Understanding the True Condition of Yourself – Pt. 1

Breath work, physical training, movement practice, exercise, your nutrition, meditation, journaling, mindfulness….

What do these have in common?

While they all inhabit the health, fitness and wellness space to some degree, what they have in common is that they are all tools that affect our State.

When I say State, I’m referring to the condition of you. Your mind, your body, your emotions, your feelings… you at a cellular level. The organism that is you. What you eat and drink, your training, your thoughts, your relationships, your conversations, your sleep, your perceptions, your beliefs… all impact your State in various ways. You may train like a #beast, 7 days a week, 2 hours a time, hard and heavy, getting after it and you may think you’re doing what’s best for your health.

But, what impact is that having on your State?

Is it helping or harming?

Is training your stress management strategy? No problem with that. Millions of people use exercise as a stress management strategy. Some use food. Some use breath work. Some use all those. But is that strategy helping or harming?

What if instead of stress management, we looked at State management; how we manage the effects of stressors on our State? Would that help determine what helps and what harms? Our body is smart. It is always doing its best to keep us in homeostasis; a level of normality for the organism that is us. It’s about survival. Our body does what it can to keep us alive.

When we exercise, this is stress. In response to that stress, we adapt. This adaptation occurs so the next time we experience that same stress, we, our body, can choose a better response. It changes our normal so we can survive. But, if we are not wise with our exercise or training decisions, we may not be getting the adaptations we are looking for. Our new normal may in fact be a state of dis-ease.

Likewise, once upon a time we ate to fuel our body for survival. These days food has become more than survival. It is now a social thing, a celebratory thing, a cultural thing, an emotional thing. The changing meaning of food is one factor contributing to our chronic over consumption and related obesity epidemic. We evolved to place a high value on calorie dense; high sugar, high fat, salty foods, because they were essential for survival. The problem is we still have primitive needs, but our world has changed. We have evolutionary mismatches; where our current environment is at odds with our evolution as a species. We make poor decisions around food, we react, we consume things that cause our body stress and trigger adaptations to our State that harm rather than help.

This can lead to what I refer to as State mismatches; our reactions or decisions to things in our environment that impact our State in ways we haven’t yet learned or evolved to manage… shift work, sitting for 8-hours a day in an artificially lit office, an abundance of calorie dense food, connecting via social media…. When we don’t know how to deal with something in our environment, we often react rather than choose our response. If we keep reacting to these primitive, habitual signals, we will find ourselves continuing to head down a slippery slope where our new normal is one of poor health and disease.

What if we changed the conversation around exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management and even many of the things seen as mental health strategies to a conversation around State?

  • What effect is ___________ having on my State?
  • How can I change my State?
  • How can I optimize my State?
  • What can I do to manage my State positively in this situation
  • How about, can I change the story I am telling myself about this situation to positively influence my State?

When we develop an understanding of our State and the various tools we have at our disposal in managing it, we can evolve and learn how to choose a response that is more in line with our needs today rather than the needs of our primitive ancestors.

It really all comes down to your State.

Read part 2 of this blog here.

Brian Mackenzie on Going Beyond Information for Deeper Understandings

When I originally got into human performance, I was young. Very young.

I liked going fast at the age of 4, and although it was in a swimming pool, it transcended very quickly into skateboards and BMX bikes. These things manifested into skiing, snowboarding, surfing, and continued with swimming into my late teens and early 20s. I took these fascinations through many twists and turns until it finally landing into a career in my late 20s with coaching. I got good at coaching roughly 4–5 years into the process… right about the time Facebook started; 2004.

Needed Alternative Ways to Train

That same year I did Ironman Canada, preceded by Ironman California (a half Ironman) and began looking at alternative ways to train for endurance events. My backgrounds in swimming and cycling made my “runs” look abysmal. Meaning I did pretty well on the swim and bike sides, but not so great on the running side. So, I started looking into the extremes of running. I read several articles (although there were very few at the time) on men and women running through the mountains in what were called ultra endurance runs.

