How to Train Climbing Endurance

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Frozen Tundra/ Boulder, Colorado February 15′

Inevitably, if you are a rock climber and live in the state of Colorado, at one point or another you are going to be forced to climb indoors when the weather get’s bad. Truth be told, I use to not climb outside during the winter months at all, it was just too cold for me. But as I have progressed through the ranks and am consistently climbing harder grades, the cold weather has become my ally. In fact, these days I would much prefer climbing in the freezing cold months of winter than in the sweltering heat of summer. Winter has become one of my main climbing seasons and a great time to get really good friction on routes and to push the envelope of my abilities. But, when the coldness of winter sets in and along with it comes the snow, most of us outdoor enthusiasts are forced to seek out plastic. Here in the beautiful state of Colorado, most of February has been a frozen tundra with back to back significant snowfalls and freezing cold temps. When your are a climber and “need” to climb, heading indoors to pull on plastic is virtually the only way to maintain fitness and stoke. This is where climbing gyms come in…

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Austrian Jakob Shubert attempting one of the hardest routes at the Boulder World Cup at Movement here in Boulder. This event was of the first sport climbing competitions to be held in the United State since Snowbird, Utah in 1988.

I feel truly blessed to live an area with so many climbing gyms at my fingertips. For starters, we have 4 world class climbing gyms within the city limits of Boulder, all within a 5 mile radius from one another. The Boulder Rock Club, Movement Climbing and Fitness, The Spot, and the ABC Climbing Facility are truly world plastic pulling venues. If that’s not enough, new gyms keep popping up in surrounding cities. In the past year alone, Colorado front range climbers have been welcomed with yet two more world class facilities, Earth Treks in Golden and the new Movement facility in Denver. All in all, I have 6 different gyms to train at within 45 minutes of my house. So whether your looking to top out on a highball boulder problem at the Spot Bouldering Gym or your looking to test your endurance on the steeps of the new  60′ lead walls at Movement Denver, there is literally something for everyone. If you can’t find a climbing style that suits you in this area, you may as well quit climbing because it doesn’t exist!

As I prep for my upcoming trip to the Red River Gorge, I can only think of the value that gyms have provided me over the years. I spent literally thousands of hours over the last decade, training tirelessly to help push me into the unknown. As in climbing, and most sports for that matter, if you take it seriously, you are always looking for ways to increase your performance or to get that extra edge. Many years ago on my first trip to the Red River Gorge(RRG) in Kentucky, I had a less than stellar performance. Like most climbers I trained hard in the gym before going  only to find myself pumping out and falling off not most, but every single route I got on. As usual with trips, I had a “Tick List” on paper of the routes I wanted to try to climb while I was there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready for the fitness that the RRG demanded and was I was not properly prepared. I can still remember the feeling of driving home having “Sent” not a single route on my tick list. I must have tried over a dozen five-star classics during that trip and I fell on every single one, many nearly within arms length of the chains. It was very humbling to say the least. Here I was going down there with a bunch of lofty goals and a dream list of routes to climb and send and I came up far short. Needless to say, I learned my lesson.

Amazing photo taken by RRG local pro photographer Elodie Saraccaco of my friend Becky Johnson fighting the Red River Gorge Pump....
Amazing photo taken by RRG local pro photographer Elodie Saraccaco of my friend Becky Johnson fighting the Red River Gorge Pump….

After my first trip to the Red, I consulted some local pro’s in hopes of fine tuning my training so I could go back and have a better performance. I had trained so hard for that trip and failed in so many ways. I must have tried one individual route(Tuna Town) over a dozen times. On the very last burn of my very last day, I literally fell at the top of the climb. When I say the top of the climb, I mean I could have kissed the chains. Problem was, I couldn’t let go for even a second to clip the anchors because my forearms were burning so bad. I took my one arm off the wall for a second to attempt to clip one of the anchors and was bucked like a cowboy in a rodeo. The notorious whip at the chains of Tuna Town ensued and I went home empty-handed. Getting through all the difficult sections of a climb and falling at the very last move is like getting kicked or taking a golf ball swing to the balls. It just plain sucks.

Climbing at places like the RRG is all about holding on forever. There is literally no place on earth like it. The easiest way to describe the climbing here is to do a little experiment. Try and hold one arm directly above your head and hold it there for as long as you can in the upwards position. How many minutes or seconds would it take before your shoulder starts burning? There will be pain. There will be discomfort. Most normal human beings could only hold this position for so long and they would eventually break. The pain and discomfort you would feel would be comparable to rubbing atomic bomb Bengay all over your shoulder after soaking in a hot bath. It would be burning and you probably wouldn’t be able to stand it. This simple exercise is a good demonstration of what the feeling is like in your forearms when you climb at the RRG. There is a burn, a discomfort, a pain that get’s unbearable. Truth be told, most routes at the Red have considerably easier moves than other routes of the same grade around the country. But again, it’s that “pump” that ends up bucking you off and for most like myself, it’s all the way at the top right before success…

Canadian Sean Mccoll's training pays off as he attempts to Onsight a 5.14 during the Men's Finals at the Boulder World Cup...
Canadian Sean McColl’s training pays off as he attempts to Onsight a 5.14 during the Men’s Finals at the Boulder World Cup…

