Posts Tagged ‘restwise’

On Dracula, pink argyle socks, and Metallica

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

As Restwise has grown, we’ve been fortunate to be introduced to a remarkable group of athletes around the globe. This installment of the Restwise blog introduces you to Vlad Sabu, an aspiring World Cup mountain bike racer who hails from … Romania.

Ripping downhill

Ripping downhill

RW: First, welcome to Restwise! Second, I’ve got to ask you a question. For an American (who might not know a lot about Romanian history), anytime you use the name “Vlad” and the country “Romania” in the same sentence, there is only going to be one natural association: Vlad the Impaler. Do you get a lot of that when you travel?

VS: Hello and thank you very much to accept me in the Restwise team. Regarding the association with “Vlad the Impaler”, I get it more often outside Romania. But this thing makes me feel stronger, so I think is a good thing.

RW: You’ve been a great advocate for us since you first started using Restwise last year, and it looks like your results are really starting to come in strong. Do you have any recent races you’d like to share with us?

VS: Using Restwise helped me to prepare more meticulously my training. I feel like I am getting stronger and I hope that I will be faster and get better results. Until now this year I had 4 races, with a victory and a 3rd place. Getting better results motivates me a lot.

RW: I noticed in one of your race photos some very stylish socks. What’s up with the GQ fashion statement?

VS: The socks have a special story for me. I was searching some with pink accents as the pink is in general, identify the wearer or promoter with the breast cancer brand and express moral support for women with breast cancer. I also have some pink accents on my racing bike and my trail bike is totally pink.

Vlad floating over a log

Vlad floating over a log

RW: Tell us a bit about the mountain bike racing scene in Romania?

VS: I started to race in 2002, after riding in 2001 and 2002 with my friends on the trails near my home. Since then the mountain bike scene (not only the race scene) grew up, and in the last couple of year, it exploded. There are a lot of bike and parts dealers, all the bike marathon races gather more then 300, and up to 1500 riders. This year, a friend of mine started in my hometown a local championship, especially for kids and amateur riders and it seems that motivates a lot of people to join this kind of racing. And to have a XC race with a total of 250 riders means a lot. Hopefully some kids will end up to race in the World Cup when they’ll grow up as for me I know that I can race in a World Cup, but without any important results.

RW: Do you get a chance to race very often in Western Europe? There are a lot of really, really fast mountain bikers in places like Switzerland and France!

VS: I had the chance to race in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. I had the chance to ride at Salzkammergut Trophy in Austria, where a lot of fast riders where in, including pro riders. They are fast, but in Romania is hard to live decently if you only ride bikes, because this sport doesn’t have such an impact yet. I think that some year will pass until cycling in Romania will be a “job”. But be sure that if I’ll have the chance to race in France, Switzerland, Spain, UK or other countries, I’ll do it.

RW: What are your goals for the rest of the year, and how do you see Restwise playing a part in achieving them?

VS: For me the most important thing is to finish my studies, as this is my last year, then I plan to ride my bike and enjoy it. I hope that I’ll get more podiums this year, because this is the thing that motivates me most. At the Romanian Championships I hope to get enough UCI points that next year to ride in a World Cup. Restwise helped me this year to train in a wise way and this thing helped me in training but also in the daily life as I knew when to sleep and to push harder. So if the recovery is a mystery to you, Restwise is the answer.

RW: Do you have a coach, or do you self-coach? And how to you integrate the Daily Recovery Score into your training methods?

VS: Right now I am my own coach. I read a lot of books about training, nutrition and recovery and maybe someday I will coach some other riders too. I’ve learned a few things during this years: If you don’t feel like you should train, than you should probably sleep more. I have some training plans made for each day, depending the races that are coming and how important there are, but if it’s necessary and the daily recovery score tells me, I change the program for the rest of the day or week. Until now it seems that I am getting faster and hopefully I will fast enough to get some good results.

RW: How about longer-term? Any audacious dreams for your career?

VS: For me mountain biking is not a career, because I can’t live from mountain biking. My sponsors support me more with parts and the trips to the races, but I don’t get a paycheck and this is correct because I don’t have such important results. I don’t think that I’ll become a Pro rider but if I’ll be faster and if the things will remain the same way, after I finish my studies I can get a job and ride my bike.

RW: We know a lot about the big American bike companies. Are there any great Romanian brands that have a loyal following?

VS: There are a lot of big American companies, but the Romanian bike brands are still at the supermarket bike level. It is very hard to get something better than the companies that invest a lot of money into the technologies. But right now is good that we have a lot of bike dealer that import everything that is important.

RW: If you have an iPod, what bands are on your favorite play list right now?

VS: Wow, now that’s a tough one. Usually I am listening to the radio, but if I have to name a few bands right now I am thinking at Hooverphonic, Massive Attack, Morcheeba, Lemongrass Gorillaz, Muse, Kid Cudi, Reckless Love, Enemy Lovers and even AC/DC, Metallica, Hammer Fall, Nirvana or Jamiroquai.

