He’s not an ordinary athlete. When Outside magazine featured Steve Ilg on their cover in May of 1992 he became both famous and infamous. The cover, as Ilg laughingly admits, was later voted by readers as one of Outside magazine’s least favorites. Maybe it was the finely coiffed mullet he sported or the cover’s brash title, claiming he could break you. Maybe it was the unsettling look of serene confidence on his face.

Moving past the cover I read about a sports polymath, a multi-sport mutant according to another article. Ilg was extraordinary at a number of pursuits from running to biking to climbing to a multitude of winter sports. But what truly intrigued me was that he preached with an uncommon passion a lifestyle that rejected sport specialization.

At the time I was training for my first triathlon and had found a new level of fitness by combining biking and swimming with my love for running. Combining the sports I felt not only stronger in each but more durable and healthier than ever.

Ilg though was preaching for a life that went beyond cross-training. He believed and is now even more adamant that sport is a noble and even spiritual endeavor through which we can more fully experience life as a whole. His ideas of Wholistic Fitness combined sport disciplines, yang endeavors he calls them, with the yin of meditation and yoga.

I was so intrigued by this approach that I interviewed him for a regional magazine. Some 25 years later we reconnected for this podcast.

Ilg at 55 is no less strong. Last winter, from his home in Durango, Colorado he raced in events ranging from 5K to 50k. He competed in snowshoeing, ski mountaineering, fat tire bike and winter decathlons. Remarkably, he made it to the podium of every race he entered. Incredibly, he won seven events outright.

He, maybe with just of touch of irony, often refers to himself as “Feeble Ilg” and he does project humility and gratitude for what life has brought. Yet he’s also fiercely competitive and embodies what he calls the athlete’s warrior spirit.

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Your comments, as always, are very much appreciated.


Total Body Transformation: A 3-Month Personal Fitness Prescription For a Strong, Lean Body and a Calmer Mind

The Winter Athlete: Secrets of Wholistic Fitness for Outdoor Performance

The Outdoor Athlete: Total Training for Outdoor Performance

Health Mark IVO18110 Yogacise 2-In-1 Yoga and Exercise Bench

Steve Ilg on Facebook

Steve’s website: Wholistic Fitness: Fitness as a spiritual practice

Show Notes:

How as we age our focus changes from yang to yin

To be athletic is to be supple and strong, enduring and capable

The addiction to comfort: how it severs our connection to wholeness

Everything is training, even brushing your teeth

The 5 Noble Fitness Disciplines

The 4 Lifestyle Principles

The athlete as warrior

If you are not feeling the yin you may not be training hard enough

No easy days: every day is challenging but in a different way

Racing Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, from Durango to Silverton and beyond

The importance of morning rituals. Poop early

You are only as young as your spine

Holy hunger… why its good to be hungry

Don’t eat fearfully, eat sacredly

Shifting to pranic nutrition

Ilg’s new book



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Chris Carmichael, 56, out of the saddle and climbing strong. Photo by John Segesta.

Long before Chris Carmichael became Lance Armstrong’s coach and friend he was an accomplished professional cyclist and a successful and sought-after coach.

In 1984 Carmichael made the Olympic Team and in 1986 he was part of the first American team to ride in the Tour de France. And then in 1992 and again in 1996 he was the U.S. Olympic coach.

But it was his association with Lance Armstrong, perhaps the sports’ greatest talent that brought Carmichael to an even larger international stage. As Lance’s coach he played a significant, if at times disputed role in Lance’s success. And when Lance confessed that he had been taking performance enhancing drugs Lance’s reputation and career came to an abrupt if not tragic end.

Carmichael survived those dark times. As a cyclist he was used to bumpy roads and taking spills, sometimes at high speeds. And while there may have been some road burn, like the professional, like the champion he is, he was able to get up and ride strong again.

Today, Carmichael Training Systems is a world-leader in endurance athletic performance development. The company’s coaches are among the best anywhere and its coaching philosophy and methodology are cutting-edge.