Fast forward another year to the Fall of 2013. This time, I went prepared. Several months before heading to the Red that fall, I started a very strict training regime. Three times a week, I went to into the gym, and warmed up doing singular routes on lead. After about an hour and some decent volume, I would go into doing triples. What are triples you might ask? Well there are many ways to do them but some are better than others. For me, what worked best to train endurance, was to do the same route on lead three times in a row without even untying. The longer and steeper the route the better. When you finish the first lap, immediately lower and have the belayer take you off belay, pull the rope from the climbers end while remaining tied in. The entire length of the rope will fall to the floor from the anchors and hopefully into a decent pile. Flip the pile over, have the belayer put you back on, and immediately get back on the same route. I should say that there is definitely an art to this and it takes some practice both on the belayer and climbers part. When you get efficient, you should be able to get done climbing the first lap of your triple and within 30 seconds of touching your feet on the ground you should be back on the wall starting the next lap. When you and your partner get good at this transition, the climber will typically start climbing before the belayer technically even has you on. Half the time, as you start the route, your belayer is usually fiddling with the rope and getting their belay device set up so as soon as you clip bolt one they are ready for you. Again, practice makes perfect on the transition.

It is important to note here what level of difficulty you should be doing the “triples” at? Many climbers make the same mistake and step down to an easier level on their second and third lap of a triple set. This is a HUGE mistake! If you’re falling at the top of a route, it is probably the last section of the route that is the most difficult. For this reason, your grade should remain the same throughout because if anything, the climbing gets harder as you go up and not easier. Remember, most people fall in the last 20 feet of routes at the Red because they are pumped. You need to train in a way that preps you for climbing past the point where you feel like your going to fall. Typically, when starting an endurance training regime, you should pick a level of difficulty that you can just barely do twice back to back but usually fall on the third lap of a triple set. If you start this program and can do all three laps cleanly without a fall, you need to go harder. The whole idea is to work up to barely sending all three routes of a triple set, meaning the third lap should always be difficult and you should always feel like you can’t “do” lap number 3. There is a fine line between doing a set of triple’s at too easy of a level, too hard of a level, or just right. You need to experiment with this. I think the safest way to choose what difficulty to start doing endurance training at would be to pick a grade in the gym you can usually do first try(either as a onsight or a flash) but should be close to your first try limit. For instance, if you can consistently do a 5.11+ in the gym on your first try, you should maybe step down a notch to a 5.11 and try to do that route 3 times in row. Again, in the beginning, you should be falling on your third attempt on every single set of triples. You should build up, excluding your warmup and cool down, to doing 4 to 6 sets of triples at your limit. This will get you the fitness needed to succeed at places like the RRG.

As you build the fitness and get accustomed to training in this manner, the grade you are climbing will gradually rise and that “third” lap of your triple will eventually be a send. As soon as it gets easy to send that third lap of the triple set, its time to step up to the next grade, objectively making the “third” lap more difficult. A third try attempt of a triple set should always be hard. To give you an idea, I started my endurance training program with being able to complete a 5.12- for a double and usually falling on my third burn of the set. By the end of the 6 week training cycle and right before I left for the Red, I built up to doing triple’s on 5.12+, which is the grade I was trying to climb consistently on that trip. Rather than project routes that were too difficult similar to my first trip, I picked a grade that I thought I could maybe do on my first try. If I fell but thought I could do it again on my second attempt, I would go for it just to get the “tick”. Funny thing was, for that particular trip and my first time ever training this way, I didn’t need a second chance.  I got on nearly two dozen routes that were challenging for me and sent all but two of them, ALL on my first try, either as a flash or a onsight. I remember the feeling of accomplishment I had on that trip compared to my first trip. It was night and day. My first trip, I sent nothing. I went home a total failure, or at least I failed with what I was trying to accomplish. My second trip, I climbed and sent first try nearly every single route I got on. That same twenty feet where I was falling before at the very top of all the routes didn’t really effect me. And I remember sending some routes, clipping chains and thinking to myself I could keep climbing if the anchors were twenty feet higher.

Getting accustomed to the Red on my second trip and reaping the benefits of my endurance training program...
Getting accustomed to the Red on my second trip and reaping the benefits of my endurance training program…

I am not a professional climber, nowhere even near it, but how I trained worked for me and I am pretty confident that it will work for everyone reading this. Training endurance is one of the easiest things to train. Building up strength and technique is much more difficult and usually takes some time. But, if climbing long and pumpy routes is your objective, training with some triples may be the difference in going home empty handed versus carrying home a bag full of victories.  Train your arms to be able to hang on forever and you WILL be able hang on forever! Good Luck…

Times Two

Hey Yall! Please click on the individual pictures to see a larger and more high resolution pic.
Hey Yall! Please click on the individual pictures to see a larger/higher resolution image.

Rock climbing is such an amazing sport, I feel truly blessed to have found such an activity to consume my time. Truth be told, I was a climber long before I was ever a climber. As kids, my brother and I would live in the trees surrounding our neighborhoods. We climbed absolutely every tree not only in our yard and  neighborhood but probably in a 3 miles radius from our house. I was born to climb, I guess I just didn’t know it. And I still remember my first outdoor experience when I was a young teenager at Ralph Stover State Park in Eastern Pennsylvania. My dad at the time was a Project Adventure ropes course instructor at one of the largest high schools in the state, Washington Township. I vividly remember climbing a hard 5.10 in my running sneakers and some locals who were climbing a route near us couldn’t believe I was climbing in a pair of Nike’s. When I lowered down from sending my first route ever attempted( a stout 5.10 wearing my worn out running shoes), a couple yelled over, “You got to get that kid in some real rock shoes!”. Many years later I flew back to New Jersey for Thanksgiving Break. A close college friend of mine wanted to try indoor rock climbing. After one session, we drove to the closest REI and my dad bought me all my own gear; a brand new harness, new chalk bag and my very own pair of Evolve rock shoes! That purchase would forever change my life.

