Yamo, Yamo


Let’s go, let’s go…. Called The deep melodic Italiano voice of Paulo, our guide.
Only 4k climb, we meet at round-about at top. 99k and 1400 meters of climbing today. A cappuccino and pastry await at the walled and cobblestoned town of Urbino.

Drafting behind Guiseppe, all 139 pounds and seven- time Giro de Italia racer, for the final 10k back to Riccione was like lemoncello after a wonderful Italian meal, smooth and easy.

What’s not to like about cycling in Italy! The vistas of rolling hills speckled with olive groves and uniformly lined grapevines. San Marino, ……….in the distance with its Castillo reaching majestically for the clouds. The flavors of homemade pasta, tomatoes, peppers, olives, breads, fresh catch from the sea, pecorino, proscuto, fungi and the olive oil…oh the olive oil! And then there’s the wine; bianco, rosa and my favorite proseco.



Our companions from Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Norway, and of course Tucson made for an engaging and gregarious week and we gained moto Nuevo Amicis. The Whistler contingency lead the partying, dancing and just all around good time FUN!


Marina and her Belvedere staff embraced us and we molted into one big Italiano family by weeks end.


Che vita!

Injuries in the shoulder complex can be avoided or rehabilitated by determining whether there are muscle imbalances and by identifying which muscles need to be stretched to normalize the length/tension relationships. If a muscle is tight and unable able to move optimally through its functional range of motion, compression, torsion, or shear can occur, creating pain and discomfort. Tight and shortened muscles must be lengthened to balance the joint structures.

After a muscle imbalance is identified and flexibility improved, stability of the shoulder joint will be gained. Following this, strengthening and power exercises can be added to the protocol.

This progressive formula to improve performance and reduce injury is accomplished by intelligent program design:

Identify muscle balance/imbalance
Improve flexibility in muscles that are tight and need to be stretched
Increase stability of the shoulder complex by integrating:
>Inner unit and outer unit muscles to provide functional movement patterns
>Closed chain and open chain activities
>Rhythmic stabilization to provide short oscillations to create reciprocating tension
On either side of the joint
>C.R.A.C. training – Core Recruitment Antagonist Co-contraction
Add strength exercises
Add power exercises

Join Paul Chek as he walks you through the success formula to increase performance and reduce shoulder injury using intelligent design.


For more information on training the shoulder complex check out Scientific Shoulder Training CE course by Paul Chek.


And what a nutritious and healthy blend of Mediterranean vegetables! It was thought that gazpacho originated as an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic and arrived in Spain with the Moors or the Romans. It soon became part of the Andalusian cuisine, particularly in Sevilla, where salt and vinegar were added and in the 1800s tomato joined as a primary ingredient.

Gazpacho was traditionally made by pounding the vegetables with a mortar and pestle and this method is still favored as it keeps the gazpacho cool and avoids a completely smooth consistency and foam created by using blenders and food processors.

Here’s an authentic Andalusian recipe from my class today in southern Spain on How to make Gazpacho:

10-12 large, ripe and juicy tomatoes – peeled and seeded
2 red bell peppers
1/2 green pepper (optional)
1-2 cloves of garlic
Day old bread soaked 1 min in water
1 cucumber
Salt- I recommend sea salt
200ml extra virgin oilive oil
50ml white wine vinegar
250ml cold water or ice
Blend together

Diced tomato, cucumber and onion can be used as garnish

Do not add onion to the bled as onion will ferment and cause the soup to taste acidic if it is not eaten fresh

The stale bread soaked briefly in water enhances the consistency so the gazpacho is not watery.

Bon appetit! From costa del sol, Spain.

That’s the question I asked when working with a personal trainer last year. To determine my abdominal strength I was asked to perform as many bent-knee sit-ups as possible in 1 minute with feet anchored. Wait, this was the test we used when I was in high school in the 1960s! Surely there is a more contemporary and effective measure of abdominal strength.

