Endurance Coaching

Where will Next Season Take You? Ready to Change your Routine? Get Healthy and Take Control of Your Goals

Nutritional Consultation

The First Step to Balancing Health and Performance

Skill Sessions

Refine your skills at any ability From First Time Cyclist to Elite

Latest Blog Below!!!

Simple Answers to Tough Questions

Bike Fitting - Testing

The Best Bike Fit and The Best FaCT Testing Through Crossfit Orangeville

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Trek Team Announced and First Win for the Team!

Rumur has it Emily Batty won a fun Crit against some pretty fast competition at Ray's MTB Park in Cleveland this past weekend.

This comes very soon after the Release of the 2009 Trek Store Team (CLICK!)


Monday, January 26, 2009

Workout of the Week Jan 26 2008

Hopefully the cold didn't keep everyone cooped up this past weekend. I was out at Highlands Nordic enjoying some fine XC skiing and even a ride in the groomer, courtesy of my good friend and groomer extraordinaire, Scott Holmes. Be sure to go check out his work at Highland's Nordic if you are looking to try XC skiing this winter. And/Or go watch Nationals at the beginning of March !

So for this week some new ideas to try:

Steve's Workout of the Week

10 min easy spinning Endurance

1 RPM pyramid from 90 to 120 and back down -- 5 rpm per minute -- only go as high as you can while staying quiet in the saddle and smooth on pedals.

3 min easy spinning Endurance

20 min Time Trial on bike -- or -- 5000m row -- or -- 3k run
(post Sport/time/watts/distance to Comments Please)


Then complete 10 rounds for time of:

5 ball slams with ball about 10% of your bodyweight + 10 pushups (chest MUST touch the ground) + 15 kettlebell (or dumbell) swings -- for the swings go as heavy as you can with solid form, this will depend on experience

Finish off with 10 min easy aerobic activity

Peter's Workout of the Week
- For those who have put in several endurance snowshoes and/or are able to run without injury/excessive recovery time, the following should provide some reprieve from indoor sessions and add some spice to your usual snowshoe workout.

- On a Day following 1-2 easy / off days
- 1-2hr Snowshoe
- Warmup 20-30min building into a steady endurance effort
- Complete 4-5 x 2min Max efforts on a medium Grade hill that lets you stride continuously and forcefully.
- Recover 3min easy walking/sliding back down hill
- Efforts should be hard but distance covered the same or greater each rep.
(poles optional / bonus points for starting/finishing with 10min on Trainer spinning 90+RPM)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Winter Blahs

So Busy week here in Orangeville with lots of personal training going on and of course lots of bike riding going on. Many clients are booking their FaCT tests for next couple weeks to check how their training program has effected their limiters isolated in past tests ... Have we changed their scenerio ? Is there a new limiter ? Perhaps improvement but more work to be done ? Answers or, at least indications, to be had over the next few weeks.

Also seeing some bike fit requests starting to pop up as 2009 bikes come in ... I know I have an order for 2 in with Steve so ... get in line !

Got to thinking that those February blahs are right around the corner ... How can we avoid getting stale in this tough time for Canadian Cyclists ?

Some will head south for a short Reprieve in the sun

Others rely on a steady diet of cross training, which can certainly be a quality method of maintaining or improving your bike fitness. Getting outside may also provide some fresh air and perhaps some sun that makes those couple of focused hours each week on the trainer more tolerable.

I know I am among the worst for being content sitting on rollers for hours simply because of the increased prep time and 'hassle' of going for a run or getting out to xc ski or even ride outside. That extra time spent prepping can definitely make the difference between coming into sunny April with fresh mind and motivation vs. expending all your mental energy staring at the wall all winter !

How do you beat the blahs ?

(perhaps by getting a shiney new bike fit perfectly so it is ready to rip come your first big Race? )

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day in The Gym

Spent a bit of time with Brent Berger today working on some strength, balance and coordination to help Brent be ready for a solid, injury-free 2009. Brent has never done much strength and so we have spent some time learning the coordination/foundation of movements over the last few weeks.

Brent is catching on quick though and today we were able to do a bunch of really solid work on one leg squats and OL deadlifts, which help work on and expose any imbalances he has while strengthening the stabilizers of the hip/pelvis such as Glut Medius.

At the end we had a little fun with the rower, wall ball, kettle bell and box jumps just to get Brent sweating :)

... and next time we may have to have a Crossfit dual between Brent and Josh Sanderson, who was in working with Steve, to keep his name in the headlines (click) !


Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekly Workouts Jan 19 2009

So Fun weekend with lots of posts and ideas.

For this week 2 new workouts to challenge you and keep things fresh from SNPD.

Steve's Workout
Row, Run or Ride...