Starting the entry moves of Squeeze Play 5.13b/c just before sending...
Starting the entry moves of Squeeze Play 5.13b/c just before sending…

Many years and many sports later, climbing finally found me! I was absolutely hooked. After retiring from the professional ski scene in Jackson(call it major burnout), moving to Boulder to pursue climbing felt like the right thing to do. And so the story goes. Now nearly 6 years later, climbing has become my entire life. Every waking second of every day is spent doing what I love and despite picking up the sport at such a late age, I am glad that I found it. Or maybe it found me? Fast forward 6 years and several thousand routes later, here I was sitting at the base of Primo Wall, in Clear Creek Canyon yesterday reflecting on my experience from the beginning. I remember first laying eyes on Primo Wall from across the river and wondering how people could climb such hard routes, after all this was the hardest crag in Clear Creek Canyon. I was climbing 5.10 and 5.11 at that time and practically lived at High Wire Crag just east of Tunnel Two nearly 10 miles down canyon. High Wire Crag was a great beginner area and a level of difficulty I was comfortable with. I remember feeling baffled as to how someone could climb at a place like Primo Wall where virtually the easiest route was 5.12c. I remember thinking from the beginning that it would be cool to be on the other side of the river, just trying routes of that difficulty! Nearly 6 years later, here I am sitting on a rock at the base of the crag on a gorgeous February Day. The sun was shining and the air was brisk. It was perfect. I sat on that rock for a bit watching all the people at the crag climb these routes of very high difficulty. I thought back to my pre=Primo Wall days and how much I have progressed since the beginning. Man a lot has changed over the years! I went from once feeling like I didn’t even have the right to look across the river at these routes(they were just way out of my pay grade) to sitting here at the base nearly 6 years later having sent most routes at the crag. That same 5.12c which I didn’t think I could ever climb, has served as my warmup for the other 5.13’s in the area. Most of the test pieces on this wall I sent many years ago. Whether its doing the huge dyno on Flying Cowboy’s (5.12c/d) or holding on to the heinous slopers of Public Solitude(5.13c), I am intimately familiar with conquering routes at this crag and the nature and style of the climbing here.

The crux of Squeeze Play 5.13b/c which I sent yesterday on a gorgeous February Day!
The crux of Squeeze Play 5.13b/c which I sent yesterday on a gorgeous February Day!

Squeeze Play was one of a few routes left at Primo Wall that I hadn’t sent. I went to the crag yesterday with my friend Chris Taylor who has also conquered most of the routes and an awesome individual named Ruie, with the hopes of finishing Squeeze Play. I got close to sending  Squeeze Play two years ago but for some reason or another never got a chance to get back to it. That is how climbing goes sometimes. Honestly, I think this is the first time I have been to Primo Wall in nearly 2 years. It felt good to be back. I did a warm-up/ beta burn on the route to relearn the moves and immediately went into redpoint mode. I dialed in the powerful move at the top but continued to fall on each attempt at the crux in the middle of the route. After 3 burns, some shredded skin and pretty fatigued forearms, I mustered up enough energy to give it one last burn. At this point I was probably too tired to send the route but if anything it would be a fitness lap in preparation for my upcoming trip to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. I tied in, took a deep breath and jumped on. Before I knew it, I had cranked my way through the crux where I kept falling and made it to the marginal rest right before the powerful finishing moves.  I rested for a few minutes, shaking each arm out, cycling back and forth, one after another. Problem was, this time my skin hurt, my fingers were getting cold(as the temps were dropping) and my arms were not recovering. It was time to go. I blasted off into the powerful top section with full on fatigue in my fingers and forearms. I inched my way higher and higher and before I knew it I was clipping chains on this thing with all my friends down below cheering me on.  Im so excited to have finished Squeeze Play! What a great route with great movement!

As I was being lowered, I looked over to my right and you know what looked back at me?, the famous route Shine(5.14a). Shine was a route I always wanted to get on but never had the opportunity to try it, just because I was always working on the other routes at the wall. But now, nearly 6 years after first touching the stone on Primo Wall and sending all the classic routes that interested me, I guess it was time…. Shine!

Topping out on the Squeeze Play send!
Topping out on the Squeeze Play send!
Chris "the Super Crusher" Taylor on his send of Public Solitude 5.13c  just last week, one of the many classic routes on Primo Wall. Nice job brother!
Chris “the Super Crusher” Taylor on his send of Public Solitude 5.13c just last week, one of the many classic routes on Primo Wall. Nice job brother!

Unfinished Business…

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The best things in life never come easy. This is the story behind climbing. Every route I have ever tried has history behind it. Some routes come super easy, others take more work, what makes the route special is your experience around it. I had been trying this route called Head Cheese(5.12d) at Shelf Road since 2011. It is a route I dabbled with here and there, giving it a burn at the end of the day or if I was walking by and draws were up on it I would give it a go. Whenever someone would ask if I have done Head Cheese, I would just kind of smile. I have only tried the route 10 times or so over the last 4 years, but for some reason or another I could never climb it without falling. In the back of my mind, it was some seriously unfinished business. IMG_0326

What’s ironic is I have progressed to a level since first trying it, that I now have done many routes of this grade on my very first attempt, either as a flash or an onsight. But again, it’s those routes that give you the most challenge that seem to stick with you. This past weekend, I went to Shelf Road, one of many trips I have taken since I started going in 2011. This time, I had one very specific goal in mind; to send Head Cheese. On Saturday, I warmed up and headed straight over to the crag in hopes of getting on it. It was a bit discouraging when I found a line of people waiting to get on it and my first burn confirmed it was still hard. I have climbed 5.13d at this point, an entire number grade harder, How could this route still be so difficult?