Fascinated with concepts, principles, and with a decent understanding of physiology along with mechanics, I began toying with the idea of mechanically efficient running, intensity, and recovery. In 2005, I opened my first gym and it became the laboratory for all of this. Between the strength and conditioning equipment, treadmills and bike ergometers, we had the use of mini-saunas for heat exposure, altitude machines for low O2 training, climbing walls, and a slew of clients, and coaches who were willing to see how far we could take this idea.

My Process of Training Development

I spent the first 4-yrs of my career doing things one way, then another 6-yrs by going to the beginning and looking at something in an entirely unique way. So we climbed that mountain and as this internet and social media thing grew we were able to share more and more with others on the ideas. Many people are to thank for that process, including mentors, friends, partners, clients, coaches, and a community of people who embraced the theories we were putting out. 10-yrs of learning, which had come after a decent amount of book learning, and almost 30-yrs of wanting to go fast.

In the time since this paradigm shift, we’ve collectively been looking at more and more developmental theories and ideas that were typically done one particular way or were a byproduct of something else occurring. If you’ve followed our work you know that breathing is at the tip of this spear head. That in and of itself is not the only thing we have been “tweaking” or looking at differently. And although you may believe jumping in an ice bath or sauna or interval training is some static exercise, you might want to pay a little closer attention to the language and ways we are pushing these things. Tradition is great, and although each of these ideas is grounded in hundreds, if not thousands of years, of customs, doing things one way is about as inhuman as it can get.

Human Evolution is a Factor

When we start to look at history, and how we’ve evolved as a species, there are really only a few points where we see very fast changes. The advent of fire (controlling it), tools (using them), agricultural, and information. Each comes with promise, and each comes with consequence. I’ll let you use your imagination with the first 3 – there may be others as well – but as for the Information Age we have seen the greatest rise in how we can learn. This is what I believe may be our greatest asset as a species. The sharing of information and ability to apply that to ones own experience. This is our concept of N=1.

If we really break things down, information as a stand alone is meaningless. It is noise. Unfortunately, by and large most of us, including me, do not know what to do with that information, nor can we store that information. It has to sit on a hard drive or link in order for us to retrieve for later. So as social beings all operate, we formulate biases to what types of information we like. This is quite subjective, and incredibly problematic for those of us that cease to explore information further, and more importantly apply it to an experience. One can not live in theory without practice, and this is how the Information Age has been eroded at its foundation.

Go Beyond the Information

The unique part about being the human animal is that we also have the ability to observe our own behavior, although I’d argue not enough people are doing this, and more information is providing us with a chemical conditioning that is no different than the tobacco industries way of making smoking cool. The ability to read something quickly online and reproduce that information without application has left us with a growing mental problem that will more than likely continue to have us going to “I’m right dot com” or thinking research and theory are practice. We must not forget either, that any theory devoid of practice is only an idea, and it is up to the naysayer to show the theory does not hold true. This is where the “my opinion counts” crowd needs to be observed. This can be seen in any comments section of anyone spending time bringing down an idea they don’t agree with. We are not entitled to be sitting at the table with those who go to war when we’ve never been to war.

In my 2 decades of experience in an industry, I have been a part of this wave of misinformation, and I’ve played a role in pushing people to understand deep practice. I can find no better vehicle than the idea of going fast. Now, that may not be Usain Bolt, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong, or Dale Earnhardt, it may mean getting off the couch and walking, or doing some breathing.

Going fast eludes to the idea of learning. My Art of Breath co-founder Rob Wilson conceived an idea that I believe shows exactly where we are at on a scale of adaptability.

Ignorance is < Information is < Knowledge is < Learning.

Interestingly, this shows where bliss can be had. The ignorant shall remain blissful, as will those who employ a learned state. It is in information and knowledge where we get stuck and begin to believe we have the answer. There is no answer, there are tools, and our convenient lives have allowed us to regurgitate anything without trial. This stops all forms of learning. This stops adaptability. This stops our species from progressing.

