Category Archives: Training

Your Goals + My Plan + Your Execution: Our Team’s Formula for Success

Don’t compare. You have no idea where that other person is at. You have no idea how far you can go. You and I have enough to worry about just dealing with our own stories. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

When I am coaching clients I often use this equation: your goals + my plan + your execution is our recipe for success. Don’t waste your time with anyone else’s goals. What do you want to accomplish? What will it take to get there? What will you do when you experience an injury or a set-back? Do you have an expert plan in place? And then can you execute that plan? That’s where a coach and/or a team come into play.

Before you retire for the day, get a notecard and a pen and write down your goal for the end of the year. Of course you know I preach long-term pursuit, but we need to start with a short term goal to build momentum. My goal is to finish two triathlons and finish the year with a new understanding, appreciation, and pursuit of nutrition and strength training. So far, so good.

All about that brick: 12.13 + 2.5

At the finish of my workout today I was feeling very accomplished, challenged, and progressing nicely for my two triathlons coming up in a couple weeks. The brick was a 12.13 mile bike followed by a 2.5 mile run. The reason for the extra energy after the workout was that I was pushed by Phil, an experienced triathlete who just competed an Olympic distance triathlon so his cardio and power is pretty dialed in right now.

I’m still learning a lot about triathlon. I know how important the brick workout is (two disciples in one workouts, mostly the bike-run combo) but I’m still working through what distances to train at and how to manage the transition. So you can imagine it’s nice to have an experience athlete like Phil to train with.

Today we talked about how typical bricks include a long bike and only 1.25-2.0 on the run. I’m sure that might be a typical brick but as a beginner I want to feel as much of that run after a long bike as possible. Today’s bike was at race pace and even though it was a couple miles less that race distance, I want to feel the challenge of running at race pace after that push on the bike. And like I said, my accomplishment after the workout came because I was pushed and responded well.

Anxiety in the water

I am much more efficient in the water than I’ve ever been. And yet in the middle of my workout yesterday I was reminded how much anxiety I have in one aspect of the swim: opposite side breathing.

Triathletes need to be able to breathe on both sides of their body in case there’s waves, sun, or competitors on the strong side. For me this is a challenge for two reasons. First my form is terrible when I breathe on my left. I’m actually kind of shocked at how hard it is to replicate the breathing on my right side. But more critical to my training is the fact that breathing on my left side is often filled with lots of anxiety; since my form is so bad, I always worry that my poor form will lead to me subluxing my shoulder. Both of my shoulders are loose and when I pull so much in the water, that’s a lot of stress on the joint. Additionally if I start pulling too soon (with my body rotated), I put myself at increased risk for subluxation. It’s a mind game. I’m winning the game but it’s a big battle.

Easiest 1500 meters ever

Today I swam 1500 meters without any real problem. The purpose of this post is to demonstrate that with proper (progressive) training you can feel the benefits of all your hard work quicker than you may expect. Swimming is hard for me but once I committed to the workouts, I got better each time both physically and mentally. Yes, there’s a lot of mental training happening for me in the pool.

Swim on!

My first group ride: it included a burger and fries

Last week Matt Hanson invited me out for a Burger ride with his cycling team. I know what you’re thinking: Is a burger ride what I think it is? Yes. We ride to a burger joint, have the American classic, and ride home. I opted for the grilled chicken sandwich because I’m smart like that. But not so fast… I still had the fries. And I had my first Blue Moon in forever. With the warm temps in Madison lately, that beer went down just fine.

The ride was very short – six miles one way. I wanted to go faster but I had enough learning to do with the hand signals. I didn’t put up the “brake” sign and a lady right behind me almost rear-ended me – oops. Plus the bike path is a little narrow so with oncoming bikers it gets a little thin out there. Nonetheless it was a nice introduction to group riding.

Fit and Fabulous (part 1)

A couple weeks ago I was the first guest on a new segment on a local radio station here in Madison, 93.1 JAMZ. The segment is called Fit and Fabulous and it’s hosted by Krista, a client of mine, along with Corrina and Jessa from Girl Talk (channel 57). The idea is to bring in guests with an area of expertise that will help the (primarily female demographic) feel… you guessed it, fit and fabulous!

When I was asked to be a part of the segment I immediately anticipated the struggle of speaking to an audience I’d never met, that couldn’t see me, and that I couldn’t feed off. As a trainer I’m very comfortable with instruction, coaching and adjusting to clients. But this medium would be a new challenge. Sign me up!

