Archive for Ask Coach Al

Get Out! (Of Your Comfort Zone That Is)

 A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown. ~ Denis Waitley

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again~Abraham Maslow

Life Begins Outside Of Your Comfort Zone!

Life Begins Outside Of Your Comfort Zone!

Throughout everyday life, each of us has certain physical and psychological  ”comfort zones” that influence who we are and how we act.  Perhaps you follow the same routine when you wake up in the morning, or drive the same route to your job each day.  Similarly, from a training standpoint, do you tend to migrate toward the same pace, intensity, or routine, day in and day out, because it is “comfortable”?  I thought so!  :)

Physical comfort zones are usually easy to identify.  For example, if you have recently trained at or around 8 minutes per mile during your long aerobic runs and suddenly increase that pace to 6 minutes per mile, you will quickly step outside of your comfort zone.  Running at 6 minute pace quickly elevates your heart rate and perceived effort, immediately putting you outside your comfort zone! 

Psychological comfort zones can be a bit harder to quantify, but here’s an example. I think we can all agree that for most of us, talking one on one to a friend or two is usually not that tough.  But, stand up in a room in front of a live audience and try to give a speech while everyone is staring at you is a lot more difficult, and perhaps way outside of the comfort zone for many of us!


 In my opinion, one key that can unlock the potential for greater personal growth and success in many of life’s endeavors is the willingness to step outside of comfort zones.   If you’re going to reach your potential as an athlete, as you execute your training program you must resist the temptation to always do the same thing, in effect resorting back to that which is “comfortable” for you.  After all, it feels absolutely fantastic when we do finally step outside and as a result, experience some success!  Remember what it was like when you were nervous about asking someone out for a date? For most of us, this was well outside our comfort zones, yet how great did it feel when they said, “Yes!”  From a training standpoint, do you remember ever focusing your time and energy on developing a certain skill or technique?  Do you remember how good it felt when you realized you were getting BETTER at that activity because you did things a bit differently?  Far too often we train and perform activities the way we always have, staying with what is comfortable for us.  Routinely doing things the same old way (training pace, intensity, route, focus, etc.) prevents us from growing and improving.  We like to be comfortable!  Resist it, reach out, expand your horizons, and take some risks!  Improve!


There are two major factors that stop most of us from stepping outside our comfort zones more often.  The first is habit.  Simply put, out of habit, we tend to migrate to that which we are familiar with or that gives us a sense of security and safety.  The second and perhaps most significant factor is fear.  Fear of failure. Let’s face it, at one time or another we are all afraid to fail.  But we all know but rarely admit to ourselves, that the real consequences of “failure” are truly inconsequential and never last long.

As athletes, most of the fear we have when we step outside our comfort zone and try something new is all in our head. The fear is a figment of our imagination.  It just never seems that way at the moment of truth!  As an example, all of you triathletes out there, take open water swim starts (which tend to give many first time triathletes a fit).  Be honest, you know you’re not going to drown!  You know that nothing “down there” is going to swim up and get you!  You know everyone in attendance wants you to succeed!  All the other athletes have the same goal as you, to get to the finish line!  Whatever fear you may experience is only in your thoughts, and you control your thoughts, no one else.  Fear limits what we do and who we are, and ultimately, what we can achieve.



 Applying these concepts to your training on a consistent basis can be a key to unlocking untapped potential.  However, and this is important, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to always go harder and/or faster!  As an example, getting outside of your comfort zone may mean running, riding, or swimming more slowly on certain training days, when your mind might be telling you that you “should” be going faster.  Or, it may mean doing more drill or skill work in a training session when it might be more “comfortable” if you didn’t include skill/technique work.  In fact, failure to get outside of your training comfort zones relates very much to smartly differentiating pace and intensity in training, something I routinely remind athletes about.

Gray zone training is addictive and easy to succumb to because going “sort of” hard can and often is “comfortable” for many of us.  Think about that. When you’re training “sort of” hard but not REALLY hard (e.g. gray zone), you are in no man’s land. You are much better off either going easier than is “comfortable” for you (aerobic or even easier for recovery), or if your training program calls for it, going much HARDER than is comfortable. In fact, getting the maximum benefit from your training program means being way outside of your comfort zone during hard (quality) training sessions. It means going VERY hard and being VERY uncomfortable!


