Archive for Dr. Kurt Strecker

033: Food: Facts and Falacies [Podcast]



Pollen quoteWith every passing day, it seems there is a new research study, article from an “expert,” or training partner, telling us we HAVE to eat more of this food or that food, or avoid some kind of food altogether.  The old saying about the pendulum swinging from one extreme to another sure applies when it comes to modern day eating and nutrition. (Many of those “experts” are trying to get you to buy something from them, which doesn’t help!)  

As an athlete, you are probably even more confused trying to figure out the best way to “fuel” for optimal training and racing.  Should you go high-carb low-fat, low-carb high-fat, paleo, vegan, or some mix of all of these? Is there a “secret” food or fuel that will propel you to faster racing and a PR? So many questions, and lots of confusion!  

Our view on eating here at Pursuit Athletic Performance is simple:

We believe a daily diet that leads to optimal health, longevity, and fast racing, is largely about BALANCE and MODERATION, and should be comprised mostly of a variety of whole foods, very few if any processed foods, foods balanced in macro-nutrients, plenty of rich sources of fat (especially good fat), and foods lower on the glycemic index. This quote says it all: “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food!” There’s a lot of truth to that!

The best way for each of us to eat is largely personal. We all need to find what will work best for us individually. Some do better on higher carbohydrate diets and others feel better on lower carbohydrate diets. If there IS one recommendation we could stand firm on, it is that good daily eating starts with removing unwanted sugar, processed junk foods, and artificial stimulants from our diet, not by adding more stuff, particularly junk.

Eating Well: Our friends at Tri-Hard Sports Conditioning wrote a great article entitled “Eating Well.”  In that piece, they shared these thoughts:  ”When was the last time you really enjoyed eating? Do you often rush through meals so you can get to the next thing? Are you preoccupied with whether a food is good for you or not? It’s time to bring the fun back into eating and we’re here to help. Picture this. You’re at the counter chopping up some fresh vegetables you picked up a few days before at your local farmers’ market. Your best friend is rubbing some spices on a few pieces of fish. You can smell the grill heating up as you listen to your favorite music. You share great conversation as you prepare and soon sit down to this delicious meal. You enjoy every bite and feel nourished by the experience. This is eating well! This is in contrast to grabbing something on your way out the door or obsessing over every detail of nutrition. Eating well is a concept that blends “good nutrition” with the simple act of eating great meals with your family and friends. Eating well empowers you to get past means-to-end thinking and returns eating to its rightful place as one of life’s simple pleasures. Rest assured, when you eat well you get all of the benefits of “good nutrition”, and even more, since you are free of the food neuroses that make eating stressful and spoil the fun.”  That’s great advice, don’t you think?  So, in summary, here are some general bullets to guide you.

  • Eat real food, not processed food.
  • Eat amounts appropriate given your training volume and intensity.
  • Avoid seeing food as stress relief or a way to cope emotionally.
  • Everything in moderation.
  • Experiment, keep an open mind, and learn.
  • When it comes to meal timing, experiment to find what works best for you.
  • Keep a diary to learn more about your habits.
  • Begin hydrating when you first wake up by drinking at least 1 full glass of water.
  • Drink as much water as you can reasonably stomach before going to bed.
  • Make good food choices as often as possible, vs. avoiding certain foods.
  • Be flexible each day, and don’t beat yourself up if you make an occasional poor choice.
  • Get the majority of your nutrition from fresh vegetables, whole fruits, and quality lean protein.
  • Limit starch and sugar intake to those time periods during and /or immediately after long rides and runs.
  • Consume a minimum of 3-4 grams a day of Omega-3 fats from fatty fish or a quality supplement.

We hope our chat today on the podcast about all things food and falacies, is helpful. Have a great day everyone and enjoy eating well!

~Coach Al and Dr. Kurt

030: Trueform Runner: A Remarkable Tool For Honing Your Running Technique [Podcast]




Trueform Runners in action!