RW: There may be a number of readers who could be interested in bringing their bikes to Romania to ride or race. Can you put your travel agent hat on for a moment, and give us some advice?

VS: Right know nobody is doing something like this but if someone is interested to ride in Romania and he/she has a GPS, has more tracks from all over Romania that can be downloaded. If someone is coming near Cluj-Napoca, I would like to be a guide and show the mountain near the city or even other places that worth to be seen.

RW: Out of curiosity, do you ever carry a spear with you when you race? You know, just in case one of your biggest rivals is about to pass you on a nasty descent?

VS: Thanks for your time, Vlad, and have a fantastic rest of the year!

RW: I would like to thank you too for this opportunity. Wish you all the best!

Extreme Conditions? Check out Skimo!

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

At the North American Ski Mountaineering (“Skimo”, to the initiated) National Championships held in Jackson Hole in early January, conditions were epic, with near-whiteouts in gale force winds meeting racers at the top of the legendary Corbett’s Couloir. Restwise athlete Luke Nelson gutted it out to a fantastic 2nd place, confirming his fast-growing reputation as the young gun to watch, and earning his first invitation to the World Championships. Between recovering from that effort and prepping for World’s, we had a chance to catch up with this rising star.

Luke Nelson - Photo credit to Tanae Nelson

Luke Nelson - Photo credit to Tanae Nelson

RW: Hey, Luke. We want to be the first of your sponsors to publicly congratulate you on your excellent finish in Jackson Hole this past weekend. Way to throw down!

Before we go any futher: in 10 words or less, tell us what Skimo (Ski Mountaineering) is:

LN: Racing up snow covered mountains, then skiing down in lycra

RW: Let me get this straight: sprint up a mountain wearing skis, then ski race back down, then repeat a few times until your legs are Jell-O. Is that about it?

LN: Pretty close, there is definitely a lot of technique involved, but a full race effort on the courses I’ve raced will surely leave you nicely wrecked.

RW: What are the primary demands, from a physiological perspective, on a Skimo racer?

LN: First and foremost the majority of the time spent racing is going up hill, so a strong aerobic capacity, coupled with the ability to go past the red line that is anaerobic threshold during break aways. Although simply being an aerobic monster is not enough, you still have to be able to ski down fast on very small and light skis on legs that are worked from the climb up.

RW: We first heard about you from one of our other sponsored athletes/coaches, Brian Harder who tipped you as someone to watch. What is your connection to Brian?

LN: Brian is an someone that I have looked up to for a long time.  I first met him a few years ago at the Wasatch Powderkeg, but I had known of Brian from many years before  when he was mentioned in an Outside Magazine article about Exum Guides. Since meeting him he has been a great source of information about training, equipment and physiology as an endurance athlete. I guess in many ways he has been mentoring me as I have pursued Ski Mountaineering Racing.

Luke emerging from Corbett's Couloir - Photo credit to James Hlavaty

Luke emerging from Corbett's Couloir - Photo credit to James Hlavaty

RW: Brian has posted some interesting equipment-oriented posts on his blog recently( Are you a gear-geek, and does equipment really matter that much in Skimo? (here is an opportunity for you to shamelessly plug your other sponsors, if you want)

LN: I worked in an outdoor specialty store for nearly 10 years so I am definitely a gear geek.  I raced for several years on light but not race specific equipment and only had mediocre results.  One of the most important additions to my race equipment has been my boots.  I am an athlete for La Sportiva and was lucky enough to get a pair of their amazing carbon race boot the Stratos.  From the day I got those boots I have consistently been able to ascend 700-800′ per hour faster than using a light randonee boot.  In addition to the boots I picked up a pair of Ski Trab Duo Race World Cup skis with Trab’s super light race binding.  The combination of this equipment has made a HUGE improvement in my racing.  The bottom line is that you can train your body to a certain point and beyond that additional advantage can be made up with equipment.

RW: Talking about the importance of cutting-edge gear, you’ve said that Restwise plays a critical role in your training. Can you give us some insight into how you use it?

LN: I started using Restwise about 5 months ago, I had been plagued with over training and overuse injuries prior because I had the “more is better” mindset to my training.  Restwise gave me an invaluable tool to really keep myself from over doing it, since I have been using it regularly I have seen several PR’s, and no injuries.

RW: Do you work with a coach, or are you self-directed?

LN: Right now I am completely self directed, but I have been getting ready to start working with a couch for this upcoming mountain running season.  As far as ski mountaineering I’ll probably keep coaching myself.

RW: If you were helping a new Restwise user get the most out of it, what would you say?

LN: Be completely honest with yourself when answering the questions.  When I first started using it, it was easy to say “yeah I slept good” or “my energy is normal” , but after thinking about it a while I would realize that I was just being positive about everything and not actually noting the subtle day to day changes.  Once you can truthfully answer the questions you will see it as a crucial part of your training.

RW: Now that you’re heading to the World Championships, do you view your sport any differently?