Though it may not always be obvious on a daily basis, consistently getting outside of comfort zones even just a little bit can lead to unbelievable results in your training and racing.  Starting today, have the courage and mental strength to “step out” regularly both physically and psychologically, and I guarantee you’ll get better and faster than ever!  Make it a great day!

~Coach Al 

In Training, Be Purposeful!

“For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.”

–Henri Frederic Amiel, 1821-1881, Swiss Philosopher, Poet, Critic


“It is a psychological fact that you can influence your environment and thoughts. If you do so consciously and with high purpose, you can change your habits and attitudes for the better.”

 –source unknown

 “Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim.” 

–John D. Rockefeller, 1839-1937, American Industrialist, Philanthropist, Founder Exxon And last but not least!:

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

 –Sir Cecil Beaton, 1904-1980, British-born American Photographer

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Monday Excuse Busters!


10153250_10203154876609771_265784320_nHello everyone. Coach Al here! In a relentless effort to inspire and motivate you to reach your true potential, I’ve put down some common thoughts that many of us naturally have from time to time, and I follow with my reaction. Do any of the below ‘themes’ or excuses sound familiar?  Read on…


“I not sure I have what it takes to finish an Ironman or”….”You see, I could never”…

Why not? What do you mean, “I could never”? Of course you could. You could indeed. If it can be done, you can do it. Finishing an IM or even an Olympic distance race has been done the “first” time by many before you, who are just LIKE you.  You’ve got to want it, of course. And if you want it enough, you’ll do it. “I could never” is usually said wistfully, meaning “I wish I could, but I can’t.” That’s preposterous. You can if you really want to. Free yourself from your own limitations. What do you want to do? What will fulfill the enormous potential of your life? Certainly not hiding behind “I could never.” You are capable of truly extraordinary accomplishments. You can do whatever you decide you’re going to do. You can find a way. Have the courage to live your possibilities.


“I’m overwhelmed with too many responsibilties and I”…

Sometimes you’re just so overwhelmed, you feel like throwing up your hands or crawling into a hole and curling up in the fetal position. WRONG!  That’s exactly what you must not do. When you’re overwhelmed, that’s all the more reason to start taking the actions that will rectify your situation. When you’re overwhelmed is when you’re the most frustrated and the most motivated. Now is your chance to really take action with dedication and commitment. Don’t blow the opportunity. The frustration you feel is good, solid positive energy waiting to be released. If it is not released in a positive direction, there is a very big danger that it will become destructive energy. Use that frustration to your advantage. You’re overwhelmed?  GREAT! Do something about it right now. Quit complaining and start taking positive action. If you’re overwhelmed it means that there are plenty of things which can be done, things which will most likely make a difference very quickly. Pick something and start doing it right now. As soon as you get busy your frustration will start pushing you forward.


“I’m just an average athlete and not very experienced, and I don’t know if I really deserve to succeed”…

You are just as good, just as worthy, just as valuable as anyone. No one can intimidate you, no matter what kind of car they drive, or what their business card says, or how big their house is, or what their “personal best” time for an Ironman is. No one is better than you. You are the best there is. Inside you is the potential to do, or be, or have anything you desire. No one has more than that. Some may have progressed farther down the path at this moment, but that doesn’t make them any better than you. If you start to take action right now, you will be working your way down that same path. No matter what anyone says, or does, no matter what your situation — personal, financial, social or otherwise — you can choose to live your life in your own way. And there is no greater success than that. But you must be the one to achieve your success. Though no one can hold you back if you’re determined enough, by the same token no one can do it for you. You’ve got to step up to the challenge, believe in yourself, and do what it takes. Right now is a great time to start. You deserve the best that life has to offer. Do whatever needs to be done to make it happen.