I train and have developed training programs based on ideas that I challenged. These ideas all look at long term intrinsic human development. I challenged ideas by doing something. Although I’ve run my mouth or my typewriter pretty poorly in the past, for quite some time we have been testing or putting these ideas to practice. I have made it a part of my life to share that information, not with the idea that we are giving anyone knowledge, but that we are pushing you to see how much more we all can learn.


The Culture and Biology Of Stress and Rest

The inability to manage stress is on the rise. Stress negatively affects everyone: athletes, employees, soldiers, kids etc. So how do we improve our ability to manage stress? First, let’s understand what we mean by talking about the culture and biology of stress and rest.

What Is the Culture and Biology Stress?

Stress is our body’s response to pressure/demand placed upon it. It is a necessary part of life. The body does not differentiate between physical, mental or nutritional stress, its response is the same. The body enters into a physiological state, of differing degrees of stress called the Sympathetic State (Flight or Freeze) that is defined by:

  • The release of roughly 30 hormones including cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine.
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension.
  • Breakdown of fuels for available energy.
  • Pupil dilation.
  • Vasoconstriction; the constriction of blood vessels.

The Role Of Stress

Being in this Sympathetic (dominant) State plays an important role:

  • It helps to keep us alive when we are in danger.
  • Stimulates our body to make future adaptations (think about exercise).
  • Is like a dial. We can be very stressed, running from a lion, to slightly stressed, crossing the road, and anywhere in between.

We are an adaptive species and adapt to stressful stimuli. Therefore, there are appropriate times to enter into this state. Without appropriately stressing the body we would not start the process of ever getting better at something.

Current Reality

In reality, we spend too much time in a ‘stressed’ state. This becomes chronic. We are not designed to handle this and don’t take the time to recover, before over-doing it again. We know that being in this state for too long in the short to midterm results in fatigue, lack of focus, irritability and difficulty sleeping.

In the long term we know it leads to burn-out, injury, illness and disease. Hence, why we see that stress will most likely be the leading cause of death by 2025. Not because stress is bad, but because we enter this state inappropriately and stay there too long. We have an inability to manage our stress.

What Is Rest?

Rest is the ceasing of pressure/demand placed on the body in order to relax, sleep or recover.

The body enters into a physiological state of rest called the Parasympathetic State (Rest & Digest) that is defined by:

  • No involvement from Adrenal Gland.
  • Decrease of heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension.
  • Vasodilation; the dilation of blood vessels.
  • Pupil Dilation.
  • Increase in digestive juices.

The Role Of Rest

Being in this Parasympathetic State plays an important role:

  • It’s where the body repairs, digests and reproduces
  • It’s where the adaptations, stimulated from the stressed state, can actually occur, E.G. stress of muscle building focused exercise leads to muscle growth once entering into a rest state after the stress.
  • It’s where we lose weight, gain muscle, learn new skills and suppress illness.
  • Is like a dial, we can be very rested, deep sleep, to slightly rested, going for a walk, and anywhere in between.

It can also have chronic implications as well. We should really think of the state of rest as the state of adaptation.

Current Reality

In reality however, we do not spend enough time in a state of rest. In our culture, we find it very difficult to shift into this state. We don’t allow our bodies to make any adaptations to the stress we give it. We do not recover, grow or develop to our potential. Again, rest is another culturally heavy word. It means different things to different people. Judeo-Christian belief that rest is bad, weak and lazy.


It’s not that either is good or bad. They are both important, in appropriate amounts:

Optimal Balance – Adaption

Sub-Optimal Balance – Mal-Adaptation
Plateau or Suffering


Now we understand that we need an optimal balance; how do we manage stress in reality?

We call Stress Management -> State Management

1) We need to be aware of our current state.
2) We need tools to be able to shift state to achieve an optimal balance.

These tools are available in our Skill of Stress Online course. Enter your email to stay up to date on releases.


Managing your state is achievable and pays significant dividends now and in the long run. With this deeper understanding, we can look at the words stress and rest in a new light.