So I called on my strength and conditioning industry friends for their expert recommendations. Here are the responses from Todd Durkin, Wayne Westcott, Douglas Brooks, and Paul Chek:

We use external resistance (such as the Nautilus Abdominal Machine) to test abdominal muscle strength. We find the heaviest weight that can be performed with correct technique for 5 repetitions (5 repetition maximum) or 10 repetitions (10 repetition maximum), and use this as our baseline strength measure. After several weeks of training, we reassess the 5 rep or 10 rep maximum to attain the pounds and percentage improvement over baseline. Although it is easier to do standard body-weight abdominal exercise tests, form is always a major variable and the assessment typically tends more towards muscle endurance rather than muscle strength.
Wayne Westcott

I would say the best test you can do is a “simple” plank test (elbows & toes). It is going to test your entire trunk. Perform the max time you can stay up and maintain good form. Retest every 30 days and you will easily measure improvement.
Todd Durkin

I would recommend eight assessments to help determine abdominal conditioning and where you’d need to start your training.
Prone TVA
Multifidus in Prone
Standing TVA Activation
Janda’s Upper Abdominal Strength
Forward Flexion Activation
Lower Abdominal Strength
Lower Abdominal Coordination
Oblique Dominance
These eight assessments provide a good understanding of abdominal conditioning (both inner and outer units) and guide the design of a strength training program that is appropriate, fun, and safe. You cannot perform these assessments alone, however. You’ll need a practitioner to assist.
Paul Chek

We use a 7-level plank assessment. Initially the goal is 15 seconds per hold and build to 30 seconds. Or, go for 30 seconds at each stage and try to reach level 7 — 2.5 minutes. As soon as a perfect plank is lost (form break) or either hip turns up toward the ceiling the test is ended.

Start with a prone bent elbow plank; after that you move to right arm extended; then left arm extended; next right leg lifted; then left leg lifted; next opposite arm and leg lifted and, lastly, switch sides for the opposite arm and leg lifted…test over.
Douglas Brooks

As you can see, a multitude of approaches can be used to measure muscle strength and endurance from a relative and functional strength perspective.

If you have questions about the best test for assessing your clients’ cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, flexibility, balance, and body composition, the Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription for all Ages CE course is an excellent reference tool. Check it out today!

Personal security and self-defense training classes are grabbing a foothold in the wellness and fitness industry. Evasion, redirection, loosening and escape techniques and specific conditioning for self-defense provide new opportunities to infuse your current conditioning and boot camp activities. But there’s much more you can teach your clients about being safe.

Tim Rochford, the creator of the Proactive Personal Security system, identifies four progressive strategies for dealing with an aggressor:

• Recognize and avoid conflict
• Deal with conflict verbally
• Exit or depart from the conflict
• Defend from the conflict physically

“To be safe is 90% awareness, knowledge, self-esteem, attitude, confidence and choice. 10% is strategy, de-escalating language, physical defense tactics and protective tools and technology.”

Recognize and Avoid Conflict
Become educated about and aware of potential conflict situations during specific routines and activities. Learn to recognize potentially negative confrontations and avoid those situations when possible. If you are unable to remove yourself from a threatening situation, remain calm and aware.

Deal with Conflict Verbally
This means communicate, verbally and nonverbally.

Maintain a clam and confident appearance
• Stay physically balanced on both feet and keep your shoulders squared to the aggressor.
• Speak calmly and be empathetic (not sympathetic).
• Prepare for movement.
• Move your limbs slowly when speaking or listening.
• Act as if you know the aggressor. Recognition may create uncertainty and can disrupt the aggressor’s plan.
• Cooperate with the aggressor without increasing the danger of the situation.
• Exit or Depart from the Conflict

Always leave the area of conflict quickly, if possible. Avoid getting into a vehicle or going to an unknown building with an aggressor. Going with an aggressor eliminates any control you have over the situation.

Defend from Conflict Physically
The very last recourse is to fight! All attempts should be made to resolve the conflict peacefully. Make noise if possible – yell FIRE (not help). Everyone will rush to see a fire, but not many want to get involved to help in a conflict. If aggressive action must be taken, there can be no delay or hesitation once the decision has been made. You must instantaneously decide how to strike, where to strike and what to use when striking. Do not stop the attack until the attacker retreats or is completely subdued. Then exit immediately and contact authorities.

To gain more insights and skills for improving your self-defense tactics, join Tim Rochford as he demonstrates attack evasion movements.

Go to Empower Self Defense for more information on Tim Rochford’s CE course.

The Hyatt Clan

What better way to get the entire family out for some vigorous family physical activity than to partake in one of the many sponsored events that happen every weekend. The Hyatt clan was well represented at the Mackinaw Multi-Sport Mix Triathlon/Duathlon this weekend. Two generations – 5 entries – swam, biked, and ran in individual and team events.

The Mackinaw City event offers one of the most beautiful venues in the country – swimming under the expanse of the magnificent Mighty Mac Bridge, cycling along the shores of Lake Michigan and running past the historic Fort Michillimackinac and lakeside cottages.