LN: I have to admit that I am a bit terrified, I have been working hard to get to where I am.  Now I am off to race in the big leagues.  I am more committed to working hard and recovering well to make sure I am at my best for Europe.

RW: I know the Euros are blazingly fast. What are your expectations in terms of how you’ll finish?

LN: To be totally honest I really have no idea, but I am not going to set myself up for failure.  I am not going to be delusional and think that I am going to go over there and win, but I am not going to discount myself by thinking I won’t race well against the rest of the world.  Whatever happens I am going to make sure that anyone who beats me has to earn it!

RW: And what’s up after the World’s for you? Do you train for next year, or do you step right into a summer sport?

LN: I mountain run competitively in the summer, so I mix running in as part of my Ski Mountaineering training.  As soon as I get back from Europe I will hit my first running training block super hard. I will still have a few more Skimo races, but my trail races will start just over a month after World’s.

RW: Favorite quote?

LN: “Being awesome is a choice, if you are whining or complaining remember that you could be being awesome instead”  Brad Pilon

RW: What music are you listening to these days?

LN: A mix of punk rock and punchy bluegrass… on the ipod right now Trampled by Turtles.

RW: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions today, Luke, and go show ‘em all the quick way home at World’s!

Rolling on to World’s

Thursday, January 13th, 2011
Why is this woman smiling?

Why is this woman smiling?

You’d be smiling too if you just capped off a hard season by being selected to represent the US at the Cyclocross World Championships.  We caught up with Restwise athlete Amy Dombroski shortly after she made the team.

RW: First, congratulations on nailing a spot on the US team for ‘cross worlds. Nicely done.

AD: Thank you, I’m excited to represent my supportive sponsors and the US colors in Germany.  

RW: You’ve had some erratic form over the past year, with a few sparkling performances and a few you’d probably like to forget. But it looks like you are coming into form at just the right time. Care to share your thoughts on peaking for a World Championships?

AD: My summer held a lot of changes as I transitioned from a road racer to a mtb’er.  I think the biggest glitch was not taking a big enough break after CX Worlds last year.  Sickness and injury plagued me through the best part of the summer.  The change to MTB training, racing, recovery, and travel ended up being a lot different than I had anticipated; this with the overall fatigue stress took it’s toll.  But my coach and I sat down to construct a concrete plan this ‘cross season which held time for more training and recovery around the important races.  We planned on good form at Worlds, even though a spot on the team wasn’t definite.  Sticking to the plan helps, and I hope it will pay off at Worlds this year!

RW: What was it like to go from dominating the U23 field to fighting for the podium in the senior ranks?

AD: Not all that different considering that all U23 women always race with the elite women.  You saw this year the U23 having their own battle shadowed by the elite race.  There is only an elite ‘cross Worlds. So even when I was U23, I was still fighting for that same prized podium.

RW: You recently took a big risk to leave one of the top women teams in cycling, and the risk paid off quickly when Crank Brothers stepped up to be your title sponsor. Very cool! How did that come about so quickly, and what do you have planned together?

AD: I wouldn’t say it paid off quickly! I communicated I would be leaving Luna in early August, so it was a scramble to gather my seasons’ plan and proposal together for the chaos that is InterBike, so I could try and get the companies I wanted involved on board.  However, it wasn’t until Dec 7 that Crank Brothers stepped in as title sponsor.  I’d like to say I had confidence in everything coming together, but really there was a lot of stress on my shoulders through that Aug-Dec no-man’s land period.

But everything works out eventually, eh? I am stoked to be a sister of Crank Brothers, such a supportive and stylish company.  Simon Burney is manager of the team, and although 2011 will just be support around myself with a main target of Louisville Cyclocross Worlds in 2013, Crank Brothers, Simon, and myself are working to build it into a premier Women’s off-road team in 2012 and beyond. Stay tuned to @AmyDombroski on Twitter and because it’s going to be something wicked.

RW: You were one of Restwise’s earliest beta testers. What was it about the system that attracted you to it?

AD: I always knew it a good idea to record morning heart rate – but truth is, without the Restwise system, I never did.  It’s easy to put the gadget on your finger upon waking.  It’s not easy to sleep with a heart rate strap on or to wake up and put one on.  Counting beats before morning cuppa?  Negative ghostrider.

To reap the benefits it’s a system you need to pay daily attention to. Not only does it record your HR, but it asks you to fully check in with your body, asking questions you wouldn’t always pay attention to.  You record these numbers and answers and it forces you to be in tune with your body, then also gives you ‘it’s own opinion’ on your recovery rate.

RW: Has your training changed by virtue of the input from Restwise?

AD: You frequently hear the saying “less is more”.  As I train and race more I realize how true this is, and how important recovery really is.  Restwise has helped me to pay more attention to my daily energy levels in relation to blocks of intensive training and blocks of recovery.  Over time it is also something I can look back on to see yearly lulls.

