minutes, and these guys were well into their "routine" when I arrived and after I left. It was a small gym, so there was no getting away from overhearing their conversation. Believe me when I say I wish I had my iPod!

Both of these regulars seemed to be otherwise healthy enough, and apparently lived within a couple miles from the gym in an affluent Orange County neighborhood. It seemed odd two healthy, apparently formerly competitive people so "short of time" -who likely spend considerable time and energy analyzing their Return On Investments-would be essentially wasting their time.

Justification & Excuses

We have all heard the saying "if someone keeps doing what they have always done, they will keep getting the same results". In today's world, it has become normative to hold the belief that we are all too busy to do much more than tread water. At what point do we allow our dreams to be crushed and swept away? When do we become "OK" with 'getting by' and the same old results (even if they are 'OK')?

What do we learn or gain from the process after it becomes "comfortable"? Maintenance? What ever happened to Overcoming SCARY barriers, walls? I am not writing about endurance training or racing necessarily, but life choices, succumbing to deals with the devil and comfortable lifestyle architecture. Life plateaus. We may be firing on all cylinders in one part of our lives, but completely neglectful of other equally important facets.

How often do we recalibrate -or even better, SHATTER- our perception of Possible? How often do we take a leap of faith? When does our passion and genuine gratitude for the ability to undertake said challenges fade away? I would suggest that we classify this "disease" essentially as evil, and I believe it is incumbent on ourselves to stay cognizant of the Dark Side, and fight battles in our war against complacency every day.

This ain't a dress rehearsal.

Avoiding risk and mindlessly going through the motions is dangerous. Great people rarely achieve anything significant without risk or vulnerability. Sure, you can go through life making right turns and avoiding risk. You can rioritize comfort over learning/growth/adaptation. But what kind of life is that exactly? It's too easy to succumb to the Evil of Complacency and fly with the flock, to swim with the school, with your mind and ambition set to "OFF".

Try Something New

Lately I have thought about mindless comfort, safety and positive reinforcement in numbers, and reality-checked that I have not or will not fall into that trap. I attempted to identify and INTERRUPT any and all patterns in my life. TIME OUT. STOP. Where exactly are we going? Is this where I want to go? We are all creatures of habit, perhaps more so than we perceive.

What is your 'acceptable' level of risk?

It's human nature to stay in our comfort zones, to stay there in our nice warm, dry, safe bubble of underachievement and predictable but frequent rewards, surrounded by others doing the same. The perfect analogies are sugar in our diet or commuting and working 40-50+ hours per week only to spend our "FREE" time sitting in front of the TV mindlessly for 20-30 hours per week.


What would it mean if we woke up and abruptly broke away from the pack? What if we recognized the opportunity cost of our DeathStyle and decided we could take our health skills, fitness, finances and personal relationships to the next level, leaving our former complacent and mediocre self behind? If we were to make this change, then go back in time, would be recognize our former selves? Yet it's the same DNA, same mind, same opportunity. Same choices.

What if we could 'go rogue' and PROACTIVELY accept an inconvenient, ambitious challenge of our own volition that disrupts our comfortable lifestyle? What would be the risk? What would be the reward?

Don't waste time and energy worrying about things you can not control.


The myriad excuses are baseless. With most people spending a heartbreaking volume of time watching TV or surfing the internet, time is available for the carving. Outside of time constraints, only one person controls what choices you make with meals, 'free time', time available for exercise and time spent with loved ones.

Konstatin doesn't make excuses (click on this). You go with what you've got. Just go.

Dennis Praeger has written extensively on this subject, and I heartily recommend "Happiness is a Serious Problem: A Human Nature Repair Manual". Praeger suggests it is our MORAL RESPONSIBILITY to be happy, to find a way to tackle life regardless of our circumstances.

