10 Motivating Tips for the New Year – that Work!

It’s that time of year. The fall has passed us by quickly and the hectic holiday season is upon us. It is the perfect
time for a personal reset and to start looking forward to the new year. What will this new year bring? Well there is
a pretty good chance that you have some fitness plans in mind but how is our motivation level right now? And as
importantly, how can we keep that motivation? Here are 10 great methods to keep your motivation high and make
you successful in the new year.

1. Goals work
This may sound like a cliché but the power that a firm goal can have on your attitude toward motivation is
incredible. Human beings are meant to have a purpose. This purpose at its root includes safety, food,
shelter, health, family and other basic needs for survival. Once these needs are met we crave other life
challenges but these need to be identified in the form of goals. Once a goal is identified and committed to,
it often will “flip a switch” in your psyche turning on your motivation! The best goals for motivation are
normally outcome goals such as experiencing success in an event. Registering for a goal event will start the
ball rolling and set the motivational juices flowing! Don’t forget your process goals, many of which are
listed below, which you have control of along the way that lead to your ultimate outcome goals.

2. Pull from your inspirational sources
Inspiration can be powerful. Seek out inspirational sources whether it be from your past accomplishments,
the accomplishments of others or even fictional accounts of success like your favourite motivational movies.
Is there a loved one that you want to be successful for? Do you want to prove to yourself and/or others that
you can be fit? Can you find a story of someone that has reached a goal they never thought possible? There
are countless inspirational examples available from family, friends, books, on-line and movies – go find

3. Have a personal philosophy
Take a few minutes with yourself to develop a personal philosophy based on your beliefs and values. This
should include the reason why you commit to training and your goal. Having this answer is very powerful
for when you question yourself on why you are doing this – when you feel unmotivated, the weather is bad
and especially when you are exerting yourself in training or competition. Such philosophies could include
your commitment to long term health for you and your family, your need for self-challenge, always finishing
what you start, being able to control your own destiny or your quest for adventure.

4. Train with others/groups
It is easier to let yourself down than to let others down. So, get yourself a training partner or group and you
will be amazed by the effect. When you find yourself tired, busy or low on motivation – having someone
that is meeting you for training is a very powerful tool. You will almost always show up because you know
that partner or group is counting on you – as you are counting on them. You will find yourself scheduling
your time better and making your training a priority. It is also motivating to share and recount your journey
with others.

5. Variety
The “spice of life” – and this applies to training as well. Have a training program that does not always
include the same routine. Although a good routine can be very good for your training, you can vary the
types of training to get better improvement (a good coach or program will help you with this) and choose
different training venues. Avoid training indoors continually and don’t go out your front door and cover the
same route every time. A mix of training indoors and outdoors will be very motivational and choose
different routes and terrains on a regular basis.

6. Technology
Technology for endurance training has taken leaps and bounds the last 10 years. Devices like fitness
monitors, GPS and heart rate monitoring systems have come down drastically in price. Social networking
websites and apps are also available to track and compare athletic activity where you can congratulate and
comment on each others' activities and upload photos – even virtually train or race together. Learning
about your body through heart rate feedback, learning your paces, using social networking systems can be
highly motivating as you see yourself improve.

7. Convenience
Make it easy for yourself to work out! There are lots of tips and tricks for this – anything you can do will
help. Some ideas include keeping a small kit of your workout gear in the car so you can be “Superman” with
a quick change and off you go! Also, own at least 2-3 full workout kits so if one is in the wash or missing
there is another ready to go! Another tip is to plan your workouts in convenient locations where you will be
on a regular basis - for example, combine a workout with a weekly errand that you need to complete or
when traveling choose a hotel with a good gym or good training areas and facilities.

8. Spend/Invest in yourself
Spend on yourself! It is an investment – and a good one! We spend a lot of money in our lives on items like
food, clothing and travel so don’t be afraid to splurge on items that will help you achieve your fitness goals!
Stylish training wear, warm training clothing, multiple pairs of good shoes, race entries, sport travel, sport
nutrition, coaching, training groups, technology, sport glasses, portable music, accessories – anything that
makes training and racing more enjoyable! Being properly prepared and looking good can go a long way to
making your experience enjoyable!