“It’s just too hard”…

Anything worth having, or doing, or being, requires effort. What if you could have whatever you wanted, again and again, just by snapping your fingers? And what if everyone else could, as well? How much would you value and appreciate the things you had? What would you do with your life, if there was no need for effort? Where would you find meaning, what would give you satisfaction?  The value of effort is not only in what it produces, but also in what it demands of you. The greatest opportunity in life is not for a free ride. The greatest opportunity is to be fully challenged, and to meet challenge with effective effort. The things we value are the things to which, and for which, we give of ourselves. There is no way around that. Some of the hardest working people are those who are wealthy enough that they don’t need the money. Some of the most dedicated athletes who constantly strive to get better are also the most talented.  However, both of these types of people know they do need the effort, and the accomplishment, and the challenge. We all do. Without it, life is shallow and empty. Make the effort. Do it now. Start today to meet the challenge.  Remember, if it was easy to do what ‘we’ do, then everyone would do it.  But that’s what makes that finish line such a special place…………


“I’m just really too tired”…
What are you tired of? Doing nothing can be just as tiring as taking action. If you’re physically tired, then go to bed and get a good night’s rest. Then get up in the morning and get started. Whatever you do today, you’ll be tired tonight. You can be tired after a day of effective effort and accomplishment, or you can be tired after a day of getting nowhere.  The choice is yours. If you’re going to be tired anyway, it makes sense to get something out of it. To put forth your best effort, to move in the direction of your goals, to make a difference, to make a life of excellence for yourself and the world around you. Take action toward an exciting goal, and instead of being tired you’ll be exhilarated.


“It won’t matter anyway”…
What you do, matters. You can make a difference if you choose to do so. If there’s something that needs to be done, doing it will make a difference.  You know that. Thinking that is won’t matter is just a petty rationalization. Of course it matters. If it doesn’t then find something else that does. You are a creative, effective person who is full of possibilities. The job at hand or your most immediate racing goals may not be the most important thing in the history of the world, but if it gets you into action, then it matters very much. Because no matter how small the effort or consequence, it is a start. It revs up the momentum of the intelligent, creative, productive, and energetic person that you are. And once you get going, there’s no telling how much you can accomplish. It all starts with taking action. Don’t hide behind the thinking that it won’t matter. Jump in and get started. It does matter. Do it now.


“I’m afraid I might fail”…

You can never fail — if you just show up you will always succeed in producing results. If you don’t like the results you are producing, then you can learn from your mistakes and change your strategy. By taking action, you will not fail. In fact, the only way to fail is to not take action. By taking action you always achieve a result. The result could very well be the achievement of your goal, or it could be a learning experience that will eventually bring you to the goal you desire. But you never fail. After Thomas Edison had tried 9,999 times to perfect the light bulb, and had not succeeded, someone asked him if he was going to have 10,000 failures. Edison replied that he had not failed — that he had just discovered another way not to invent the electric light. Failure is simply not an option. Everything you do has a result and eventually those results will lead you to the achievement of whatever you desire.


“I’m too busy”…

What are you accomplishing with all that busy-ness? Simply being “busy” gets you nowhere. Stop being busy, evaluate your priorities, and start taking focused, directed action. Anyone can be busy, but so what? Accomplish requires more than just burning up time. Accomplishment demands action and results. Stop being busy and start doing something today.  Remember, thousands of athletes just like you have daily responsibilities, and all of them manage to get the job done.  Refine your priority list, throw out the garbage, and focus on that which will bring the results you desire…………………


“I can always try “it” later”…

Yes, that’s right. You can always try it later. And when it’s later, you’ll probably say the same thing. Nothing gets done by putting it off until later. The fact is, you are alive and making decisions right now. Right now is the period of time over which you have control. Right now is the time that’s available for you to take action. Action that is not taken now, doesn’t get taken. As you’re reading this, try to do something next week. Really put out all the effort you can to get something done next
week. Were you able to do it? Of course not. Because next week isn’t here, and it never will be. It is always now, and now is the time to act. Do it now and it will get done.


“I’ve already tried that”…

Trying is not enough. The only way to accomplish something is to do it, to do whatever it takes, to keep making the effort until the goal is reached. If at first you don’t succeed, you’ve still learned something valuable about how to proceed. If you’ve already tried, that’s fine. Keep going. Make use of that experience. You’ve got a valuable perspective on what works and what doesn’t. Stop trying and start taking whatever action is necessary to reach the goal. Learn from the mistakes and appointments. Keep going. Start right now to really make it happen.


AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST!…..drum roll please!  :)

“But why not”…
Whatever you wish to accomplish, there’s no reason why you cannot start right now. When you’re truly committed to reaching your goal, there will always be something that can be done right away, to get started. Action will get you where you want to go. Excuses will hold you back. The choice is yours. What are you waiting for?

