When Training is Sport
Growing up in the Philadelphia’s suburbs, mountain biking wasn’t really in the scene for 7x Cross Fit World Games competitor Chris Spealler. But bicycles were there, and he and his buddies discovered every hidden path. Now, as a member of the Pivot Factory riders’ family, mountain biking gives Chris an outlet for the dual passions of sport and family. Competitor, teacher, and author of the Pivot 2021 Enduro Training Plan, Chris champions the goal to #useyourfitness.
Chris is the kind of rider that can tell you in detail about his first bike…and the one he bought with his grass-cutting money in the 6th grade…and the one his father gave him as a high school graduation present. And he’ll be honest that he didn’t ride bikes during college, where he competed as a nationally ranked Division I wrestler. During his senior year he finished in the top 20 nationwide, reaching the second round of the National Championships. With an unrivaled work ethic, Chris frequently jumped up one or two weight classes and wrestled heavier athletes.
Fresh out of college and ready for ski bumming, Chris moved to Park City, Utah. He brought the high school graduation bike with him and began exploring with new friends and wrenching at a local Park City bike shop. True to his nature as a relentless competitor, Chris once did the E100 – on a whim. The mountains, however inspiring, did not fully fill the void of having something to train for in the gym. A friend referred Chris to CrossFit.com. He visited the site, did one workout, and was hooked. With CrossFit, the training felt like sport, and that “suckered me in for the rest of it”, as Chris puts it.
By 2011, the CrossFit Journal was referring to Chris Spealler as legendary, a story that began with his appearance at the first ever CrossFit World Games in Aromas, California in 2007. Chris earned a reputation for mental toughness, outright strength, endurance, and training innovation.
And still there was a bike. Chris discovered gravity; dirt jumps and flow lines in the Park City mountains where he trained.
It was natural for Chris to transition from competing to training others, always with the encouragement to train for life outside the gym. For Chris, this means time on the bike, with friends and with his sons. Chris currently rides a Pro XT/XTR Switchblade and will tell you openly that “progressing on the bike is all about the journey”. Mirroring the #useyourfitness ethos Chris teaches through Speal Programming, he trains to ride, and he rides because he loves it.
When Chris called and said, “how about I build us an Enduro training plan?”, we were all online researching kettle bells and medicine balls before the conversation was over. The Pivot 2021 Endurance Training Plan – P21E – is a comprehensive off-season strength training plan. The purpose of the P21E training plan is to help you develop a well-balanced base of GPP (General Physical Preparedness). We will be sharing access to two complete 9-week training blocks, prepared by Chris and focused on the whole body strength necessary to tackle all mountain riding, to help you prepare for the upcoming season.
Training begins January 4th.
“My goal is to provide you with a simple and effective program that utilizes minimal equipment, while helping educate you for valuable training styles in the future.
Many of the workouts you encounter are likely to be shorter in duration than you may be used to. There is a good reason for this…. intensity. When we are able to shorten the time domains of our fitness training it helps us boost our intensity which often yields more results. Intensity is especially important when it comes to the kind of well-rounded fitness we can apply to anything; an explosive technical climbing move on the bike, for example. This may take a bit of “practice” for some of us to learn how to take our longer duration efforts and give it our all in a 20 min window or less. Think “FTP” test and you will get the idea for the purpose of the workouts. Having said that, this is all about moving WELL. You should be focused on quality mechanics and loading that allows you to complete the movements with solid technique, even at fatigue. Once you have that dialed in you can ratchet up the intensity on your workouts. Some will feel “easier” than others which is normal.
The purpose of this style of training is to target often neglected areas as we become specialists. I love riding my bike just like you. I also know that all the bike riding in the world won’t make me strong, it will make me better at riding my bike. If we can approach our general fitness with a broad scope and build a bigger base, it in turn allows us to become better at the very things in which we want to specialize. Simply, you have a bigger base to build from.”