Living vicariously through others is too easy in the internet age, and is certainly at an all-time high for mankind. It's easier than ever to find ourselves comfortably anonymous in the billion-strong choir of "Shoulda Woulda Coulda"..."too busy"..."already doing too much". It's bullshit.

Are you Should-ing all over yourself? Do you really in your heart believe you're "too busy"? Are you getting defensive?

Every day is an opportunity to remain in our Holding Patterns or break out of our comfortable orbit to learn more, do better, grow, and share. Whether it is a fixed-time experiment of one or a permanent change, you can never know until you take the risk and commit to change. We know what it IS, how to DO IT, but what does it MEAN to you? To your family? For many, the negative consequences of NON-CHANGE are more powerful motivators than intrinsic rewards or personal positive gain.

Ask anyone who has evolved from a life of lassitude and obesity with LDL levels of 200+, likely to die in their fit, healthy and vibrant. They know what it means to go back...Death. To their selves, their family, their children. They CAN'T go back. They WON'T go back. They will FIGHT to keep and grow their gains. The same goes for anyone (cough, cough) who has lost everything financially and fought back, lost their relationships and learned from mistakes, or lost loved ones or friends unexpectedly to disease, accidents or war. A rebirth, reawakening, a new appreciation.

It took WORK. It took PAIN. It took SACRIFICE. It is NOT EASY.

It is WORTH IT. To you, and to everyone you will ever interact with throughout your life.

Commit to 8 WEEKS of a new "system", no matter how scary or uncomfortable it may be. It might be what you choose to eat or drink. It might be the frequency and intensity of the exercise you are doing. It might be time you spend with loved ones. Make it simple, clearly defined and make yourself accountable every day, preferably in writing. Email yourself if that is what it takes, with a daily journal. Create a folder in your GMAIL or wherever to track the pain and results so you have a record of your experiment or the results. If it is Fitness-Related, an easy and free tracking online log can be found at You can access it from your iPhone, Blackberry or DROID very easily.

Give your self a chance to succeed.

Evaluate the results at the end of 8 weeks. Compare to where you would have been if you had remained in your holding pattern/paradigm/rut. Think back to your old excuses "Too Busy", "Already doing 'enough'", "my doctor said I'm fine"...and laugh. You have already likely adapted to the first changes in 8 weeks. You are either healthier, fitter, smarter, or your most important relationship has improved. Perhaps all of the above.

Now it's time to recalibrate again and identify an additional desired change for the next 8 weeks, while maintaining the first one, which is now "normal". Maybe you stopped drinking sugary drinks and committed to joining a CrossFit gym. Your energy is now at an all-time high, you're stronger and healthier. You love the new LIFEstyle and can't imagine going back. What other area of your life could use an injection of invigoration? Most would agree they want to increase their understanding and relationship with God, love and finances.

What is interesting is that some of the most profoundly impactful change-eliciting experiments require no additional time commitment in your schedule. What you CHOOSE TO PUT IN YOUR MOUTH has a cascading effect on not only our health and fitness but also our mood and ability to handle "stress".

Complexity is the enemy.

By keeping it extremely simple and chiseling a few things out of your life, while making BETTER CHOICES we can surprise ourselves with fantastic gains and adaptations. The time commitment might be less than imagined or feared, but the intensity and passion must be absolutely humming. Most overlook the power of the Minimum Effective Dose when administered consistently.

Instead of dwelling on "sacrifice", focus on a STREAK of Consistent, Good Choices.

Shock, Scare and Force yourself to grow, and to encourage your loved ones or even strangers to do the same. Hold yourself accountable and give yourself a chance to succeed. It's a daily battle in a life-long war against complacency, and it never gets easier, you don't hate it any less.... You just get stronger.

Break the Pattern.

Take a leap of faith while you can. Why the hell not?

Visualize the results and make it happen. Push through the pain and stay focused on the goal. GO FOR IT.

Accept the challenge.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Maku Mozo a Japanese expression meaning..."Don't delude yourself".

