Cryotherapy – Whole Body at Cryo Health Care in West LA

A couple of weeks ago I got the chance to experience Whole Body Cryotherapy at Cryo Health Care in West LA.

I can get a little claustrophobic. You know you are walking into this freezing cold box (-200 to -240 F). There is a little window but you can barely see out when you are in there. They have music playing in the background and a timer that gives you updates on how long you have left to go.

The preparations are easy. when you enter building you sign “the waiver.” They take your blood pressure and make sure you are close to normal. Next you walk into a changing room, strip down to your underwear and put a nice, clean robe on, along with rubber clogs, ear muffs, gloves and a mask.

When it’s your turn you go into a chamber and take you robe off then you enter cryo chamber.

They let me go in for 2 minutes for my first time. The first 45 seconds weren’t too bad. Then it started getting cold. “1 Minute remaining,” the voice said. That wouldn’t be the difficult, I said to myself. It was a long minute, a real long minute. With 45 seconds left I started to slightly shiver. I focused on my breath and soon enough it was over.

As soon as you finish you go back into the changing chamber, put on your robe and stick you leg out the door. At this point they take your skin temperature. Mine was 30 degrees.

Now the question everyone is asking, “How did you feel afterwards and would you do it again?” Refreshed and yes are the simple answer. I felt great, awake and energized. I feel to really get the benefits of cryotherapy I think you need to do it on a regular basis. They offer monthly membership and I think that is the way to go for the best benefit. Right now you have to drive to West LA but they are expanding to Woodland Hills and plan on growing from there.

For a better explanation of their services, research and prices, please visit their web site:

The language below is from the Cryo Health web site:

“Whole Body Cryotherapy can be administered in one of two devices, the Single Person Cryosauna and the Multi-Person Cryochamber. With Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures (-200 to -240 F). The client is placed in a cryogenic sauna/chamber for a short duration of 1.5-3 minutes which lowers the client’s skin surface temperature significantly and stimulates receptors.

This modality was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Studies conducted over the last two decades in Europe have established WBC as a powerful modality for inflammation reduction and injuries.

Professional athletes have discovered WBC as a powerful treatment to decrease recovery time and increase athletic performance. Although Whole Bocy Cryotherapy originated in Japan, it was a group of Polish scientists who took the idea and made Whole Body Cryotherapy the physical therapy it is today.”

Train Focused, Steve Mackel

54 Half of 108 Sun Salutations. Thursday, Jan. 15, 6:30 PM Breakthru Fitness in Pasadena

108 BTF 2015
This Thursday, January 15, 6:30 PM at Breakthru Fitness in Pasadena, we are doing 54 Sun Salutation to set our intentions for the New Year.

Whether you made it to the first 54 Sun Salutations or you only come Thursday, to the second half of the 108, it doesn’t matter.

Join us for this focused, communal practice. Breathe, Sweat, Live, are only a few words that describe stringing together 27 A Series and 27 B Series Sun Salutations with other yogis and yoginis working on their practices.

I felt so great after last Thursday and can’t wait for the this Thursday.

It starts at 6:30 PM, this Thursday at Breakthru Fitness (on the top floor next to Trader Joes,) located at 345 South Lake Ave Pasadena, CA 91105 Phone: (626) 396-1700. Free parking in structure.

It’s only $10 for non-members.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Yogi in Training

Can I Train When I Am Sick?

Is it starve a cold, feed a fever? Or, Starve a fever, feed a cold? If you’re like me you can never remember. So, when is it ok train if you are sick?

This is big question when you’re training for a marathon or half marathon that is 8 weeks away. You’re schedule is calling for big mileage. You don’t want to lose your conditioning. You wonder how you are going to make up those miles you lost by not training. Some of you will train no matter the situation.

Here are some guidelines to help you make an informed decision. Please consider that it is always better to be on the safe side and discuss your symptoms with a certified medical doctor and proceed accordingly.

The last 7 days in LA have been busy and cold. I have been running most mornings in the 30s which is cold for this So Cal kid. I grew up in LA and never really live in a different climate. I don’t really know cold and either does my body. Annually, around this time of year I get a head cold.

Well it happened again this year. I have a stuffy nose as I write this. I also have 3 marathons coming up. What do I need to know?