8 min all out x 2

4 min all out x 2

2 min all out x 2

1 min recovery between each of the above and best possible pacing...

Then 5 min recovery Followed by the below Strength Work:

Complete 6 rounds of the following:

3 lunges per side (go heavy if you have great form -- go lighter and double reps if form isn't perfected yet but challenge yourself without letting form go)

6 x 10 inch box step-ups holding dumbells that once again make it challenging but don't compensate form

6 x split squat jumps...so from a lunge position jump in the air and switch legs...repeat until you have done 6 times (3 on each leg)

Peter's Workout
- This is a variation on an idea we have been having good success using with our clients over the past few snowy months and is a great way to 'pass' trainer time effectively.
- As a workout on its own or as a warmup try challenging your coordination/speed skill on the bike.

10min warm-up
- Cadence Ladder (1-4 times as required to challenge - 2-5min b/w natural cadence)
- Start at 95 RPM
- Increase Cadence 5 RPM every 1min until reach 115-130 RPM

- The top of the Ladder should be challenging and require full focus to get through to keep from hopping around excessively on the saddle
- With a few workouts the top should get easier / additional stages should be possible

Have Fun and remember to please post your experiences if you use these ideas !


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Branching out...

Steve has been training Josh Sanderson...a top National Lacrosse League player. Josh started working with Steve a few months ago to try and bring his game back to the level, or higher than it was two years ago. Josh felt that his conditioning wasn't where it needed to be in a growing competitive league.

Check this out...


What did you do today?

Well...what a day...I can guess most likely everyone had a shovel in their hand at least once or twice...I know I did...

Shovel driveway for warmup...and active recovery...I love the snow

The picture up top is what I did for training today...if Peter shares his adventure this won't really compare...but hey...he is a Pro...and I am just trying to get in great shape :)

Take a moment and share some training adventures from your weekend...

Oh yeah...

The R stands for rowing -- 2 x 2000m - 2 x 1000m - 2 x 500m all on 1.55 pace or slightly faster with 1 minute recovery

Then 2 x through the barbell complex with 75 lbs no setting the bar down...that was hard!

Then 3 sets of the lunge - step-up circuit also with 75 lbs

Done like dinner!

Peter Glassford Olympic Lift Day

We have been trying to add a day or two of Olympic lifting to Peter's training this winter.

His back squat has improved greatly at the bottom of the range of motion as well as he is lifting more weight as well.

To see more about one of Peters Olifting workouts check it out here:


I really hope everyone gets outside today to enjoy doing something in the fresh snow!


Saturday, January 17, 2009


I get asked this question a lot...and this is one of the better articles on the subject I have read in a while...Thanks to Mark Twight www.gymjones.com for passing it along to me.


Enjoy the read...post your thoughts after if any are floating around in your brain...



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Enduring Lessons

Read a great article last night as I enjoyed one of my favorite dinners of Sweet Potato, spinach and Turkey. It was in the latest 'Runner's World' and about Marathon Phenom Haile Gebrselassie, who just set a his 24th World Record at the Berlin Marathon, running in 2:03:59. The article detailed 4 tenants that he felt were central to his success over the past 15 years in racing endurance events (has records in 5 and 10, 000m as well). These tenants really struck a cord because they apply to every sport but also highlight conversations Steve and I have quite often with Clients. So I thought I would share.

1) Race, But Not to Much - Haile raced only 5 events in 2008, while 10-12 is more common. We often get into discussions with clients who want to do every event, every weekend because they love the sport so much OR they want to be competitive in every event and unfortunately this just isn't how the body works !! We need time to train rather then taper and recover from Events. Haile used this philosophy to be in peak condition to achieve his goals at these key events.
- Lesson = Prioritize your schedule and reconsider the amount of racing you are doing ... remember those weekly 'World Championship' Races can add up. -

2) Choose Your Battles - some times life gets in the way or conditions are not optimal. Haile chose not to chase olympic gold due to the risk to his health/career in the extreme heat of Beijing. For the rest of us this could mean avoiding a big race during stressful times (holidays / work induced) and perhaps being brave enough to pull the plug when sickness or injury is creeping in. One or two days off vs. weeks or a lifetime away from training and sport ... easy but not so easy answer.

3) Get used to Speed - Haile uses the shorter (5, 10,000) and specific intervals to get used to running faster than marathon pace, this helps him run comfortably and efficiently at marathon pace on race day. For MTB racers this takes the form of one of our favorite workouts ... the off-road TT. Basically going off road and riding fast so that those corners and trees are met at high speed and not intimidating when it counts !