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Bottom line, I wanted this route to be checked off my ” To Do” list. This route was well within my ability. I guess I just needed to focus and try a little harder. Instead of doing a bunch of other routes prior to Head and Cheese and going into battle mode a bit tired, I thoroughly warmed up on three 5.11’s and when I felt like I was ready, I jumped right on Head Cheese to give it a go. After doing an initial beta burn, and relearning the moves and the proper footwork, clipping stances, etc., I immediately went into redpoint mode. On my second burn on Head Cheese I fell in the middle of the route which seemed to be the crux for me. There is one difficult clip(apparently there use to be a clipping jug but it broke off) and an additional bolt was added. I played around with the clip and determined how I was going to do it and conserve some energy for the upper crux that lurked right before the chains. I finished the route and fine tuned my beta, finding a few more subtle differences that I though might help with the send. After burn number two, I decided to rest for at least 45 minutes before getting back on. The nature of the route is very powerful and because it’s one of the steepest routes at Shelf Road, taking a little more time between burns to fully recover was a smart approach.

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After about and hour of just hanging out, drinking water, eating some snacks and stretching, I got back on. I climbed up the 20 foot pile of choss which made up the lower section and clipped a few bolts. I stood there and looked up at what I was about to climb. Wow, this route is steep! I took a deep breath and was off like a lion about to kill it’s prey. Before I knew it I had powered my way through the first crux, skipping a bolt and nearly skipping two(which would have turned out to be an epic whip if I fell) and was now resting on some moderately good holds right before the top crux. I used what I had learned on the hundreds of hard routes I have projected and sent over the  past few years, which was to relax. I worked on calming my breathing and getting the feeling back in my fatigued arms. When I was ready, I blasted through the upper crux like I was on a mission and getting to the top meant winning the battle. Before, I knew it I had clipped the anchors and I was being lowered. Mission Accomplished!

Head Cheese is no longer this mythical creature but a route that I tamed through perseverance and determination.  Only a climber will understand this experience.

All of the pics were taken in March of 2011 when I first got on the route. I didn’t realize at that point that it would be a four year endeavor. Bottom line, my four year experience on Head Cheese will last a lifetime…

Make 2012 the BEST YEAR of your LIFE by following these simple principles!

It’s that time of year again to sit down and reflect on what went well for you in 2011 and at the same time make some resolutions for the new year that is upon us. Truth be told, only about half of all American’s even make a New Year’s Resolution and a much smaller percentage of people actually follow them and succeed. Well it’s time to change all of that right here and right now! What if I told you that 2012 could be the BEST year of your entire life? Curious as to how this is going to happen? Follow these simple principles and jumpstart yourself into a new life and a new you for 2012!

Many of these same principles have been written about for thousands of years. People for centuries have succeeded by following them and helping them to guide their lives. So whether you choose to follow just one principle or all of them, just know that you will be taking a huge step to a new you. Let’s get started!

Principles that will change your LIFE

1. Live with passion! This is an amazing principle that can truly change your life for the better. I see too many people who live day in and day out that aren’t really passionate about anything. I think this is a serious problem and one that will set you up for failure in the long run. What makes this principle so amazing is that you can literally make the change in a second. Take some time to think about what your passionate about. If you closely examine anyone that has been successful with anything you will probably find that they have a passion that drives them. Whether you’re trying to get into medical school or simply wanting to be a better parent, put your heart into whatever it is you choose and you will succeed!

2. Be Happy! Most people tend to dwell on the things that are not going well in their lives. Many people can’t find love, or their in a large amount of debt, or their fighting a serious health problem. Simply switch your thoughts to what is going good in your life. This is a remarkable principle because you can uplift your spirit and feel better in a matter of minutes. Dwell on all of the good things that you have in your life and be happy for them. No matter how bad your life situation is, I could find one worse than yours. Use this to your advantage and be happy, even if you don’t have very much.  Many people including myself believe that achieving ultimate happiness would be better than being a billionaire. And it doesn’t cost a dime to buy it….

3. Believe in yourself! Too many people believe that they can’t do something. I am a firm believer that anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. I know this first hand because everything I have ever done in my life I have succeeded with. It has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with believing in yourself. Everyone is naturally born with talent, it is what you do with that talent that sets you apart from the rest. Believe in yourself, put your heart into it and I guarantee that you will succeed!

4. Live in the Moment! How much of your day is spent thinking about something in the past or what your about to do? Seriously? Think about it for a minute? Most people spend their entire lives thinking about what they are about to do. This is sad because all we really have is right here and right now. Living in the moment is one of the famous NY Time’s Best Selling Author Eckart Tolle’s primary teachings. Live in the moment instead of in the past or in the future and you will bring instant joy into your life!

5. Get some motivation! You will not succeed in anything you do if you don’t get seriously motivated and do something about it. You hear stories all the time of people who have lost a ridiculous amount of weight. I was just reading in  Men’s Health, which is the #1 Best Selling health magazine in the country that a man named Jared Green from Chicago, IL lost 133 pounds over an 18 month period. He went from a whopping 333 pounds to a muscular and fit 200. I will bet my life that if you sat down and interviewed this man you would find that he was seriously motivated to lose some weight. I think of motivation in a person as driving force to succeed at ANYTHING. If you are super motivated I’m guessing that there is nothing that is going to stop you from getting whatever it is you want!

