Click here to grab our newsletter jam-packed with free triathlon training tips and tricks!

Category Archives: Articles

Rock Star Triathlete Articles

Is Triathlon Bad For Your Heart?

From Baby Boomers to Generations X and Y, both young and old alike are increasingly fueling their passion for physical activity with impressive feats of performance such as triathlons, marathons, Ironman, Crossfit, Spartan races, obstacle courses, adventure races and other challenging events.

Unfortunately, to prepare for these type of events, many people beat up their body with tough training for months on end. As a result, personal trainers, sports medicine physicians and exercise physiologists are increasingly reporting issues among athletes and extreme exercisers like brain fog, damaged digestive systems, hormone depletion, heart problems, and prematurely worn joints. These issues not only sideline athletes, but can produce chronic disease, aging and other serious medical issues from heavy amounts of training.

Author and Rock Star Triathlete Academy sports nutritionist Ben Greenfield has tackled this issue is his new book “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life“.

“What if you could get an incredible physique, do an Ironman triathlon, compete in Crossfit, run a marathon, become a powerlifter, do extreme exercise, play any sport you want and achieve amazing feats of physical performance without destroying your body?” Greenfield says, “Contrary to popular belief, it actually is possible to be healthy on the outside and healthy on the inside. You just need to know how to train, recover and eat properly – and how to do things like test your body or recognize warning signs.”

BeyondTrainingWhiteThe book, available now for pre-order at the website, addresses issues such as ways to quickly and safely build endurance, time-saving tactics for maximizing workout efficiency, ways to ideally recover from workouts, injuries and overtraining, the most important blood and saliva biomarkers and how to test them, systems to enhance sleep and decrease stress, nutrient dense meal plans and recipes, and even time-efficiency tips for balancing training, work, travel, and family.

“I wrote this book for everyone from the professional athlete to the hard-charging, time-crunched CEO, to the soccer mom who wants to run her first 5K,” says Greenfield, “And it addresses everything that most of training manuals neglect – the fact that you need to balance performance with something even more important: your health and longevity.”

Whether you’re a triathlete, marathoner, CrossFitter, swimmer, cyclist, ultrarunner, recreational athlete or extreme exercise enthusiast, Greenfield describes this book as “the last system for training, health, and life you will ever need.”

The book is now available for pre-order in both electronic and hard copy form at all major booksellers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To learn more, and to enter into bonuses, raffles and prize giveaways for pre-ordering, visit

Knee Arthritis, the Aging (Over 30) Triathlete by John Post, MD

Sister Madonna Buder sets the example for us all

“You’re not shy, you get around, you wanna fly, don’t want your feet on the ground. You stay up, you won’t come down…” Foreigner

Of the over 100 Rock Star pieces that I’ve done, the one that has generated the most interest was about arthritis of the knee and a procedure known as microfracture. This is an arthroscopic operation where an attempt is made to allow the damaged cartilage to heal itself. It’s usually pretty successful but the results may not last forever. In cases where microfracture is considered inappropriate, Orthopedic Surgeons have other arthroscopic tricks that can hopefully extend the life of the knee. One of these involves transplantation of bone and cartilage plugs from one part of the knee to another. Continue reading

Off-Season: Start With The Most Important Step

At ironguides, our whole philosophy is based upon improving one step at a time or, as we like to call it, brick by brick. As coaches we are here to guide you in your fitness journey and take you to where you want to go.

The first thing we need to know from an athlete, though, is where it is that you want to go—what do you want to achieve? Once an athlete, and her coach, knows the key goal we are aiming for, it is time to get to work.

As we head into the off-season, now is the perfect time for novice and experienced athletes alike to sit down with their coaches, family and friends, or simply by themselves, to determine the goals for the coming year.

Continue reading

Speed up your Ironman Racing with Neuromuscular Resets

At ironguides we emphasize developing motor patterns in training, instead of the traditional focus on endurance development. We approach training this way to ensure specificity and reduce the risk of injury. The endurance element of training is still developed on the side – it’s just no longer the sole focus.

When I say motor pattern development I am talking about the brain’s control of movement. Every movement we make is controlled by the brain (motor). It must assign a portion (pattern) of our muscle fibres to perform the action we want, for example a pedal revolution in cycling. Continue reading

Swimming Technique

While the swim portion of the ironman may only represent 10 percent of the race, it does play a significant role in the outcome. The time taken to exit the water is just a fraction of the whole picture of performance— the state in which we exit the water and how much energy is expended during the swim is critical to the overall performance at the end of the day. Continue reading

Rotating Through A Plateau

Earlier in my life I worked in a big city, took the train to work everyday, and trained for triathlon about 6 hours per week. My job was stressful and my commute was long; about 3 hours per day. I lived in the Northeast, where the weather was very seasonal and the winters were cold, dark and wet. I didn’t know it at the time but I was training by what I now call ‘Sport Rotation’.

Continue reading

Get to know 2016 Olympic hopeful Lukas Verzbicas: Return to triathlon

Danny Duncan: The accident you were involved in was horrible to hear about let alone go through. What key principles did you learn from this experience? Also, what advice can you give to someone who may suffer a similar accident in the future?