Make it a great day!

~Coach Al

Getting Your Season Started Right!


Lis Kenon and Coach Al, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Coach Al with 4x Ironman AG World Champion, Lisbeth Kenyon

Hey Everyone! Coach Al here. :)  If you are like many endurance athletes in the northern hemisphere, the late March marks the time when you really start planning to “get serious” with training and race preparation in anticipation of the upcoming competitive season. Even more, for some athletes this time period marks the time when, after a casual glance at the calendar reveals only a few weeks remain until the first event, a state of shock and absolute panic ensues! ☺

Before you panic and start hammering those high intensity intervals, moving yourself precariously close to either injury or over-training, remember to keep a few important things in mind as you embark upon a fast-track toward improved race readiness.

First, avoid the trap of thinking there is a quick fix, short cut, or easy path toward a true higher level of fitness. Building the stamina and strength that leads to success in endurance sports takes time and patience. However, if you pay close attention to the fundamentals such as skill and technique enhancement and general/functional strength, you CAN make some great inroads over a relatively short period of time that WILL help get you closer to being able to achieve your goals.

Secondly, while there are many facets of your training that will be integral for your success, there are two topics requiring your attention all year long but often don’t get the attention they deserve this time of year.  They are: maximizing your daily NUTRITION and daily RECOVERY from training.  (If you’re at a point in time when you feel you need a “kick-start” to cleaning up your diet, check out our De-tox!)

It goes without saying that if you don’t eat well most of the time and at the right times and don’t recover adequately between individual training sessions and week to week, your training, fitness, and ultimately your race preparation will stagnate or even worsen.

Here are three TIPS to assist in transitioning optimally to the month of April and also help you get your season started right:

  1. Review your current Limiters and then establish some Training Objectives to improve and overcome those Limiters. Limiters are your weaknesses or “race specific” abilities that may hold you back from being successful in your most important events.   Likewise, Training Objectives are measurable training goals that you set for yourself and which may be based on your Limiters, with the goal of improving upon them.

To help in this process, start by asking yourself these questions: 

  • As you review your current Limiters, how well have you progressed in the Off-Season in addressing those?
  • Did you “miss anything” in your Off-Season preparation that you should focus on now?
  • Is there a chance that your Limiters will hold you back from being successful in certain events?
  • Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Are you doing anything right now to improve your Limiters and thus your chance for success in your upcoming KEY races?

Even though it IS late March, it is NOT too late to start developing some key workouts to help strengthen your weaknesses. Be patient and persistent, and set measurable goals (training objectives) so that when you line up for your most important event this season, you will have the confidence of knowing you did all you could to prepare for success!

  1. Focus on executing KEY WORKOUTS by differentiating intensity and being purposeful in all of your training: To ensure you continue to improve, one of your primary goals must be to execute key-workouts to the best of your ability, which are those workouts that when recovered from them, will have had a specific and material impact on your race specific fitness.  Avoid falling victim to the “rat race” mentality that has you chronically “running” from one workout to the next without any real focus, which only results in tiredness and higher levels of stress without resulting in improved health OR fitness.
  2. Eat as well as you can, most of the time: Eating the best foods to nurture your health and recovery, most of the time and at the right times, is the best path toward optimizing health and body composition. Too often endurance athletes fall victim to waiting until they are close to their goal races and then trying to get lean and “race ready.” Once you begin to do higher intensity race-specific training sessions, your body will be under greater duress – trying to limit calories at that time can be very stressful and may lead to injury, poor adaptation to training stresses, and basically undoing all of the work you are doing to improve!

To summarize, these three tips come back to one very important but often forgotten concept: listening to your body and trusting your intuition.  I believe your intuition may be the most important tool you have in your toolbox as an endurance athlete, and unfortunately many of us don’t listen to it when we need to the most.

If you are a novice, your intuition might not be as highly developed as your more experienced training partners or friends, but it IS there and is often talking to you! Your “inner voice” might be telling you that you are tired and just don’t feel up to that ride or run that you had planned, or, that what you are eating isn’t optimal to support your training or health.

Your body is smart! If you learn to really listen to it and stay patient and focused on the fundamentals, you will get your season started right and perhaps have your best season ever! Best of luck!