6. Set Goals! Why do so many people not do this simple task. Every study that’s ever been done on goal setting proves it to be extremely effective. Goal setting can be empowering and motivating. Setting a goal can help give you a swift kick in the ass to start doing something about it. Step #1 is to write down your goals on a piece of paper(it can be ANY GOAL). Hang it up on your refrigerator, on your bathroom wall, on the ceiling above your bed, etc. This will force you to look at your goals everyday of your life. Again, this is a proven method of success. Make goals, look at them everyday and then take steps to make your goals a reality!

7. Use the Law of Attraction! I once had a girlfriend who could mysteriously get whatever it was she wanted! Opportunities seemed abundant for this girl and amazing things seemed to fall out of the sky and hit her over the head like a brick. Some years ago during college she “put it out there” that she wanted to get paid to travel the world. Sure enough, she graduated college and in less than a year she was sailing across the Mediterranean on an exotic sailboat. She traveled to places all over Italy, Greece and Croatia and experienced more things in one summer than most people see in a lifetime. She was also getting paid to do this! This story is 100 % true. I know this because the following year we were still together I sailed on the boat with her. It was an amazing experience and YES I also got paid! Funny how things work isn’t it?

8.Be healthy! I have written time and time again how living an active and healthy life will change your life for the better! The great thing about this principle is that you can make simple changes instantly. Next time you go the movies, opt for a small popcorn instead of a large. Next time your thirsty, opt for some orange juice over a diet soda. Next time you have the day off, opt to ride your bike instead of driving your car. Next time…. You get the idea. Small changes throughout your day, day in and day out, add up to a lot of HUGE changes over the course of the year. Start small and see what happens!

9. Sleep! People are getting less and less sleep every year. Since when did 6 hours or less become the norm for most people? Get 8 hours of sleep every single night for two weeks and watch your energy levels spike like you have never seen before. Wake up refreshed and feeling better about yourself. Have better sex! Workout more! Get a job promotion! All of these things could be the result if you get 8 hours of shut-eye per night. Be forewarned, this principle has been known to work faster than you ever thought possible and people report “uncontrollable excitement”!

10. Find a Purpose! Most people are clueless as to why they are here on this earth. Find a purpose, find something your passionate about and DO IT! It’s that easy. So your great with kids? Maybe your meant to be a school teacher? You like to help people? Maybe you should work for the Red Cross? You like sports? Maybe you should be a coach? Bottom line here is that if you find your life’s purpose, most likely you will be happier and more successful!

Curt MacNeill is available for FREE CONSULTATION.

Make 2012 the BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE by contacting Curt today 720.261.5426

                                                                                                                                          cmacneill79@yahoo.com

                                                                                                                                          http://www.rocksolidhealthcoach.com

10 Simple Tips to get the SEXIEST body of your life…

Just when I thought that America was making some headway towards the fight against adult and childhood obesity, I learned of some startling news. Despite 2011 being a record-breaking year in sales for the natural and organic food industries(which is a sure sign that times are changing), American waistlines are still continuing to grow at epic rates. In fact, recent numbers are indicating that we as a society are losing the battle against obesity. Statistics by the CDC are indicating that in upwards of 60 to 70 % of America is fat! I am simply blown away by this statistic and a bit shameful that my country I live in is in such bad shape. America is supposed to be a dominant country right? I mean, our military is the largest and most bad ass in the world. “America is one of the best places to live in the world”, say the masses. But unfortunately, a large percentage of our population is fat and pathetic. Yes folks, there is no way to sugarcoat this and I apologize if I offend anyone but something has got to change here. I live in the definitive healthiest state in America for a reason. There are endless ways to live a healthy lifestyle and more healthy people as a result of it. The funny thing here is that I don’t think people understand the difference in quality of life between being overweight and being of normal weight. Let me repeat myself as I have said in many past articles I have written. Being fit will improve ALL areas of your life. Fitter people of normal body weight typical have less stress in their lives, they are happier, more optimistic, do better at work, and excel in all areas of their life more than there out of shape counterparts. And if this is not enough to persuade you to throw the cheeseburger in the trash and buy a new pair of running shoes than maybe this will. There are literally hundreds of well documented and well referenced studies indicating that people who are in shape have significantly better sex lives. Sounds pretty good ehh? Fit people have a higher sex drive, more frequent and better sex and a significant increase in self-esteem about their body image. And as much as you don’t want to admit it, each year you wait the more difficult it is to get back into shape!

So the big questions here is what’s stopping you from making today the first day to your new life and new body? It really only takes 6 months(literally half a year) to make a big change that you can see. I am not talking about stepping on a scale here and weighing less either. Of course, if you get more fit you will lose a significant about of body fat and weigh less when you’re tipping the scale. But real motivation and excitement comes when you stand in front of a mirror naked and like what you see. I laugh with clients of mine all the time about this and despite people putting in hard work at the gym for different reasons, ultimately looking better without any clothes on is top priority for most. Even if people don’t tell me this straight forward, I know that not a single person will object to having a better body! This is reality. And you know what? Changing your body is also a reality. It is not that difficult to get something when you want it that bad. The more motivated a person is the quicker they get results, PERIOD! You could take most fit people and put them in a new body(a significantly overweight one for instance) and I guarantee that the person would be back to their old bodies within 6 months.Think of being really fit as a drug? The more you do it, the more you want it. Once you see what a sexy and fit body can do for you, you will never go back. All the hard work, change in eating patterns, whatever sacrifices you may make won’t matter in the slightest. And an important thing here is that at some point it becomes super easy to maintain your new body. I have 5 % body fat(yes ladies I have a six-pack) and I have been on cruise control for years, meaning I don’t have to do much to maintain my lean and hard body. Curious as to how I do it? Keep reading…