When put on the spot, regardless of incentive, many can answer the call of a difficult or even seemingly impossible challenge. In the photo above, my team DART-nuun had just won the 2008 Baja Travesia in Mexico, one of the hardest and most insane nonstop multi-day expdition adventure races ever put on in North America. Unfortunately I was deathly ill with a sinus and chest infection before the race even started, and was pretty much worthless to my team for most of the race. With my ego in check, we made it as a team.

The timing couldn't have been worse: instead of being at lifetime best fitness as I was one week BEFORE the race, I was temporarily a shell of my potential right when my teammates needed to count on me. With my exceptional teammates Glenn Rogers and Mari Chandler, I made it through the nonstop 72 hour race unable to even speak, traversing the Baja penninsula (from the Sea of Cortez to the Pacific Ocean over the Sierra Nevada mountain range and adjacent canyons and deserts) in the most difficult adventure race of my life. At the finish line, my legs were extremely swollen with edema but my heart was filled with joy and gratitude for the experience and opportunity to dig my pain groove so deeply.

If it had been a solo event, I do not believe I would have toed the start line, even after the long drive down to San Felipe from Aliso Viejo. I would have gone back to bed or even to the hospital for (last resort) antibiotics. This was the hardest I had ever had to push, and going nearly 65 hours without sleeping, adding florid hallucinations to the mix, did not help. The only other time I can remember pushing myself Far Beyond My Known Limits to accomplish a goal (finishing/winning) was in my Navy training. Fortunately I went into the race with enough fitness that, at half of my cylinders running, I could still (barely) keep up. It was humbling and life-changing.

"We are enriched by life's harshest moments. Especially those of our own choosing."

Often when confronted by the 'devil' with sleeping in, skipping a workout, procrastinating (on nearly anything) or simply taking the easy way out, I try to remind myself of these Harsh Moments (even 72 hour long "moments") to provide context; as a reminder to HTFU and Get 'er Done.

Increasing the Frequency of Perception Recalibration

As challenging as these experiences have been, I truly do hope the most difficult tests-and most rewarding-moments are ahead of me, that I will not rest on my laurels with my nice National Champion trophy on the shelf (which by now is getting dusty if not rusty). In fact, the direction I am headed with my training and time will likely keep me out of my old arenas of competition and on to entirely new ones.

This is a perfect segue for my next post, addressing COMPLACENCY, plateaus, pain vs pleasure incentives and analyzing opportunity cost (in the context of fitness: Volume Wars vs Intensity Wars) with broad life experience and never-ending skill development in the balance.

How is it possible for someone who competes in several 24+ hour endurance races per year, trains methodically and purposefully for over 900 hours per year to be "Lazy"? I asked myself that question for a few years and only recently had the courage to answer my own question. I knew the answer all along, but was simply too distracted, soft and lazy to accept my own challenge, to answer the call. Years flew by. About a decade. How did that happen?

"Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it"

The gnarliest challenges await, and with any luck are unfathomable to me as I am today. The only thing keeping me or anyone from these peak experiences and opportunities for growth are excuses I call "'ould'ves"...Should've, Could've, Would've. Over time, they add up to a sky-high pile of...

Are you Shoulding all over yourself?

Are you tired of being tired?

Video of our Baja Travesia Finish in Ensenada: "Utterly Shattered"

...and 24hrs later back in Solana hurt to laugh but we did...
"That's how a MAN eats some CAKE!"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Biathlon

A new challenge...

This won't be my first biathlon. I competed in run/shoot Summer Biathlon (won my AG and top 10 at Coyote Point in 2002!?!) but my skate skiing has always sucked. Living in Southern California for the last 5 years didn't help much!

Photos are from the Colorado Biathlon Association's certification clinic in January. The venue sits at 9800'. Nordic skiing is difficult on the flats at sea level, but there are almost ZERO flats or even straightaways here. It's all up and down. Sucking COLD wind at 9800'.