I knew I needed to bring my training expertise to the table but at the same time I couldn’t assume that many listeners were necessary ready to jump on board with what I was suggesting (more on that later). So I decided to create a Facebook group so that interested listeners could immediately participate with me and ask additional questions. We already have ten members.

I’m scheduled to appear three more times on Fit and Fabulous. I structured the 4-part series to assume listeners were starting from ground zero. I introduced the Faithful Four, four exercises that are ‘faithful’ because they’re with you where ever you go: push-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges. I shot a quick video for the Facebook group to demonstrate and put a face to their new trainer. We’re off to a great start!

You can watch the Facebook Live broadcast here. If you read this and want to join the Facebook group, please drop me a line and let me know this post closed the deal!

Goals in the right place

Today when I asked a client about her goals, she said she wants to lose weight and “lean out” in a certain body region. “Spot reduction is not possible. I know, not a popular statement but very true: your body (and his body and her body and my body) will burn fat wherever it wants. All you can do is get into a calorie deficit and repeat.”

You’ve been active for a long time. You’ve participated in sports. Or you’re just getting back into it after a few seasons (or years) off. Now there’s extra weight in areas you want to just zap away. You immediately implicate the muscles underneath that fat but that’s not how fat burning works. Caloric deficit is a systemic issue – your whole body takes in calories, burns calories, and the whole body will respond by shedding fat in its own unique way. Again, not popular but very true.

The solution? First, it’s important to build a great routine that just gets longer and stronger over the next six months. ”Six months, Hans??!!” That’s right, I’m trying to get all my clients to play the long game; be in this exercise and fitness to get results in December. I don’t care about summer and I certainly don’t care about the next few weeks of spring. This is a process, this is a grind, this will take serious work.

Once your routine is set, the second thing you need is to build into 4-6 days per week. Remember that phrase from earlier: caloric deficit. To expect weight loss we need to burn more calories than we consume. Seems obvious and even ‘easy’ but in my experience the “calories in” are more than we think, the calories burned are less than we think. The body does a great job finding homeostasis and resisting change. So let’s step up to the challenge and bring some serious change!

The third aspect is keep the challenge high. Switch things up. So many people come into a gym or into a workout and get their 30 minutes of cardio and call it a day. I’m not suggesting every workout kicks your butt, but you should be challenged each day. Strength training is more important than you’ve giving it credit for. Your steady state cardio can get 10% longer for ten straight weeks. That’s going from 30 minutes to 78! Try it! Adjust as necessary.

Spot reduction does not work. To see where you lose the weight first, let’s get into that caloric deficit. Try this template: each week includes three days of strength training, one day of intervals or shorter steady-state cardio, and one day of longer steady-state cardio.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Workout Refresh

A group of four ladies have been taking classes and doing their own workouts here at Pinnacle for quite a few years. A couple weeks ago they decided they needed a refresh so they contacted me. We found a time that works for everyone and last week we started our first of ten sessions together.

The energy in this group is fantastic. I don’t do a lot of small groups but this is off to a great start! It certainly helps that they all know each other. I’ve asked them all to give me a briefing on where they’re at in their fitness journey and then consider what I can do to coach them to the next level as we move forward. That’s the one-on-one stuff. As a group, they do a nice job cheering each other on and there’s a silent motivation working also; when you’re sweating and grinding with your team, the goal is to get through the challenge Coach put out there and your teammates are all you have. Can you hear the athlete in me coming out? Every once in awhile we al need to tap into that competitive juice and see how far we can push.

One of my main responsibilities as an exercise specialist is to change up people’s workouts. Not just changing it up for the sake of change, but to keep them challenged and thus getting better. That’s where these ladies nailed it: they stepped out of their comfort zone, identified a need and made an adjustment.

Nothing Changes

I can’t lie – I’ve been thinking about Best of Madison a lot lately. I am one of six finalists in the personal trainer category for Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison awards. When you’re in a business like health and fitness, so much of your opportunities are the product of your marketing and exposure to the public. Winning this completion would help in the short term with immediate exposure and in the long term as I can always say I was voted Best of Madison (well at least for a couple years). After Googling the other candidates, I’ve realized I’m in good company. At the same time there’s at least two other candidates that could/should certainly have been included but for some reason are not (sorry Peter and Pat). This tells me that Dane County has plenty of talent and opportunities for people to pursue their health in 2018.