~Coach Al

025: Discerning Gems from Junk in the Athletic Information Age (Podcast)



Dr. Kurt Strecker and Coach Al Lyman, Pursuit Athletic PerformanceAccording to Darren Hardy, publisher and founding director of Success Magazine, we are bombarded by more than 30,000 marketing messages on a daily basis. How can any athlete hope to sort through such a mountain of information and effectively cull the wheat from the chaff?

Whether you’re trying to choose the right triathlon bike, the training plan best for you, proper footwear, or learn how to do a kettlebell swing, this podcast is for you.

We may not have all the answers, but we’ll help you ask good questions. to help you reach your goals.

Coach Al and Kurt


A lot of what we talk about in the podcast revolves around helping YOU get the best information–and much of it is about getting to the BASICS. A quick tweet to share and you can have our FREE ebook, Baby Steps, to help you get to those basics about a choice that often perplexes athletes — how to pick running shoes.


WOW! 70% Of All Runners Injured Each Year. Don’t Let It Be YOU!

Coach Al Lyman Statistics say that nearly 7 out of 10 runners will be injured at some point during 2014.


7 out of 10.


That’s an unbelievably scary statistic, don’t you think?

Why in the world does this happen? What is wrong that so many get injured from something that is supposed to lift fitness? What can YOU do to avoid injury? And why does it really matter?

Let me answer the last question, first…

If you are injured or less than 100% physically ready, then you can’t train. That means you can’t do those workouts that you love, that you KNOW will make you faster. It’s obvious what you’re missing: durability. By not being durable, and, therefore, unable to train, has a HUGE negative impact on your ability to improve.

Why are so many injured?

The answer lies in two basic facts:

1. Running is a terrible way to GET FIT. Yes, read that again–it’s a terrible way to get fit!

In truth, you need to GET FIT BEFORE you embark on a running program. Most runners aren’t ready to run, because their physical framework isn’t ready to absorb the stress inherent maintaining 1500 1-leg squat jumps (what a mile of running is!). I’ll have more to say about this in an upcoming podcast: Running is a terrible way to get fit.

2. When injury strikes, runners allow their pride get in the way of honoring their body, and refuse to take responsibility for their total, holistic health.

Runners run through pain thinking it is something they should take “pride” in, that shows how “tough” they are. In truth, running through injury is misguided, self destructive, and just plain dumb!!!

Isn’t it time we ALL measured our toughness by honoring our body, showing how mentally “tough” we are by doing what is best for us, and how physically tough we are by getting FIT, first?

Folks, if you’re nursing injury now or in the future, stop feeling sorry for yourself and TAKE OWNERSHIP of your running destiny. You do have a choice. You can do it the right way. You CAN be AS stable, and mobile, and FIT, and strong, and fast, as you see yourself in your mind’s eye, during those moments when you CAN see the best that is inside of you!

How do you get there? Start with a functional movement screen and gait analysis with us or with another reputable provider. Then do the WORK! Take the follow-up training you are provided on the basis of that analysis and DO IT to fix your compensations and dysfunction once and for all. Get functionally strong, stable, mobile and flexible. Heal yourself COMPLETELY, and get off the endless cycle of injury. It can be done. But…

It will only happen if you own it, take responsibility for it, and do what is in your long term best interest! You, and your body, deserve it.

Helping YOU Be Great!

Coach Al


Gait analysis

Do You Know What “Functional” Means In Functional Strength? Coach Al Explains

Hi Everyone!

coach al conducting gait analysis

Coach Al Conducting A Gait Analysis

I recently had a “Facebook discussion” with strength expert (and friend) Pat Flynn about the word “functional,” as it applies to strength training. Whether you strength train to simply get stronger, or you’re training strength to improve your swim/bike/run, I think this word is often misunderstood.

Here’s my take on what Functional Strength Training is:

1. Does the exercise have a sport or life application? “Functional” means an exercise trains patterns which look like, and feel like, an actual human (and sport) movement. An obvious example is a 1-leg squat, which mimics running. On the flip side, an example of an exercise which isn’t “functional” would be leg lifts from a pull up bar. Why? “Training” to flex at the waist (in this case, under significant low back load if not done perfectly) has very little application to anything you would do in sport or in life (unless you are a gymnast). What that exercise does do is lead to over development of the anterior core, which is often already over powered compared to the backside of the body. You want a six-pack? Start by doing “push aways” at the dinner table.

