3 Essential Exercises to Excel in the Canoe and Kayak Leg of Ski to Sea

With Ski to Sea fast approaching it is crucial to train properly for your events.

That means building your strength and stability through weight training while spending adequate time practicing the skills of your sport. To perform at your maximum potential, you need to incorporate both facets into your preparation. The strength training element will provide you with extra power output while helping to prevent injuries. These three exercises are sure to boost your performance on race day by building muscular strength, endurance, and stability.

1. Band Straight Arm Pulldowns x 15 reps

This variation of the pulldown gets your triceps and lats working together which is crucial for strong paddling.

- Attach a resistance band to a high point like a pull-up bar.

- Hold onto the band at shoulder level with arms extended and straight.

- Sweep your arms down to tuck down at your sides as you pull the shoulder blades together.

Pull down starting position

Pull down starting position

Pull down finishing position

Pull down finishing position

2. Bird Dog x 10/side

Get the core and back working together. Stabilizers in your abdominals and shoulder blade to give you a stable foundation to paddle from.

- Start in the tabletop position on hands and knees. Knees are hip width apart.

- Find a neutral position for the hips so that lower back is flat.

- Reach out opposite arm and leg to end in line with torso. Head stays down.

- Hold for a 3 count at the top, then slowly lower and alternate sides.

Bird Dog: Table Top Starting Position

Bird Dog: Table Top Starting Position

Opposite Arm & Leg out

Opposite Arm & Leg out

3. Standing Single-Arm Row x 12/side

Develop strength through the back, shoulder, and arms while also developing core stability.

- Stand tall with one foot back and one forward, shoulder square and facing forward toward the anchor point.

- Grab handle with the same arm of the leg that is set back.

- Squeeze your stomach then pull arm back until your hand wrist is at your side just below the chest.

Row starting position

Row starting position

Pull toward the body to finish

Pull toward the body to finish

Complete these exercises 2x/week for 2-3 sets in addition to 2-4 days/week on the water for best effect. Find a weight or resistance level that makes the move challenging at the end of the set. Always make sure to warm up for several minutes before loading weighted exercises. Go for a power walk or hop on the bike for at least 5 minutes to get the muscles warm and ready to work hard. Adding these three moves to your training routine will make a huge difference on race day. Give them a go and discover a new dominance out on the water.

Stay Fueled to Avoid Burnout

Lately, there was a period of several weeks where I was feeling drained and down all the time and I wasn’t sure why.  I had been staying active but my energy was waning.  Playing a tennis match and strength training on the same day used to be normal, but that was feeling too challenging. I needed to figure out what was going on.  So, I decided to audit my life from the last few weeks to see if I could find the issue.  I wasn’t super stressed out, no major issues in my life. I was still active, it was just far more difficult that before.

That’s when it dawned on me.  I was going into my day unprepared for the rush of work and life.  Many of my days involved lots of physical activity, but hardly any quality fuel to help my body recover.  I was eating poorly and relying on junk food to satiate my appetite during busy days.  Even when I had good food in the fridge to heat up, I would go hours beyond when I was supposed to eat.  This combination of skipping meals or filling in with junk was taking a huge toll on me.

Maybe you have experienced something similar. Maybe you end up eating sweets or fast food instead of a healthier home cooked meal.  Maybe you end up going hungry and irritated when your plans for the day change.  It happens… we live in a fast paced world where our plans can change on a dime.  You can get stuck at work for longer than you expected.  You could be asked to sub for a tennis match and spend much more time out on the court than you had anticipated.  We must remember that living an active lifestyle demands that you prioritize how you are fueling your body to stay energized and recover well… especially in a busy world. 

My solution was to start stocking my locker and backpack with food that I could rely on being there if my plans changed or my day got extra busy.  It worked out so well!  Whenever my day was changed I didn’t have to go hungry for hours waiting for the next meal.  I had an array of nutrient and protein packed options to keep me from feeling tired and burnt out.  Within the first two days I noticed a big difference in my mindset and energy level. 

Quality is important here just like with big meals. Lots of ‘health’ bars really should be in the candy bar section.  Make sure to look over the ingredient list to avoid products with tons of added processed sugars, modified fats, and preservatives.   I stock fruits, protein bars and a vitamin protein drink mix in my bag at all times.  My favorites right now being apples, bananas, RX bar, and Quick Vita Kick for quick protein + essential nutrients.  It is a great way to know I am getting the nutrition I need especially on days when I end up skipping meals or eating out a lot.