4) Know your Pace - This is a SNPD favorite ... pacing is huge in endurance events there is just no way around it. Haile's records have all had lap times / split times within 2%. The same counts for bike racing. Keeping intensity steady vs. starting to hard is where best performances come from. Again off-road TTs and steady intervals (tempo / Threshold) help with this (use a loop to keep track of distance covered each interval esp. if you do not have power).


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Making the Most of Riding Indoors

So, training indoors, most of us will find ourselves there perhaps only once or twice a week, others almost daily. In any case a big mistake is to treat that time as mind numbing hours of pedaling away. It need not be this way, consider how valuable an experience indoor training is. The temperature is optimal ( at least if you are using a fan ... which you should be), the resistance is always controllable/adjustable, there are no stop signs, no cars, no groups to stop for or keep up with ... this time is completely yours to improve whatever element of our sport is limiting you.

From today forward try taking this valuable time and use the focus it provides.
Some Ideas you can easily Implement:

1) As Emily Batty is so nicely displaying above, use a mirror to check your posture throughout your ride and especially during intervals where form starts to suffer.
- aim to have a 'flat back' with your pelvis tilted forward and nice relaxed shoulders / arms.
(pedal stroke and posture are part of our bike fit and also a possible personal session !)

2) Establish a cadence goal for your ride, or different intervals ... but make sure its a cadence that is a challenge ... either lower or higher then what you would select in a normal workout or test (usually 80-90rpm). Working to spread this range will help you better meet challenges provided by steep hills.

3) Practice basic skills that will help your races/rides go better ... can you drink while riding (especially on rollers AND with bottles no hydration packs), what about take shirts/jackets off ??? ride no hands ? Stand up properly ?

4) During intervals put the focus on your steady effort and cadence and posture vs. a distraction (TV etc.) while this may make it seem more boring, I would argue that putting in 45 min of focused work vs. 2hrs of mind numbing and sloppy (not steady) riding is better for your fitness and also for your mind :)


Crossfit Orangeville

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekly Workouts Jan 12 2009

So hopefully everyone got out and enjoyed some cross training this past weekend, I know I made the trip up to Highland's Nordic and did a few laps on Saturday along with a nice group back country ski into Creemore on Sunday with the crew from HB Cycling Club.

Steve's Workout of the Week
Complete all the following exercises as many times as you can for each pairing in 5 minutes...take 2 min easy spinning recovery (can also be jogging or rowing)

5 reps of first exercise / 10 reps of second exercise

pullups / air squats

pushups (clapping if you can!) / box jumps

jumping pullups / kettlebell or dumbell swings

med ball squat throws (take a med ball - squat down and throw straight in the air as high as you can) / medicine ball jumping slams (take a med ball -- be careful it will bounce back at you if it isn't a plyo ball -- jump up from squat position and on way back to the ground slam the ball in front of you)

burpees / situps

Peter's Workout
For this week I would suggest we ride on the Cross Training Theme I enjoyed this past weekend. Get out and try a cross training activity you haven't done before (consider lessons) or that you haven't done in a while. All that time on the trainer is tough mentally and a nice break and some sunshine will do you well. A great option for those who really don't have good winter options is a strength session, many Personal Trainers will offer a free trial session (or discount) and learning a bit about strength might make it more enjoyable if it has not been part of your life this far.

- Look for a nice steady endurance session in the 1-3hr range, based on where your experience in sport and current fitness is.
- Great choices are snowshoeing, XC Skiing, running, Pole Running/Walking
- Bonus points for those that are able to do a quick 10-15min spin at high cadence after the workout to help associate the fatigue of the workout with the cycling motions.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Strength and Cycling...Cycling and Strength

Didn't have a great picture for my topic...so this is my daughter Mackenzie and I ...

I have had a lot of inquiries about the recent posts and workouts including strength and conditioning.

Many years ago when I started coaching my first athletes I was lucky enough to meet Juerg Feldmann of . Originally from Switzerland, Juerg had a very different approach on training and in my opinion was many years ahead of his time, and still is to this day. One of many of the different training ideas I learned from Juerg was to incorporate upper body and trunk conditioning in my cycling athletes lives. This was often done with a variety of exercises in circuit form which often included cycling.

There are many different views on strength training with cyclists, likely too many to even really mention here.

What you are seeing posted on this site are really driven by a few different ideas.

That many of us require at least some general preparation of strength and conditioning as a base to ride our bike as well as we probably could.

That many of us wish we had more time to train that we actually do...therefore how can we be more efficient...and doing more intensity on the bike may not be the only answer.

That many of us don't get super excited having to ride the trainer over and over during the long winter months we face.