If you’ve listened to our podcast or visited us at the gait lab, you know that we believe running form is a product of your mobility & flexibility, strength & stability, biomechanics, and what the brain tells the body to do.  In fact, in most cases, we reduce the emphasis on technique in the beginning of an athlete’s journey with us to focus on restoring balance to the frame.  Once that mission is accomplished (or is at least a work well in progress) we feel that is the time to start to develop and improve running form.

Today on the podcast we had the great pleasure of sitting down with Brian Weinstein and Jeff Vernon, founders of Samsara Fitness and creators of the Trueform Runner. The Trueform Runner is a non-powered treadmill whose deck is curved up a bit at either end.  It’s quite simple in design, and it is truly a revolutionary training tool.  Coach Al and I have recently had the opportunity to spend some time on one of these machines and experiment a bit.  In the gait lab when we work with athletes on running technique, the first concepts we introduce are proper posture and appropriate cadence.  I can tell you without hesitation that these two things might well be the Trueform Runner’s strong suit.  It provides immediate feedback to the user, increases activation of the posterior chain (that would be the butt!) and it’s quite a lot of fun to play with!  We’re very excited to be doing some research using a Trueform Runner in the coming months, and we’ll share what we learn with you along the way.

Many thanks to Jeff and Brian for joining us today!  We really enjoyed having them in the lab, and we hope you enjoy the podcast.


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.


019: Core Stability: It’s Not About A Muscle (Podcast)



Hey Everyone!

When we start talking about core stability, let’s start with this….

It’s not about a muscle.

side plankCoach Al and I recently discussed an article where the author had examined a large body of research and claimed to have elucidated the most important exercises for “core training” in runners. The studies looked at the multifidi and transversus abdominis using electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle activity. With this information the author concluded that dead lifts and back squats are the best core exercises for runners.

The trouble is, core stability is not about a muscle. Body parts do not function in isolation. You are a person, an entire human being. You are not a knee or a hip or an ankle. You are not a bicep or a tricep or a quad. Your movement is orchestrated by an amazing brain and nervous system. The whole is most definitely greater than the sum of the parts. To judge the efficacy of a core exercise by the activity of a muscle or two is completely ludicrous! EMG measures muscle activity, not core stability. Stability is a skill, it is well-orchestrated motor control. Assuming otherwise is a huge mistake.

Take, for example, a rowing team. Nine athletes in a long skinny boat with oars. Eight of those athletes row while the ninth steers and directs the activity. All of the guys with oars are strong and fit and capable of producing a great deal of force, but unless they work as a team in synchronicity they don’t move at all. Core stability is no different, folks.

Here’s what you need to know about the core, how to train it and work that stability! Enjoy!

Helping YOU Be Great!

Dr. Kurt Strecker

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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Gait analysis

014: Injuries in Student Athletes and Strategies for Prevention (Podcast)


Dr. Kurt Strecker, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Dr. Kurt Strecker, DC, CCSP

Today, Dr. Kurt Strecker sits down with orthopaedic surgeon Steven Wei, MD to talk about the most common injuries in student athletes from middle schoolers through collegiate competitors. They identifyat-risk athletes, discuss strategies for prevention, and touch on the current thinking with regard to concussions.

Dr. Steven Wei is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery with a subspecialty certificate in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. He has conducted

Steven Y Wei, MD

Steven Y Wei, MD

extensive research in the areas of knee injuries, shoulder arthroscopy, and foot & ankle surgery. Dr. Wei was named one of Connecticut Magazine’s “Top Docs.” He has been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Kosovo Medal, Distinguished Honor Graduate from Officer Basic Course. He serves as team physician for Connecticut College, and for East Lyme, Fitch, Stonington & Waterford High Schools.

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.

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

We’re on Stitcher Radio too!

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!

Doc’s Do’s and Don’ts: 8 Keys to a Fast, Injury-Free Season

Dr. Kurt Strecker

Dr. Kurt Strecker, CP, CCSP

Dr. Kurt Strecker in the house today with 8 Keys to a Fast, Injury-Free Season. Let’s get to it!

1. Warm Up

We recently had an athlete, we’ll call him Xavier, in the PAP clinic with a pulled calf. He explained that he had been training for the past several months without any issues, and in fact, he was running stronger and faster at this point in time than he could recall. He had been focused on a particular road race and was sure he would PR. The problem came soon after mile 1.


