Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why Vitamix? And More on Strength Training

Pretty funny that I only got one comment on that last blog. Not that I ever generate tons of comments as it is, but one is possibly an all-time low. Did I leave you guys speechless by telling too much about my personal life? Hahaha. Probably best to stick to the triathlon theme, eh? Well, you'll still get bits and pieces of the personal stuff too, turns out my new sherpa is coming to Portland with me next week! Speaking of Portland, I also found out that JetBlue is waving bike fees for the month of July in celebration of the Tour de France. I made flight res with them without knowing this would be the case, so needless to say I'm pretty stoked that I'll be saving a few bucks.

Yesterday I was an easy day with only a swim. Taper mode is in full effect, and, yup, I'm feeling all those nasty taper feelings. I was comforted by shortening my work day to enjoy some sunny beach weather... sitting on my porch, listening to Jack Johnson-esque music and sipping on a beer that screamed Oregon, of course (see my ocean view?)....Not that best ocean view haha, but I can walk across the street for this view. It's gearing up to be a busy and beautiful holiday weekend here at the beach.

Anyways, enough fluff, onto the main point of this blog! I want to answer a couple questions I got recently on the Vitamix and Strength Training...

1. Why is the Vitamix so great? ~Austin and SixTwoThree

I'm not going to go too infomercial/testimonial on this one because Vitamix ain't giving me anything for free, but I will tell you my top 5 reasons why I think this blender is the bomb.

1. It can blend anything to your desired consistency in mere seconds. I think it could even blend rocks if you wanted. Nut butters, raw beets, tough raw veggies, etc. You wouldn't believe how the toughest things turn into smooth liquids instantly. No chunky, grainy, un-blended crap in your drinks. I was using a temp blender at my new place before the V-mix, and my carrot cake smoothies were grainy and chunky, yuck. Plus, I had to leave that blender running for so long just to get something to happen. The V-mix is usually 30ish seconds, always less than a minute, for any smoothie I make.

2. You don't lose anything. This is a good argument for a V-mix over juicers... Juicers spew out the veggie/fruit leftovers, but V-mix leaves you the whole fruit/veggie to consume. With strawberries and apples, for example, you can even leave the greens on and the core/seeds all in there. No prob. Nothing gets left out. And you never get weird seedy chunks in the drink.

3. Diversity of what you can make. Of course smoothies and juices are the most frequent, but there's also ice cream/fro-yo, soups (leave it on long enough and it literally makes the soup piping hot), nut butters, baking batters (pancakes, cookies, cakes, pies, brownies), adult drinks (haven't tried that yet to be honest haha), etc., etc. I use it to make my mashed cauliflower (healthy version of mashed potatoes), and it does it 10x better than even the food processor. Great for my black-bean brownies too.

4. Easy to clean. There are only two parts -- the base/motor and the blender. You never have to unscrew anything or try to clean hard-to-reach crevices or parts. It easily rinses out. My old blender had like eight parts, some small and annoying, and you'd have to individually clean each piece after every use or risk mold, it was such a hassle. The V-mix just needs a quick and easy rinse. Heck there are times I don't even use soap/sponge, just a good rinse.

5. Longevity. I use the V-mix one to two times a day for the most part, and apparently these things are supposed to live long and strong. They're often used in commercial/business settings for that reason. So instead of having to replace a so-so blender every couple years, invest in a good one that lasts forever. I have the same philosophy when it comes to buying my tri gear.

So there you have it... my love for the V-mix in a nutshell. Now let's just hope Vitamix reads this and does something for me in return ;)

Second question....
2. When during the week do you add it? I really need to build more muscle but I'm not sure about the best time to add it in the schedule so that it doesn't negatively affect swim/bike/run training. Thanks!! ~Jennifer

For starters, I wrote a post a while back on strength training related to your question.

Strength training will not negatively affect your SBR. Yea, there might be times when you don't swim as well because your arms are fired from X workout, but simply adding in one or two strength training sessions a week will only make you a stronger triathlete in the end. That said, you're probably in-season right now so starting a strength routine is going to leave you more sore than if you'd been doing it for months. So, start slowly... go with one session a week (separated from your SBR if possible) and build up. Plus, I recommend talking to a professional who can guide your program, tell him/her that you're training a lot for triathlon. Strength training is really fun once you get into a routine, I personally love that it breaks up the monotony of SBR.