So we are likely agree that in order to get faster riding we need to ride. What I have seen in athletes is that if they aren’t enjoying riding...indoors or out...they likely are not improving their fitness due to not being fully engaged in their training. So, if you ride and ride and don’t improve maybe there is a better way. Or at least another way to get through the time when the bike isn’t so exciting...without losing too much overall fitness...or maybe even gaining some :)

What if you could improve an energy system by doing exercise that had a variety of circuits to work on but also included your bike? This is what I am playing with in the workouts you see.

If you combine strength and conditioning with cycling you can at least get in some general preparation strength training that will help with...strength...flexibility...balance...coordination...mental toughness...and likely many other important qualities for sport.

Many of the strength and conditioning circuits we are using are actually working on a more overall condition rather than cycling specific condition. I think that this will help keep our bodies more balanced and we will be thankful for this in later years both on and off the bike.

PHA - Peripheral Heart Action
taken from http://strengthandfitness.blogspot.com/2008/02/peripheral-heart-action-pha.html

"Peripheral Heart Action or better known as PHA is a “system” that was developed by Dr. Arthur Steinhaus and brought to the forefront of the muscle world by 1960’s legendary body builder and Mr. America/Mr. Universe title holder, Bob Gajda. The PHA method was specifically designed to keep the blood circulating throughout the whole body during the entire workout. The smaller muscles around the heart are worked on first before the larger muscles around the body's periphery. PHA sounds curiously similair to circuit traning or even GPP (General Physical Preparedness) but differs in that PHA’s emphasis is not in bringing a localized pump to the muscles. The approach is to choose exercises that will allow you to pump blood to extreme ends of the body so blood doesn’t localize and develop a lactic acid build up. This is where PHA differs in comparison to a circuit type training regimen. Herb April, a renown bodybuilder in his own right and a Gajda disciple had this to say in a correspondence with me regarding PHA traininig. “...Gajda always stressed that PHA was designed to "circumvent" the pump effect that bodybuilders are so beholden to." Bob did so because of long term health considerations as well as creating a training "atmosphere" that enabled one to progress "within" the workout without lactic acid buildup slowing one down or fatiguing one to the point where the workout became a survival "game." Done correctly, PHA training does indeed "circumvent" a massive pump in favor of enhanced circulation, and it does produce remarkable results despite that built in "pump circumvention."

So basically PHA is a form of circuit training that allows you to continually work by switching muscle groups...and by not tiring out one specific muscle group you can have a more consistent intensive workout. One other idea in combining strength training with cycling ... not really proven yet but many have discussed that with the production of lactate during one exercise it might be able to be cleared during another exercise using a different muscle group (similar to riding hard up a steep hill, then having to control your bike down a rough bumpy hill with your upper body). Below is an example of what a workout like this might look like...using strength training for the upper body and our bike as a tool for the lower body)

Max Ball Slams in 1 minute

15 sec squat hold in 90 degree position

Max Pushups in 1 minute

15 sec squat hold in 90 degree position

2 min on the bike Tempo Wattage - 75/85 RPM

1 min on the bike Recovery Wattage - 95/100 RPM

PHA is one of the most common training practices in personal training at this time...and to be honest likely long before I got interested in cross training.

As I age, I am 40 now, I find that I can continue to keep my cycling fitness the same as in prior years while improving my overall fitness vastly. I feel that this is going to help me in other aspects of living that cycling alone just can’t improve.

As I continue down this strength and condition path...I will share my thoughts with each of you ... and I only ask that if you try the workouts or make up your own that you in turn share your findings with me!

Steve Neal

Monday, January 5, 2009

Weekly Workouts Jan 5 2009

So two more workouts that we have been playing with and would love to have you give a try and post your feedback please !

Steve's Workout of the week.

16 x 20 sec Alternate Air squats for 20sec and Pushups for 20sec
Take 10sec Break b/w each 20sec effort
(Air squats = no weight)

5 min easy spinning on bike recovery/low endurance pace
(hr will be high use speed from past workouts/warmup or wattage if possible)

then 5 rounds of the following.

a) run 3 min or bike 5 min all out with good pacing
b) 20 push presses
c) 20 reverse crunches

Peter's Workout of the Week
I gave this a try during a 5hrs session on the weekend and found it really past the time and provided some feedback on when/where I started to become challenged as the last 15min saw my hr not recovering b/w spinups despite steady watts/cadence

- During your next endurance or 'long' ride try the following to help pass the time and better simulate riding outside where wattage will be a little more variable.

- for Rides under 90min Ride 4.5min at your endurance pace/hr/watts etc., 85-95RPM
- then for the last 30sec of each 5min block shift one cog easier/lower and accelerate your cadence into 110-130RPM range
- If you have watts you should stay in the zone but be at the top of it
- If going by HR/Feeling try hitting same cadence each time, keeping hr below 85%
(for longer rides use 30sec spinup every 10min)


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More