9. Get out the door
Getting out the door can sometimes be 90% of the battle. Believe it or not, your mind will be anticipating
that you are going to put your body through a bit of stress so it will put up some defenses by making you
feel tired or that something else is a priority. Make a commitment to yourself that if you have a workout
planned you will, at the very minimum, show up and start it. Make a deal with yourself that if you head out
the door and start the workout, that if it is not going the way you had hoped or you don’t have the amount
of time that you had thought, it is ok to end the workout early. Some tricks to get out the door include
many of the items on this list but you can also try playing music and/or eating a small amount of something
you like (ie. chocolate, sport bar, gel, etc) that will give you a burst of energy!

10. Have others as part of your goal/success
Even though your journey can be very personal, it is always motivating to include people that are important
to you in the process and the outcome. It is always incredible to see all of the families and friends along the
race course and at the finish line cheering and celebrating. Including them from the very beginning when
you set your goal will make them more understanding of what you are going through to get to the finish line
- and will make the celebration even sweeter at the end. You will often be their hero without even realizing
the effect you had on them until that day when your goal is realized.

Interested in Coaching? Check out our coaching packages HERE

Author: Paul Regensburg of Pinnacle Fitness
Paul is a former National Team Triathlon Coach who has served as a Coach and Leader with gold medal winning teams at the
Olympic, Commonwealth and Pan American Games. Paul is a published author and in 2000 provided color commentary for CBC
Television’s Olympic coverage of Simon Whitfield's historic sprint finish in front of the Sydney Opera House that brought Canada
the gold medal in the Olympic debut of Triathlon. Paul is currently a senior coach with Pinnacle Fitness and the Event Director
for a number of popular endurance events in Western Canada.

Talking About Warm-Ups?!?

“Practice?!? We talking about practice.”
Allen Iverson famously made this statement 22 times to a group of reporters following the Philadelphia 76’ers elimination from the 2002 NBA playoffs. As the MVP of the league, Iverson made it clear that he felt practicing was not important – as long as his performance during games was on point. All too often you can witnessed a similar attitude displayed by athletes regarding the warm-up; as if this component of the session is less important than the actual workout. The warm-up is a key component of each session in which coaches, and athletes gain valuable information regarding athlete health, energy, focus, and skill levels for that given workout.

During the last decade, static movement screens have been popularised as a method for coaches and therapists alike to
assess athlete health, movement quality, and readiness to train.
Multiple winning Olympic Coach and head coach at Altis Dan Pfaff explains that “coaches have been performing movement screens for
decades; it’s called watching practice intently.”
Each day coaches and therapists watch closely as the athletes warm up, monitoring posture and the movement of key anatomical landmarks including the foot and ankle, knees, hips, thoracolumbar junction, and head. Through all of this we glean valuable information regarding the athlete’s current state. The warm-up also serves as a kinaesthetic screen to help the athletes understand how their bodies are feeling and operating on that
day. This is all done in the name of improving performance and decreasing injury risk.

The introduction and teaching of proper biomechanics during the warm up serves as a key motor re-education opportunity. While running, the actions of the feet, knees, hips, and shoulders are paramount to the level of success the athlete can achieve; these actions – including force production, ground contact time ect. can be discussed and explored during the warm-up.
While it is true that drills may not directly develop the ability to run fast, context and understanding about the desired postures and actions can be provided through appropriately designed warm up activities. Performed correctly over weeks and months, an effective warm-up can play a significant and positive role in shaping motor patterns.

Inevitably over the course of a season or career, every athlete suffers an injury of some sort. A proper movement based rehabilitation period is essential to returning the athlete to a state of readiness to train before returning to performance then to competing. Many mistakes are made at this “return to play/training” stage as the athletes have not demonstrated a “return to previous performance “ and just want to race. Some athletes and parents will bargain and give false feedback to the coaches just to get back to racing! This inevitably leads back to the injury cycle.

A well designed warm-up can serve as a major player in the rehab program. By progressively imparting force and velocity through the tissue at loads below injury pain levels, specific ranges of motion, healing is promoted a rate far greater when compared to simply resting. With this in mind in the event of injury in athletes, post injury our athletes are not completely resting: Instead they perform a walking variation of the warm-up, and a plan B workout. This method of training and rehabilitation is instrumental in the reduction of training gaps that occur when an athlete is not able to implement a planned training session.

Included below are the warm-up exercises used – there is nothing new here and they are very likely included within your program. I wish to make it clear that success does not depend on flash and gimmick; rather it depends on consistent repetition of the basics.
“Learn to do the common things uncommonly well.”

