Monday, May 12, 2008

Trinity Training Group

"What's with the Trinity Training Group?" you ask. Well here's a little history.

Several years ago, Brian M and I began competing in multi-sport adventure races. Some of the events were endurance courses spanning 6-12 hours. Other were a compilation of numerous short technical O-courses, each lasting only several minutes. A handful of the challenges were sponsored by our SWAT team, and others were purely for fun. We registered for regional adventure races (along with friends) under the name "Sloppy Hogs." With our competitive natures, it was no wonder Brian and I analyzed every aspect of these races, scheming a way to better our performances next time around. We dissected every part of the race for an edge: from pre-race nutrition to what type of socks to navigation and compass shortcuts to transition area logistics. Then there was fitness...

Brian and I each had our physical strengths and weaknesses. I was a weaker runner, and he was a weaker biker. The problem: our team was always being slowed down in each leg of the race by the slower teammate, never having a chance to exploit either of our strengths. We always said we'd fare better if we split up the Sloppy Hogs and paired up with partners who shared our strong and weak points. But splitting up Brian and I is no easy task!

So we began adjusting our fitness training systems. If I could get faster on foot, and him on wheels, we'd immediately see results. I spent more time and effort running. I learned the benefits of interval and speed training...a big departure from popular belief that more miles and longer sessions were better. (I say "popular" as among amateurs like us. Elitist trainers had been preaching tempo runs and interval work for years.)

When it came to these short obstacle (or "O") courses, we also found better ways to prepare. In a sub-4-minute events, endurance meant next to nothing. It was all about anaerobic capacity: sprinting, jumping, and exploding. Yet, these are aspects of fitness we as adults generally ignore once we leave youthful athletics and sports. Brian and I also noticed that our current weightlifting programs did not help out much. We had been subscribing to popular programs driven by bodybuilders that isolated muscle groups. While our programs built muscle size, they did not help us on these O-courses. Again, our combined competitive character began driving change: this time searching for a training program that highlighted performance in these short sprint-and-jump races.

I focused on circuit training. My circuits limited rest periods between weightlifting stations, still comprised of mostly isolation movements. I started seeing big advances in my physical fitness. Then I was introduced to a kettlebell. I liked the idea that these KB sessions were doing double-duty of integrating anaerobic and resistance training into one! I saw even bigger gains. At about the same time, Brian began adjusting his regiment in a similar way. He got hooked into CrossFit. For those of you who think Brian and I are one in the same, maybe that's because we share a lot of discussions and reading. He gave me an article from the CrossFit Journal to read. He gave it to me and said it put into words what he and I had already been learning through personal trial and error experiences. He was right.

We each got more and more in-tune with functional that prepares for and replicates real life (and adventure races and obstacle courses!!!!) Brian and I had better performances during these events. The transition into our new system was working. We spread the news of our study and reading. We believed in it, and felt everyone should be let in on the secret. We considered opening a gym that concentrated on functional fitness, much like those opening around the country (with the exception of Chicagoland). We saw an open market, but then remembered one small obstacle: we still had full time careers that would sorta be in the way!

Still knowing the information of functional fitness had to be dispersed to our friends, families, and coworkers, we started this blog. We chose the name Trinity Training Group for several reasons: I had always been drawn to the concept of the Christian Trinity, with Mind-Body-Spirit themes. We also recognized that education (mind) and motivation (spirit) were bulky portions of fitness that were all too often neglected in current culture. The word "training" is closely attached to preparation for a specific event (in our Today's popular culture all too often uses working out and exercise for simple stress relief and out of need to cling to a daily routine. It rarely has a goal or is based on performance or excellence. "Training" was right up our alley. Lastly: "Group." This is a very informal group. Regardless if you live in Chicagoland or not, if you workout with us, read our blog, or agree with our philosophies, you're a part of TTG. We don't have memberships, or rallies, or meetings other than some casual group workouts. We definitely do NOT make any money off this project. Quite the opposite, in fact. We enjoy the friendships hopefully just as much as you enjoy reading this blog or exercising with us.

The knotted triquetra design is a single unending strand braided into three distinct knots. With a Latin root for "three corners," the triquetra is a symbol for Mind, Body, and Spirit. There are three parts to the indivisible whole, and knots that cannot be untied without damaging the strand. It's a perfect match for our group.

Welcome to Trinity Training Group. The Sloppy Hogs love having you around!


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Adrian said...

Awesome sight! Im trying to download the Prison Workouts, but having alot of trouble doing so, any suggestions?

Geno said...

Just met some one who was wearing shoe that looked like gloves, upon talking to him , he told me about this group. Functional fitness is what I have been preaching for years. I look forward to possibly working out with the group in the near future. I will be checking your blog.

Teresa said...

Great site! I recently signed up for Hustle up the Hancock and am looking for some clear direction as to how I should train. Very interested in meeting at Swallow Cliff! Will you be hosting any stair training in the near future? Again, well done with the blog.

Unknown said...

Hi there guys, we're in Australia and have been thinking about the whole notion of training body - mind and spirit and have discovered your Trinity Training Group blog. Amazing! We're committed Christians with a real passion for a healthy lifestyle - diet, exercise and prayer. We're encouraged by what your doing as we've dreamed of starting up something like TTG here in Oz!

Cheers Barb and Henry