  • Colds are viruses
  • Colds typically last 8 – 10 days but can last up to 3 weeks
  • Antibiotics don’t work on colds
  • Colds are passed by contact, wash your hands regularly when during cold and flu season

But can I train when I am sick? Here’s the general rule:

Above the Neck YES

Below the Neck NO

Most of the time rest, lots of water and healthy food is the best remedy but if you feel you need to train:

Keep the Intensity Low

To try and speed up your recovery you can take over the counter products but typically they only reduce symptoms. I like Cold Eze and Emergency C.

Going back to the first question, “Is it starve a cold, feed a fever?” From what I found, you never starve yourself. Rely on rest, lots of water and healthy food.

Train Focused,

Steve Mackel – Head Coach, Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

The Marathon of Yoga – 108 Sun Salutations – Thursday, Jan 8 and 15 at 6:30 PM at Breakthru Fitness in Pasadena

108 Sun Salutations are a yoga tradition and what I like to call the “Marathon of Yoga”. I did my first 108 Sun Salutations 12 or 13 years ago and I was hooked but I’m not quite sure why. They are difficult, It takes a long time, it can hurt, I can feel like a wuss and the list goes on. But when you finish, and it doesn’t matter if you did all of them or half of them you feel good.

Some of Last Years Crew

Yoga and running have gone hand in hand for me when I started training for my first marathon. In 2001, I was training for the 2002 LA Marathon and quickly made yoga part of my training. I had taken a couple of classes and got my butt kicked. So, I thought I dig a little deeper. I took a beginners class twice a week. It was great balance for my running. In fact, I probably worked harder on yoga than running.

In the following years I would keep up the yoga while training for marathons, half marathon, biking and swimming. I really liked yoga and it was making me stronger and more flexible, physically and mentally. Then I went to my first 108 Sun Salutation practice. It became tradition. I did them on Solstices, Equinox(s), and right around the beginning of a new year.

In 2009, I started an annual 108 Sun Salutation class at Breakthru Fitness. But the class schedule difficult to fit in all 108, so I broke it into two sessions, like half marathons. We didn’t have 2 and a half hours. Plus, 54 quality Sun Salutations at a time are hard enough. 6 years later and they are still difficult. Since it was around the New Year I decided to make the first 54 about PURGING out behaviors and negative thoughts starting now. We write down these behaviors and negative thoughts before class and then burn them after class. The second 54 will be for setting our intentions/goals for the new year.

Burning the things we are purging from our lives
The rest is history. Join us tonight or next Thursday, January 15, at 6:30 PM at Breakthru fitness in Pasadena. 345 South Lake Ave Pasadena, CA 91105 Phone: (626) 396-1700

It’s only $10 for non-members.
108 BTF 2015

Train Focused, Coach Steve Mackel – Yogi in Training

2015 Goals and the 70.3 St George, Utah, Triathlon – Part 1

“Begin Again and Again” -Steve Ilg

Happy New Year!

What does that mean to you? For me it provides another great opportunity to begin again. I’ve been thinking about where I’m going to start. First, I’ll breakdown it down into categories, in no particular order.

  • Fitness
  • Professional Development
  • Financial
  • Relationships
  • Spiritual Development
  • Personal Development

I’ll keep this post focused on Fitness and my main race goal for 2015

2014 wasn’t a great racing year for me. I was dealing with a couple of minor but nagging injuries. I didn’t have strong feelings about any of the races on my calendar. I had a few good trips that required me to stay in good shape, a 7-day backpacking trip in Yellowstone and the French Riviera Marathon but no real time goals. And, for the first time in 14 years, I didn’t participate in a triathlon. Time to change things.

For 2015 I have already signed up for Ironman 70.3 St. George, Utah, on Saturday, May 2. This is going to be my main focus for the first half of this year. My goal for this race is to go sub 5:30:00. In order to do this lets go through some very basic goal setting structure.

  • Create Your Goal
  • Get Specific and Detailed
  • Make a Plan
  • Work Hard

I have to figure out what splits I will need for the swim, bike and run. The picture below is gives us an idea of what I need to shoot for based on previous race splits. A sub 5:30:00 will be a 70.3 PR (Personal Record) for me. I will have consider the difficulty of the course since St George is known as a difficult race.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 11.08.32 PM
I have my goal and and the specific details to achieve it, now I have to create a plan.

Time to get to work. That’s a job for this week. I’ll update you next week.

Leave one of your goals in the comment section.

