Slowtwitch Coaching Certification

21 08 2015

The idea of educating athletes is at the heart of Slowtwitch and there is perhaps no better way to advance that mission than to work with coaches. The fundamental approach of every Slowtwitch Coaching seminar is: more practical – less PowerPoint.  Coaches will leave presentations early and often and move out to the pool deck, on their bikes, and on their feet.

The plan is to take good coaches and make them great by equipping them with the drills, exercises, lesson plans and workouts.

We’ll kick off this endeavor with a unique opportunity for coaches. It’s the chance to learn from some of the best minds on the subject of cycling with power, combined with access to North America’s largest bicycle industry trade show, Interbike. This initial Slowtwitch Coaching Seminar will take place in Las Vegas on September 16 & 17. Lectures will cover all existing cycling related power devices, the basics of training with power, establishing power training zones, power file analysis, and more.  The seminar schedule will combine both in-room presentations on all things power and presentations from the top powermeter manufacturers in their booths on the floor of Interbike.

Look for more announcements soon about Slowtwitch Coaching’s swim seminar, bike skills, run and more. Register for the Slowtwitch Cycling Power Coaching Certification.

On a personal note, and because there are a number of coaching schools and certifications now to choose from, why another one from Slowtwitch?

1.  A coach whom I work with and admire greatly, Ian Murray, and a key person who has keen experience in putting coaching platforms together, Loryn Cozzi, came to me with a concept.

2.  They felt strongly, as I did, that an emphasis on practical skills is missing from coaching programs, that is, many can teach you what HR zone your client should be in when he crashes on his bike going around a corner; we would like to teach you how to teach your client not to crash going around the corner.

3.  We (Slowtwitch) already have a history of successfully teaching professionals how to best service triathletes (Slowtwitch built and offers the bicycle fit system—F.I.S.T.—that is the basic template for most other dynamic systems). Indeed, a lot of people have asked me over the years why we didn’t offer coaching certification, and my reply has always been because I don’t know what we could offer new and novel. Ian and Loryn presented an idea to me that was new and novel.

4.  Ian and Loryn felt as I did on instructors: They must be the best in both knowledge and in the skill to translate that knowledge.

5. I said you bet, let’s do it.

We aren’t interested in competing with USAT, Ironman, or any other school.  We’ll host a school that issues “merit badges” for successfully learning very specified skills in an applied setting. We would rather not teach a comprehensive seminar on coaching, as others fulfill that mission.

Well keep to specific, practical, technical skills and knowledge that we feel has been underserved.

Post-workout meal, stretching and bike crashes

16 01 2015

It’s 3 answers to 3 questions. Here we go…

1. I’m looking for a great post-workout meal. Any suggestions?
Well, it is ideal to consume protein no more than 60 minutes after a workout (preferably 30) in order to build back the muscle that was broken down during the workout. Whey protein is the best option if possible. Some people can drink it with water and milk, but I personally found it disgusting that way. I need to mask the powder in tasty smoothie. I put a handful of frozen mangoes, frozen strawberries, a scoop of vanilla whey protein, and skim milk in a blender. It takes delicious and provides my muscles with the protein they need. Whey is absorbed more quickly into the body that other forms of protein, which is what makes it ideal.

2. I often find that I don’t have time to stretch doing a workout. How bad is that hurting me? And what type of stretches should I be doing and for how long?
Stretching is a controversial topic these days. Some studies show no real benefit to the practice, but researchers also find that when they change someone’s practice, from stretching to not stretching, or vice versa, that injury rates go up. If you stretch, avoid static stretches before a workout. This will temporary weaken muscles, which is not what you want to do. Warm-ups with incorporated dynamic stretching are more recommended. 10 minutes is all that is needed. While a lot of athletes see this as time cutting into their workouts, I would argue that it’s the basis for a strong workout. It is better to wake up the muscles and have a great workout from the start than to start with cold muscles that get injured.

3. What’s a great way to avoid crashing!

video analysis, strength training, and open water simulations…

13 01 2015

It’s 3 answers to 3 questions. Here we go…

1. I’d like to use video analysis for my athletes, but I can’t afford the investment right now for the software. Is there a low-cost option?
Video analysis software is not a very expensive investment when you consider the potential reward. Many athletes will pay good money to have their movement analyzed, especially underwater. It can take just a few sessions with athletes to make up the cost. That being said, for the time being, there are other options. Cell phone video and You Tube are a cheap option that get the job done. Record voice over or write up some notes and post the video on a private You Tube channel for the athlete to watch. It doesn’t the same benefits as video software, but it can hold you over until the funds are available.

2. I have really weak hip adbuctors and rotators. Any suggestions for strength exercises?
Go on You Tube to look these up if you don’t know them – lateral shuffles, one leg rotation squats, lateral band walk. Mix them up in your workouts.

3. I don’t live near any usable open water. How can I train for an open water race?
The best alterative is to simulate open water as much as possible – not doing flip turns or pushing off the sides (essentially doing a U-turn at every end), swimming with your eyes closed, and getting into a crowded lap lane with other to practice swimming in close quarters.

Breathing to one side, athlete monitoring, evil carbs

12 01 2015

It’s 3 answers to 3 questions. Here we go…

1. I work with an athlete that only breathes to one side while swimming. Any suggestions on how to help?
Athletes who breathe to one side need to get back to basics to get that bilateral breathing going. They can practice kicking on their side with one arm out in front. They should be completely on their side with shoulders and hips in vertical alignment. The head should be facing the bottom of the pool unless turning for a breath. Halfway down the length of the pool, the athlete can perform one stroke to rotate to the other side. This should be repeated throughout the workout until the athlete is comfortable enough to progress to more a more complex drill, such as the 6-3-6 drill.

2. Should I be monitoring my athletes before a workout? They generally give me feedback about how they feel during or after, but not before.
Absolutely! Knowledge is power, so the more information an athlete gives you, the more effective you can be as a coach. Some of the information you should be looking for is:
resting heart rate, quality and quantity of sleep and muscle, physical and mental recovery.

3. Are carbs really as bad as everyone makes them out to be?
Carbs are not as evil as the Atkins diet makes you think. A lot of healthy foods actually have a lot of carbs in them. As with everything, it’s all about balance. A good philosophy for carbs is that there is a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio with the protein. That’s simply not going to happen with potato chips.

As a reminder, send your questions to

Cycling/Transition Skills Camp

10 01 2015

The Bike & Transition Skills Camp is designed to provide athletes of all levels with the hands-on opportunity to develop the skills necessary to seamlessly transition from one sport to another while remaining strong through the middle.

Topics include:
•Individual Video Assessment and Review
•Personalized Cycling Mechanics and Training
•Transition Training and Strategy
•Nutritional Strategies
•Cycling Specific Strength Training
•Bike Fit Demonstration
•One-on-one Coaching

Register Today!

Starting Fresh

8 01 2015

As we start a new year, I’d like to revamp this blog to make it more interactive. As such, I’d like to take direction from a job blog I enjoy by having questions posed by all of you answered each day. My goal is to post 5 short-answer type questions a day with 1 or 2 questions needing a longer response added in as well.

That being said, I need your help by sending in your questions. Please email them to and keep checking the blog to see the responses!

Happy Training!