Stress is not bad, it’s necessary. Understanding the culture and biology of stress is the first step in building your optimal stress response. But if we continue to stress ourselves out inappropriately, we do not spend enough time in a rested state and therefore make no adaptations. As our very own Doc Hickey says:

“It’s not how much work can do, it’s how much work you can recover from.”

5 Tips to Make the Most of your Breath Work

One of the most frequent questions we hear is, “Where do I start with breath work?”

People know how powerful the breath can be, but they’re generally confused. What do I do if I can’t maintain nasal breathing? What if I can’t breathe well through my nose? Should I do a Cadence Protocol before training or after? What about Apnea? Should I superventilate between intervals? Should my belly stick out when I breathe in?

The questions are many. The problem is, the answer is very often, “it depends”. This leads to confusion. When we’re confused, we generally opt out and do nothing rather than try to wade through the confusion. What follows is a brief look into my personal breath work journey. It’s my hope that by sharing this, you will have a little better idea of how to apply breath work in your life.

First, a quick look at my history with breathing.

I was a lifelong mouth breather. I didn’t realize this until Brian recommended I read The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown. Much of what Patrick covered in this great book connected many dots for me.

Allergies – check.
Underdeveloped jaw – check.
Crowded teeth – check.
Bags under the eyes – check.
Snoring – check.
Repeated Sinus Infections – check
Poor breath hold ability – check.

All very attractive sounding qualities, right!?

These things resulted from my habit of mouth-breathing. Only I didn’t know it. Knowing would have saved a fortune on orthodontic treatment, surgeries and allergy medications. I may also have performed much better in many areas of life.

My journey, like many others, started with awareness.

I developed an awareness, through reading, of how I was to breathe. Then by tuning into what I was doing, I knew that I was breathing all wrong.

Fast-forward to now, I have learned a lot more about the principles of better breathing and how they apply to my life. I continue to delve deeper into the breath and how I can use it in all areas of my life.

Nasal breathing was the next step for me.

Nasal breathing in everyday life, while training and even while sleeping.

A couple of the surgeries I mentioned were to my sinuses with one including fixing up a deviated septum. I still have a bit of a deviated septum that can inhibit my ability to nasal breathe. But the more I do it, the better it gets.

To improve at nasal breathing, I nasal breathe. I tape my mouth at night to ensure I nasal breathe while sleeping. I often tape my mouth while training to reinforce the habit. I still catch myself mouth breathing from time to time but correct it as soon as I realize.

I also became aware that I hold a lot of tension in my upper back and neck. This is often exacerbated by breathing using my chest. There’s that awareness again. Now I know how it feels to use my diaphragm from the Art of Breath clinic and SH//FT’s Breathing Gear System™. I also pay special attention to thoracic and hip mobility.

So far, we have – Awareness and Mechanics.

A formal daily breath practice was the next thing I implemented.

What formal breath practice or protocol, of the many hundreds, you utilize doesn’t matter. What matters is that you put something in place that you can do daily. Make it a habit. Morning or evening. Before or after training. Between the office and home.

It doesn’t have to be complex or long, 5-10 minutes is great. Do something. This will give you insight and awareness into how practices or protocols affect you.

For example, I find anything with an exhale breath hold is a bit stressful for me. Protocols with an exhale hold up-regulate me. But anything that has an inhale hold has the opposite effect.

A protocol I used a lot for down-regulation (before bed) was 10-20 cycles of a 5-second inhale and a 5-second exhale.

For up-regulation (in the morning or before training) I used either a step-up Superventilation protocol, 20-30 breaths + :20-1:00 exhale hold + 3×5/5/5/5. I repeated the entire sequence for 3-5 cycles increasing the exhale hold time and the 5/5/5/5 by 1-second each time). Or I used a Kapalbhati protocol of 10 breaths + :10 exhale hold repeated for 5-10 cycles.

After trying different protocols for a few months I did our Shift Personalised Breath Assessment. This gave me 6 protocols based on my tolerance to Carbon Dioxide and my answers to an Emotional Reactivity Questionnaire.

