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Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | Run Like A Gazelle

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Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | Run Like A Gazelle

gazelle
 

Ever heard of Ken Popejoy? Not only is he an NCAA Indoor champion in the mile, an Indoor All-American, a winner of Big Ten titles in the outdoor and indoor mile, and the first Spartan to run a sub-4 minute mile, but he was also one of my favorite coaches in college. Ever since then he has been a lifelong mentor, a close friend, and a daily inspiration. His son isn't too bad either :)

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree 

Today, I have the wonderful experience of working with Ken's son, Mike. Mike (who I swear is part gazelle) runs over 100 miles a week and is hoping to qualify for the Olympic trials in the marathon category. What does he do in his downtime, you ask? Oh nothing big, he's just working on his PhD at this little known university called Harvard. This guy is seriously the whole package! 

I am currently helping him increase his overall strength as well as improve his running technique. On March 15th, Mike is set to run the LA Marathon and I can't wait to see how well he does. Stay tuned for more updates on his Olympic journey.

*image by Stig Nygaard, Flickr 


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Breast Cancer and Barbells

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Bonnie is a client of mine. She had been working with me for about 6 months when she found a lump in her breast. She had told me about what she found but said she did not feel that it was cancer. Bonnie is a healthy and active person, a mother of two, and she always smiles and has an amazing attitude. She also is tough as nails, she attacks her workouts with fierce determination and has the goal of making herself better than the week before. It is also safe to say that she has a talent for the strength and conditioning world, her genetic potential is much higher than most people you see.

When her results came back, she found out that she had stage 0 breast cancer. She told me in our next session what the doctor had told her. I remember it was the first time that I did not see her smile, but that did not last long. I saw a shift in her; her focus sharpened, the intensity that she brought to the workouts was higher. She knew that she was in a fight and there was no way she was about to lose.

She and the doctors determined that going in for a double mastectomy was her best chance to clear her body of the cancer. The game plan was now set. She had a few months until the surgery and we had to get her body and mind ready to endure what was laying ahead.

Bonnie’s workouts always had an emphasis of power lifting, but now I turned her workout routine almost fully into power lifting. Heavy weights and low reps build up body strength better than any other set and rep scheme. Squats, Deadlifts, Shoulder press, and Bench press were the focus of her workouts. These exercises would prepare her body to take a hit and get right back up. At the end of her second workout of the week she would run 1 to 1:30 minute sprint intervals on the treadmill to keep up her cardio. By the time the surgery came around her body was ready to take on anything that was being throw at it. She was stronger, leaner, and faster than she ever had been. I had made sure the workouts were as hard as she could handle and then some. Bonnie’s mental toughness grew. She now carried two healthy chips on both shoulders when it came to beating cancer and her workouts. She was about to face the biggest adversity in her life, her body and mind were ready.

The day had finally come, she had poured everything she had to be ready for this moment. I received a phone call less than 24 hours after her surgery from her friend. Her friend had informed me that she was up early walking laps around the hospital and that the doctor could not believe his eyes, he had never seen anything like it. Hearing this made me smile, the doctor just did not know Bonnie like I did. I watched her week after week attack workouts like no one I had every seen before, and always did it with a smile.

The doctors told her it would be a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks to recovery time, she told me that she would back in the gym after 4 weeks. Her doctor again was amazed at her recovery and said she was able to return to working out after four short weeks. Less than one month she was back in the gym with that big smile on her face.


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