Amy at Fidea Tervuren

Amy at Fidea Tervuren

RW: Do you work with a coach, or are you self-coached?

AD: I’m working with cyclocross king, Simon Burney.

RW: What other training tools do you use that you have found to be helpful in your career?

AD: A bike.

SRM and simple heart rate monitor.

Good music playlists.


RW: I’ve read that you’ll be focusing on ‘cross in the future, but with a narrow loss to an on-form Heather Irmiger at last year’s National Marathon Championships, will we see you gunning for the win this year?

AD: Chances point to no.  I am sad to see the Marathon nationals leaving Breck, such a well promoted race and fun atmosphere.  I’ve been racing Firecracker since my first year pedaling a bike in ’06 and I just love the race…not so much the distance.  I like the shorter stuff.

Confessions from an Amateur

Friday, June 25th, 2010


When looking for information regarding training tools, coaches, or new products, it is easy to get professional athlete reviews or even magazine information. As a company based around scientific evidence and research, we sought out some non-biased customer feedback to help explain to the masses what Restwise can do for you. Mary Geron, a resident of Idaho was the first to respond to our inquiry, and we quickly fired off a list of questions for her to answer. So for all the weekend warriors and sport class racers, this interview is for you!

RW: As an everyday non-professional athlete, what tools have you used in your training with success?

MG: The only tool I have used with success for my training other than Restwise is a pulse monitor.  I still use my pulse monitor every day, but I think it has been greatly enhanced with the addition of the Restwise program.  Restwise has taught me that if I begin training, and I struggle to get my pulse up to my target range…that I need to stop pushing and rest for a day at least.

RW: What do you feel sets Restwise apart from other training tools?

MG: What sets Restwise apart from other training tools is that your data input results in an accurate accounting of how the training you are putting in is affecting your body and its ability to be pushed each time you train.  The Restwise program helps me stay in the present moment with my body and how it is feeling in order to be more flexible and realistic about when and how I train…or whether I train at all on a given day.  Restwise is training my mind…while I train my body.  My greatest challenge as an average joe athlete is my mind, and the misinformation that is stored there.  Things like, “if I just work harder and longer, everyday…I will get better and faster more quickly.”  Rest in my mind has always been equated to laziness, but Restwise has completely changed my mind about that.

RW: How have you noticed your fitness change since using the product?

MG: I rest a lot more using the Restwise program.  Sometimes I take two days off in a row!  The result?  The days I do train, I am able to kick some serious ass…(my own really,) and I am getting stronger more quickly and earlier in the season (bike riding). The payoff?  I have the biggest smile on my face when I fly around town on my bike because it’s easy for me, and that makes it more fun.  I live in a mountain town, and it usually takes me till August before I am smiling as I am flying up hills.  It is still June, and because of Restwise, I am zooming around like it is August!  I can’t wait for the next day, my next data entry in the Restwise program, to see what the day holds for me.  Also, for the first time in my exercise life, I am not beating myself up for resting!  I am as happy resting as I am training or riding for fun, and that is the greatest gift really…Restwise has taken away my mean taskmaster, and replaced her with a fun, relaxed, in shape chick!

RW: Do you work with a coach or follow a program for your training?

MG: Not really. I go to a couple of functional training classes a week, and follow a training schedule someone made up for me to do on my indoor trainer in the late winter, early spring time before the weather gets warm enough to ride outside.

RW: What do you feel is the most valuable part about Restwise, especially for athletes in any sport?

MG: The most valuable part of Restwise is that if you follow what it says for you to do to the letter…your fitness will improve without question, and you will be convinced of the sound science behind the absolute value of the proper amount of rest.  Our bodies tell us exactly what they need, and Restwise gives us ears to hear.

RW: Mary, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Your feedback is invaluable.

MG: Thanks for your questions…I hope my answers are useful, or at least entertaining!

Mary Geron AKA Mikie

Teva Mountain Games + Restwise = Podium

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Screen shot 2010-06-09 at 8.21.48 AM

courtesy of Franklin Henry

Vail, CO is an outdoor mecca for athletes of all types and a natural choice for a competition like the Teva Mountain Games. With events for both professionals and amateurs, as well as music and art, it is more than just a weekend stop on a racing schedule. On Saturday both the women’s and men’s races were hotly contested and packed with Restwise athletes. On the men’s side, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski took top honors and added to his impressive resume which includes 14 National Championships.

courtesy of Franklin Henry

courtesy of Franklin Henry

The women’s race was full of the usual suspects. Georgia Gould, Amy Dombroksi, and Heather Irmiger all rounded out the top five placings, with Gould taking the win. All in all it was a amazing weekend for the athletes and Restwise as a whole. Seeing so many athletes using our product with success is awesome. Check out Georgia Gould’s interview about using Restwise and how her season has been shaping up.