To be completely honest, I don’t utilise all 6 protocols all the time these days. But that is fine. They’re designed for different circumstances. The important thing is that I have used them enough that I know what they are, when to use them and what affect they have on me.

The next part of my journey has led me to Apnea Tables. (I use the STAmina app)

My CO2 Tolerance score is generally around 60-seconds. But I am terrible at holding my breath while doing work. This has a lot to do with the stress and anxiety I experience when breath holding. That’s why I am now exposing myself daily to that uncomfortable feeling I get when I hold my breath. And, I’m improving.

So we have;

To sum up, here are my 5 tips for getting started with breath work.

1) Be aware of how you are breathing and how that is affecting you and your performance.

2) Breathe through your nose as much as you can. The only time you should be using your mouth is when operating at a very high intensity. And only then, on purpose.

3) Can you inhale and exhale fully without restriction, using your diaphragm? If not, identify where you’re feeling the restriction and address the issue. Is it mobility like a stiff thoracic spine? Is it structural like a deviated septum? Can you feel your diaphragm working?

4) Have a formal, daily breath practice – something you can fit into your everyday life. My formal practice, currently the Apnea Tables, is less than 20 minutes and I slot it in before training. But I still utilize all the other things I have learned about the breath throughout my day. Breathing doesn’t take time off.

5) Take notice of how your breath is affecting your body, your performance and your mental state. Make adjustments as necessary. Your body is an advanced piece of equipment, it will let you know. But you have to tune in.

To dive deeper into Breath work options we have available at Shift, there is a list of products and services below. I have compiled them in the recommended order of completion. That said you can choose to start with the product or service you feel suits your needs best right now.

Optimize Your Day with the Science of Sleep

By Dr. Ian C. Dunican, SH//FT Sleep Consultant

It is well known that sleep is an important process for recovery and subsequent performance in athletes and non-athletes alike. In recent years, podcasts, news and scientific articles have communicated the intrinsic details of sleep in different athletic populations and the importance of sleep to enable performance.

So why is it that many people neglect sleep or just don’t get enough?

Recent statistics from the Sleep Health Foundation in Australia in conjunction with Deloitte access economics report that 1 in 3 people do not get enough sleep [1].

We should be aiming to achieve 7–9 hrs per night.

One of the main factors contributing to this lack of sleep is that 1 in 5 people have a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders or sleep problems will affect the quantity and quality of sleep, thereby reducing the efficiency of our sleeping time. There are currently over 80 sleep disorders recognized by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine [2] resulting in $18bn of lost productivity per year or $2,500 per person.

Another factor is the societal and cultural approach to exercise and fitness, particularly with high achievers and athletes.

Too many people are advocating early morning starts, just like Rocky, before 5:00 am in order to get workouts done or even to catch up on email. So, whilst many of us need to go to work or are trying to carve out time before children awake, we need to ensure that we are bringing balance to our training.

Such early morning starts will truncate your sleep duration.

If you are exercising at this time, then to achieve 7-9 hrs per night, you will need to be in bed at a minimum by 8:30pm. This will allow for 10–20 minutes to fall asleep, followed by 8-hrs in bed for sleep that will most likely result in around 90% of sleep efficiency or approx. 7-8-hrs as we all wake throughout the night (WASO: Wake after sleep onset) which results in a reduction in total sleep duration.

In my work with a top-level physiologist who specializes in recovery with elite and Olympic athletes, they always advocate that sleep for recovery is the number one modality to prioritize for subsequent performance.

Therefore, these early morning training sessions (before 5:00am) truncate your opportunity for sleep duration and will also reduce the time spent in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is important for cognitive performance and decision-making.

If you are an amateur athlete that works and has a family, then dividing your training sessions may be appropriate for you. Maybe consider a lunchtime high intensity session to augment your training or extending your evening training session. “Rise and Grind” may be replaced by “Sleep in, and Win”.

Some people get by on 4-5 hrs sleep a night, can’t I just train myself to do this?

