File243 (2)Many of you reading this may find the hot summer months a very hard time to stay motivated with your fitness. In Phoenix, people use the summer months as an ‘off season’ as it is just too hot to train outdoors! By taking too much time off, you mayfind yourself losing all of the gains you had worked hard to make this past year and even putting on some weight.

Off season is the time to work on the areas of training that you don’t get to do during your season. These areas include: post season break (recovery), improving your metabolic efficiency, cross training, and goal setting. Summer in Phoenix is a GREAT opportunity to get ready for the fall and your upcoming season!


Tip #1: Take a post season break:

A post season break is a mental and physical break to recharge and get motivated for next season. Look at weaknesses you have, and spend time improving those areas. Don’t take too much time off as you don’t want to lose all of the gains you have made. 5-7 days off for an average athlete. If you are feeling like you need more mental time away from structured training, maybe add in a week or two of unstructured training.  Try cross training with running, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking, yoga or swimming.  This time off is a very important part of your training. Recovery IS training!! Recovery is where your adaptations to the training are made!

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Tip #2: Improve your metabolic efficiency during the summer:

Spend time training in your tempo (76%-90% of your functional threshold power (FTP)).  Training in this zone for either cycling or running is the best bang for your buck in terms of greatest physiological adaptations including increase in muscular endurance. Basically you will improve your endurance, threshold, and will be able to ‘hang-in’ on rides much easier or have better endurance when running.

*If you enjoy training with power, read, “Training and Racing with a Powermeter,” by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan.


Example Workout for a 1 hour ride: Warm up for 15 minutes. Then do 3×9 minutes ON at Tempo, then 4.5 minutes of easy spinning to recover between intervals. Cool down for 10-15 minutes.  If you don’t know what your ‘Tempo’ zone is, it is the type of effort you would do to climb a hill.  You will ‘feel’ like you are working, but you won’t be going as hard as you can.


Tip #3: Set goals to reach beyond your potential!

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The summer in Arizona or the Southwest is a GREAT time to set goals for your upcoming season!  If you write down your goal, you have a much higher chance of succeeding!


Goal Setting Exercise:


  • Create short and long-term fitness and/or performance goals…dream big!___________________________________________________
  • List your nutrition goals:_____________________________________
  • List your upcoming events or races:______________________________
  • Do you have weaknesses you’d like to work on?______________________
  • How will you reach beyond your potential?_________________________


About Melissa Ross:

sportograf-57549653_lowresMelissa Ross is Co-Founder of Potential Energy Training and Nutrition. She has an extensive career in cycling and athletics. Melissa’s 11+years in the sport as an athlete and 5 years as a coach has taken her all over the world from touring Italy, racing across Europe and the US as a professional athlete (with the US development team and riding for Team Kenda), to becoming a pro mountain biker, exploring the trails across Arizona and even recently competing in the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa! Melissa has an incredible desire to help other people reach their full potential and bring the passion of having a healthy lifestyle into their lives.  Contact:

3 Tips to Maximizing your Fitness in the Southwest this Summer