For a full race report and photos, please visit



Richard Ussher: Multisport Powerhouse

Friday, June 4th, 2010

SSMXR 2 058A muddy face with a smile. New Zealand’s Richard Ussher is one of the world’s top adventure and multi-sport athletes who has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. From competing in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics for men’s moguls to finishing an Ironman distance triathlon in 8 hours and 2 minutes, he is a constant threat to his competitors and a motivation for the rest. From his home in Nelson, Richard has been using Restwise for quite some time now and can be considered one of its largest advocates. With his main focus this year being the Xterra World Championships in Maui, we wanted to see how this man, or machine, trains and seeks out greater fitness.

RW: Starting as a skier, then moving to adventure racing, and now participating in triathlon, how have you grown into the different training styles?

RU: It has been interesting over the years to see how the physiology has changed, I was a mogul skier so the longest race then was around 30 seconds – now I could effectively still be on the start line and not ruin most races so a big change in endurance!

I noticed that for the first few years of endurance training even 15 hours really knocked me around but now it is not unusual to be well over 30 hours of training in a week.

The biggest thing I needed to learn when going to endurance sport was to train at a pace I could recover from to get enough consistency, hence why I could probably only manage so few hours to start as I was probably training a bit fast for too much of it.

The main difference between the Adventure racing / Multisport and the more traditional triathlons is the AR stuff is more strength endurance focused where as the tri stuff is much more speed endurance focused.

They both require similar amounts of training but the requirements for running over a mountain on a rough trail or running a marathon at pace off the bike require quite different training stimulus.

Richard UssherRW: Some would say you live in the mecca for outdoor adventures (NZ) would you say that this environment helps support your success?

RU: For me sport is all about enjoyment and there is no doubt NZ has a lot of fantastic areas to enjoy for training and racing, and that probably reflects in the amount of people participating here at a high level in outdoor sports.

In saying that though I think it is more about the people I have met racing and travelling that have more influenced my drive to succeed.

Initially chasing guys like Nathan Fa’avae and Steve Gurney in the Multisport scene in NZ and later racing with guys like Mike Kloser and Michael Tobin in the USA really pushed my limits. Later on exposure to the Ironman athletes like Cam Brown and others pushed me different levels in different areas.

RW: As a long time user of Restwise, where do you see the value of the product in multisport training?

RU: The things I find really useful with the Restwise system are firstly how simple it is to use. Not having to wake up and remember to count your pulse but just being able to put the pulseoximeter on just makes the process so easy and therefore much more sustainable.

The biggest benefit though is it gives you something tangible to compare how you are feeling with a scale of where your recovery score is. It helps give me the confidence to take proper rest when the score heads down too much or to keep pushing when the going is seeming a bit tough but I’m still within my set parameters.

I can mostly predict what my score will be day to day now but having it on file definitely helps to be more objective about where my body is at recovery wise.

RW: Can you tell us a little about your typical training day?

RU: Typically I train 3 times per day; I guess I’m a little unique as I train 4 sports with Running, Biking, Kayaking and swimming. I also do a little gym work and the biking is split between Road, MTB and Time trialing.

I’ll usually try and doo one session first thing after breakfast before I try and tidy up on the emails and office work. The afternoon is set aside for training and I’ll often do 2 sessions back to back.

I like to change the orders around quite a bit as often the races are in different orders  than just swim, bike, run so for me it’s important to be conditioned for these eventualities as well.

I don’t generally schedule days off but take them when the body tells me it needs one. Usually in the base phase I’ll do 3 weeks on 1 week easier and in the quality phase 2 weeks hard, one easy.

courtesy of Hannah Johnston

courtesy of Hannah Johnston

RW: What would you say Restwise has changed most about your training regimen?

RU: It has definitely just given me more confidence in my intuition about how I’m feeling and it makes it much easier mentally for me to take the proper rest and recovery required to keep the performance improving

RW: Training for triathlons in general is a very time consuming process, how has Restwise helped you make the most of your days?

RU: Being a full time athlete I’ve already been accustomed to scheduling my training days as if it were work as otherwise I just run out of time to fit everything in. Restwise has just meant I can make more definitive calls at the beginning of the day of what I am trying to achieve in training that particular day and if I do need rest to take it and then not worry about missing the training for that day.

RW: What would you say is your largest challenge being a multisport athlete right now? Adventure racing and tri’s are dfferent animals, but all require endurance and strength…

RU: The biggest challenge is probably managing the training between the 4 sports. As far as the different training challenges there is a large amount of cross over and I really enjoy the differences the off road training gives me versus the on road training. I also think the more strength based training in the off road racing and training has good benefits for the triathlon races once it is teamed with more specific speed training and vice versa for the speed when going back to the off road sports.

RW: What advice would you give the aspiring triathlete for help them excel?

RU: I really believe the biggest thing is to maintain the enjoyment. Training super hard is tough but if you can maintain as much of a fun element as possible I have found it is a big factor in maintaining a high level of motivation.

The second thing would be about having a good consistency with the training but changing the types of sessions regularly to keep stimulating the body to react and adapt to the new sessions.

