Monday, August 9, 2010

Hard Work is for Losers ...

**Warning: Long Winded Alert**

Dangle the Carrot was originally started a couple of years ago when I decided that being a fat-ass was no longer acceptable and P90X, the fitness routine sweeping the nation, was going to be my guide.  Everyday I would do one of the workouts and put up a blog post about it.  Before you knew it I started to receive a ton of emails and comments from others who also wanted to make a change in their lives with P90X and wanted advice on how to make this happen.  I enjoyed interacting with those people because we were on similar paths with similar goals, much like many of us now in our ever growing triathlon/running/endurance community.

However, it never failed that a couple times a week I would get an email that would say something like this:

"Hey Jeff, Love the blog!  I want to start P90X but I just am too busy to prepare meals ahead of time and have to eat fast food for lunch.  Do you think I can still do P90X but not follow the nutrition plan?"
or this:

"Hi Jeff, I've been doing P90X for 60 days now and my results are a lot different than yours.  Aside from missing two weeks for vacation (who exercises on vacay?) and a weekend for my sister's wedding I have been doing all the workouts.  I think they are recommending too many calories so I am not really following the nutrition plan but other than that I cannot understand why it is not working?"
When I first started getting these types of messages I was very supportive and said stuff like, "Stick to it" or "Just keep working and you'll see the results!"  While the truth was I wasn't thinking these positive thoughts at all.  I was thinking, "Quit making excuses and follow the damn nutrition guide!" or "Why the hell did you even start the plan if you knew you couldn't complete the 90 days consecutively - you are to blame for your poor results!".  Well, after I became a little more comfortable in my blogger-skin that became the type of answers I started sending back to people and the cool thing was that they would thank me for my honesty and the kick in the butt.

When it comes to fitness I hate shortcuts, despise the promise of the silver bullet solution, and want to slap people when they promise others success by doing something the easy way. I believe that most people DREAM of success but very few are willing to put in the hard work to ACHIEVE success.  Maybe I am old school, maybe I am just a dick, but I am not an enabler.

So when I read this article today about Ironman training the BS alarm was a blaring.

New Feature:   Read about it AFTER the JUMP

This article was published at, which is a site I LOVE -- TT Bike Porn Central:

