2012-12-01 Get ‘Er Done

Well, how did those resolutions go in 2012? Did you reach your fitness goals? Did you reach any goals, or do you have a sentence like the one below floating around in your head to make you feel better?

I would have completed x if y hadn’t happened, which is ok, since x is harder for me anyway because of my genetics.

The crazy thing about setting goals is that we all know almost everything that needs to be done to complete those goals. I’ll give you an example: Make sure you save at least 10% of your income. Put your money away in a diverse portfolio. Invest in real estate. Buy stocks when everyone else is selling.

Now, anyone who knows me very well knows I am not a financial advisor, but I have picked up enough over the years to know that the advice above is pretty solid. On the same token, everyone reading this article knows what to do to get stronger and to lose weight.

The problem is not knowledge, it’s execution.

You probably can grasp that we are better motivated by the avoidance of pain than the promise of happiness. You’ve probably even seen it in action. How often do you reward yourself even if you don’t quite earn it? My guess is it’s almost every day.

You might remember “The Alpo Diet” that we wrote about a few years back. The basic idea is you invite a dozen or so friends over to dinner, whip out a big can of Alpo dog food, and promise them that you’ll have them over again next month to watch you eat it if you don’t lose 10 pounds.

This, obviously, would work better than promising yourself a shopping trip if you achieved a goal. You’re taking that trip whether you lose weight or not. The idea behind the can of Alpo is called pre-commitment. Thanks to websites like stickK.com, you don’t even have to invite your friends over to make a high-stakes commitment. The idea is easy: state a goal, set the stakes, get a “referee,” and tell everyone about it.

The trick is in the stakes. You’ve got to make it hurt. In fact, the more it’s going to hurt, the more likely you’ll reach your goal. The most popular commitment is a donation to the George W. Bush Presidential Library (I don’t see what the big deal is…I like comic books), but you can pick anything you’d hate to give money to. Just by setting high stakes, you are close to three times as likely to reach your stated goal.
If you are floundering, this might be your ticket. Log on to stickK.com, wager $500 against losing those last 5 pounds, and see just how well you work when the heat is on.


2012-11-15 The Shoulds

Information sharing is an interesting business, especially when the information you’re sharing is information your readers already have. Like this:

You should save your money.

You should spend more time with your family.

You should spend less time in front of the TV.

You should exercise more, and do it more vigorously.

You should eat more vegetables.

You should eat less sugar.

You should talk to your significant other.

You should be involved in your community.

You should stretch more.

You should read all of these books before you read any teenage paranormal romances.

You should travel more.

You should learn a new skill every year.

You should call your parents.

You should eat more organic food.

You should eat more local food.

The problem is that all of this is a little too much to take care of. Pick one thing and do it. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and then you can add another. Keep track of your progress, and you’ll be amazed where you get in a month or two.





2012-11-01 – Elemental Welcomes Ann Lehmkuhler


This month, endurance ace Ann Lehmkuhler joins our coaching staff. Ann is an accomplished swimmer, Runner, and triathlete, and has been a successful coach and trainer for the past few years. We are excited to welcome such a great asset to our team.


In order to introduce our members to Ann, I sat down with her last week for a short chat.


SB: So Ann, you’ve been a competitive athlete for years, what brings you into coaching?


Mainly teaching and a love of sports…it was a natural fit. I’ve been coaching since I was 16. My swim coach at the time noticed I was good at making swimmers more efficient and correcting strokes, So I kind of became an assistant.


After a few years teaching school and starting our family, I decided to get back into it full time.


SB: With that in mind, how does your experience as an athlete help your clients?


I have always been self-coached, and I learned what works and what doesn’t. I’m aware of mental difficulty involved. After I had kids, I  had to rebuild from scratch, which inspired my Running 101 class. Being a mom, I’m aware of the difficult balance of responsibility… the difficulty of fitting it all in.


SB: Your class, Elemental Endurance, is focused on wintertime training for endurance athletes. Who else can benefit from this training?


Well, people who like early mornings! It’s especially appropriate for people looking to increase their endurance, but also cardiovascular health and general fitness. The class open to people of all fitness levels.


SB: If you were to line out the two biggest mistakes you see people make in prepping for spring and summer racing, what would they be?


#1 Not planning ahead of time, and trying to get ready to race in a month. It’s just not enough time. Winter is good time for base training, learning new skills, and refining existing skills. You can’t learn to swim 2 weeks before a tri…you’ll need 6-12 months at a minimum.


#2 People don’t follow an individualized plan. They get a generic plan or follow a friend’s. They might need different skills, mobility, strength, etc. If you want great results, you need your own plan.


SB: How about you, what are your biggest struggles athletically?


Stretching and mobility. When I am short on time, they go out the window.


SB: So what are your training goals this winter?


Well, to increase stretching and mobility. I’ll need a break after Moab (A trail marathon in early November). I didn’t do it last year, and want to take a few weeks to recoup before next season. I want to build base strength this winter, ski a little…


SB: Final question. What can we expect to see from you next year, as far as races go?


That’s still being decided…