This process has forced me to think of what I would do if I win. Could I leverage the moment of attention to build my brand? Will the publicity make me a better trainer? And what if I don’t win? Losing sucks, will that be a downer? Or will I compare myself more critically to the competition and up my game? I’ve realized competitions like this are pretty subjective. Looking across the candidates in the top six and the other notables “left out” makes me realize how difficult it would be to really determine the best trainer in Madison. I mean really… what makes the best trainer and how is the public supposed to really vote on such a small (niche) category? Which means this is really a popularity contest – which trainer can get the most people from their tribe to vote for them? But then why did Pat (with 30,000 followers) and Peter (Mr. VIP boot camp where hundreds show up) not get in the top six? What I’m trying to say is that it’s hard to know how reliable and accurate this voting is which brings me to my conclusion.

Win or lose Best of Madison, nothing changes for me. Everyone likes to win. But often it’s losing that helps us the most in life. I love to win but I really want to do what helps most in life which may be losing; or you could call it “not winning”, as in places 2-6 didn’t lose, they just didn’t win. I’m not writing this as a pre-emotive excuse for losing. I have a great shot at winning this thing. Why? Because I’m a really good trainer. I know my stuff, I know my clients, I have my protocols and training philosophy in place and I’m on a great journey of mastering my craft. When you’re in the business of behavior change, that’s right where you need to be.

What this competition has done the most for me is keep me focused on getting better each week. It’s interesting timing since I’m currently cranking through some coninuing education credits for my ACSM certification. What’s best for my career is always learning, always getting better, always moving the ball down the field. But this drive can so easily fall away in the hustle and bustle of dozens of client sessions per week. That’s why this competition has been great – it’s forced me to reflect on what I’m doing, always improve, and be ready in case the spotlight shines in my direction.

But win or lose, nothing changes. I’ll still be in pursuit of a healthy and disciplined lifestyle.

Year in Review 2017

I will always look back on 2017 with fond memories. A lot happened personally and professionally and I wrote about a lot of it here on the blog. My blog is for documenting things in life so I remember them both here at the end of the year and for years to come. Leaders are readers, they’re thinkers, they reflect on how things are going according to their game plan. I need a tool like this blog to remember all the things that happened. I want to look back on the year and see if my family is telling a story of love, that my business and brand is reflected in my life, I want to tell a great story not for the sake of showing off a great life but rather to think deeply about my values and hopefully to inspire others to think deeply. We are better together.

2017: Becoming A Media Company

The past 363 days I have wrapped my mind around becoming a media company. So much of my time and effort is spent building my next career as an exercise and wellness specialist. Any business needs to brand, advertise, and market themselves but a service business like personal training especially lends itself to getting content and media out into the world to sell your services and build a business. In late 2016 I came across two entrepreneurs who would inspire my transition to a media company. Gary Vaynerchuk is the one who coined the phrase and Casey Neistat is the vlogger who gave me a vision of what I could do with video to tell a story. These two people were in my head every day in almost every decision I made in 2017 to take my brand to the next level.

This review isn’t about Gary and Casey; it’s about how they inspired the foundation of my brand. As most of you know I’ve hung up my arborist gear – no more climbing trees with chainsaws and running brush through a chipper. A significant part of me misses this manual labor, leadership, and productivity. But I was made to work with people to improve their health and their livelihood. I absolutely love what I do and I’m getting pretty good at it. Of course there’s room for improvement (more on that later) but I am confident in where the brand is at and where it’s going. Let’s get into the details.

Instagram

My second biggest accomplishment in 2017 was establishing my Instagram feed as a story about exercise and wellness. The Instagram account is a big deal because I went from personal posts and “any cool Instagram-worthy pic” to focusing on adding value as an exercise specialist and building an audience that expected this type of content. It was a strategic first step because it’s a platform I was already using and it’s a known network for this type of content. Numerous people asked what was behind the notable shift in content. I posted to Instagram numerous times per week, sometimes numerous times per day. It always feels good to put a plan together, execute well, and see the results.

Newsletter

Instagram was a win, but my number one accomplishment for 2017 was establishing a weekly newsletter called From The Training Desk of Hans Schiefelbein. As much as I believe in the power of social media, email is still a bedrock of our communication. We all have email and it’s still our primary means of subscribing to new information. Every week I read a lot of articles that help me in my career and so I thought ‘why not take that information and share it with my audience?’ I read a handful of newsletters each week and two in particular were the inspiration for my newsletter. Jocelyn Glei writes about ‘notes on work, life and creativity in the Age of Distraction.’ Chris Bowler writes a longer newsletter but the content is right up my alley: ‘a newsletter focused on cultivating the discipline and joy of living with intention.’ I took these two newsletters and realized I can take my content that I read each week and curate a newsletter that brings value to my readers. If you want to get a weekly update on what has my attention from a health and wellness point of view, I invite you to subscribe to From the Training Desk.