7 Key Principles of Training for Ironman with Minimum Time Commitment

"If you have a deep desire and dream to cross the Ironman finish line, or you’re simply a busy person with absolutely no time, passion or desire to neglect work and family for 2 hour pool sessions, 7 hour bike rides, and 3 hour runs, then then this article was written for you.
Here is the key: there are 7 Crucial Principles that triathlon coach and author Ben Greenfield has discovered over the past decade of studying, training, racing and coaching pro and amateur endurance athletes…
Principle 1 – “HIT Training”: Research has proven that high-intensity interval training (HIT) can produce superior cardiovascular and muscular endurance adaptations, allowing you to simulate the endurance enhancing effect of a 3-4 hour training session with as little as 30-40 minutes of scientifically based interval training. A good training plan takes full advantage of this research by telling you exactly how many intervals to do, how long to work, how long to rest, and which days to perform these “get the most bang for your buck” sessions. As an added bonus, short and highly effective gym workout sessions should also feature HIT sessions, instructional exercise videos and exact protocols for ensuring you’re in and out of the weightroom as quickly as possible.
Principle 2 – “Periodization”: Periodization is the practice of splitting a training and an eating year (or in this case, a 9 month period of time) into specific blocks of training and eating, each with a specific purpose. By hammering home skills such as force, power, muscular endurance, explosiveness or speed into separately designed training blocks of key workouts, this type of training allows your triathlon fitness to progress at bullet-speed. Furthermore, to keep your body bulletproof and at razor-sharp recovery capacity, a well designed meal plan should have carbohydrate, protein and fat intake changes along with these alterations in training. The principle of Periodization means that your plan includes precise instructions for swim form drills, cycling skill workouts, running drills, how to calculate your heart rate zones, how to use an optional power meter on your bike, quick and easy to prepare meals, and the dozens of other crucially important details the Ironman triathlete should be incorporating (although most of them don’t..they just train 20 hours, eat as much crap as possible, and hope their plan’s insane volume will fix it’s complete absence of pre-planned training and eating periodization).
Principle 3 – “Strategic Rest & Test”: Most training programs adhere to the ho-hum concept of simply laying off and resting every 4th week. Instead of utilizing this rigid method, Maximal training benefit with minimum time takes advantage of rest weeks by A) combining exact protocols to test your swimming, cycling and running progress with the weeks where you performing the easiest, recovery workouts; andB) giving your body the exact dietary supplements and fueling specifications it will need for the recovery week. So you don’t have to worry about randomly jotting your test results onto a notepad, you should have structured logs that you use to keep track of these important tests. This means that during your 9 months of training for Ironman, you’ll never go more than just a few weeks without getting to recover, re-test and discover exactly how quickly your body is transforming to dominate Ironman.
Principle 4 – “Racing”: The fastest path to both physician and mental domination in Ironman triathlon is to race and compete in triathlons during your build-up to the big day. Therefore, a good plan allows for a half-marathon or an Olympic distance race or race simulation, a sprint distance race or race simulation, and a Half-Ironman race or race simulation. By utilizing this principle, your mind will be razor-sharp for race day, and your confidence will soar. Of course, you also have to know what to eat for the week leading up to the race, and you have to know that you won’t be that person with severe “nutritional issues” – walking with a stomach cramp or doubled over with diarrhea on the marathon.
Principle 5 – “No Guesswork”: You can’t afford to waste any time, to guess about how long to go, how hard to go, or which drills to do, right? You also can’t waste your time wondering what to order at the restaurant, how to choose your post-workout meals, and which pills, capsules and powders are the best or a waste of your money. So always have a plan. If it’s not 100% clear what you’re supposed to be doing in your training, you’re going to be more likely to fiddle away your precious hours with “junk miles”. This not only steals time from family, fun and work, but also leaves you more likely to make mistakes, to overtrain, or to completely destroy your potential to dominate. Furthermore, if it’s not 100% clear how you’re supposed to be fueling or hydrating, you’re going to be more likely to mess up your workout recovery, unable to exercise at your maximum capacity, and most importantly, unlikely to complete the Ironman (unless you’re OK with a slow walk during the marathon). So from day 1 of your training, you must beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly what you are supposed to do for both exercise and eating.
Principle 6 – “Holistic Fueling”: Unfortunately many endurance athletes use the rigour of training and a speedy metabolism to justify a diet that is incredibly calorie dense (as it should be), but is also high in foods that can cause damage to human performance, the immune system, the heart, the hormones and overall health. It makes you want to shout, “If your diet wasn’t so crappy, maybe you wouldn’t have to train so much!” It is very important to understand that with an exercise regimen that is already very difficult for the average human body to absorb, you as a triathlete must adopt a nutrition protocol that supports complete health, and not just “cheap gasoline fuel” for exercise. The solution involves focusing on promoting rapid recovery, fighting inflammation, reducing potential toxins, and powering the immune system. A healthy meal plan includes anti-inflammatory foods and nutrition supplements, avoids common traps while grocery shopping (screenshot below), and gets a perfectly balanced ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat. When your cells are “firing on all cylinders”, it is really a magical feeling, especially during a long day like Ironman, and this principle is the key to ensuring that you cross the finish line with a smile on your face, knowing that you’ve cared for your body and that you’ve done no damage with your high daily caloric intake.
Principle 7 – “Time Flexibility”: Let’s face it – life happens. As a result, there may be days where you simply can’t complete a planned workout or you have to “mix-n-match” workouts in order to attend an important board meeting, make it to your kid’s soccer tournament, or go to a holiday party. With your hectic lifestyle in mind, A good plan should be incredibly flexible and can be re-arranged without disrupting the overall effectiveness of the program. For example, one week in your schedule might involve Monday and Wednesday cycling and strength training sessions, Tuesday and Thursday runs and a Friday rest day. But you can easily shift the workouts to separate days, or even choose a different day for a rest day. Even the weekends should be flexible, you get to choose which days to complete the workouts depending on whether Saturday or Sunday is best for you.
Perhaps you’ve heard that the “average” age-group or amateur Ironman triathlete cycles 300 miles per week, runs 30 miles per week, and swims 10,000 meters per week.
And perhaps you’ve heard stories of the year long sabbaticals from work, the neglected families, the ruined marriages and the obsessive lifestyle that results from these insane attempts to maintain a “normal” lifestyle while training for Ironman.
And perhaps you’ve also noticed that the majority of these individuals walk across the finish line and have a complete lack of confidence and preparation for the race, despite giving up their lives to barely even complete the race!
A plan actually exists that utilizes each of these 7 Key Principles so that you break the mould and dominate Ironman with just 8-12 weekly training hours!
You have to see it to believe it. Check it out here"

.....Alright I am back.  So basically if you follow this guys plan you will be able to achieve better results than people who work harder than you because you are just way smarter.  All you people out there that are putting in long hours of training should all stop right now and follow these 7 Key Principles and you will be able to smoke all your other AG competition at an Ironman. Sign me up! <sarcasm font>

All my piss and vinegar is gone now because I just reread this article and I am now tired, but I probably wouldn't be  tired if I wasn't such a dumbass and followed the above shortcut to success!

I think the thing I love most about Triathletes is that the mutually accepted mantra is HTFU.  If you do not know what that means leave me a message and I will gladly tell you XOXOXO!

Thanks for Reading,



  1. I really shouldn't take rest days --- too much free time leads to crap like this!

  2. Crap, I have been doing it all wrong! Guess I can sleep in tomorrow!

  3. Great read there. I'm with you, I think you have to put in the effort and definately HTFU. That's how things get done and done to the best of your ability.

  4. I think the guy is trying to substitute training load (volume * intensity = load) for a lot of the hard work. If you go harder for shorter, vs easier for longer, in theory you can achieve the same load and the same fitness. For shorter distances I think you can get away with that, but he is leaving out the #1 and #2 most important things about Ironman: Nutrition and pacing. You won't be able to practice your nutrition and pacing effectivly by going short and super duper hard all the time and NOT putting in those 6 hour rides. Race day is NOT the day to figure those things out!

