Last week I wrote about my half marathon experience. That was the run from my perspective. Sometimes words don’t fully tell the story, so here’s a good video that I fully endorse. It should start at 2:30 but if it doesn’t go ahead and fast forward (the first 2:30 is worth your time for context and story-telling but some people are pressed for time).
I also had a fun conversation this week at work. A member who I chat with about triathlon pulled me aside this week and told me he was flying to San Fransisco later that morning to compete in the Escape Alcatraz Triathlon. I’m so pumped for him!
P.S. This is post #700 on my blog – pretty proud of that.
TRX has a lot going for it. It’s popular, it’s portable and it’s challenging. It has become one of my favorite pieces of training equipment. TRX is not cheap but if you are a member of a gym they probably have one (or a few). If you have the money motivation I guarantee you will get your money out of it if you purchase one. Personally I’ve lead TRX classes and I use it with clients daily. And this summer you should start using TRX also!
TRX is awesome for a few different reasons. First, before you even get on TRX you have preconceived notions of this original suspension trainer. Someone suggests you try it or asks if you have experience with TRX and you get a little wide-eyed and your heart rate goes up because you’ve never had the guts to grab those two handles and try something. So TRX is awesome because it has a reputation.
The reputation doesn’t disappoint. TRX is also awesome because it’s one of the most challenging pieces of equipment in the gym (not many people own their own straps). Have you been working on “regular” push-ups? Try them with your feet in the straps. How about the back, have you been doing rows? Try leaning on TRX and doing rows! Pretty good at a squat? Stand with the TRX and do jump-squats as you jump agains the straps and they pull you back for more. TRX has a great slogan: “all core all the time.” The challenge with TRX is keeping good posture throughout your movements while engaging your core.
While not many people own a TRX, those that do love the portability of it. While traveling for work is usually a challenge, it’s entirely possible to throw the TRX straps into even a carry-on and bring suspension training on your business trip. It may take a little research and time to get TRX set up on location, but one additional perk is you’ll probably be outside in a park, under a tree, or in some other green space that’s sure to grab some attention and (hopefully) encourage others to get their fitness the way you are.
In the last five years I’ve taught a TRX class at both of the gyms where I’ve worked. Here at Pinnacle I developed a TRX/KB class – 60 minutes of TRX and kettle bells in high-intensity interval format. It was very successful for about a year. I took a lot of that class and incorporated it into workouts with clients. As I noted earlier, I like to take exercise people already do (push-ups, rows, squats) and add the challenge of TRX. Adding a balance/stability component is great for functional training. So much of exercise adherence is about keeping clients engaged. TRX affords them new ways to move including getting into positions (low squat) that are literally impossible to do without TRX. One of my favorite stories is from a client of mine who admitted one morning that she had a dream about TRX burpees. That’s right: one foot in the TRX strap, hop (on the other foot), drop to a push-up (remember, one foot is in TRX and the other is “floating”), TRX push-up, stand on the one free leg, hop on one foot and repeat. From HIIT training, to classic intervals and strength to golf stretches and assisted yoga poses, TRX suspension trainer has become a staple in my training program for both me and my clients.
When I introduce people to TRX, I start with TRX chest press. I tell them: “I have challenged a high-level triathlete with TRX Atomic push-ups and I have had a 75-year old former professor on TRX chest press because you can choose the level of difficulty. Parallel to the ground, the triathlete is pushed to the max. Standing almost vertical the former professor is practically doing a standing wall chest press with the added benefit of the instability of the straps. All this means that I can get any client or member to an appropriate level of challenge on the TRX suspension trainer.
One key I’ve realized with TRX is to not be intimidated by it or think that it’s a stand-alone piece of equipment. It’s a curve ball. It’s a change up from your normal exercises. Find a couple of your strengths and experiment how TRX can challenge you in new says. I’ve used “challenge” six times in this article. If a workout doesn’t challenge you it can’t change you – TRX will challenge you and that’s a good thing.
On Sunday I turned 40 years and proceeded to run my fastest half marathon ever, 1:42. As I’ve reflected on my run this week I’ve come to two conclusions about this particular race. First, PRs are a lot of hard work. Second, there is a lot of room for improvement.
While it may seem obvious, sometimes it helps to hear someone say that a goal will take a lot of work. Right now I’m just speaking about the actually race on Sunday. I started off very well as expected. At mile 8 I was feeling really good but the next mile I felt it get tough and mile 10 was just difficult. Sure, the Hill Challenge was in there and I walked after I got to the top, but that’s where I fell apart mentally. My splits don’t show it and I can’t fully explain that. But miles 11 through the finish felt like I was 0:30 off my pace. Not the case – here’s how I finished.
It has been quite a long time since I’ve worked that hard. Which is to be expected. I didn’t train the greatest for this race (see next section). But my training runs (including a very fast Crazylegs in April) got me thinking that the training I was doing was working to make me faster. I just didn’t get enough in.
There’s a lot of room for improvement. As any athlete knows, life gets in the way. That’s a poor choice of words. It’s all life. Work, family, training all contribute to my happy life. But work has been difficult and for whatever reason training took a back seat too many times this spring. Which begs the question: What could I do if I trained well? Sunday I got away with being a good athlete. Katie asked me numerous times in the weeks leading up to the race: “Are you even training for this?” And I certainly was… just not well.
By keeping this public blog I get to process life and process training. I also get to hold myself accountable by writing these kinds of posts in an effort to be transparent and inspire others to train well. I have adversity just like my clients. I have training weeks (and seasons) that aren’t the greatest. So now I have another arrow in my quiver to say, “make your adjustment and get back to training.”