RW: Triathletes often rely on data to help them train, do you train with power or any other devices to help you improve?

RU: I use a power meter on my road and TT bikes and a Garmin 310XT to track my running km’s and speeds. I occasionally use a HR monitor to compare data at certain rates or when I have easy sessions planned to keep a lid on the tempo.

I never race with a HR monitor though as I like to think when you are really going for it your mental focus can help you operate at levels that might not be within the parameters you set prior to the race.

RW: Coach or no coach?

RU: No coach but I always try and seek out advice from as many areas as possible to compare with what I’m doing and I do get some help on the swimming at present

RW: Marmite or Jam?

RU: Peanut butter

Thanks Richard and best of luck in Maui this year!

Sara Studebaker: A Sure Shot

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Courtesy of Christian Manzoni

When most people think of cross-country skiing, rarely do they associate it with shooting firearms. The sport alone brings to mind incredible fitness levels, cold weather, and tremendous coordination requirements. Biathlon brings together target shooting and sky high heart rates to set the stage for a extremely difficult nordic event. Sara Studebaker is America’s top ranked female biathlete, and competed in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Sara is helping Restwise break into the winter sports arena and she was kind enough to answer some questions from here Lake Placid, NY home.

RW: How long have you been in biathlon? Why/How did you get involved?

SS: I started out as a cross-country skier and found out about biathlon when I was in Junior High.  I did a little bit of biathlon through High School, but when I went to college decided to focus on skiing.  After I graduated from Dartmouth College in 2007, I was offered a spot on the US Biathlon Development Team and moved to Lake Placid, NY to live and train full-time at the Olympic Training Center.

RW: Are you working with a coach? How do you two integrate Restwise into your training?

SS: I work with several coaches from US Biathlon.  One coach writes my training plan, and two that help me and the other biathletes in Lake Placid with day-to-day implementation of the training plan.  Since Restwise is fairly new to both my coaches and myself (Zach and I are the only two athletes on the US Biathlon Team that currently use Restwise), we haven’t yet decided to best way to bring it together with the training.  Right now, I use it mostly to help me be better in-tune to my body’s signals.

RW: What have you noticed different about your training and fitness since using Restwise?

SS: There are times when you might be heading towards overloading when you don’t want to, and it’s nice to be able to see that in advance and use that to help decide if you need an extra rest day or an easier workout.

RW: Anything you would like to change about Restwise?

SS: The one thing I would change is that you have to be online to enter your data.  Often when we are traveling, it can be tough to find reliable internet, and it would be helpful to have an off-line program to use when you can’t get online.

(Ed. note – the iPhone application is now available)


Courtesy of Christian Manzoni

RW: How does living with another Restwise athlete, Zac Hall, help you? Do you two compare rest states etc?

SS: Zach and I live next door at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Lake Placid.  We do compare resting states and it’s been interesting to see what one small difference in reporting means for either of us in our rest score.  It’s also good because we can see when each other are getting tired or over worked and help each other go to bed earlier or make smarter training decisions.

RW: What do you feel makes Restwise so easy to use?

SS: Having very few components to report makes it a quick process-I often complete the form before even going to breakfast.  Also, using the pulse oximeter makes taking morning heart rate much easier-I’ve tried to take my morning HR before, but it was always so inconsistent when you’re trying to count bpm’s at 6:30am!

RW: For the aspiring Nordic skier, what is your training volume like? Hours skiing and gym time, sort of a “what does it take”?


Courtesy of Gary Colliander

SS: This year I plan to train 720 hours.  Sometimes that number ends up smaller because of sickness or travel, but that’s the goal.  In addition to that time, I’ll spend about 150 hours doing shooting specific training.  And that’s all in addition to rest time, travel time and preparation.  It’s pretty much a full-time job which, at this level, is necessary.  It takes a lot of time and work to get top level in any sport, and for Nordic skiing and biathlon, it’s especially tough because athletes don’t peak until their upper 20s or mid 30s.  It’s a long road, but very rewarding.

RW: Thanks Sara, we wish you the best of luck in your summer training and upcoming winter! To stay up to date with Sara’s training and racing, you can check her out at

Vern Neville: Sailor and Sports Scientist

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

sailing_fitness2As a long time rugby coach, America’s Cup sailor, and Performance Training Centre owner, Vern Neville has famously worked with some of the best athletes in the world to help them reach the pinnacle of their sport, as well as training to succeed himself. Vern’s main area of expertise is in developing high performance athletes by combining innovative training methods with optimum athlete support structures. When contacted to help develop Restwise, there was no hesitation and he came aboard to help develop the science behind the product. Having Vern on our side is an invaluable resource and we look forward to learning both from him and with him as we continue to develop the Restwise product. His blog excerpt covers many valid points and shows us the importance of quantifying the recovery state.