Love This Book: Vlogging

One of the mindsets I learned from Gary was testing new media. While he didn’t get into the details of his tactics, he constantly talked about ‘testing new platforms’, new side projects, new campaigns and themes in his work. In late 2016 my church announced that the entire year of 2017 was going to be dedicated to going through the Bible again. We had done a series called “Eat This Book” in 2012 and this year we’d be doing it again, this time in a four-part series through YouVersion (Bible app) which included embedded videos from Tim Mackie’s Bible Project. I naturally gravitate towards journals, devotional plans, and year-long studies like this so I was immediately asking what this would look like for me. I knew the church would so some social media around it but I wasn’t too hopeful it would work or ‘be a relevant part of the project.’ At the same time I was pondering the work of Gary and Casey and I landed on the idea that I would post a weekly vlog as I go through the Bible readings and subsequently reflect on what I was taking away from the series. This was an ambitious project. Again the goal here isn’t to recap the entire project but I’ll say this: I learned a lot about vlogging. It was a difficult project and in fact it fell apart in the fall and I couldn’t pick it back up – that’s a big regret of mine. But I also self-imposed a restriction on my vlog: I wanted to film, edit, and publish to YouTube end-to-end with an iOS device. The reason for this limitation was that I was thinking ahead to a health and fitness vlog and I wanted to be able to train other trainers on how to most efficiently use social media to improve their brand and tell their story. One of the downsides of this is the quality may be a little less than if I’d use a DSLR and also I now gravitate to Apple products and can come across as a ‘fan boy.’ But I’ve fully come to terms with the idea that you have to set boundaries of what you’ll be about and where you’ll say ‘no’. I can’t be all things to all people and I have chosen to be the resident expert on using iOS devices to build a health and fitness brand. I love this decision and I’m excited about building an iOS-only platform.

Training: HIIT and weight management

As an exercise specialist I’ve built a solid reputation for designing challenging and creative workouts using high intensity interval training (HIIT), namely the Tabata protocol. One downside is that I’ve experienced a handful of people at the club say that they don’t want to train with me because the intensity is too high, “I could never do that.” So then I have to go back and remind them that I train people to reach their goals, not mine. But if the eye-test is a downside to HIIT training, the advantage is that research is still on my side. Not only is HIIT safe for advanced and novice clients alike, it’s good for weight loss which has been a focus for a few clients in 2017. As my career develops HIIT training and a focus on weight loss continue to be where I spend most of my time. I’ve established an expertise with the exercise side of the equation but anyone who knows about weight loss knows that a bigger part of the equation needs to be nutrition. Which leads me to my next section…

Training Daily: The Year of Nutrition

So far I’ve reviewed what I did in 2017 but one of the most significant take-aways from the year was realizing what I need to do in 2018. This year I’m going to take my nutrition education and implementation to the next level. You’ve heard me talk about becoming a media company last year. My Love This Book vlog was really a testing ground for my next project as a fitness professional. I’ve decided to continue vlogging with nutrition as a storyline. In November I started filming Training Daily as my new media project, a vlog (for those that don’t know that’s a video log). The idea is this: Training Daily documents my life and career as a personal trainer which will include everything I do on any given week working with clients and maintaining my own fitness. Season 1 of Training Daily will focus on nutrition including the pros and cons of various diets, weight loss strategies, and all the recipes and tips that come with that progression of my career. I’m very excited to vlog this year and it’s so satisfying to look back on 2017 and see how so many things in life contribute to this decision to start Training Daily and take this media company to the next level.

A Few Highlights of 2017

A lot happened in 2017 and I documented a lot of it on the blog. It all started with starting in 2017. I created more than ever and had a giant focus on tech and health. I got Apple Watch Nike+ edition which got me thinking about my love for the original sport brand: Hello Nike! Speaking of running, I ran my fastest half marathon, fell in love with TRX again, and helped a client lose 45 pounds! It was a good year.

Happy Holidays

This week between Christmas and New Year is a special time. I’m finishing this post at the Java House in Cedarburg visiting Katie’s family for a few days. I’m ending the year with a satisfied soul that has a healthy anticipation and even eagerness to start 2018 with an ambitious plan. A great life can be achieved by anyone who’s willing to reflect on what has happened, make your adjustments, and put together a game plan for the next year. I encourage you to be intentional with your reflection and intentional with your plans and I believe good things will happen. Merry Christmas to you and your family and Happy New Year.