This change made such a huge difference in my day to day life!  By having a quick post workout option and a midday healthy snack I set myself up for success.  Having the right tools in your arsenal is key to your fitness success.  Part of that means having access to nutritious on the go fuel to stay energized and make sure your body can recover to keep up with your active lifestyle.  Try keeping some protein powder in your locker, some fruit in your bag, and some protein bars in your car and you will be impressed with how often they come in clutch to keep you fueled and ready for action!

BTTC Trainer Piper Shares Her Three Essential Running Exercises

by Piper Renard, BTTC Training Instructor

Ski to Sea is almost upon us, and I’m excited to share 3 essential exercises for runners that I personally use to prepare myself for races.

Although strength training isn’t always included in runners’ training programs, it is the backbone of real endurance training!

Race preparation especially should always include running-specific strength exercises to help you run faster, further, and help to prevent injuries. It is also important to identify certain areas of weakness or past injury that need to be strengthened or supported by different types of exercise. Running truly is a full-body activity!

Without further ado, here are 3 awesome, essential exercises to get you going:

1. Bulgarian Split Squat

Targeted muscles: Quads, glutes, calves, core

Standing in a lunge position with your back foot resting on a (1-2 foot) bench or box. Lower down into a lunge by bending your front knee taking care that your knee is not moving forward past your toes. When front thigh is parallel to the ground, hold for a few seconds before coming back up to a neutral position.

Repeat 10-15 times on each leg.

*Optional to hold dumbbells in each hand for added weight.

2. Clamshells

Targeted muscles: gluteus medius (extremely important for runners!)

Begin by lying on your side with legs together and your head resting on your arm. Then bending both knees up into a 45-degree angle. It helps to use an exercise or yoga mat so you can line up your back body with side of mat ensuring correct posture. Without moving your hips or upper body, you will then slowly raise your top knee up while keeping your feet together (at least somewhat) until you feel the exercise in your hips. Slowly and with control, return to original position. It should resemble a clamshell opening and closing.

Do 2-3 sets of 15 on each side.

3. Founder

Targeted areas: hips (the biggest joint in your body), glutes, lumbar

Stand with your legs a little wider than shoulder length with feet parallel to each other. Begin to anchor your lower body and pelvis to the ground by “gripping” the ground with your feet while shifting your weight back into your heels. Pull your hips back behind your heels while stabilizing spine and keeping knees unlocked, then bring arms to your sides, thumbs facing out/away from body. Keep your chest open and neck in line with spine. Extend arms in front of you, bringing fingertips to touch. Slowly start to elevate arms in front of you as high as you’re able (this is very similar to chair pose in yoga) and hold for 3-5 breaths or 10 seconds.

Repeat or add into your warm up sequence.

One last tip! For runners of all kinds - from competitive to occasional - I highly recommend reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall as well as Running with The Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham. They are both beautiful, inspirational and also informative.

See you at the BTTC Booth at the Ski to Sea finish line in Marine Park!

NuZest Smoothie Recipe: Chocolate Banana & Chocolate Mint

To continue our series of smoothie recipes, here we have two for our chocolate lovers. With the help of our BTTC Team Member, Patsy, you can have a minty and chocolate mix or fruity banana one, just look below!

NuZest Chocolate Banana Smoothie

  • 1 serving NuZest Cacao Banana

  • 1 Frozen Banana

  • 1 C. Milk or Alternative

NuZest “Peppermint Patsy” Smoothie

  • 1 serving NuZest Cacao Mint

  • 1 Avocado

  • 1 C. Milk or Alternative

  • Ice to taste

NuZest is a great way to get all the necessary doses of vegetables, fruits, and protein for the day. Don’t miss out!

Three Bike Workouts for Ski to Sea

This is the first year I’ve done Ski to Sea, and I wanted to share three workouts that I'm using to prepare for the race that you too can use. I’ll briefly explain both of them:

1. Steady state: Find a flat, to slightly inclined road with no stop signs or stop lights. Put your bike on the biggest gear you can maintain consistently, at the same cadence. You’ll ride this for 2-5 minutes. Then easy spin for 2-5 minutes. Repeat 3-6 times. You can also do this on an indoor bike, just make sure you maintain your consistent and steady cadence in the indoor bike.