  • 5-10min easy jog before stating warm up screen
  • Kinsmen indoor tack
  • Run Drills ( 2x20m reps unless stated )
  • A Skip
  • B Skip
  • Backwards Skip
  • Backwards Walk
  • Lateral Shuffle
  • Crossovers
  • Carioca
  • Butt Kicks
  • Dribble – Ankle
  • Dribble – Calf
  • Dribble – Knee
  • 1xStraight Leg Scissor
  • 1xFlexed Knee Scissor Bounds
  • 1x High Knee Run

Dynamic Flexibility ( 10 reps each

  • Leg Swings – Frontal
  • Leg Swings – Sagittal
  • Trail Leg Windmill
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Donkey Kicks
  • Leg Whips
  • 90/90 Seat Exchange
  • Eagles – Prone
  • Eagles – Supine
  • Hip Circles
  • Side Bend

Our training intervals are based on a standardised treadmill run step test protocol used at sport institutes world wide. Results taken are analysed and interpreted by professor Michael Kennedy at the U of A and the Edmonton Triathlon academy head coach.
This gives us an aerobic profile of each athlete at their current period to prescribe ranges of upper and lower intensities how the athlete is feeling On The Day when undertaking swim bike and run training. OTD decisions are made rather than strictly following best results or FTP numbers gained from a rested test.

Pre main set activation:
We do 1 x 800m-1000m @ a given velocity below the athletes Anaerobic Threshold as a “snap shot” popularised by swim coach Bill Sweetenham into the athletes readiness to perform. After the 800-1000m run we then compare the results to the test results of given heart rate, rate of perceived effort RPE, coach observations on technique and any body pains that are outside of normal training soreness. A decision is made on what is the acceptable range compared to the test results.The athlete and coach then learn over time to make the correct informed decision following
the plan A set or the planned B set or in some cases where kids have been sent to practice sick we send them home so they dont
get the whole team sick!

Example athlete A
Labratory Step test results

Warm up     Km/hr      Hr    La      RPE ( 1-20 )
10min       10   136     0.7     10
1                    0' - 3'      12   149     1.1      12
2                   3' - 6'       14   160    1.4      15
3                   6'- 9'        16   175    1.9      15 ( Snap shot pace = 3.45/km )
4                   9'- 12'      18    181    4.1      16
5                   12'- 15'    19    187    5.6     18
6                   15'- 18'    20    191    9        19
7                   18'- 21'     21    190   10      20
1 min standing rest after each 3min stage.

This snap shot is taken below Anaerobic threshold as you can see he goes from lactate 1.9 mmol ( average persons jog pace ) then a large increase to 4.1mmol at 18km/hr. You can use a snap shot at higher intensities but this is what i have been taught and used over 15 years now. You can use the stages 1 to 4 as a warm up for swim bike and run as well as a health check.
The main thing is the athletes understand what and why this matters regarding readiness to perform. When athletes are over fatigued, under rested, stage in menstrual cycle and especially low iron levels this snap shot health check really shows up the effects of low iron very well. Heart rates are increased 10 beats  at each stage and the RPE will be higher compared to when healthy.

I have a rule that if the whole group of athletes cannot complete the planned session without finishing exhausted, missing reps and not holding even paces then my prescription has been wrong and i need to plan better.

A well-performed warm-up serves as the foundation to a quality training session. It is our belief that the execution of the warm-up therefore deserves as much attention and focus from the athlete and coach, as any other session component.

Kevin Clark
Head Coach Edmonton Triathlon Academy
" A winning environment - opportunity to succeed “
Tel.: +1 780 913 2740



To Break or Not to Break Over the Holiday Season?
By Coach Mary Jessey, LYNX Triathlon

This time of year is tricky…

Group sessions wind down and it’s easy to get caught up in planning for the holidays and partaking in holiday festivities. We’ve worked hard all fall, have seen our fitness improve and we don’t want to give up our gains by falling out of our training routines. Almost a year ago today I wrote a post called “Don’t Fall Off the Fitness Wagon this Holiday Season”. In this post I emphasize staying on track by planning ahead, keeping sessions simple, making training social, and keeping a log of what you’re doing. Also included in the post are a couple of swim sessions, a trainer ride, run and a strength session contributed by a couple of my coaching peers. I still believe these tips are sound advice and the workout sessions are awesome but as I sit here and reflect, I feel I missed an important aspect of working out over the holiday season.

