Building a Base

For multisport athletes like you, the trick isn't getting in shape. It's staying there. Here's how.

Feb 18, 2009
Outside Magazine
Man's Torso

   Photo: Corbis

The Pillars of Fitness

To get in peak shape try out all four parts of our comprehensive series.

There Are No Shortcuts

YOU ARE AN OUTDOOR ATHLETE . Start training like one. No more "hot" yoga, four-minute workouts, or carb-free diets. No more chasing trends that deify all that is new this month while disparaging all that was new last month.

Times have changed. And so should your workouts. Booming sports like trail running, cycling, nordic skiing, and surfing demand high levels of year-round endurance, strength, and agility fitness that cookie-cutter gym routines and fad diets simply can't deliver.

That's where our four-part Pillars of Fitness series comes in. Over the course of the next year, we'll guide you through the bad habits, myths, and disinformation that permeate much of the wellness community, which focuses largely on America's obese and sedentary, and replace it with essential truths for the athlete in you. Our panel of fitness experts (see right) will create workouts, explain the science, and consult on everything in our series. The goal isn't to create a single, year-long program that will turn anyone who follows it into a honed and agile multisport phenom. (No such plan exists). Rather, it's to deliver essential knowledge so you can get there yourself.

We begin this month with Pillar One: Building and maintaining fitness when your objective is to be injury-free and strong all year from spring skiing to summer mountaineering to fall mountain biking, or whatever your addictions may be. From there we'll move on to aerobic fitness (May), strength (August), and agility (October).

This isn't a periodization plan (though we will explain those this month and suggest that you start following one) but, rather, four installments of timeless advice that will apply to everyone from weekend warriors to aspiring pros. You won't stay in peak form all year if you tried, you'd eventually blow up but as we progress, you'll gain a better understanding of your fitness potential and how to achieve it.

There are no shortcuts. But, then, this series isn't about two-week miracle plans and six-pack abs. You don't live like the masses; you shouldn't train like them, either.

Meet the Experts 

CURTIS CRAMBLETT: A USA Cycling coach, physical therapist, and certified strength-and-conditioning coach with Revolutions in Fitness, in San Jose, California, Cramblett works with the Garmin-Chipotle pro cycling squad and is an expert at identifying and addressing musculoskeletal dysfunctions.
NEAL HENDERSON: The sports-science director at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, Henderson is an exercise physiologist and retired elite triathlete who coaches cycling and skate skiing and builds training programs for pro athletes, weekend warriors, and obsessive-compulsive home-office CEOs.
CHAD BUTTS: The chief exercise physiologist at New York's Cadence Cycling and Multisport Centers a training outfit with more than 300 clients Butts is a Cat 1 road racer and cycling coach.

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