2. Hill repeats: If you’re riding outdoors, find a moderate to steep hill that will take you 2-5 minutes to climb. Try to stay seated as long as possible as you go up the hill before standing. When you get to the top, turn around, and recover on the way down the hill with an easy spin. Repeat for 3-6 repetitions. To do this on an indoor bike, start on a medium tension, and increase tension every 30 seconds for the duration of the simulated hill climb.

3. Core exercises: The most important part of riding is your core. You should do a few core exercises every day. One that I think is important for this kind of training is the Dead Bug. Lie on your back and put your arms and legs up towards the ceiling. Tighten your abs and as you exhale, extend opposite arm and opposite leg towards the ground. Slowly bring them back up towards the ceiling. Do two sets of 10.

Want even more? Join our Ski to Sea Special 4-Week Performance Cycle Training Camp, made to help you see serious gains by race day, including the confidence and techniques that will make you way more efficient and see way more stamina and power during your leg.

I hope this helps with your training. Good luck!

Elizabeth helps prepare for the Ski Leg of Ski to Sea with Former Ski Instructor and Racer Thierry Werderits

Cross training is beneficial for enhancing your performance and reducing your risk of injury in all sports, so it’s a good idea to incorporate gym work into your training for the Ski to Sea race!

As I was preparing a list of great exercises for skiers, I consulted with my friend (and former cycle and TRX instructor here at the club!) Thierry Werderits. Thierry is a former ski instructor and racer – here are some of Thierry’s favorite exercises for preparing for skiing:

1. Warm up on the treadmill on a hill setting, to prepare for the uphill trudge! A great training tool at the Club is the sled in the Zone (don’t forget your MyZone monitor--try to get into the yellow zone for a couple of minutes!)

2. TRX one-leg squats (activation for glutes, plus working balance) Try 10-12 on each side.

• Hold on to the TRX handles, raise one leg off the ground

• Sit your hips back, pressing into your heel (keep your toes down!) and feel your glutes working

• Press yourself back up to standing

3. Medicine ball slams: front and side to side--great for shoulders and core. Go for 30-45 seconds.

• Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width

• Raise the ball overhead, then throw it against the floor

• Sit back as you slam down

4. Mountain climbers (try them on TRX--toes in straps, plank position). 20-30 seconds.

• Hand on the floor

• Either bring one knee up towards your chest at a time or try to get your foot up toward the outside of your hand (choose one depending on your mobility)

• Quickly alternate legs as if you were running (or climbing a mountain)

5. Weighted box or bench step ups--15-20 right leg leading, 15-20 left.

• Hold a dumbbell in each hand

• One foot on the box, press in to your heel and feel your glutes start to work

• Stand up onto the box, focusing on glutes really working

• Keep shoulders down and core tight

• When you step down, leave your foot up on the box

After your warm up, try to repeat exercises 2-5 three times and end with a whole body stretch, paying special attention to your quads (front of thighs), hips (figure 4 stretch is great) and hamstrings (backs of legs).

Have fun with the ski portion of Sea to Ski! If you’re doing the “downhill” ski portion, be prepared for an uphill trudge. You’ve got this!!

The Importance of Your Posterior Chain

Many exercise routines focus on the anterior chain. Think of these as the ‘show’ muscles – the muscles in the front of the body that you can see in the mirror and that the fitness industry (and especially our image-obsessed media) likes to highlight.

But behind those ‘show’ muscles are the ‘go’ muscles – the posterior chain, or basically, the muscles in the back of your body. These are super important for any training, but especially when preparing for endurance races such as Ski to Sea.

Without a strong posterior chain, your ‘show’ muscles will not be able to ‘go’ anywhere, and athletes risk serious injury that will take them out of the game.

At BTTC we want you to look and feel your best with a balanced focus on front and back-line muscle groups. That’s why giving equal time to the posterior chain is so important.

A strong posterior chain will help dramatically reduce knee and back injuries. Beyond just reducing/removing pain, you will feel stronger in every aspect of your life, improving your overall fitness and athletic ability.

I have had low back issues on and off for most of my life. For many years, my back would ‘go out’ about every six months – spasming so completely that it left me in agonizing pain, unable to find comfort in any position. It took me weeks to recover so I could return to my normal daily activities. Then several more weeks getting back to my full level of fitness routine.

Why did this happen? I worked full-time in an office environment, so I sat for most of my day. Sitting equals tight and shortened hip flexors and weak glutes, which shows up in our bodies as a hunched posture and lower back pain. When left unattended, that pain can really hinder everything else we are up to in our life. I’m here to let you know you don’t have to get to that point!

