Practice A Few Simple Things To Stay Ripped Or Get The Body You Want

This “OMG what am I going to eat” food thing during the holidays can be a conundrum.  Feeling like you are going around in circles?


In honor of the food holiday of Thanksgiving, I wanted to throw out a 10-step plan to help you make it through alive, well, and svelte.

  1. Build a nutrition foundation that will help provide a constant safety net as you approach any holiday
  2. Cut out fast food (it is big, bad calories) and eat clean
  3. Trick your body, like eat a salad first and see how hungry you are afterward
  4. Get 7-8 hours of sleep: less or more can slow fat burning
  5. Manage stress—cut out energy vampires (people and things that such your energy) and simplify
  6. Remember that bigger bodies burn more calories, which is why the initial weight loss is easier. Keep the faith for losing those final few pounds
  7. Drink water—it aids with weight loss
  8. Forget the claims of thermogenic properties of some foods to boost your metabolism: the #1 way to do that is strength training, which boosts your RMR. Add cardio and sound nutrition (not calorie deficit, but within a comfortable range) and you are golden.
  9. Adding a strong flavor to your food can eliminate the desire to mindlessly nibble on tasteless food, as the taste buds are enraged, and overall meal enjoyment is more noticeable.
  10. Eat the same things pretty much regularly: studies show if we have fewer choice we eat less and feel satiated.





Get Faster and Last Longer. In What Area of our Lives Does This NOT Matter?

033 podium shot in blue shorts

Moving into the 40+ age groups in triathlon OR just into our 40+’s (like a race itself!), strength training becomes an even more essential component of our fitness. Why? Sad but true: as we age we lose the ability to keep muscle strength without training.

Those dratted 25-year olds can get away with focusing pretty much entirely on swim-bike-run and (cringe!) still crawl over us if their waves follow ours. I am willing to bet that the fastest of those lower age-groupers are also taking advantage of targeted strength training programs.

Even as elite athletes in our respective age groups, lifting weights will help keep injuries away and help keep you in the best training shape to race or simply look so good everybody will think you are out there kicking butt!

But I Need to Devote All My Free Time to Triathlon Training

You are only as strong as your weakest link

Agreed, with the exception of ‘all.’ As straight-line athletes we are prey to overuse injuries. Joint alignment issues and muscle coordination are frequently cited as an implication for overuse injuries. These are normally due to imbalance issues that can respond to a proper strengthening program that helps strengthen the surrounding muscles and stabilize our joints.

For example, swimmers are often plagued with shoulder impingement pain (you have probably been there) due to shoulder cuff tendonitis, biceps tendonitis or shoulder joint instability. Improving muscular balance around the affected joints through strength training can lessen pain and improve function.

Most studies show that even the best dry-land resistance exercises do not improve swim performance but provide the joint and muscle stability necessary to maintain that performance!

Strength training also provides important neural factors (like muscle recruitment) that immediately increase strength particularly when accompanied by a large volume of endurance training. These changes affect the recruitment and frequency modulation of motor units in the nervous system, which helps our coordination and develops parts of our brain that keep us feeling good and defying age.


Ideal Three-Part Triathlon Strength Training

Practice the same specificity with strength training as you do your sports

Make your routine as specific to the movements of your sport (functional) so the strength transfers to your performance. For the exercise to truly transfer strength gains it has to replicate the movement as much as possible.

Complex, compound exercises

You want all your muscles to work in harmony when you race, so choose exercises that incorporate the most muscles and muscle groups while improving stability and mobility:

Squat and lunge


Pull-up and/or pulldown


Chest press

Triceps dip

Push press (or clean and jerk for advanced)


These are excellent forms of functional training. Think of the various joints of your body that are activated during a movement as a chain. If the movement is running, then the chain would start with the joints in the foot followed by the ankle, knee and hip and follows up through the opposite shoulder.

A closed chain exercise promoting strength for running may be a one-legged squat with the foot producing force directly to the floor. The open chain exercise may be a seated leg extension where the foot is not producing any force therefore leaving an “opening” in the chain.
RUNNING. Your foot produces force against the ground, provides ankle, knee and hip extension moving the body forward. This is the same motion as a lunge.

CYCLING. Your foot produces force against the pedal providing ankle, knee and hip extension similar to a squat.

SWIMMING. Your hand enters the water, flexion at the elbow creates the “catch”, and then you push that arm parallel to your body to your thigh. This movement can be reproduced with your hand pulling down on a cable pulley attachment, a closed chain exercise with the hand providing the contact force.