The short answer is no, the vast majority of the population require 7–9 hrs per night.

In a recent interview Prof. Matthew Walker on the Joe Rogan Experience said, “When you look at the number of people that sleep less than 5 hrs per night, there is a small fraction of <1% of the population, that has a certain gene that allows them to survive on 5 hrs of sleep”.

So, whilst some people may be only getting 5-hrs and they might be functioning ok from day to day, they are most likely not achieving their optimal performance.

But what about people like Winston Churchill, Einstein etc., they didn’t sleep much?

Yes, they slept unorthodox hours and even slept a low number of hours overnight (4-6 hrs). However, they did nap at least once a day and sometimes twice. In my work with business leaders, coaches, athletes and the general population (more than 4,000 people), I have not observed anyone who functions or competes at the highest levels on less than 6-hrs per night. Those who have told me that they only need 6-hrs a night tend to have short naps during the day or in some cases experience micro-sleeps at their desks or when sitting down that they are unaware of.

What is of interest is when “short sleepers” are provided with an uninterrupted period of time in bed to maximize sleep, they tend to achieve 8-hrs of sleep.

If you are an athlete, non-athlete, business leader or an individual looking to optimize your day, then the cheapest, most effective solution may lie within your sleep…pun intended.


1. Robert Adams SA, Anne Taylor, Doug McEvoy, and Nick Antic. Report to the Sleep Health Foundation 2016 Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults. Sleep Health Foundation: The University of Adelaide:The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health2016.
2. Berry RB BR, Gamaldo CE, Harding SM, Lloyd RM, Marcus CL and Vaughn BV. Academy of Sleep Medicine. The AASM Manual for the Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events: Rules, Terminology and Technical Specifications V2.2. Darien, Illinois: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2015.

Dr. Ian Dunican has over 20 years international professional experience in health, safety and performance/productivity improvement and commenced his occupational life in the Military. He has a PhD from the University of Western Australia (UWA), where he worked with elite sporting organizations and their athletes to optimize sleep, recovery and performance. Ian has worked with elite athletes at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), West Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS), professional teams in Super Rugby, Australian Rules Football, Basketball and with athletes involved in Ultra-Running, Swimming and Combat Sports like Boxing, & MMA. Read more about Ian, here

Featured Athlete: Josh Wanted to Improve His Rowing

SH//FT: What obstacle/s were you facing when you decided to join the SH//FT program?

Josh: I was bad at rowing and my endurance wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

SH//FT: How has SH//FT helped you overcome that/those obstacle/s?

Josh: I’ve done intense endurance workouts as prescribed and really figured out what I can do physically and mentally in workouts.

SH//FT: What does SH//FT provide that you value the most?

Josh: My ability to always know how to constantly move, push through and control my pace along with breathing.

SH//FT: What have been your results or the impact on your life from training with SH//FT?

Josh: How to control my breathing for optimal performance in competition, no matter the platform. My rowing is more efficient and my endurance has improved a lot. My breathing is always controlled, and I hardly ever hit a point in CrossFit™ workouts where I can’t move faster or push harder. I’ve been following the program for 3 or 4 years now, and I’ve only seen improvements in my performance both in CrossFit™ and other competitions.

SH//FT: Why did you choose to join SH//FT over another program/service?

Josh: I tried a couple of programs, and it was the best one for my schedule, and I liked the intensity and control on the endurance pieces.

SH//FT: What would you tell others who may be considering joining SH//FT?

Josh: Give it a shot, I used it for my worst movement, and now it’s taught me a lot in regard to everything else.


Featured Athlete: Inia from New Zealand Painfully Running a 316km Ultra

In our latest member feature, meet SH//FT member Inia from Auckland, New Zealand.

SH//FT: What obstacles were you facing when you decided to join SH//FT?