I do not have another race on the calendar yet. But for my personal health and for all the clients I am coaching, it is imperative for me to train well this summer so that at some point in 2017 I go faster than I did on Sunday. 1:39 doesn’t happen without hard work. And now if you’ll excuse me, I could be training.
Through the first five months of 2017 I’ve consumed and created more content than I have in all of last year. It has been a wonderul start to the year and I’m excited where it may go. While I certainly planned this out, I didn’t see it unfolding the way it has and I can only credit dedication (publishing a vlog every Saturday) and hard work (editing takes lots of time!) to my success thus far.
As my health and fitness career evolves, I’ve found myself asking new questions.
How do I help more people? What conversations need to happen to make people healthier? Is my social presence telling the story of fitness?
In January I started a weekly newsletter, From The Training Desk of Hans Schiefelbein. Each week I read a lot of articles and find myself chatting with clients throughout the week about them — why not share more formally! Two added benefits are (1) I would be kept accountable to keep reading and (2) I’d be forced to really know the articles I share because if clients bring it up you need to be able to have a discussion or clarfy the author or my position. For years I’ve subscribed to similar newsletters and finally this year I decided that I could produce the same content and value for my tribe.
At the time I started the newsletter, our church was starting a new year-long series called Love This Book (LTB). The idea is to read through select portions of the Bible. We did a similar challenge in 2012 but we read the entire Bible! So in December and January I had been getting into vlogs (“video blogs”) related to the fitness industry and entrapraneur/small business owners in general. A topic that bubbled to the top for me was “document, don’t create.” Since I started blogging in 2006, I’ve constantly felt pressure to blog and create content. But with the two of the biggest aspects of my life (faith and fitness) the story plays out better when you document your message rather than create content in the traditional sense of end-user material. So I thought to myself: what if I documented how I was reading and processing LTB? After two weeks of pondering, I decided to start the LTB vlog. Daily vlog posts seemed unpractical so I settle on a weekly episode. I haven’t missed a Saturday for 21 weeks.
The goal here today isn’t to describe any more details than what I’ve already shared. The goal is to get up to 30,000 feet and look at the landscape. I want to educate and inspire people and that doesn’t happen when I consume content. Consuming content is part of the equation but the impact happens when I create content, start a discussion, and help people pursue their healthy and disciplined lifestyle.
While all this consuming and creating hasn’t been without its challenges, it’s been worth it. I look back at my portfolio with pride in what I’ve been able to publish. That’s what people see. What people don’t see is the footage sitting on the editing room floor, the hours editing, but also (and this is closest to me) what I’m learning about publishing and building a business. I have objectives above and beyond hitting publish on the vlog and the newsletter and that is to create a tribe of followers and a brand of purpose that will sustain my business and life in the near future.
For 15 weeks this spring (college “spring semester”) I had Colin with me at Pinnacle as a practicum student from UW. It was very nice to be on this side of a practicum/internship experience having spent plenty of time where Colin was. Not only did I get to work with Colin but I also got reconnected with Ronnie Carda, an old instructor of my undergraduate days.
Colin is going to physical therapy school next year and he’s going to do very well. Since his practicum experience didn’t exactly line up with his career (or at least schooling) goals, it was a challenge to make his time at Pinnacle as relevant as possible. As a graduate student myself, I took every opportunity to customize my schooling to get the most out of the experience as I could; I took that same approach with Colin. This spring Colin grew in his comfort level working one-on-one with clients. He also put a nice program together for one of my clients with Parkinson’s.
Coaching my clients is fun and rewarding but working with peers, training new trainers and giving back is an under-appreciated part of my job. I know I added value and perspective to Colin’s experience and it kept me at the top of my game. It’s easy to get into a rut and not challenge yourself in this industry. Having my workflows in place and assessments and communications updated was a great thing for me and my clients.
I look forward to updates from Colin – I’m proud to have worked with him as he moves onwards and upwards to Northwestern.
Today I turned 40 years old. It has been a fanstastic weekend. Some thought:
Norah made me an awesome card (and told me all about how she made the decision. Sorin tried to FaceTime us while we were on our half marathon today. My mom and my sister made it all around the half marathon course today. Then my sister and parents hosted a birthday gathering featuring two of my favorite treats: homemade Chex mix and peanut butter bars.
She ran the Conquor the Captial this weekend: twilight 10k last night and half marathon today! She and her friend (and my client) Sue ran the two races together and killed it! This weekend started as “her races” and turned into all kinds of activities around me turning 40. She was so gracious and our plans turned out to be amazing. We had so much fun and this paragraph doesn’t begin to describe my happiness at the end of these couple days.
Sue’s husband and I spent last night tracking the ladies arising be the 10k course and had nice conversations and the four of us had some great laughs over the two races. Lunch today was with two families we love dearly, including baby Macie – what a diva!
Today was good for the soul. Do you ever have those days? To be clear, it wasn’t about the birthday celebration, though it was part of it. It was about memories with family and friends, and great results in our races. Katie finished a 10k (6 miles!) at 9pm then ran an awesome, strong half marathon at 7am. You should have seen her sense of accomplishment at the finish line! I ran my best half marathon and worked hard for every minute I cut off my PR. The finish line was almost 60 minutes hanging out with family and friends celebrating the races.
Love This Book is back after taking five weeks off for the Reach Initiative.