When it comes to me, I hate to say it, but I don't have much rhyme or reason on how I operate on the day to day with my workouts, SBR or strength. Maybe it's because I spend so much time planning my athletes' schedules, so planning my own workouts comes second to that. Instead, I go into each week with specific goals for each sport, strength training, overall volume and intensity (i.e. base vs. recovery vs. build week), but that's about it. No set-in-stone daily workout plan. I just get 'er done based on my knowledge of what I should be doing that week, and hitting numbers I need to hit (whether that's power on the bike, mileage in the run or hours overall).

So how does strength fit in? Personally, I try to get in 1-2 strength training sessions a week when I'm in season (like now), and 3-4x all the other times of the year (offseason, transition phases, early base building, etc). Inevitably I probably strength train a little bit more than that simply because I work at a gym and am constantly pushing weights around, demonstrating exercises, etc. But when I do my own focused sessions, they're usually in the mornings before my swim, bike or run workout. Otherwise, I'll do the swim, bike or run, and then not strength train until hours later. If I'm doubling up, I always have a hearty protein/carb shake after strength even if I'm not that hungry... do not want to lose any muscle mass or weight. With my athletes, some come to me for strength training, and I usually try to separate those appointments from their scheduled swim, bikes and runs, or at least have them strength prior to SBR or many hours after SBR.

Sometimes I incorporate strength into a swim, bike or run. Swim -- get out and do pushups/situps/squats/lunges, swim with a T-shirt, etc. Bike -- during trainer sessions, get off and do a round of something, even rowing, several times throughout the workout (those are some of my fav workouts, btw!). Run -- is in the gym, work in lighter-weight deadlifts, squats, TRX stuff, upper-body, anything!

Bottom line is every triathlete should be doing a little strength training year round. The idea is that you want to always be stimulating your body in new ways to prevent stagnation and a plateau, while building a resilient injury-resistant body that will hammer SBR for a long, full season. Of course, SBR over and over will make you better at SBR, but throw in strength training and you'll get even better and be more likely to avoid injury. Planning-wise: Don't do as much when you're in season (1-2x a week of maintenance work). It's in the offseason or early in the base phases when you want to hit strength training hard.

Last but not least, here's a simple but good workout that combines strength and running, especially good if you're looking to utterly FRY your hamstrings. I did this last week, and it left me the most sore I've ever been in the hammys (the most sore I've ever been overall was after Bikram yoga, when I was getting so hot and lose that I stretched way beyond my means and was toast for days).

Strength/Running Routine:
3 rounds...
50 abmat situps
50 Romanian Deadlifts with Oly bar (45 lbs)
800m sprint


Hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend. I know I'll be sticking in Laguna Beach... there are literally signs around town advising people to avoid driving. Looks like I'm stuck... rough ;)


  1. It is summer time. Everyone is out and about and not reading / writing blogs as much. It is not your writing it is the time of year.

    I get the 'jimmy' legs during the taper. I hate but that is the time to soak up all of that hard training!

  2. Love a good porter, good luck on your race and very excited to hear about the Rev3 in Portland, thinking about that in the future since I have an aunt that lives there :)

  3. Thanks!
    I'm sure you just moveed the Vitamix to the top of our shopping list. We'll fix the roof some other year...

  4. Okay, you've sold me! When I can swing it, I'll get one for sure. I hate unscrewing my blender to clean it every time I use it. And you're totally right about my juicer too. Very high-maintenance process. Thanks for answering. I know what you mean about comments too. Makes you feel like you have a big "L" when no one responds during some posts. I'm very happy that your personal life is going well though!! Yay, the dude found a good one!

  5. Thanks for answering my question! ST before SBR seems counterintuitive but I just read Chris Carmichael's book on bike training, and he says the same thing... better bike power numbers AFTER doing some ST prior. Really interesting. I guess the ST helps get the muscles firing.
    And good info on Vitamix! I had no idea. May need to replace my juicer :-) Happy 4th!

  6. i think you have totally sold my hubby on the vitamix.... although i might try and wait for christmas :) lol.... love your new crib. looks amazing :)

  7. Hi! Just found your blog through another friend;s blog roll... I am officially lusting after one of those VitaMix blenders. One after another of my friends have succumbed and the more I hear about them the me I WANT ONE!!! Thanks for posting the pumpkin smoothie recipe too. :)

  8. Thanks for all the tips in your post. Learnt a lot from your post.

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