Overload is the basis of all gains in strength which leads to why many of the best exercises to strengthen a triathlete, which is NOT on the bike, run or swim. Progressive overload is the systematic increase in frequency, volume or intensity by itself or in various combinations. Athletes must be very careful in applying overload, especially in a new program, and progress slowly to prevent injuries.

Pay attention to body alignment while performing your exercises. Make sure you are not shifting your weight so that you are leaning to one side. Pretend you have a line bisecting your body and try to keep both sides “balanced.” Again, this will enhance your body’s ability to stabilize itself.

Okay and get sleep—it is delicious and key for the mind and body to repair itself.


Lift Big-Girl Weights to Lose Fat and Gain Lean, Sculpted Muscle

Girls the only way you will get big and bulky is by lifting your fork to your mouth too many times.

Want to look sexy? Lift big-girl weights to improve your shape, curves, and firmness.

stock-photo-girl-s-hand-on-the-barbell-beautiful-girl-goes-in-for-sports-in-the-gym-girl-holding-a-barbell-215016652 stock-photo-young-woman-training-in-the-gym-220937722 triceps ext dr

You do NOT have the testosterone to get big or bulky or gain muscle like a man: men have about 20% more than you do.

Do you think those guys are in the gym five days a week just to compare biceps with their workout buddies? Even with that extra testosterone they have worked hard and heavy to get sculpted muscles to look sexy. Yes, you men know it’s true.

Men and women need to train the same to get results.

Challenge Yourself

Get rid of the baby weights

Sets of 15-20 are not optimal to add lean muscle mass. Pick a weight you can complete for at least 6 reps but not more than 12. You need sufficient stimulation to gain muscle, and nothing beats free-weight/compound exercises.

What exercises are the men or those sculpted women doing? Do those.

For example, here is one of best for women: the conventional deadlift. If you want an exercise that will firm up your entire lower body–hamstrings, glutes, quads, you name it–this is it. Think of the conventional deadlift as a variation of the squat, except that you use your back and shoulders for stabilization, too.

“One of the best exercises a woman can do for her lower body is the [conventional] deadlift,” agrees Lori Gross, LPTA, LATC, CSCS, vice president of Human Performance Specialists Inc. in Sunrise, Florida. “Deadlifts require several large muscle groups, including your back, to work in a coordinated fashion. This exercise helps you create not only a great physique but also a functional one, good for sports that require running and jumping, as well as everyday activities like lifting a heavy box off the ground or picking up a child.


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Add this to the other things you will see the guys doing (and if they aren’t, you will see the stronger/leaner women doing them): squats, lunges, rows, pull-ups, lateral pull-downs, triceps dips, and myriad abdominal exercises. The strong women will be much more efficient at this last group, so keep an eye out.

Make Friends With Protein

Men and women have similar metabolisms except that women burn a greater ratio of fat to carbs than men. This is why women do well on lower carb diets and need to make friends with protein.

Adjust your total caloric intake. Women need fewer calories than men because men have more muscle mass and less fat (relative to total bodyweight) than women. Women need to examine the macronutrient balance. Ideal is about 40%-50% carbs, 30%-40% protein, and 20% good fats. Focus on including a bit of protein with every meal or snack.

Adequate protein intake is integral to create new muscle proteins, and may be more than you are used to eating. The good news is protein will make you full and satisfied. You need protein to sustain muscle, energy, and promote fat loss. Proteins and AA’s support immune system function; promote healthy connective tissue, hair, and nails; and support energy levels.

On average women need approximately 1 gram/protein per pound of body weight daily. Yes, the guys are doing this. Getting this from whole foods in ideal, but a nice protein powder can be an option when needed. Choose something you like the taste of—that will guarantee you will ingest what you need! (Note—always check with your physician before making dietary changes.)

EFA’s (essential fatty acids) help support the fat burning process and maintain a lean body. Eat good fats and look for good supplements if necessary (like BCAA’s).

Take Advantage of Insulin and Hormones

Insulin control is at the heart of the whole thing. This is a storage hormone. When it is secreted, fat burning is blunted. Control insulin by choosing low GI (gastrointestinal) carbs and increase fat loss. Keep stable blood sugar for energy and leaner muscle gains.

Weight lifting increases levels of testosterone in women, which helps to build muscle mass without the fear of “bulking up.” Your repetition range for these exercises could be between 3-5 (this is the next step from 6-12: increases strength).

Testosterone conveys powerful anti-aging effects. It turns fat into muscle, keeps skin supple, increases bone mineral density, puts women in a positive mood and boosts the ability to handle stress. Testosterone also supports cognitive functioning and keeps the liver and blood vessels clean.

Go get ‘em! You are shining stars so embrace your strength.