Lukas Verzbicas: ”I learned too much to list in a few sentences but primarily I learned to appreciate life more knowing how quickly and unexpectedly it could be taken away from you. I also learned and would pass this along to someone who is also going through an injury is to believe in themselves and have faith no matter what the circumstances or others say. My doctors said I wouldn’t walk after seeing my first x-rays and now I’m back to training full time. I didn’t let all that get to me and believed the entire time I will be back.”

Continue reading

Alcohol, Drugs & Athletic Performance

The American Athletic Institute (AAI) is a sport consulting firm that does research on Olympic-caliber athletes. They have worked with organizations ranging from youth hockey teams to the Boston Celtics to the U.S. Navy Seals. Their main focus is determining how drugs and alcohol affect athletic performance.

Dennis O’Sullivan spent 6 years playing in the NFL, mostly with the New York Jets. He also worked as the New York City Director of Government Affairs for the NY State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

How does alcohol affect athletic performance?

Alcohol will affect power, speed, endurance, hand-eye coordination, reaction time, heart and lung function, reflexes, judgment, the ability to focus and many other areas important to athletic performance. There are many misconceptions about alcohol. One is that alcohol only affects the athlete when he or she is drunk or hung-over. However, alcohol’s affects last much longer after the physical side effects have subsided. Studies have shown that for up to 96 hours after drinking, hormones are diminished. This is important because hormones affect many things such as muscle growth and repair, mental toughness, pain tolerance, fatigue perception, training effect and recovery. Diminished hormones cause the athlete to feel tired and feel more pain. The athlete will not build power, speed and endurance as effectively as he or she should. In short, the athlete loses both the mental and physical edge. One prominent study conducted by the American Athletic Institute is their analysis of enzymes. The AAI took a winter sport athlete and conducted a muscle biopsy. They then analyzed the athlete’s slow, intermediate and fast twitch muscle fibers. This provided 12 base numbers for analysis. The athlete then endured a two week training session that focused on power and speed training. After 2 weeks, the AAI conducted a second muscle biopsy on the athlete. 10 of the 12 enzymes increased with some doubling and even tripling. The training was designed to make the athlete bigger and stronger. This is exactly what happened. The athlete began a second 2 week training session immediately after. The AAI attempted to keep the same parameters with the same eating and sleeping habits and patterns. The major exception was the athlete drank alcohol once a week, on the 4th and 10th days. 4 days after the last drink, they took another muscle biopsy. This time 9 out of 12 enzymes had decreased with some going back to where they were one month prior. This essentially means that drinking ONCE can negate 2 weeks worth of quality training. The injury rate for drinkers is around 54% and the appetite for non-drinkers is about 23%. Someone that drinks is twice as likely to get hurt as someone that does not drink. Dennis can personally attest to this.

How can you measure how alcohol negatively affects performance?

The AAI tracked 60 Olympic-caliber athletes (runners, high jumpers and swimmers). These particular sports were picked because there are no ball or object variables involved; the pool, track and jumping pits do not change. The AAI tracked all performances and drinking occasions of these athletes. They found that performances the day after they had been drinking the athletes performances’ declined by approximately 11.4%. Keep in mind these were Olympic-caliber athletes. The losses of a college or high school athlete might be substantially greater than 11.4%.

How does marijuana affect athletic performance?

Marijuana Marijuana affects athletic performance in many ways. THC is the chemical component in marijuana. It’s what gets the smoker high and causes the damage. Marijuana today is about 10 times more dangerous than it was 35 years ago because of THC levels. In the 1970s, THC levels were between 1 – 4 % and today these levels are between 24 – 40 %. THC collects in the brain and affects functions such as vision, memory, movement, coordination, reflexes and judgment. Marijuana and, specifically, THC can stay in your system for up to 60 days.

Does alcohol affect females differently than males?

Yes… and the difference is quite dramatic. Many factors affect how an individual reacts and/or processes alcohol. These include: height, weight, genetics, body fat composition and gender. Alcohol passes through the digestive tract and is dispersed in the water in the body. The more water available, the more diluted the alcohol. Men, in general, weigh more than women. Women, in general, have less water and more fat in their bodies than men. Therefore, a woman’s brain and other organs are exposed to more alcohol and the resultant toxic byproducts. Women also have smaller quantities of the protective enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase that breaks down alcohol in the stomach. The result is women absorb about 30% more alcohol into their bloodstreams than men do.

By USA Hockey

Winter Training For A Triathelte

With the changing weather, shorter days and holidays, training through the winter months is more art than science. Many athletes see the winter as a time to get ahead and start building a base for next season. However, with the obstacle mentioned above, that can be very difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here are some strategies you can use to avoid winter burn out and come into the spring feeling stronger than ever.

Continue reading

Effective Fueling For A Triathlete

triathletes fueling

An athlete races at peak performance by making sure the body is fueled correctly.  This is not just about the morning of the start, but also approaching race day as well. Eat softer foods leading up to race.  Eating foods that are high in fiber and protein can make your stomach hurt on race day.  Since it takes quite a while for food to move through your system, you should start limiting these items starting about two days out.  Look for softer, easier to eat foods and snacks instead, such as pasta.  Eggs are a great source of protein that are easy to digest as well.  A bad idea would be to eat a kale salad and steak the night before race day.

Continue reading