Train Focused,

Steve Mackel – Triathlon Coach

Rose Parade Bandit Run 2015

Rose Parade Bandit Run details: A while back I heard about some runners that annually run the Rose Parade backwards. So, I decided to give it a try. There is nothing official about it. This is not a formal event. There is no entry fee, no medal, no shirt, nothing, but fun at your own risk. Some friends are meeting on Thursday, January 1, 2015 around 4:30 AM (depending how fast you are).

I did it for the first time a few of years ago and now its a tradition. If you have never done the RPBR, 2015 is a great year to make sure you do it.

What to bring: A small backpack with warm clothes in it that you can put on as you walk around the floats. It’s usually cold and once we get to the floats you are warm and a little sweaty from the running. If you have some warm, dry clothes in you backpack you can stay warm as you enjoy the floats up close, then repack them for the run back to your car

Check out my video from a few years ago.

I realize it is difficult to hardly sleep then run but it is good practice for use full and half marathoners. It is also good practice running in this cold weather.

This is an unofficial 11 mile run that starts at the Starbucks, 3429 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107. There are many FREE parking spaces available on the street behind Starbucks and at the Sierra Madre train station, which is across the street. The shopping centers security gets a little crazy about their parking lot.

This run basically starts beyond end of the Rose Parade route, goes to the beginning, where the floats are. We view the floats up close and run back for the Stealth Bomber fly over.

I will be getting to Starbucks around 4:30 AM Depending on your speed you should plan on leaving between 4:50 – 5:15 AM to make it to the beginning of the parade around 6 am. Groups will be leaving about every 5 minutes. Since it is about 5.5 miles you can do the math but if we all get up to the beginning by 6 – 6:10 AM it will give us 45 minutes to walk around and check out the floats. Since we have had many runners doing this that run different paces, we usually see each other walking around the floats. The parade starts at 8 AM but you need to start running back around 7:15 AM. If you leave too late we will get thrown off the route.

It is usually cold so you need to dress appropriately and bring layers. It can get cold walking around the floats. You much bring a hydration system or a bottle of water and money for beer, warm drinks or goodies afterwards. There are LIMITED porta-potties along the route. PRP at home please.

Parade Focused, Steve Mackel – co-founder, since 2006

LA Rock n Roll 2014 – Being a Pace Leader

What an amazing day / weekend. It started on Friday night playing with The Red 11s at a private studio, for a bunch of old and new friends. The vibe was fantastic and gets me pumped up for our next show, and the Born to Run Ultras in May of 2015.
steve bassSaturday was the first day of the Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon training programs in San Pedro and Newbury Park. I gave a ChiRunning lesson to the San Pedro group and taught yoga. Hanging out on the San Pedro / Palos Verdes coastline is always beautiful and worth the drive. It was another great start of a day. On the way home I stopped at the LA Rock n Roll Half Marathon expo to pick up my gear from Coach David Levine from USA Marathon Training. I also ran into Julie Weiss, the marathon goddess. I drove home and went to a pumpkin craving party.
Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 4.51.26 PM
I usually lay all my gear out the night before but I was too tired. I set my alarm clock for 5 AM and fell right to sleep.

I woke up a little nervous. I had to get my gear together and I have never been an “Official Pace Leader” for a race before but I do pace runners practically everyday, so this was right up my alley. The pace leaders were in teams of two. My co-leader was Aletta. She has done this a few times so I knew it was going to be smooth. We got into out corral and held up the 2:00 signs. We started talking to some of the people around us. I told them I wanted to get in a 1:59:30, because there is a big difference between Sub 2 hours and over 2 hours when you talk to other half marathoners.
Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 4.15.25 PM
The LA Rock n Roll Half Marathon course starts out slightly downhill and the first half is easier than the second half. I didn’t want to start out slower than race pace on a downhill section. An easy 8:57 mile felt right. The second mile was a touch faster then we slowed it down to a 9:10. Miles 3 – 6 are just reversing the course and slightly up hill and we kept it at a 9:00 min/mile pace. A touch above race pace but saving a little time for the bridge.
Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 4.55.09 PM
At the mile 7 sign, which was past my Garmin’s 7 mile mark, we hit 1:03:14 or a 9:02 min/mile average. We were 42 seconds faster than 2 hour pace. You reach the top of the hill there and head into the tunnel. At that point we lost our Garmins and it was downhill so I told the group to relax but use the downhill for a little extra speed. It felt easy but without seeing our pace we were probably going a bit too fast. The next highlight / challenge was the bridge. This bridge is pretty steep but we had banked a little time. We slowed our pace, took short steps and focused on the ground 10 feet in front of us, instead of worrying about reaching the top. Soon enough we crested the bridge and ran easy across the bridge to the turn around point to run back down it. Now mile 10 was out of the way and we had one uphill section to a downhill finish left. We took it slow from 11- 12. At the top of the hill we set our runners free. They were all going to finish under 2 hours. Aletta, Gabriel and I kept it steady all the way to the finish.