    Your BS-dar was correct!

  5. Hahaha on JF's comment :)

    Interesting take here. While I am 100% behind you on the P90X aspect of this post I do (somewhat) follow/practice what this dude is writing about.

    I am a HUGE fan of HARD interval training. I have seen the BIGGEST gains in my fitness by doing this. That being said... I also agree you need to create the BASE that is built from hours of workouts and training. Having only been at this TRI thing for a year now, I do believe in base. If you want to be fast at the ironman you do intervals, and you do them hard.

    I think this guy is trying to get famous off of something that is not being explained well. You cannot do an ironman on 30min of exercise from 3 disciplines... if you can, then you are a mutant and scare me. :)

    Besides... you won't have the cool training stories I hear from everyone that happen like 2 hrs in on their runs or rides! Haha!

  6. CRAP Jeff!!! I will send the money back with no book.... that's what it is all about....

    "When it comes to fitness I hate shortcuts, despise the promise of the silver bullet solution, and want to slap people when they promise others success by doing something the easy way"

  7. James - enjoy smacking that snooze button time and time again!

    Barbie - your a badass so I knew you'd agree!

    Jon - you said it much better (and shorter) then me. That is the total point I was trying to make!

    Matt - Intervals and Hard workouts are essential to what we do but to treat them as mutually exclusive from long rides, runs, and swims is going to leave you pretty disappointed on IM day. They need to be integrated together. Now could this program work for the Sprint and Oly distances? Probably and it might work well since they are anaerobic races but for an IM distance (which the article was targeting) your base needs to be solid. If you compare it to building a house - the base is the houses' foundation without a foundation that house will eventually collapse.

    Bob - check your email, completely different scenarios!

  8. Anything in life worth doing requires hard work and commitment! As I like to say Suck it up cupcake!

  9. whatever that dude is smoking I want some! Without miles and paying your dues, I hardly believe for a minute that you will make it to the finish line, unless you are being pulled in a little red wagon by some kids! As Christi said, it requires hard work and commitment, shortcuts don't ever work!

  10. I have to know... HTFU?

  11. also LOL @ JF comment

    thought HTFU was hurry the f up...a search says "harden"? ...I'd say latter

    also LOL at your replies Old School or just a dick - haha - TOTALLY what is needed.

    keep up the good work!

  12. Your just a d....

    Lol sorry, second post in a row you left it open for me.

    The whole reason I do tris is for the Hot Tamale Free Undies!!!!

    I am not eating cuz I am writing on your blog, I guess I am in the game still.

  13. What are you talking about? I'm currently training for my next race by taking a few weeks off. Rest is important, they say. For the rest of it, I'll just take some magic pills!! Then I won't even have to sweat or spend alllll that time actually training. Who would want to WORK for their dreams and goals?!

  14. Hi Jeff,
    So many things about this post made me laugh:) It is so hard to see you as a fat ass...not a chance:) I remember your before and after pictures and they are amazing! James cracks me up with his comment too! I totally agree that you get out of it what you put into it! There is no quick fix...just hard work...if your up for it:) Great post!

  15. Big Daddy just does the tris for the pace booty!

    So true, Jeff. Everyone is just looking for the next easy way to get fit...forgetting that it's hard work. One of my sisters-in-law asked me this last weekend how I get my arms, I told her it was push-ups. This is the same one who feels that she will never have a flat stomach without lipo and a tuck all the while eating a plate full of simple carbs with no protein or veggies. Hmmm...something's wrong with that picture!

    It's really amazing how simple health and fitness can be.

  16. foam roller? really?

    I've been thinking about that purchase for 4 months. So buy the damn roller??

    Thanks for the comment - I'm off to buy. This chiro thing is not MY "thing".
    Thank you!!!!

  17. Jeff,

    There is a school of thought regarding trading training volume for intensity. I agree with it to a point, especially in the early cycles of iron training and shorter distance triathlons but, and it is a big but, you still got to put in the work.

    I haven't seen Ben's detailed plan nor know of someone who followed it so I can't say if there is magic in there. Some of his points are good guidelines. That being said, I believe that the best training plan is one adapted to the individual. Doing that is the main value prop of a good coach.

    But the key for the athlete's success is getting the work in. That, or per BDD and NJ, the quest for "pace booty" :)

  18. Even if it does work (and I think SOME of the science is valid), I don't want to be a "just add water" anything. Raise your hand if you like training. The end.

  19. I am raising my hand! I love training! But years ago not so much. It took a blood glucose test ordered by my Doc to kick my butt into gear, I had to realize I was the only one who had the control. No excuses. You either do it or you don't, there is no middle! Right on Jeff!

  20. Good post. While not a triathlete myself (just a lowly marathoner), it scares the crap out of me to take any significant time off because of the effort/hard work it took to get here. To think that you could get there any other way is definitely BS.


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