So, what exactly is the ‘Posterior Chain’?

The posterior chain is made of the following major muscle groups: erector spinae (back), glutes, hamstrings and calves. Closely related to the posterior chain is the core, which is essential to build stability and all areas of fitness and athleticism, no matter what other areas of your body are working. (more on the core in an upcoming article!)

Why it Matters:

Some have affectionately termed the anterior chain the ‘show’ muscles – the muscles in the front of the body that you can see in the mirror and that the fitness industry (and especially our image-obsessed media) likes to highlight. But behind those ‘show’ muscles are the ‘go’ muscles – the posterior chain. Without a strong posterior chain, those ‘show’ muscles will not be able to ‘go’ anywhere! Here at BTTC we want you to look _and_ feel your best with a balanced focus on front and back-line muscle groups.

The following is just a small sample of suggested moves for each area of the posterior chain. Pick one exercise that targets each of these 5 areas to add into your workouts, or talk to one of our trainers about designing a strength workout for your posterior chain. Within a few weeks you will move stronger, stand straighter and feel better overall!

Exercises to Strengthen Your Posterior Chain

Core Focus: Plank, Deadbug, Pallof press (anti-rotation front press with a band)

Lower Back Focus: Deadlifts, Hyperextensions (on a bench or stability ball, or even just on the floor!)

Glute Focus: Hip Thrusts (aka: weighted bridge with back against bench), Glute Bridge, Monster walks, Kickbacks

Hamstring Focus: Romanian deadlifts, Hamstring curls, Good mornings

Calves: Calf raises of any variety (off a step, in down dog, or standing with balls of feet on a rolled up mat)

Detailed Descriptions:

Pallof press: secure a resistance band at about waist high using a TRX anchor or the lateral bars in the Zone.  Step about 2-3 feet away from the anchor so there is sufficient tension in the band, and turn 90* away from the anchor, holding both handles in both hands at your belly-button. Press both arms equally straight forward resisting the band’s pull on your arms & Torso. Return hands to belly. (maybe Tyler or Rhod can explain this better!)

Back Hyperextensions: Lie face down on a stability ball centered between the bottom of your ribs and the tops of your thighs, legs straight. Interlace your hands behind your head with elbows wide. Squeeze glutes and back muscles to raise your upper body as high as possible, hold for a second and return to relax over the ball.

Hip Thrusts (aka: weighted glute bridge with back against bench). Come to seated with mid-back against a bench or other stable structure that is about knee height, knees bent at about 90* with feet hip distance apart. Hold a dumbbell or other weighted object in the crease between torso and legs, keeping the weight there throughout the move. Squeeze glutes and press into heels to raise hips to the same height as shoulders and knees, letting your torso lie back on the bench (keep a straight back) Hold for a second and return hips down to starting point.

Monster Walk: With a resistance loop around legs just below knees, stand with feet hip distance apart, toes facing forward. Sit back into a semi-squat and stay in this squat position as you step one leg out to the side, keeping knees over ankles as you step. You may step the other leg in the same direction as the first leg, moving sideways, or step out and back with one leg and then out and back with the other leg, ‘walking’ in place. 

Kickbacks: Start on hands and knees, with a resistance loop around the arches of your feet. Anchor one toe to the ground as you press the other heel straight back extending your leg. Complete the move by squeezing the glute of the extended leg to raise the leg up to hip height. Return to both knees under hips. Complete the amount of reps on one side and then switch sides. 

Romanian deadlifts: Start Standing on both feet with weight evenly distributed between hands (Barbell works best, but you can use 2 dumbbells keeping the ends together as you move). Keep the weight as close to your body as possible as you bend from the hips with flat back to lower the weight as far as possible while maintaining a flat back and straight legs (micro-bend in knees is ok). Using glutes and hamstrings, rise to stand with flat back, keeping the weight as close as possible to your body.

Hamstring curls can be done a number of ways. Two of my favourite are:

TRX: Lying on your back with heels in stirrups and feet under the anchor point, squeeze glutes to raise hips off the ground. To start the move, press heels into stirrups as you pull your heels to your raised hips. If possible, raise hips further to feel like you are tucking your heels under your hips. Return to straight legs with hips off the ground.

Good mornings: The body mechanics of Good mornings are similar to Romanian deadlifts except the weight is held behind the shoulders. Start with the barbell anchored behind your shoulders with elbows bent and grip as wide as needed to keep the barbell anchored behind your shoulders. Bend from the hips with flat back and lower torso (maximum of 90*) while maintaining a flat back and straight legs (micro-bend in knees is ok). Using glutes and hamstrings, rise to stand with flat back. 