Our official finishing time was 1:58:05. It was a minute 25 seconds faster than I planned but close enough. It got some people great new Personal Records (PRs). Since it was my first time officially pacing I learned a lot and had an awesome time. Next time, and I hope there is a next time, I’ll slow it down on mile 6 up to 7 but the rest of the splits are what we need to run to get that Sub 2 hour time.

It was such a blast and I love all the interaction between the runners. Check out all my Garmin data and let me know if I can help you in your race training. See you next year.
Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.02.19 PM
Train Focused, Coach Steve Mackel

Redcord Suspension Training with Lisa Mulrennan

Recently, I got to spend a little time with Lisa Mulrennan and learn about Redcord, an intense, effective, suspension training system. In fact it’s used in USA Olympic training centers, many PT practices as well as private training studios like Mulrennan’s Mindfull Movement in Los Angeles next to Beverly Hills.

Suspension training has hit the exercise market in a big way. runners and all sorts of athletes are using suspension training to improve their performances. What makes Redcord different is that there are three points of suspension, with each one having multiple adjustments, from where they are located in relationship to your body/joints, to height. Record can also offer a bungie cord system to help you off-load body weight that may compromise an execise’s purpose.

My personal experience after going through a series of evaluation movements using the Redcord system, then doing some basic and a couple of advanced exercises is that it was intense. I engaged areas in my abdominal muscles that were sore for days, meaning they weren’t being sufficiently tested in my normal abdominal exercise routines. Each exercise took my attention to really line my body up properly but Lisa’s guidance and expertise was excellent.

Redcord isn’t your mother’s suspension training system. First of all, the equipment is expensive, more difficult to hang and requires a trained professional. This means that you probably won’t be seeing it in too may gyms. But, if you are looking for something effective and different, and it is also used to help injury rehabilitation, Redcord may be what you are looking for.

Train Focused,

Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning Instructor

Mt Baldy Run to the Top and Conquer the Bridge – This Monday Labor Day 2014

Mt. Baldy Run to the Top

Conquer the Bridge 5. 3 Miler

What are you doing this Monday? There are two great races: Mt Baldy Run to the Top and Conquer the Bridge 5.3 Miler

Mt Baldy Run to the Top is a 7 mile climb starting at 6,000 and goes up to 10,064 feet elevation. Once at the top you still have to walk down 4 miles to the chairlift to get a ride to the parking lot. Here’s my Garmin data from last year. Click “View Details” on the bottom right of the frame below for all the details. This race is very challenging.

Conquer the Bridge is a 5.3 mile run from San Pedro over the Vincent Thomas bridge, out a short way, and back over the bridge to San Pedro. Another challenging race

Both these are super fun and a good test of your conditioning. They usually don’t sell out but check their web sites so you can register race day. I’ll be back up at Mt Baldy this year.

Have Fun and Race Focused, Steve Mackel, Master ChiRunning Instructor

Tour de France Fitness Challenge Week One Done – Quick Recap

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 10.49.57 PM

The picture above is from today’s ride data posted at, to give you a sample. This week has been 230+ miles and over 15 hours in the saddle. My challenge is a little more difficult than I thought but I feel a bit better each day.

On to week two.

Since I have to fit in clients and classes these are becoming decent volume training weeks. It is averaging around 2 hours, pushing pretty hard (with stop lights and signs) to complete each 50k. In order to complete each day’s 50k ride, I sometimes have to break up rides into twice or more a day. I am going to see if I can wake up early enough to do that tomorrow and slip the Sole Runners’ Saturday run in between.

Next week I get to ride in the Sierras which probably means I’ll be climbing, just like the pros.

Ride Focused, Steve Mackel – Cycling Coach


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