If it weren’t, top performers like Greg Daniel, the 2016 U.S. Pro Road Race Champion and Mara Abbott, a 2016 U.S. Cycling Olympian as well as Katerina Nash, a three-time Olympian and World Cyclocross Bronze medalist would not be working with the company.

And let’s not forget client Kaci Lickteig, the 2016 Western States Endurance Run Champion, of one of the toughest and most prestigious ultra’s in the world. Kaci, by the way, was also the 2016 Ultrarunner of the Year.

Craig Alexander the two-time Ironman World Champion was a client. And the list goes on and on.

I first met Chris and interviewed him years ago for a local magazine and it was a privilege to interview him again. The timing was good too. He and co-author Jim Rutberg, an acclaimed coach and one of Carmichael Training Systems early employees, were on the eve of releasing the third edition of The Time Crunched Cyclist.

Well, I just got my copy today and I’ve already poured over the ultra-distance cycling event training programs. I thought I knew what I was doing, (I’m training to do the Triple Bypass) but it looks like I’ve still got a few things to learn.

I’m also signing up for Carmichael’s very generous offer of an essentially free month of world-class coaching. It costs a buck. If you want to give it a try, I mean, for a buck why not? Then here’s the link. The Coupon Code is: STRONGER1

In this interview Chris and I cover a variety of topics from what’s new in The Time Crunched Cyclist to special considerations for recovery by older athletes to some good and disappointing news for people who like to eat, on body weight and performance.

If nothing else, listen to Chris’ harrowing story of being attacked by ‘ponies with teeth’ i.e. two large dogs while out for a mountain bike ride. It’s right at the beginning of the podcast.

As always I really appreciate your listening and support. If you like what you hear please leave a review on iTunes. As a new podcast doing that is a huge, I mean HUGE help in getting the word out.

I’d also love to hear what you think about the site and podcasts. If you have any topics that you’d like covered, or any inspiring athletes, coaches, trainers or researchers you’d like interviewed please let me know, here or on Twitter.

Thanks in advance and remember to help each other age stronger.

Show Notes & Resources

Age Stronger special: one month of Carmichael Training Systems for just $1.00. Use coupon code STRONGER1 (btw in case you are wondering, I don’t receive anything for this recommendation. I’m just happy to do it.)

Being knocked off bike and attacked by ‘ponies with teeth’

Why come out with a new edition of The Time Crunched Cyclist and what’s been updated?

New nutritional information and recipes from cycling chefs Michael Chiarello and Matt Accarrino

New time crunched ultra-cycling distance training plans for events like Leadville 100 and the Breck Epic

Tips for doing an ultra event with just 6 to 8 hours of weekly training and how to deal with time limitations.

How does the Time Crunched Cyclist help athletes who are already doing lactate threshold training?

How can the nutrition plan take you to the next level?

The impact of weight loss, even just 10 pounds, on endurance fitness.

What more to do if you are already eating healthy?

How the ‘time crunched’ approach applies to older athletes

Arrhythmias in older athletes.

Knowing when to call it a day, a good day.

The importance of proper recovery.

Normatech Compression Boots and how they work.

What Chris puts in his homemade recovery drink.

Importance of skin care for older athletes.

Challenges of coming back from injury.

Unavoidable injuries and those we inflict on ourselves.

Exercising while sick.

Robert Marchand, setting a new world record at age 105.

Wait… we’re all going to die?

Choosing to be an athlete as you age.

Professional cyclists pushing the age barrier.

Joop Zoetemelk, winner of the 1985 UCI Road World Championship at age 40.

We’re all athletes, some of us are in training, some of us aren’t.

Thoughts on future performance gains by aging athletes.

Chris’ new bike, the Pinarello F10

What does a time crunched cyclist read? Some of Chris’ current reads: Jim Harrison, Rick Bass, Cormick McCarthy, For inspiration: Bill Walton’s Back from the Dead

Changing his mind about the New England Patriots.

The Lance Armstrong question.

Why drug enforcement won’t truly solve the problem.

To learn more about Chris and his company Carmichael Training Systems

The Mavic Haute Route Rockies


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