Posterior Chain resources for further inquiry:




Tennis Etiquette Refresher


Tennis can be a very emotional sport. It can bring out the best and the worst of us during the heat of battle. We have seen the fiery temper of McEnroe and Serena and the calm nature of Roger and Chris Evert in their epic battles on the court. We enjoy watching both of these approaches to the competition but we really only admire the grace and composure of the champion that wins and loses with grace. The behavior of Roger and Rafa for the past 20 years have been great examples for our youth to observe on how to win and lose with dignity. With this in mind, I have just a few suggestion, observations, and actual rules that can make our times on the court fun and satisfying for all.

  • While playing please be respectful of all the people on the courts. It goes without saying that swearing, racket throwing, and loud outbursts are not the behavior we need to display to our fellow members. It also doesn’t really help your game

  • When a ball rolls on to your court from another court it is common courtesy to stop your point and replay the point. This is a safety issue as well as common sense.

  • When returning the other courts ball make sure the players on the court you are returning it to are aware that you are giving the ball back to them (don’t just whack it back ) they may be in the middle of a point and this could become a safety issue

  • Please clean up any towels, tissues, balls cans that you brought out with you before you leave the court. The people playing next do not want to have to pick up your mess.  

  • Please only bring water or a container that won’t spill onto the courts. We have way too many coffee stains on the courts!

  • When it is time to change courts, walk out when it is your time and allow the people to finish a point if it is in play. Don’t just storm out into the court while there is a live point going on, this could cause an accident

  • Ball Machine Etiquette:

  1. Always clean up all the balls and sweep up the fuzz around the machine by the end of your session. The people after you deserve to have the whole 75 minutes of court time they signed up for.

  2. Please put back the machine and clean up any balls behind the curtain in the timely manner

  3. Make sure you return the remote after your session

  4. Please don’t drop the remote. These are expensive and if handled carefully they will last a long time

Thanks for respecting the rules and remember, you are here to have fun, get a workout, and leave feeling better than when you entered through the doors.

Five Ways Indoor Training Helps Outdoor Adventuring

With the weather warming up, people are heading outside to participate in all the outdoor fun! Hiking the Chuckanuts, mountain biking Galbraith, paddle boarding or kayaking at Lake Whatcom, running along the boardwalk (without frozen fingers), and flocking to Boulevard park are just a few of the favorite pastimes of Bellinghamsters this time of year, not to mention Ski to Sea!

This month, Tyler shares five reasons why continuing your training plan indoors can make your outdoor adventure much more enjoyable!

1. You’ll Be Stronger

Strength is important whether you’re hiking, biking, kayaking, or doing anything else. When you’re stronger, you can develop more force with your muscles, which makes everything easier, from going up hills to getting up if you slip and fall off your paddleboard into the water. The stronger you are, the less daunting those tasks will be, so you can focus on having fun with friends and family!

Not only will you enjoy the activity more, but you’ll be able to overcome any slip-ups with greater ease.

2. You’ll Be Faster

You’re on the field, in the middle of a soccer game, your teammate passes you the ball, but your opponent intercepts it and starts running it towards the goal. Despite his head start, you catch up to him, tackle, and get the ball back.

How did you do that? That guy had such a head start! The difference? You kept up with your training.

When you train, you not only get stronger, but you become more powerful as well. This results in being able to do movement faster. We can also tailor your training to emphasize this as well!

By training in the gym, you will become more powerful, leading you to be faster, and able to keep up with the kids or overtake your opponents.

3. You’ll Decrease Your Risk for Injury

By increasing your strength and learning how to do different movements under load correctly, several things will happen to help decrease your risk for injury. We’ll touch on two:

By doing movements correctly, you’ll start using the right muscles, which will take any extra load off of the muscles that aren’t meant to be the prime movers of that movement. Let’s take hiking as an example: if you’re going uphill and your knees cave in with each step, that’s a recipe for knee pain; but, if in the gym you learn how to do a proper step up, engaging your glutes, core, and even feet during the movement and learn what it feels like to keep your knee out as you step up, you can dramatically reduce your risk for injury.

By using the correct muscles and strengthening different movement patterns, you’ll also stabilize your joints. Let’s use the same example as above: by strengthening your glutes, core, feet, quads, and hamstrings, we can stabilize your knees and low back to reduce your risk of injury (and potentially eliminate the pain you’re feeling too!)