There goes the calf.

What happened? I asked X to tell me about a typical training week. He said that an aerobic run would start out nice and easy for the first 10 minutes or so and gradually build from a 9:00/mile pace to a 8:00 min pace. On higher intensity days, he would ride his bike to the local high school track, do a few easy laps with strides and then do his main sets, whatever those might be. Then I asked him to describe race day. That morning he drove to the venue, had a quick jog and couple of stretches, then stood around for about 20 minutes waiting for the race to start. When the gun went off he headed out at his goal race pace of about 7:00 min/mile.

Do you see the problems?

Inadequate warm up and too much time between getting loose and starting the race. Don’t let this happen to you! Have a pre-race warm up routine, USE IT, and be sure to time it so you’re warm when you need to be.

 2. Listen to Your Body

So our old friend X broke another cardinal rule. He didn’t listen to his body. When his calf went ‘pop,’ he didn’t stop. He pressed on and finished the race, which happened to be a trail run of 12 miles. Not the best choice to say the least.

Do you think that made his rehab longer or shorter? Let me help here. The decision to press on cost him several additional weeks of training and one of his ‘A’ races.

Pain exists for a reason. It is a signal that something is wrong. PLEASE listen to your body. And FYI, recovering from an injury is almost always quicker if you treat it when it occurs instead of waiting 3 months and hoping it will go away.

 3. Strength Train Properly

You can’t put an 800HP motor in a rusty VW Bug chassis and expect that it won’t break. Triathletes and runners are very good at making powerful cardiovascular engines, and they are very often lousy at taking care of their frames. Triathlon is NOT cross training, people. You MUST do your strength training. Coach Al has written volumes on this, and you can refresh yourself with our advice on strength training starting here. Heed his warnings or pay homage at the Altar of the Injury Gods!

 4. Muscle Balance

Balance in muscle lengths is very important, but random stretching doesn’t work.

People will often ask me, “Doc, what stretches are good for runners?” The truth is, there are no good stretches for runners, triathletes, baseball players or astronauts. There are, however, appropriate stretches for Mary, Freddy, Sally and Xavier. One’s flexibility and mobility is determined by genetics, occupation, daily activities, and many other factors. The only way to know what muscle groups YOU need to stretch is to evaluate YOUR flexibility and mobility as a whole. You can do that through a gait analysis assessment, a session with a physical therapist, or a carefully-chosen, very skilled trainer.

5. Proper Shoe Gear

pursuit athletic performanceRunners with short calves who over pronate need different shoe gear than those with good ankle mobility and neutral foot mechanics. I refer to “shoe gear” to include shoes and/or orthotics. There are as many biomechanical variations as there are people.

The bottom line is, having the appropriate shoe gear on your feet is like having the proper alignment of your car tire. It makes for better fuel economy, less wear-and-tear on the ball joints, and fewer trips to the mechanic. The more miles you log, the more important this becomes. Click here for a FREE direct download of our  e-book on this topic.

6. Bike Fit

Having a good bike fit is just like having proper shoe gear, plain and simple. This must include a thorough evaluation of the foot/pedal interface. It is a critical part of the fit and it is often overlooked. Wanna make more Watts with less effort and stay out of the Med Tent? Check with Todd and Lis Kenyon at TTBikeFit!

 7. Sleep

The most underutilized and underrated piece of equipment an athlete has may well be the mattress. Sleep is when we repair and restore. It is important for everything from growth hormone to neurotransmitters. Under performing on the race course? Try sleeping more. It’ll keep you from doing the head bob in the car on the way to work, too!

8. Nutrition

Everyone knows nutrition is important, but just how important may be under estimated.

Did you know that the average American consumes nearly 130 pounds of sugar each year? It’s true. We’ve made sugar a real staple in our diets. It feeds inflammation like gas on a fire and it’s loaded with empty calories. Check out Coach Al’s thoughts on fueling for race day and training, and get off the sugar IV! A quick share below, and Coach’s webinar “Smart Training and Racing Nutrition” is yours. (And thanks!)