I am guessing that if I told you you could go to sleep one night and wake up with a new lean and sexy body but it would cost 50,000 dollars, I bet that most people would go straight to the bank to take out a loan. This is how bad people want it! The funny thing is here is that it costs significantly less, but yet people seem to lack the motivation and determination to do it on their own. What gives here? Seriously? In reality it will cost a couple of hundred more bucks a month in your eating and about $65 to $85 on the high-end for a monthly gym membership. I have clients of mine who make the argument that they can’t afford to eat healthier or buy a gym membership or purchase a pack of training sessions from me and my response is always the same. Everyone spends money on what their priorities are right? So if you make living a healthier lifestyle a priority, money will seem to magically appear for the things necessary to live that lifestyle? I have been dead broke for a large portion of my life and one thing I have always had is a gym membership! Seriously, I have not had a pot to piss in at several points in my life but yet somehow I magically came up with the money for a membership. Make it a priority and you will some how magically find the money necessary. It’s that easy! Of course you will have to make sacrifices in order to get this new body and new healthy lifestyle.

Follow these simple rules and your NEW-SEXY-TONED and BETTER FEELING BODY is right around the corner!

1. Adjust your caloric intake daily based on your caloric expenditure. This is a no brainer here but most people never do it. Regardless of how many calories someone burns in a day, most people eat the exact same amount day in and day out. For instance, do you think you more burn more calories sitting at a desk all day at work or on your day off playing with your kids and cleaning your house? It’s not that difficult!

2. Avoid fake foods at all cost. The typical American Diet consists largely on things that I wouldn’t even consider real food. Cookies, cakes, pasta, chips and most common snacks are overly processed junk foods. They are made in laboratories and are horrendous for your health.

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Make at least half of your meals and snacks consist of healthy fruits and vegetables. This will help fill you up, increase the amount of fiber your consuming and just may help fend off that a future illness!

4. Rule of 5- This is one of the famous NY Times Bestselling author Michael Pollan’s Mantras here and a valuable lesson. Don’t eat things that contain more than 5 ingredients in them. How many ingredients does fish or broccoli have? Yes, the answer is one because they are “Real foods”.

5. Don’t eat things you can’t pronounce! Go down the snack isle at your local grocery store and read the label of a common snack food you normally purchase. I guarantee that there are numerous ingredients that sound like a chemical weapon from the Cold War. If you can’t pronounce them then don’t eat them. Period!

6. Learn to appreciate food. Most people just eat foods for the sake of eating foods. Learn to eat healthy things that you truly enjoy and make eating a sacred experience(because that’s exactly what it is!). I often find myself lighting a candle at the dinner table, cracking open a bottle of wine and truly savoring the experience. It’s not often that most people ever do this!

7. Eat at the dinner table! This seems a bit out-of-place but in reality people seem to eat everywhere but where they are supposed to. I once watched a gentlemen walk across a busy intersection with a brief case in one hand and a burning hot slice of pizza in the other. He was struggling with trying to walk, carry his brief case and eat without getting any grease or cheese on his suit. C’mon people! Take 15 minutes out of your hectic day to sit down and actually enjoy what you are eating.

8. Eat smaller more frequent meals. This is a great way to have constant energy and to turn your body into a metabolic fat burning machine. In a nutshell, your body gets use to being fed regularly so it learns to use the calories fast and efficiently.

9. Don’t starve yourself! Unfortunately, this is something far too many people do, especially women! The word diet comes from the Greek word “Diata” which literally means way of life. If someone goes on a diet, they should literally change their lifestyle. It does not mean starving yourself and going through a roller coaster patter of eating in order to lose as much weight as possible in the shortest period of time.

10. Get daily exercise. This is the missing link in most peoples daily lives. Start making it a point to do a form of exercise that you love each and every day. Notice here, I did not say go to the gym every day. Something healthy that you enjoy could mean taking a walk in your neighborhood or riding a bike to go grab some lunch. It’s that easy.

The author following these simple tips gets to reap the benefits of a lean, fit and healthy body!

NEED SOME HELP?

Call Curt today for your FREE Health Consultation to see if your ready to change your body and your life!

phone: 720.261.5426

email: cmacneill79@yahoo.com

Who are the fittest athletes in the world? Find out who rounds out the list as “Most Fit in America”!

I inevitably get asked the question of who are the most fit athletes on the planet on a regular basis and my answer is always the same definitive; well that depends? Here in Boulder, Colorado, there is no shortage of elite athletes mingling around town on a daily basis. Perhaps it’s the close proximity to the mountains or the abundance of outdoor activities right out our door steps, but Boulder seems to be regularly ranked as one of the most fit cities in America. Take a drive around town and you will probably see why we have so many fit people in this amazing city. Within a 5 mile radius from where I live I have access to 3 world-class climbing gyms, about a dozen health clubs, yoga studios, Pilates places and more organic grocery stores then there are fast food restaurants. Now that is a great town! But of all the fit and healthy people living in this town, who is the fittest of them all?