2. Does the exercise enhance holistic INTEGRATION and BALANCE? “Functional” means you’re training to improve your overall movement quality as a human being. In this instance, the “movement” training you do gets you stronger, enhances INTEGRATION (training all parts of your body working together), and ultimately leads to whole body balance (front/back, in/out). Balance means training to develop in a holistic way vs. training certain muscles in lieu of others leading to imbalances. Imbalances, as well as asymmetry, will often ultimately lead to a much higher risk of injury.

To summarize, exercises which don’t mimic life (or sport) patterns have little benefit when it comes to improving either our resistance to injury or our sport performance. Finally, if you’re doing more advanced exercises such as burpees, plyos, backsquatting with heavy weight–or KB swings/snatches (many of which ARE functional in my opinion, but more advanced)–you had better make sure you have the basics mastered first. What are some of the basics? Can you “stable” lying on your back lifting a leg, for example? If you don’t have the basics mastered, you will get limited benefit from the exercises, AND you will, undoubtedly, be at a much higher risk of injury down the road.

Be great! ~Coach Al

Ironman AG World Champion Lisbeth Kenyon: What We All Can Learn From Her

Lisbeth Kenyon, Ironman World Champion

Lisbeth Kenyon, Ironman World Champion, W 45-49. 10:03:26

As some of you know by now, one of the athletes I coach, Lisbeth Kenyon, again won her age group title in the Ironman World Championship yesterday in Kona in a time of 10:03:26. I could not be happier for this extraordinary woman, friend, and competitor. The word “congratulations” hardly seems tribute enough.

In many ways, Lisbeth’s win is beyond amazing, and is a reflection of a ton of work this season. And I will tell you this…everything that has happened over the past year—including a painful bout of shingles in the past month, and the fact that she has three growing kids that keep her incredibly busy—is a testament to the relentless work she did to again become the champion she is. The best in the world in her age group.

I also want to share this with all of you….

Everything emphasized with Lisbeth in her training—from when we started in earnest in January, right Lis Kenon and Coach Al, Pursuit Athletic Performancethrough her race day—reflects what we do with EVERY athlete who trains with the Pursuit Athletic Performance team.

 You want to know what made the difference for Lis this year? It’s this….

 Yesterday she raced with:

  • Better balance
  • Appropriate and improved flexibility
  • Stronger hips and glutes
  • A clear race nutrition strategy
  • A clear race execution strategy

She did all the work in training to get there, and she executed a near perfect race. 

Lisbeth, truly, is a living example of what can be accomplished when an athlete follows the whole-athlete, integrated training we lay out for ALL competitors who train with us.

ANY ONE OF YOU—at ANY LEVEL—can replicate what Lisbeth did to get to YOUR optimal result.

No, not everyone has the innate talent of a world champion athlete, but that does not matter. You simply need the ability to learn the TRUTH about what works in training, act on it, be willing to let go of counterproductive methodologies, and DO THE WORK. It’s as simple as that for your greatness and success to be realized.

Congratulations again to Lisbeth! And may all of you uncover the champion within.

Be Great!

Coach Al

P.S.–Mid-Ironman, Lisbeth got tossed over her handlebars and off of her bike at an aid station, landing on her back! She brushed it off, got back to her race execution strategy, and got down to business. The mark of a true champion!

010: Training Truth Over BS with Pat Flynn and Coach Al (podcast)





 Hey Everyone!

LasPat Flynn, Chronicles of Strengtht week I was inspired by a blog post by Pat Flynn of The Chronicles of Strength to write on the issue of being a truth-telling coach. Pat’s words about cutting through the training bunk out there to present the TRUTH about what works in training resonated very deeply with me. You can read that post here.

This week, I actually sat down with Pat to do a podcast on the topic of truth-telling, and what happened in the conversation is an amazing, deep discussion of so many dimensions of training! Our talk ranges from how to lose body fat, to how best to build true strength, power, and speed. I think you will really enjoy the exchange, and, no doubt, you will learn a LOT.