As athletes we are all aware that performance enhancement is the result of a balance between training load and recovery. But when to rest and how much recovery is needed is difficult to determine. The science of training/coaching has advanced massively over the past few years as has recovery protocols, but no one really understands how much or when rest is required for optimal performance, and as a result many of us end up over-trained or injurred.

sailing_fitness22The signs and symptoms of fatigue, stress and over-reaching in athletes are well documented, and despite the hundreds of studies and publications on identifying markers of fatigue and over-reaching, as yet no single reliable marker has been determined (although numerous have shown empirical evidence in specific circumstances or cohorts). In addition, there are few (if any) reliable diagnostic tools available. With this in mind, a diagnostic tool which has a combination of markers is likely to increase the accuracy of identifying an athlete’s state of recovery.

Restwise is the first tool to combine a number of evidence based signs, symptoms and markers of fatigue, stress and over-reaching into an on-line daily assessment tool.

1. Changes in resting heart rate
2. Sleep duration and quality
3. Changes in body mass
4. Blood oxygen saturation
5. Urine color
6. Appetite
7. Muscle soreness
8. Illness or well being
9. Subjective energy levels
10. Subjective mood state
11. Subjective rating of training performance

Friday Interview: Georgia Gould

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Resting, Racing Tips, and Chocolate Chip Cookies

courtesy of Dave McElwaine

courtesy of Dave McElwaine

For those of you who haven’t seen Team Luna Chix team member Georgia Gould race her mountain bike, you are truly missing out. The current National Champion in Short Track took some time out of her busy World Cup travel schedule to talk to us about her resting, her training, and most importantly her baking skills from her Colorado home. So sit back, drink the morning coffee, and do a mental check of your pantry, because you will probably be pre-heating the oven and getting your bike ready for a ride after this Q&A session!

RW: Where are you now, and what is your next big event?

GG: Right now I am at home (Fort Collins, CO).  My next big race is a World Cup in Offenburg, Germany on May 23rd.

RW: Since beginning using Restwise, how have you noticed differences in your training regimen? No need to give away secrets, but has your training volume changed?

GG: No, my training volume hasn’t changed, but I have become much more aware of the factors that affect my recovery.

RW: What other “resting” techniques do you incorporate into your training? Nutrition, massage etc?

GG: I eat a healthy diet- lots of fruits and veggies (but I allow myself treats too- important for mental happiness!).  I try to drink a recovery drink and if possible eat a meal, right after any hard training days or races.  When I am at races I get daily massages, and when I am at home I try to get a few massages a month.  I also try to stay well-hydrated and get plenty of sleep (at least 8hrs a night).  I also have a daily 35minute yoga regimen that I have been doing for the past 6 months or so.  Sometimes it’s a pain and I don’t feel like it, but I always feel better when I am done, and I’ve noticed a huge increase in my core strength and flexibility.

RW: What are your goals for this season?

GG: My goal is to win a World Cup race.  I would also like to win the National Championships and the World Championships.  Ok… I want to win every race I enter!

RW: Being part of a large women’s team and network of riders, including a impressive list of sponsors, do you feel Restwise is a tool that everyone can take advantage of?

GG: Absolutely.  I think that Restwise is a great tool that offers an objective way for athletes of all levels to gauge recovery.  Elite athletes usually don’t have a problem pushing themselves- that’s why they are successful- but pushing yourself too hard can be damaging and can result in overtraining and a drop in performance.  Restwise can be an objective voice saying “it’s ok to take an easy day.”  Untrained athletes, on the other hand, might not be as familiar with the physical and mental effects of training, and Restwise can help them to make sense of what is “normal.”  Restwise creates a climate where all users become more aware of the biggest factors that affect their recovery.

RW: I believe your teammate Amy Dombroski is using Restwise as well, have you had a chance to talk about both of your experiences with the software etc?

GG: We’ve chatted about it briefly. I think we both agree that the system is useful, and most of all EASY:  I have NEVER kept track of my morning heart rate (it always seemed like such a chore), but the Restwise pulse-oximeter is so easy, I’ve been doing it every day for months now.

20091031_BlueSkyCup_0020RW: Have you had some fun seeing your rest scores and adapting your training to fit?

GG: Yes.  It’s been interesting to see how the scores correlate to how I am feeling.  I have been racing a long time, and I like to think that I am pretty tuned in to how well I am recovering, but the Restwise system has made me more aware of other factors that affect recovery. Mood, energy level, resting heart rate, quality of sleep- these are all factors that affect recovery, and once you start keeping track of these things daily, you begin to see patterns.  Once you know what is “normal” for you, you can quickly spot changes and adjust your training accordingly.

RW: Are you working with a coach? If so how have they reacted to the Restwise knowledge you have gained?

GG: My coach agrees that proper recovery is crucial to becoming a successful athlete.  Restwise is one more tool (in addition to heart rate, power, and good communication) we can use to get the most out of each training session.

RW: For the average racer, say sport level, what would you say are some tips that they can use to reach the elite level? Training time? Equipment?

GG: It sounds simple, but the best advice I have is:

  1. Quality over quantity.

It’s not about mileage or hours per-se, it’s what you are DOING with your time.  If you have a full time job and a personal life, you need to make the most of your available training time.