Is the New York Times Right About Reasons Not To Stretch? (Video)

Hey Everyone!

The other day, The New York Times wrote a piece titled “Reasons Not to Stretch.” You can link to it here. The article cites a number of studies demonstrating that static stretching before a workout will actually diminish your performance. They link to a “bogglingly comprehensive re-analysis of data” published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports that presents “a growing scientific consensus that pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive.”

Do we agree?

In fact, we do.

In this video, I give you specific reasons why static stretching before a workout is a bad idea. In fact, we are not huge proponents of static stretching at all here at Pursuit Athletic Performance. Stretching is really about restoring muscular balance in the body—front/back, in/out, and side-to-side— in order to enhance more efficient movement. AND, it’s likely different for each person.

I encourage all of you to think about working out a plan for how YOU need to restore muscular balance based on your particular strengths and weaknesses. There are a few stretches I think 99% of all runners likely need to do, and I review them here. But, in general, smart, effective stretching should be a lot more of a personalized endeavor than many of you have been led to believe.

Dr. Kurt Strecker

Master Your Endurance Nutrition Now! (Video)


Click Image to Go to Spreecast

Coach Al and Dr. Strecker present a FANTASTIC Spreecast, Smart Training and Racing Nutrition, jam-packed with nutrition best practices for mastering your endurance nutrition. Tuning in is time well spent to help you master the essentials to eating right, fueling correctly, all while turning yourself into a fat-burning racing machine.

Here’s What You Will Learn:

How To Optimize Your Daily Nutrition includes a deep discussion of fat burning and what it’s all about.

How To Optimize Your Fueling dives into periodization of your nutrition (just like your training) and presents carbohydrate guidelines

“The Magic Four” explores necessary daily strategies and common pitfalls

How To Fueling During Training pulls it all together

Post your questions in the comments or hit us up on Facebook. Feel free to share the link with your training friends who might benefit from the information!–3

Enjoy! Learn! Be Great!

P.S. When you watch the full Spreecast, you will see a slide deck. If you would like to move it, here’s how. Hover, and you will see “drag window here.” Then move it where you would like on the screen. Under the broadcast window works

Guided 14-Day Detox for Athletes, February 4-17. You Know You Need To!

Hey Everyone!

Kurt_DetoxDr. Kurt Strecker here with a great opportunity to jump start your nutrition before the 2013 season gets in full swing. We are offering, through our Facebook page, a 14-day guided detox program to help you:

  • Get Energized
  • Stop Eating The Junk
  • Lose Some Weight
  • Break Bad Eating Habits
  • Get Your Eating Mindset in Place for the Best Year Yet!

Not only are we known for extracting the best athletic performance from our athletes, but we guideDFH_Kit their nutrition closely too. For the detox, we carefully selected a kit by the best company we can recommend–Designs for Health (DFH). For 14 days we will guide you on a methodical, step-by-step plan. We assure you, the DFH program is nothing radical or depleting. Rather, it’s a way for you to replenish and restore balance, and get you on the path to better eating and better performance over the long term.

We wanted to make this available to as many athletes as possible, and the most efficient way to do that is through Facebook. Here are the steps:

1. Please visit our page and give us a like.

2. Then click the above photo of Dr. Strecker on our Facebook page. That will take you to a video, additional information, and the order form. You can order your kit securely right on the detox site within Facebook.

Just how will we guide you?

  • Pre-detox, we will offer a live Spreecast on Thursday, January 31 at 7pm to answer questions, and get some mojo flowing!
  • We’ll all start together on Monday, February 4. So eat those spicy wings watching the Super Bowl, and then get down to business.
  • You will be invited to join a private Facebook group where we will check in daily to offer support and information.
  • Download our Pursuit Detox document for additional information, Q&A, testimonials, and motivation.


Place your order securely right through our Facebook page by January 25 to insure delivery in the lower forty-eight through standard shipping. You can read more about the detox package on the order form on Facebook, as well.

Once you order, we will be in touch with how to join the group and the Spreecast details.

NOW is the time of year to do this! Join us to eat better, feel better, train better. Win-Win-Win!

Questions? Hit us up on Facebook!