Training indoors works to stave off injuries to keep you outdoors pain-free so you can enjoy your favorite activities for years to come!

4. You’ll Increase Your Coordination

Through training in the gym and focusing on really activating the right muscles, you’ll be better able to control them when you go to do other activities. For example, when kayaking, your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, biceps, triceps, and rotator cuff muscles are all working together to do a pulling motion. By doing different exercises in the gym well, you’ll get more in touch with your latissimus dorsi and middle and lower trapezius muscles so that you don’t just overuse your biceps. This has a huge injury prevention component to it – and it’s due to becoming better coordinated with different movement patterns.

By becoming stronger and using the right muscles during your time in the gym, you’ll learn things faster and feel better during them.

5. You’ll Overall Perform Better

All of this culminates in this last point. You will perform better in everything you do, whatever the activity, by keeping up with your training in the gym. It makes activities easier, you’ll feel great, and you can just focus on having fun or competing hard instead of worrying about how daunting something looks or about getting an injury.

Overall, by keeping up with your indoor training, you will enjoy your outdoor adventure so much more.

April Member of the Month: Mary Weslow

Where are you from?

I am originally from the Silicon Valley Area (Campbell, CA). Waaaay before it was Silicon Valley.

What do you do?

I am a Home Health Aide, which I truly enjoy.

What is one fun fact about you? 
My fun fact is I live in A Cohousing Environment that helps me reach my goals too as we are a fun yet committed group to healthy living

I cannot leave out my good friend Laura Emery and Tom Day for always pushing me toward health too. They are both my heroes.

And of course my beloved Therapy dog Sonnet who volunteers with me at Hospice. She plants a smile on everyone’s face with her goofy smile!

What’s your favorite thing about coming to BTTC?

My favorite thing to coming to work out are all the smiles and welcoming atmosphere. But of course my inspiration comes from working with Rhod who truly “gets me”. Without him my commitment would be a whole lot longer and harder to attain🙄.

I can’t wait to see how much stronger I can get. When I first came in I could barely walk, now the sky is the limit!

What’s the best piece of fitness or healthy living advice you have for others?

My advice is show up to the club no matter how bad you feel. You will always be the better for it, I promise!

BTTC is sponsoring Ski to Sea this year! Find us at the finish line

BTTC S2S banner.png

Our Club is known for helping train athletes of all ages and sports. Whether you’re trying to set a personal best, or return after an injury, we are your year-round training facility. With 45 years of experience, our major new fitness expansion and Premium Cycling programs, working with Ski to Sea this year makes sense. 

Find us at the Finish Line May 26th!

The Club will be closed that day, but you can find us & our trainers at our booth at the Marine Park finish line. We’ll have recovery aids as well as personal trainers on hand to help support Ski to Sea athletes as they transition from race day to recovery.

Special Ski to Sea Deals & Classes

Throughout April and May, BTTC will offer special Ski-to-Sea related deals, classes, and other free workouts and recovery guides geared towards athletes and spectators who enjoy Bellingham’s largest event. Find those at www.betrainingtennis.com. The best deals will be reserved for the finish line booth, so be sure to stop by and pick up your special gift!

Ski to Sea’s finish line and awards ceremony in Marine Park are just four blocks south of BTTC. BTTC has sponsored Ski to Sea teams dating back to 2001.

About Ski to Sea

Ski to Sea, with the Historic Fairhaven Festival, is the largest multi-event relay race in the nation, and the largest one-day event in Whatcom County and Bellingham. The event draws racers, spectators, and tourists from the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and around the U.S. Ski to Sea is owned and operated by Whatcom Events, a volunteer-operated community 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. More than 800 volunteers help on race day.

About Bellingham Training & Tennis Club

Bellingham Training & Tennis Club has helped thousands of members achieve the fitness they want, in a Club and community they love. We believe that whatever your fitness needs, you deserve the support you want to help you meet your goals. Choose from more than 40 group fitness classes, personal training, workout on your own, or for those returning to a fitness routine,  join our Ignite Your Body plan. If you love tennis, we offer the most court time in the Pacific Northwest, with five indoor tennis courts; hone your skills with tennis lessons, clinics and camps for kids and adults. If riding is your thing, try Bellingham’s only indoor cycling studio or challenge yourself with the Cycle Moles Performance Training and Healthy Knees Premium Cycling Programs. Plus, Members love our community, full of welcoming and friendly people and fun events!