  1. Go hard on your hard days and easy on your easy days.

On my easy days, I ride at “sitting-on-the-couch-watching-tv” pace- and I keep it pretty short, no more than 45mins-1hr (unless I am trying to “get the junk out” after a day of travel in which case I might ride for 1.5-2hrs).

  1. Get a coach.

A good one.  Look around, talk to your friends and talk to potential coaches to find out about his/her philosophy and coaching style.  This was the first thing I did when I decided to get my Pro license.  If you are serious about getting to the next level, get a coach.

RW: And what is this about your cookies I hear so much about!?

GG: I can’t say they will make you faster, but they will make you happier!

Here’s the recipe:

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (when only the real deal will do…):

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao)

preheat oven to 375, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, whisk together flour and baking soda, set aside

melt 10 tbsp butter in a nonstick skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, and continue to cook until the butter is golden brown and smells delicious and nutty (this step is what makes these cookies so good, so let the butter get good and brown)

pour melted butter into a bowl and add the other 4 tbsp butter

when butter is melted, add both sugars, salt and vanilla  and mix well

add egg and yolk and whisk well for a couple of minutes, making sure there are no lumps and mixture is smooth

stir in flour just until combined, then stir in chocolate chips (don’t overmix at this point)

place dough in rounded, 3 tbsp portions on cookie sheets (8 scoops per sheet)

bake sheets one at a time (they will cook more evenly that way) for 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through cooking

cookies should be golden and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, transfer cookies to cooling rack

Try not to eat them all at once.

Ursula Grobler: Pulling to the Front

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Ursula Grobler is one of those athletes with a natural ability to excel. The hard minded South African knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges and a quick rise to the top of her sport. During a recent training camp in Bellingham, WA we were able to ask her a bit about her training and integration of the Restwise program.

Ursula Gold HOC picture

RW: For the new reader, can you describe briefly how you became involved with rowing and working with Carlos?

UG: A couple of things, I bought a single and wanted to train hard and keep learning how to row. I heard that there was a coach who just moved from Spain to Seattle who was exceptional. I had a dream to take my rowing to the top and believed I could do it, but needed help. I called Carlos and asked if he would consider coaching me. He first turned me down because I had no money to pay him, very little rowing experience and wanted to achieve Olympic level. However, we worked on a trade system where I painted a wall mural for him in exchange for rowing coaching, and that’s how it all began.

RW: Your rise to the top has been sudden, and I’m sure has brought about some hotly debated topics. What are some of the challenges you face with your critics?

UG: The unbelief in Carlos’s training that has catapulted my results is the biggest critic. Carlos has challenged traditional training systems and tested and refined new training methodologies all on himself and then introduced them to me. Critics are quick to say its my genetics, or blood or physiology, and although there was capacity to build upon, if Carlos did not hit the right training like he has, I would never have unlocked my potential in such a short span.

RW: Since your training is relatively un-orthodox, how do you feel Restwise has helped you produce gains in fitness?

UG: Restwise has helped to monitor our daily progress. It’s like a check and balance of the load done the day before and how to adjust the training for the next day based on the recovery, or non recovery. It’s made training more effective and efficient, and more personalized.

RW: Aside from the benefits of using Restwise, do you feel there are components of this product/software that help you become more educated about your training? If so please explain.

UG: As an athlete, you live so much in your body. It’s your gold, or where you make your money so to say. So working with Restwise has opened up another level of awareness to my body and how the training has affected me, from an outside, objective system.

RW: The value of having a resource like Carlos is immeasurable.  What unique attributes make you two a good pair for the coach/athlete relationship?

UG: Trust and ownership. Carlos has said many times, this is my medal and he can’t make me do anything. It’s my choice. So he trusts that I do my best always, and I trust his coaching with no doubts or excuses. The results keep things sustainable and proof that it’s working.

RW: What other training tools are you incorporating? Nutrition, machines, training philosophies?


UG: I’m a strong believer in nourishing for training, and follow a Paleo lifestyle, which means I believe not in processed foods, but rather being part of the process of preparing food. I supplement with Hammer Nutrition’s Endurance Fuels as well. As far as machines, we used the Rowperfect Rowing Machine and also the Shuttle System MVP leg press for dynamic power. We used altitude training from Altitude Tech, and also a breathing device called the Spirotiger from FACT Canada.

RW:What are your plans for the immediate future for racing? The Olympics are obviously the goal, but other races in the short term you are focusing on?

UG: We are building towards NSR 2 in Princeton (National Selection Round) next week in the double to qualify for the World Cup 1, 2010 in Bled Slovenia. This race is very important as it dictates which oarsmen and oarswomen are chosen to represent the US. Then we hope to go to New Zealand for the World Championships. I also hope to race the Holland Kings Cup in June.

RW: We wish you the best of luck this season, and can’t wait to see how much faster you continue to get!