What makes the conversation so interesting is that while Pat and I have a lot in common, we are very different. It’s what mCoach Al Lyman akes the world go round, right?

I’m primarily an endurance sports coach, while he is first and foremost a strength coach. Our commonalities do link us in really cool ways, however, and you’ll hear that we think the same where it matters the most:

  • We value the truth over marketing BS and false promises. We are committed to building true health and fitness our athletes can build upon year in and year out vs. building false fitness on a facade of wishing, hoping, and poor program design.
  • We both have a musical background, which, to me, means we understand the value of quality repetition, skill building, and delayed gratification—all of which are crucial for long term success in ANY endeavor.
  • We favor simple time-proven strategies to improve mastery of the basics.
  • We care deeply about the athletes we work with, and are passionate about helping others. We are all-in committed to the long-term health and success of those we coach.

Our podcast focuses on three main areas of discussion:

1. Minimalism In Training
Minimalism, NOT as it relates to shoe wear, but as it relates to improving effectiveness and efficiency in training! “The right things in the right way.” A quote Pat shared: “The elite aren’t the people who move away from the basics, they are the people who move deeper into them.” We talk about doing the right things, and doing the least to get the job done. This doesn’t mean “easy,” or less “work,” but it does mean paring training down to the essentials and mastering those elements! We also get into:

  • Effectiveness and efficiency: Is the Crossfit ideology flawed? (Short answer…yes it is.)
  • Metabolic training vs. power training and power generation
  • The importance of the nervous system and training skill vs. just working “harder.”

2. Fasting
We dive into some of the benefits of altering how often we eat and what we eat. Should we eat less often? Or more? What is fasting? We get into the key points and methods associated with this important, cutting-edge, and popular topic. Other nutrition-related topics we cover:

  • TRUE hunger vs. cravings
  • Are you addicted to sugar?
  • Is post exercise feeding and refueling as important as we have been told?

3. Honesty and Truth in Coaching
Ask yourself, do you want a coach to tell you you’re “great,” or do you want to hear the truth? Which kind of feedback will help you GROW more? We discuss the real TRUTH about the best ways to grow, improve, and truly unleash! And thus enjoy training more!

Many thanks to Pat for taking the time to do this podcast. It was super valuable and great fun. Check out his The Chronicles of Strength web site, and like Pat’s Facebook page for daily tips and great info. You can follow him on Twitter too.

Coach Al


We hope you enjoy our podcasts and find them useful for your training and racing. Any questions? Hit us up in the comments, or on Facebook. Let us know of any topics you would like us to cover too.

NOTE! If you review our podcast on iTunes you could win TWO MONTHS FREE on our training team! Click here for details, register below.

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Click here to subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed)

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008: Mailbag: MAP, Track Workouts, Low Back Pain (Podcast)




ThisReview our iTunes Podcast for a chance to win week, we’re opening the mailbag and taking your questions. Here’s what we discuss.

MAP—Master Amino Acid Pattern

An athlete wrote and asked, “I’ve heard a lot about MAP- Master Amino Acid Pattern and I know that a number of athletes are using it. What is it, and do you recommend it?”

We debrief you on what we know about MAP, what we think, and our recommendations on whether you should use it—or not.

Track Session Blues

“I do track sessions every week in my training. Sometimes I feel that my legs just don’t have it, but my breathing is fine. Other times it’s the complete opposite. What’s the deal with that?”

Coach goes into detail about the various factors at play in your body as you take on higher-intensity sessions like track workouts. He explains why some days you can run like the wind, when you should push through, and why, on other days, you should walk away.

Low-Back Pain

It’s not uncommon for an athlete to visit our lab complaining of low-back pain. We talk you through how to deal with the issue. Mechanical low back pain is often rooted in short hip flexors, long hamstrings and an unstable core. Restore balance, and the discomfort often vanishes.

We hope you enjoy our podcasts and find them useful for your training and racing. Any questions? Hit us up in the comments, or on Facebook. Let us know of any topics you would like us to cover too.

Be great!

Coach Al and Kurt

NOTE! If you review our podcast on iTunes you could win TWO MONTHS FREE on our training team! Click here for details, register below.

Help us share the positivity—click here for a ready-made Tweet!

Click here to subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed)

We’re on Stitcher Radio too!