BTTC Men's 4.0 USTA League Team Heading to the Playoffs This Weekend!

The BTTC Men’s 4.0 USTA league team led by Captain Pat “the Savvy Stringer” Balfour eked out a win in their league play and are the #1 seed in this weekend’s NW Washington USTA League Playoffs!

The team had a 6-2 record along with 2 other teams but took the league crown by having 2 more match victories than the 2nd place team. This really shows that every point, every game, and every set makes a difference!

The team members are:

Jon Abbott, Rick Adelstein, Pat Balfour, David Benson, Merill Bevan, Jeff Butcher, Loren Davis, Steve Ershig, Lary Guevara, Frank Repanich, Chris Rink, Paul Shmotolokha, and TJ Tipton.

When you see them in the halls or on the court, send them best of luck for this coming weekend’s tournament!

MyZone Cardio Workout

Now that you have a MyZone, I know you’re itching to use it! Here’s an easy workout to help you track what Zone you’re in, so you get an idea of where you need to slow down, and where you need to push. You can do this on a bike or a treadmill. This is also a great way to maximize your use of a demo MyZone.

If you’re like me, you might find some surprises along the way. Too much red, not enough blue … Let me know what you find!

Pull up this post on your phone during your workout, or for easy reference, check the board while you’re on the Strong floor!

MyZone Zone Workout.png

A Healthy Breakfast Recipe to Get You Through the Week!

Ride Instructor Matt Vann

Ride Instructor Matt Vann

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many of us struggle to get enough of the most fueling nutrition in before we race out the door to start our day.

Here is a great, simple recipe to make on the weekend and have on-hand for breakfasts during the week.  I make a double batch on Sundays and then don’t have to worry about what’s for breakfast during the week for my household. You can adapt this base recipe to your liking, try adding blueberries or strawberries.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bake


  • 6 Bananas

  • ¼ cup Apple Sauce

  • 1 tsp Almond Extract (or Vanilla Extract)

  • 1 cup Steal Cut Oats (can use Gluten free oats)

  • 1 cup Almond Flour

  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

  • 1 TBS Cinnamon Powder

  • 2 TBS Chia Seeds

  • 2 TBS Flax Seeds (optional)

  • Pinch of Salt


  • Preheat oven to 425.

  • Combine all the dry ingredients in 1 bowl and set aside.

  • Take 3 bananas and blend them until there is no more lumps.

  • In a separate bowl take the remaining 3 bananas and smash them with a fork, leave small lumps.

  • Add the blended bananas, apple sauce, and extract to the smashed bananas and combine.

  • Mix the wet and dry ingredients together.

  • Put this mixture in an 8x8 oiled baking dish or muffin tin with the muffin cups.

  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Nutrition Tip: Our Most Recommended Pre-Workout Fuel

Here’s a hint …

Here’s a hint …

As you gear up for your training session or tennis match, it’s important to fuel up well before hand, so that you perform your best.

There are so many different food choices out there and about as much differing guidance about what’s “best” that it can be hard to figure out what you are supposed to eat.

First, I want to talk briefly about what your body loves using for energy, and then I’ll give you a suggestion that will help cut through the noise.

Your body loves running on carbohydrates. They are its favorite source of fuel!

Your body can run off of fats that get turned into ketones (no doubt you’ve heard of the “Keto” diet), but this is a mechanism that your body uses in starvation settings, so that you don’t die if there’s no food around.

The most optimal (and safest!) way to go is to stick with eating carbohydrates for energy.

Now, the next step is differentiating between whole-food carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates. When people hear that a food contains “carbs” or “sugar,” there’s an immediate reflex to run away from it because we’ve been conditioned to do so.

Consider an apple though, or any fruit for that matter. Fruit is one of the healthiest foods you can possibly eat. While the majority of the calories in fruit come from carbohydrates, there’s so much more than that in the whole package: carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, fiber, and phytochemicals that function as anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, and vasodilators (which increase blood flow)!

It’s the same with veggies, whole grains, and legumes (like beans) – along with carbohydrates, you get a whole package of nutrition!

On the other hand, refined foods such as white-flour foods, chips, pastries, etc., are stripped of most of their health-promoting properties and pumped full of salt, oil, and added sugar – none of which promotes health or optimal performance.