Mackinaw Bridge

And everyone medaled. Patrick (15-19) first place, Michael (15-19) third place, Gordon (55) second place in the duathlon even with a flat tire on the bike, Gwen and Glen (combined 214) relayed and took third. Jim unfortunately DQd on the swim, but had a great bike ride none the less. Great day!

What fun family physical activities do you have planned?

Post Race Fun!

The water is warmer than normal this year for the Mackinaw Multisport Sprint Triathlon, hovering around 75 degrees, and I haven’t been in my wetsuit in several years. So, I felt like I was pouring myself into a full body compression suit for my morning swim…hmmm did I gain a few pounds? Ok, it’s only a sprint, a meager 800 yards. Do I wear the wetsuit or not wear the wetsuit? That is the question??

Wearing a wetsuit is known to increase swim performance, by increasing buoyancy and decreasing drag, much like a speedboat when it planes out on the water. In cold water it can prevent hypothermia and keep the swimmer more comfortable.

Let’s look at the difference a wetsuit makes at various distances and how it affects stroke mechanics. In an article reported in the Journal of Science and Medicine and Sport, Tomikawa et al. tested swimmers at 60% and 80% VO2 max, the average range of sub-maximal swim speeds during triathlon events. They found that:

1. The energy cost when swimming at 60% VO2 max and wearing a wetsuit was 14.4% lower than when not wearing one

2. The energy cost when swimming at 80% VO2 max and wearing a wetsuit was 7.5% lower than when not wearing one

3. When swimming at both 60% and 80% VO2 max, the swimmers stroke length did not change a great deal when wearing a wetsuit, but there was an increase in stroke rate (the arms were moving faster)

4. Swimming 1,500 meters at 80% VO2 max in a wetsuit would decrease swim time by 70 seconds compared to non-wetsuit swimming, based on the findings of this study

The researchers concluded that swimming without a wetsuit at 60% VO2 max increased energy usage, while energy usage was much lower when swimming with a wetsuit. When swimming at very slow speeds a swimmers body sinks further into the water causing more drag – hence the buoyancy of a wetsuit is a big help to slower swimmers in particular. When swimming at 80% VO2 max, the faster pace allowed the body to lift in the water, which reduced the benefits of the wetsuit.

In addition, the researchers noted that at even faster speeds (above 80% VO2 max) the buoyancy of the wetsuit made even less difference as the high velocities lifted the swimmers even further.

The other consideration in determining whether to don the wetsuit is the amount of time that will be sacrificed in transition removing the wetsuit. For fast swimmers, swimming shorter sprint distances, the wetsuit may not provide much of an advantage. For slower swimmers and also for longer events wetsuits definitely can swim reduce time.

What’s your preference and experience with wetsuits during triathlons or open water swim events?

The Straights of Mackinaw

Swimming in the fresh water of the BIG lakes of northern Michigan in the summer is a wonderful escape from the desert heat of Tucson. On a calm day you feel like you are slicing through the water, gliding effortlessly. The clarity of the water creates a kaleidoscope of light glittering on the surface and dancing reflectively below. You spy the consistent landmarks on the lake floor – two long parallel logs, the raft anchor, the big rock, the three rock formation, the shallow water as you reach the point – familiar terrain. As the wind begins to rustle, the chop of the water increases and it becomes more challenging to maintain a straight line of swim. There is a skill to open water swimming.

Nice wake and look at that water!

Join Coach Leslie Thomas of swim-art.com to learn methods for how to improve your open water swimming proficiency and confidence. Leslie will give tips on how to sight in the open water, swim efficiently and in a straight line, how to see where you’re going, learn what to sight on, and how to navigate in rough water.

FYI: The Straights of Mackinaw is the large body of water that connects lake Michigan and lake Huron and is located between the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan.

Dance Walking…just put in your earbuds, dial up your favorite moving and grooving tunes on your iPod, and take off down the street with some original dance moves and your own personal style.

Get it on and find your happy place…any time with little cost or equipment and no gym membership required. So much FUN and so easy to do. Get it started in your community today!

You can maximize your clients’ training and performance by identifying appropriate loading zones in relation to relative muscle fiber recruitment. First, let’s review the various types of muscle fibers.

It is generally accepted that there are two main types of muscle fibers: type I (slow twitch) muscle fibers and type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers. Type II fibers can be further categorized into type IIa and type IIb. Each fiber type contracts in a unique way and will influence how muscles respond to training and physical activity.