What did I miss?

I missed mentioning the importance of taking a break from our normal training structure and routine. We, as a society, are always on the clock. We set our alarms to wake up for work / school, early morning training, or to tell us when to go to sleep at night. We have to make it to the train or bus on time, be home in time to make dinner, eat dinner, and then get ourselves and / or kids off to extracurricular activities. We are on the go all the time. Thinking about our normal day to day lives, the last week of the year and first week of the new year (aka “holiday season”) seem like a great time to just take a break!

Here in Alberta our triathlon race season doesn’t really get going until May. Taking some time off from structured training in December not only won’t hurt you, it could help you reset physically and mentally. I’m not saying spend a few weeks on the couch, BUT, if you have an opportunity to chill on the couch and watch a movie with family instead of racing off to a fitness class, choose the couch! Our lives are so scheduled that we often have to forego spontaneity. Further, if you’re training for Ironman Canada at the end of August, you still have eight months to go which is a very long time to stay disciplined if you’ve already been building since September. Do not underestimate the power of a mental break from disciplined, structured training. Overtraining can lead to illness, injury and physical & mental exhaustion. Take care to schedule recovery days & weeks along the way, even if not around holidays. This will help you get to the start line in peak condition.

Take a break from scheduling and allow for spontaneity!

Over the holidays stay active with exercise that is different from your normal training regimen. For example, instead of your solitary indoor trainer ride, meet up with a friend and fat bike in the snow. Instead of running hard intervals on the track, consider snow showing or cross-country skiing. If you miss the pool, go with a family member or friend and swim for 30 minutes but then meet in the hot tub or go on the waterslides or surf simulator if available.

It’s a busy, stressful time of year for most of us. Take time to reset mentally. At our group swims last week, we ended with 2-5 minutes of Savasana in the pool. (Thanks to Fearless Warrior Coaching for this fantastic idea!) I wasn’t sure if the 6am group would be able to embrace this calmness knowing they would be racing off to work after practice. But every single person settled in just fine. It made me think that perhaps we can all benefit from slowing down & taking a break. So…should you take a break from swimming, biking and running over the holiday season? I believe the answer is yes. Stay active with other forms of exercise, don’t structure in any formal training, and simply enjoy spontaneous fitness with friends and family.

Happy Holidays from LYNX Triathlon

Are you ready to make 2020 your best year Ever?

Every year I try to challenge myself to have my best year ever.

I adopted this practice quite a few years ago and it has proven to be amazing for me.

This is how it works. Its really rather simple.

As you finish up a year, take note of all the things that you did over the 12 months and ask yourself if this was your best year ever.

Simple question. Answer - either Yes or No.

Now when you look forward to the upcoming year, challenge yourself to make this year better than the last. Could you make it your best year EVER?

Think about that for a second. What would need to happen in your life to make the upcoming year your best ever?

The younger you are, the easier it is to have your best year. Right? As we get older we have many years to compare and having the BEST year can be tough. But, just like diamonds need a pressure to be formed, I also believe that we need pressure on us to create our best year.

A couple of weeks ago I completed this exercise. I wrote down all the things I did this year and asked myself if this was my best year. And I can truly say Yes.  With the new decade upon us I have challenged myself to once again live my best year ever.

Will it be easy? Nope. But I feel it will be one heck of a challenge.

Everyone will have a different measuring stick when it comes to determining how awesome your year was. Yours may be shorter, longer and even different measuring units than mine. And that is ok, as we are all very different people living very different lives.

A huge part of my life is triathlon and travel. The variety in both leads to a very fulfilling year for me.

When I first started in triathlon I participated in local and small races. This was amazing as I learned so much about what it meant to participate in this wonderful sport. Now I am very fortunate to travel the world in search of amazing experiences at some of the biggest events in the world.

No matter where you are in life, I believe that all of us can live a better year. It is all about how you choose to see and experience life.

If you are looking to take your triathlon experiences to a new level and not sure where to start, I highly recommend you check out my Map to Triathlon program (www.maptotriathlon.com). It is a very cool program where I download lessons from my 25+ years in this crazy sport as an athlete and coach to help guide you on your triathlon journey.

As a recap, I challenge you to look back at your year, rank it and then set out to make 2020 your best year EVER!

I know you can do it and I look forward to seeing and hearing your stories. Happy New Year!

Coach Todd Malcolm