Time and repetitive injuries were really starting to impede my training for Ultra-Marathons. I work shift work as an Emergency Doctor in New Zealand (NZ) and was recently deployed on military service. Subsequently, I found it hard to put in the recommended mileage to train for Ultras. I also found that high mileage didn’t really work for me. I was suffering from repeated knee injuries and pain that would put a halt to training and competing… just when I was starting to get competitive. When I returned from deployment early last year, I couldn’t run 5km without pain. As a result, I adopted the Shift approach to training. I’ve now set up a small home gym and do most of my training at home before or after work.

SH//FT: How has SH//FT helped you overcome that obstacle?

It helped confirm what I already suspected. That by focusing on correct form and strength, you didn’t need the high, what I call “junk miles”, of a traditional ultra-marathon running program. Although high, slow mileage may work for some runners, it didn’t work for me, and just placed me at risk of injury. It provided a guide for cutting back on the mileage and working on technique and form correction. The videos have helped me with my form and I typically have them playing at home during my training.

SH//FT: What does SH//FT provide that you value the most?

A direction when it comes to strength training for running. I still supplement in some of my own rehabilitation exercises and the odd longer trail run (because that’s my sport), but my the basis of my training revolves around the prescribed Shift run program.


SH//FT: What have been your results or the impact on your life from training with SH//FT?

I have managed to return from injury to compete in my first Multi-stage Ultra-marathon in 2 years. Having completed (last week) the Alps2Ocean Ultra in New Zealand. As an unsupported runner (carrying all food and equipment) I ran 316km over 7 days, from the base of Mt Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) to Oamaru on the east coast of the South Island. Without putting in the high training mileage of other competitors and still not being back to 100% pre-injury state, I came in 10th in the unsupported category and 26th overall (supported + unsupported runners). This was way better than I expected for the amount of actual running I have been doing and has placed me ahead of schedule for my future race goals over the next 2 years.

SH//FT: Why did you choose to join SH//FT over another program/service?

Ease of use and the fact that Shift shared the same philosophy in regard to training.

SH//FT: What would you tell others who may be considering joining SH//FT?

SH//FT works. Not only does it work, but it works for Ultra-marathon training as well. It’s helping make me a stronger, less injury prone runner and a more functional general athlete as well. Because although I enjoy running, I don’t want to look or function like a runner. I enjoy other sports and activities like boxing that require strength and coordination, something a large portion of ultra-runners don’t have.


Featured Athlete: Erika Is Finding a Way to Train and Have a Life


In our latest member feature, meet GHP Run member Erika from Rocky Point, NY.

SH//FT: What obstacle/s were you facing when you decided to join the GHP program?

Erika: My stubbornness, which still exists. I’m working on trying to find the right mix of a lot of different things – long distance, speed, strength – and finding a way to fit it all in with the resources/time/mentality that I have. I can’t seem to give up those longish cardio type workouts.

SH//FT: How has GHP helped you overcome that/those obstacle/s?

Erika: It has definitely given me a nice program of interval type workouts – specifically in the running area, which is my comfort zone. I struggle with the strength days because I tend to just do whatever my current CrossFit™ box has programmed. I struggle with making the full commitment to the weekly schedule for that reason. It’s a combo of being too much of a wimp to ask my box owners to just use their equipment to do my own thing, and the fact that I do enjoy group classes.

SH//FT: What does GHP provide that you value the most?

Erika: I love seeing the weekly plans… And the ability to ask questions and get great responses. Also seeing other people’s questions/results.

SH//FT: What have been your results or the impact on your life from training with GHP?

Erika: It is really helpful to have an overall idea of a plan, even though I’m not entirely sure of my goals. I really appreciate the responses to questions and overall having a coach. I do feel like I have made improvements… but I could be better if I committed more… my fault!!

SH//FT: Why did you choose to join Shift over another program/service?

Erika: I like CrossFit™… but sometimes I think that my interests/abilities are more in line with endurance type events. I like long, not short and fast. This seemed to be a good balance. Plus, every coach I’ve communicated with has been so supportive and positive.

SH//FT: What would you tell others who may be considering joining Shift?

Erika: Definitely do it!!!! I’ve mentioned you guys to a bunch of people already.