As a cutting edge personal trainer in one of the healthiest and fittest towns in America, I would say that it is very difficult to answer that question. I think the true way to test athleticism and physical fitness would be to take an athlete out of their element and put them through a series of tests that emphasize overall fitness. For instance, take elite athletes from a dozen different sports and take them through the exact same physical fitness test. The test would have to be non-sport specific and focus on numerous elements including strength, power, agility, balance, endurance, flexibility and speed. Whoever scores highest overall on the test would be crowned king!

So who do you think deserves the fittest athlete title? Lance Armstrong? Manny Pacquiao? LeBron James? Lionel Messi? Michael Phelps? According to Dr. Jonathan L. Chang, who is a clinical associate professor of orthopedic’s at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, “The determination of who’s the fittest athlete is based on your definition of fitness. And if you stick to one criterion, it makes answering easier.”

So who are the contenders? Find out what the experts think!

1. NFL Football Players: They can train at extremely high intensity, for a prolonged period of 60 to 90 minutes. They apply speed, power, endurance, coordination, quickness, rhythm and strength to many skills and tasks. And they have very low body fat. Surely they are supreme?

2. NHL Hockey Players: Most NHL players are power packed  in a package that melds strength, agility, power, speed and flexibility.Surely they are high in the rankings?

3. Olympic Sprinters: These are some of the best athletes in the world no doubt! They have tons of explosive power, very low body fat and typically have large amounts of fast twitch muscle fibers and lean muscle mass.

4. Olympic Swimmers: These athletes spend in excess of 6 hours a day in a swimming pool burning more calories in one day then the average person spends in a week. They literally will blow the most of the competition out of the world! Michael Phelps?

5. Professional Rock Climbers: Pound for pound these are some of the strongest athletes in the world! Most climbers can do more push ups and pull ups than any other athlete in the elite category. In fact, most climbers are so strong for their own body weight that they have to add a significant amount of weight to their bodies and decrease the size of the hold just to make a pull up a challenge! Keep in mind here that the average American can’t do a single pull up!

6. Triathletes: Biking, Running and Swimming are all sports hard enough done by themselves, now put them back to back and make an event out of it! These athletes are no doubt bad ass and definitely some of the fittest on the planet!

7. Olympic Gymnasts: Ever seen an Olympic level Ring Competition? These animalistic creatures are freakishly strong and can do things with their bodies that are unimaginable. They are incredibly strong and are some of the most flexible human beings on earth!

8. Decathletes: It’s hard enough finding someone who is “elite” at one event, even better try to find someone who is good at 10 physically demanding events? These athletes are freaks of nature, athleticism at it’s finest for sure!

9. Mixed Martial Arts: This new age sport is becoming fastly popular and is starting to become one of the fast growing sports in America. Put two people in a cage to beat the hell out  of each other and whoever is the last standing is the winner. Sounds hard. If you ever watched one of these fights on t.v., you surely would rank these as some of the most talented and fit athletes on television.

10. Professional Soccer Players: Ever watch a World Cup Soccer Event. It’s not a coincidence that there are many elite soccer players double as male models. Think David Beckham or Christian Renauldo? These athletes get incredibly ripped in a sport where you more or less run as fast as you can up and down a field non-stop for 90 minutes! Sound tiring? That’s because it is and probably one of the most physically demanding sports in the world!

So who are the fittest athletes in the world?

If I was to devise a “super test” and put all the elite athletes from the various sports listed above through them, I am guessing that a few would come out on top. Curious as to what ones they are? Keep reading?

Here is a list of Physical tests I would put each candidate through.

Test #1:  Push ups- How many push ups can you do until failure? This is  a great way to gauge how strong someone is relative to their own body weight and a true test to how strong you are… FYI: The record for the most push-ups non-stop was 10,507, set by Minoru Yoshida of Japan in October 1980.(Wikipedia)

Test #2:  Pull Ups- How many consecutive bodyweight pull ups can you do on a pull up bar before failure? This again is a great exercise to tell how strong someone is relative to their own body weight. I would say that if you can perform more than 10 perfect pull ups in a consecutive manner, you are among the fittest and strongest for your own bodyweight. If you can rip out over 20, I would say your  probably pretty fit, over 30 and your starting to get into the elite category!

Test #3: 50 yard dash- This is a great test to examine someone’s explosive power and a big determinant of overall fitness. Most football players and soccer players would rank pretty high in this category because they spend so much time in their own sport doing exactly this!

Test #4: 1.5 mile run- Remember, were testing all physical fitness elements, so this is no doubt the best way to test someone’s aerobic capabilities and muscular endurance. In a past life, I went through Cape May County Police Academy. We had a recruit named Braheme Days who was an amazing athlete. Just to put things into perspective, he could run the 50 yard dash and the 1.5 mile run faster than anyone in the academy. That’s impressive given that usually someone excels at one or the other, not both. Recruit Days was a freak of nature and exactly what researchers would look for in an overall fitness evaluation.

Test#5: Sit Ups- How many full sit ups can you perform in 60 seconds. This is a great way of gauging core strength which is a huge part of overall fitness. 80 or more full situps in less than 60 seconds will put you into the elite category!

Test #6: Body composition This is a great way to tell how fit someone is. The less body fat and more muscle you have is a great determinant of overall health and fitness. Most Americans have body fat composition somewhere between 20 and 45 percent. Most elite athletes have less than 10 percent bodyfat, some endurance athletes have as low as 3 % bodyfat!

This is just a sample of some of the fitness tests I would take someone through to see where they fall with other athletes. I would probably do another 15 or so tests in combination with the ones mentioned above to see who the most fit were.