Before you train or play, a great pre-activity snack is to have a couple pieces of fruit and some water about an hour beforehand – an example would be eating one apple, one banana, and drinking 12 ounces of water. Two pieces of fruit will not only give you enough carbohydrates for energy, but when you eat the whole food, you also get the whole package of “good stuff” that all works together to help you perform your best.

Next time you’re about an hour or so away from training or playing your match, try having two pieces of fruit and 12 ounces of water and see how you feel during the match! My bet is that you’ll perform much better. Let me know the difference you notice.

For some more nutrition tips, shoot me an email at tyler@betrainingtennis.com.

The Secret to Cardio Training for Better Tennis

Cardio is a huge factor in any tennis match. After a tough point, there is a good chance that you are breathing hard. One hard run can hinder your effort level for the next point or the rest of the game.

On the other hand, a well-trained player can recover quickly from one point to the next and give full effort on every play. Watch Roger Federer play. Even after the toughest points, full of running, he barely breaks a sweat! Well before the next point begins, he is calm and ready to go again.

It’s enough to make you wonder: what’s his secret?


Federer’s superior level of conditioning allows him to focus on his shot selection and power instead of reserving energy to make it through the match. This should be every tennis player’s goal.

The First Step to a Cardio Training Plan: Data

To start working toward it, it helps to have some data on where you currently are. We love MyZone because it offers the most complete, accurate data for tennis players. It can really help you improve your game, your fitness level, and your recovery time (aka: less soreness & tiredness!)

When you go out to play, wear your MyZone strap for the entire match. After you are done playing, look over the heart rate data. Was your first 10 minutes in Zone 1 (blue) and 2 (green) before hitting Zone 3 (yellow) or higher (red)? If so, congrats! You warmed up properly.

If not, focus more on a light warm up.

Does the data show you mostly stayed in Zone 1 (Blue)? Consider increasing your effort level. Otherwise, you won’t get all the cardiovascular benefits of regular tennis. Some ways to do this are moving more, and going after more balls. Be more active in your court positioning. Even in a doubles point where you didn’t get a single touch on the ball, you can move quickly for strategic positioning.

A particularly tough and close match may show you were mostly in Zone 3 and Zone 4. Look for these extended periods of high heart rates. It is these tough matches where your true conditioning level is exposed. A well-trained player would still expect times of high rates … followed by a drop back down shortly after. It’s how quickly you can drop back down that is a great indicator of your conditioning and your ability to stay in a match.

Think of Djokovic playing his masterful defense, sprinting all over the court, to then start the next point calm and collected once again. This level of conditioning, and speed of recovery, can separate a good player from a great player.

After your match, did you stay in Zone 1 for at least 5 minutes? If not, this means you skipped the crucial cooldown.

The Key to the Plan: Effort & Timing

Don’t be fooled. It’s not just pros who have such physical conditioning. Every player can achieve spectacular cardiovascular conditioning; it just takes a specific plan and a dedicated work ethic. As a Tennis Performance Specialist, I’ve been trained to help design a plan to address the specific demands of a tennis match, to help get you in the best shape for tennis.

The first step is effort level. Effort is the key to reaping the benefits from your cardio training. On-court cardio takes serious effort, beyond just lightly pedaling a bike. What you need to remember is that your off-court training should be more challenging than your on-court effort. By doing this, your body is more than prepared for the exertion on the court and you are better able to focus on technique and strategy instead of catching your breath. This helps you perform better, feel better after, and prevent injury – so you can play for the long run.

The next step is timing. During tennis points, there are 5-20 seconds where you are expending tons of energy to run around to each ball and hit strong shots. Each point is followed by 10-30 seconds of recovery, until the next serve. After 8 to 18 points (2 full games no ad), you will need a longer recovery during changeover. Knowing this information, we can structure your cardio workouts to prepare your hearts to meet this demand.

Off-court workouts that will increase your conditioning require intervals of great effort to achieve a heart rate of 85-95% of your max, followed by monitoring your ability to quickly decrease your heart rate back into the 70% range. That sounds like a lot of measuring and math, but using your MyZone makes it easy – another reason we love it.

I always wear my MyZone when I train cardio. It is crucial that you know your exact effort level because conditioning is a science. That’s the only secret the pros have: they know this, and train for it.

You can’t fool your body into conditioning by simply thinking you are working hard when you really aren’t. A MyZone helps ensure you’re doing it. Make sure to wear yours to help you train at the correct effort level.

To receive a sample of one of my recommended Cardio Training Plans for Tennis, click here.