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Lance Armstrong: He's Just Like Us (?)

Lance Armstrong swept through town yesterday on the Tour of California, and we took this opportunity to ask his strength and conditioning trainer, Peter Park, for some insider info and get-healthy tips.

What was the biggest challenge in training Lance for this comeback?
As an athlete, you always want your body to be balanced. Having a balanced body allows you to be a more fluid athlete which helps avoid injury. When Lance first started training again, he was unbalanced in the sense that some of his muscles were strong and others, more weak. We used weight training to target his hamstrings, for example, so that they could build up more strength to match the strength already in his quads. Additionally, weight training was important because muscle mass starts to degenerate as you grow older, especially after the age of 30.

Tell us something about Lance that will make us feel more like he’s just a regular guy like one of us! Does he have any guilty pleasures? Does he ever get lazy?
Lance is incredibly busy with his professional cycling, two kids, the Livestrong Foundation, and the number of other personal business endeavors that he has on his plate at any given time. His demanding schedule is often draining but he makes sure to always get proper sleep to stay healthy. And because nutrition and sleep can’t always get him all of the energy that he needs, he supplements his diet with FRS Healthy Energy, which has been shown to sustain energy and improve fitness. I will share a little secret, though. When Lance came to me to let me know he wanted to get back on the professional cycling circuit, we had to overhaul his diet – cut out some “junk” foods and alcohol. While he’s now at the height of his physical fitness, every so often he will let himself relax and have some barbecue…he is from Texas, after all.

This is the time of year when a lot of people vow to get in shape. Why does our motivation for physical fitness seem to wax and wane so much?

A lot of us commit to more than we are ready to take on when we begin a fitness routine. The most important thing is that you are realistic with your goals and that you keep them within reach. If you only have 30 minutes, three days a week to go for a walk, that is a commitment that is realistic for you and one with which you will more likely follow through. People struggling to motivate for physical fitness should remember that this is your health - and your health is something worth committing to.