So who do I think are the most fit athletes in the world? As I said earlier, this is a difficult question to answer but if I had to pick the top three it would look something like this…

Most Fit Athletes in the World List

1. Olympic Sprinters

2. Olympic Rings Gymnast

3. Mixed Martial Arts Fighter

In my opinion these would be some of the highest ranking athletes in the world. Feel free to throw your two cents in the comment section of this article and tell us what type of athlete deserves the “Most Fit” crown…

Avoid getting sick this fall by doing one simple thing! This is perhaps the easiest way to beat a cold once you have it….

The summer has been scorching hot here in Boulder, Colorado and one for the record books. Many parts of the country have experienced record-breaking heat as well. Neighboring Denver had their longest stretch of temperatures above 90 degrees this summer than ever before. Despite being extremely hot this summer, most people in Colorado seemed to make the best of it. Campsites were full all the time. Restaurant patio’s were overflowing into the city streets. Local swimming holes were packed from dawn til dusk. Many of the areas beautiful parks experienced record visits including Rocky Mountain National Park, Eldorado Springs and Rifle Mountain Park. It’s been a great summer for me as well with lots of fun and exciting activities to keep me motivated. I have climbed, hiked, camped, biked and spent most of the summer in our surrounding playgrounds, the mountains! In fact, I have spent so much time outside this summer that people are beginning to mistake me for Italian or Mexican, I’m that tan! Yes, summer is an amazing time of year and here in Colorado it’s quickly coming to an end. This may sound a bit weird to most people reading this from other parts of the country where the heat is still very intense, but September 1st here in healthy town USA has marked the start of a big change. Literally overnight, the weather went from being super hot to cool and rainy. It happened so fast that it caught most of us off guard. Today marks the first day I can remember in at least 2 1/2 months that I woke up to rain outside my window. My first step into the cold wet air today was almost overwhelming. The air felt so crisp and so refreshing that it brought pure joy into my body. Yes folks, fall is on the way!

The change of seasons is truly one of my favorite times of year. September marks a time when the leaves start changing, the days start feeling noticeably shorter and the air seems to get crisper with each passing day. Perhaps one of the biggest changes one can feel is in their own bodies. Most people catch their first “cold” of the season the second the cooler temps hit. Right now in Boulder is a true test to this age-old theory. I know several people who are feeling a bit “under the weather”. And as the weather gets colder in the approaching months, our chances of becoming sick greatly increases with each passing day. So your probably wondering if there is anything you can do to prevent getting sick as the change in seasons happen? The answer is absolutely! Most people don’t realize that the single easiest way to prevent themselves from catching a cold cost’s little to nothing. This sickness prevention does not come over the counter or in the form of a pill. It’s also something that everyone can master with ease. So are you ready for it? The answer lies in one single word, “Rest”. I know, I know… I know what your thinking right now. This all too apparent response however is something that many people forget to do! We all literally drive our bodies into the dirt and every now and again we need some time to recoup, to recharge the battery so to speak. I have seen this time and time again where people get sick immediately following summer, as people are now, because their bodies are physically beat down. Think about it for a minute. What happens to a car when it reaches the point of exhaustion? It breaks down right? The same thing happens to our bodies, so in a sense getting sick is quite a “blessing”. If we were never to get sick, our bodies and our minds would just keep going and going and going like the Energizer bunny rabbit. The problem with it is that there comes a point in time when you just can’t go anymore, when you just run out juice! This is why most people get sick and one of the easiest and cheapest remedies is to just simply relax.

Usually when I am feeling a cold coming on, I will cancel out all things in my schedule and just simply be. I rent a bunch of movies and just have a movie marathon. Often times, doing this for one single day is all I need to bounce back and be feeling great. I also do something very different than most people on this key rest day. I also DO NOT eat any food. This may seem bizarre to most people but this is one of the single greatest things you can do if you are on the verge of getting sick. Think about this for a minute. You are exerting minimal energy my having a lazy day and just lounging around the house so why do most people feel the need to eat. You eat for energy right? So if you’re not using energy you don’t need your body to create energy? Also, it is important to note here that people spend loads of energy from their bodies digesting foods. If you are getting sick, your body needs that exact same energy to help beat the “cold”. It’s literally as simple as that. If you don’t believe me just look at what animals do! All animals when they are sick do nothing but rest. Most of the same animals also sustain from eating. It’s as if they know their own bodies better than humans do. To an extent, I would say that they are right! If you hurt your ankle, you don’t walk on it. If you break your hand, you don’t use that hand.

So next time your feeling sick, just simply sit back, kick your feet up and do some plain old relaxing! Watch a movie. Read a book. Write in a journal. The last time I checked you didn’t need to consume calories(or energy) in order to do theses activities. Having the mentality to rest and fast(no eating) is the single best way to beat any cold!

It amazes me to think that people don’t quite get this concept. Most people get sick and the first thing they do is run to the store and get some over the counter drugs. A large percentage of these items are literally worthless in helping to fight the common cold, not to mention many of them are potentially dangerous to your own personal health. So next time your feeling a cold coming on, wake up, smell the roses and start relaxing. There is literally nothing more beneficial than some enjoyable downtime coupled with fasting and drinking some herbal teas and juices.  Best of all, there are no side effects and it works twice as fast as anything you could buy at the store. Trust me! Try it and you will be thanking me later….

I am close to reaching the 10,000 viewer mark which means the word is getting out! If you like what you read and enjoy the posts, please refer a friend to become a member to this site. It’s free and all the monthly topics are controversial, entertaining and engaging. Thanks a million to all my loyal subscribers!