Type I – often referred to as slow-twitch oxidative fibers. 
Type I muscle fibers are efficient at using oxygen to generate fuel (known as ATP) for continuous, extended muscle contractions for long durations of exercise. Type I fibers fire more slowly than type II fibers and can maintain workloads for a long time before fatiguing. Type I fibers are great at helping athletes perform endurance activities such as marathons and long – distance cycling.

Type I fibers are characterized by low-force/power/speed production and high endurance and are optimally recruited at low intensities. Workloads under 40% of 1RM recruit type I fibers.

Type II – often referred to as fast-twitch muscle fibers. 
Type II muscle fibers use anaerobic metabolism to create fuel and generate short bursts of strength or speed. However, they fatigue more quickly. Type II fibers generally produce the same amount of force per contraction as type I fibers, but they are able to fire more rapidly. Fast-twitch fibers are an asset to sprinters who need to quickly generate a lot of force. Type II fibers can be categorized into type IIa and type IIb.

Type IIa fibers – often referred as fast-twitch oxidative muscle fibers or intermediate fast-twitch fibers. They can use both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism almost equally to create energy. Workloads of 40-75% of 1RM predominately recruit type IIa fibers.

Type IIb fibers – often referred to as fast-twitch glycolytic muscle fibers. 
These fibers use anaerobic metabolism to create energy. They excel at producing quick, powerful bursts of speed and are the most explosive fiber types. Type IIb muscle fibers are rapid firing and have the highest rate of contraction of all the muscle fiber types. These fibers also have a much faster rate of fatigue.

Type IIb fibers are characterized by high-force/power/speed production and low endurance. Workloads greater than 75% of 1RM predominately recruit type IIb fibers.

This table summarizes the characteristics of each muscle fiber type.
Fiber type Type I Type IIa Type IIb
Contraction time slow fast very fast
Fatigue resistance high intermediate low
Activity type aerobic long anaerobic short anaerobic
Force production low high very high
Oxidative capacity high high low
(Adapted from http://www.coachr.org/fiber.htm)

Implications for Training
Muscles contain a genetically determined mixture of both slow and fast fiber types. The only direct way to assess the fiber-type of a muscle is to perform an invasive muscle biopsy in which a needle is stuck into the muscle and a few fibers are plucked out and examined under a microscope.

There is evidence that both the structure and metabolic capacity of individual muscle fibers can adapt to different types of training. Muscle fibers cannot be changed from one type to another, but training can change the amount of area taken up by a fiber type in the muscle. In other words, there can be a selective hypertrophy of fibers that result from the type of training.

For example, an athlete can have a 50/50 mix of fast-twitch (FT) and slow-twitch (ST) fibers in a muscle, but because FT fibers normally have a larger cross-sectional area than ST fibers, 65% of that muscle’s area might be FT and 35% might be ST. Following a weight training program to improve muscular strength, the number of FT and ST fibers will remain the same (still 50/50); however, the cross-sectional area will change. The ST fibers will atrophy (get smaller) and the FT fibers will hypertrophy (get larger).

Depending on the specific intensity used in training, the muscle can change to a 75% FT area and a 25% ST area. The change in area will lead to greater strength but decreased endurance capabilities. In addition, the athlete will gain mass, as measured by the circumference of the muscle because the mass of FT fibers is greater than that of ST fibers.

Conversely, if the athlete trains for muscular endurance (lower loads, more reps), the FT fibers will atrophy while the ST fibers hypertrophy, causing a greater area of ST fibers. The area of the muscle, which began at 65% FT and 35% ST before training, can change to 50% FT and 50% ST following training. The endurance capabilities of the muscle will increase and its strength will decrease. The athlete will lose some muscle mass, again because ST fibers are lower in mass than FT fibers. The decrease in mass can be observed by a smaller circumference of the muscle.

No matter what the workout intensity, type I, or slow-twitch fibers, are recruited first. If the workout intensity is low, these fibers may be the only ones that are recruited. If the workout intensity is high, such as when lifting heavy weights or performing intervals on the track, type I muscle fibers are recruited first, followed by type IIa and type IIb fiber.

Join master trainer and kinesiotherapist, Paul Chek, as he shares more in-depth information on how to optimize muscle fiber recruitment through training specificity.

For more information on specific training for muscle fiber types and how to maximize training variables for optimal results, check out Paul’s CE course Program Design: Choosing Reps, Sets, Loads, Tempo, and Rest Periods.