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Scott
 #1 
The screen shot below doesn't really do the web-based software justice (and it's a picture of just one of many screens), but in the next few days a major new feature will be added to TheTrainingCoop: TrainingPeaks software.  The similarity in name is just a coincidence - I did not start a new software company in my spare time.

Here's a paraphrased blurb from some promo material:

"Training Peaks is an online, web based training and nutrition log designed for trainers to manage and communicate with clients.  The trainer and the client can use the online software to design and journal about daily training and track results.  Training Peaks is used by everyone from elite Ironman and Tour de France podium finishers to first time marathoners and everyday individuals looking to track their personal fitness goals.  It's the official software of British Triathlon, USA Triathlon, Triathlon Canada, and the SaxoBank Pro Cycling Team.  It is used effectively everyday by 100,000 + clients, from top pros to the decidedly recreational fitness enthusiast (and those who are enthused about getting to a good level of fitness for the first time) for cardio and strength training."

The software has the ability to display daily, weeky, and monthy workout schedules, track and graph your progress, it allows you to journal your workouts and record daily metrics, record your dietary intake including calories and macronutrients (selecting food from an exhaustive list of name brand and USDA foods as well as a customized list, so there's no need to painstakinging type all the nutrient info in on your own), and much, much more.  Though I haven't tried it yet (read: I haven't a clue how to do it) you can even upload data from GPS and power meter devices to record your training distances and other stats.

I've been testing a bunch of different product over the last couple of weeks and decided to go with TrainingPeaks in large part because it's web-based and allows me to easily communicate training plans with others remotely.  For now that means that I can, for instance, share a training plan with Jen in NY very easily. We'll see if and where it leads in the future.  I'm in the midst of using the software to put together a 20 week strength and cardio plan for Deanna as a test subject. I'm building a library of exercises and workouts that I can sort by exercise type, intensity, muscle group, etc., and then drag and drop into a workout schedule to create unique schedules using my own defined exercises.  It's pretty cool stuff.  More to come!

 

Tom
 #2 
Cool stuff.  Kinda like MapMyRide and FitDay put together?  If so, then bring it on!  What are the costs connected?
Scott
 #3 
I think the nutrion part of it is quite similar to FitDay.  The training part of it is substantially more involved than MapMyRide (I think), and not exactly the same.  As you know MapMyRide is designed in large part so that you can share your rides, stories, pics, etc. with others in an online community, locate local events, and so on.  TrainingPeaks is designed primarily to be used exclusively by an individual to track their own progress, design their own workouts, etc., or for a trainer to work with an unlimited # of clients one on one.  Some of the functionality is very similar though, including the uploading of rides, the ability to download pre-built programs for specific goals, keeping logs, etc.

The set up cost for TrainingPeaks was a very reasonable one time fee of $100 US.  The ongoing cost is $50 a month US, with additional features for the client costing $9 per month per client (or more if you pay on a month to month basis as opposed to committing for a longer period).  If other TrainingCoop members want to use the software they are welcome to do so for free (and if they want to upgrade the premium client pacakge for $9+ a month they can be billed directly for that).  If they want me to put together a program for them, including a one on one session in person going over proper form for strength training, doing some standardized testing, monitering their progress and making adjustments to their workouts accordingly, etc. (essentially acting as a trainer) I might accept a small payment to help offset a little bit of the cost, but if they want to use it for themselves I don't really want to ask for anything. 

One big caveat here though is that even if one of our handful of members wants to use the software independantly I have to set up the training schedule for them, even if I set it up at their direction exactly the way they laid it out, because (a) only the trainer (me) has the ability to create and then drag and drop workouts into the schedule (after which the client can journal about them, record their matrices, and so on) and (b) I've established some convensions for the way I record the exercises I'm adding to the library, and in order to sort the exercises properly I need to diligently follow those convensions.  I'd be happy to do this because it would help me get aquainted with the software, but if you want to operate completely independantly it might get frustrating for you.
Scott Wiebe
 #4 

Oh, I should also mention that the personal TrainingPeaks version (I've purchased the pro version so I can work with clients) is free to use, but as the name implies you can of course only use it for yourself.  However, you could then use it to put together your own workouts and schedules.

Deanna
 #5 

I've been on active rest for the past week on the instructions of my new trainer  which has been quite nice, but I'm getting pretty excited about my new program. The software looks great and I'm itching to try it out. Once Scott started inputting my new workouts I've been banned from checking it out - I think the unveiling is planned for tonight. All I know so far is that one of my new exercises will be a decline dumbell push crunch - ? Hmm, maybe excited and scared...

Scott
 #6 
Okay, so it was getting late when I was posting last night and rereading them this morning (yes, I'm that dorky) I realized I left out a little info.  If TrainingCoop members want to use the Pro version of Training Peaks that I purchased on their own (without me as as pseudo-trainer) they can't build their own workout schedule as I mentioned, BUT they CAN record their workouts as they go (in other words they can drag and drop workouts into the calendar for their current day, or retroactively, but not in advance) and of course they can journal about the workouts, record their matrices, etc.

Also, if they upgrade to the premium ($9+ per month) service they appearantly CAN plan their own future workouts in the calendar without my help.  The only thing I would need to do is enter the exercises they're planning to use into the exercise library so they are available for them to drop and drag.  In time the library we be pretty exhaustive so this will become less and less of an issue.  Just let'n you know.
Tom
 #7 
Currently I use MapMyRide mostly for recording my workouts/rides and connecting with others (accountability), but there are some new options to plan workouts/plot schedules.  I have not taken the time yet to look too deep at the capabilities there, but I suspect that these companies look at each other and add on new functionalities to remain relevant.  Kinda like Flickr and Photobucket, etc.

I will be very interested in checking out TrainingPeaks.

Scott
 #8 
Deanna's newest training plan (that will take her thru the next 20 weeks) is done, with help from TrainingPeaks, and she's been updating her results for the last week or so.  It's been great for me to be able to monitor results online, even though we live together - having the info captured in one easy-to-use place is proving to be a great asset for us.  After consulting with Jen I'm in the midst of putting together a plan for her on TrainingPeaks as well, which I'm sure will prove to be a great way to communicate with someone who is currently living in another country (and who probably doesn't know where she'll be over the summer).  Jen will likely continue to use an alternative workout journal that she's been using for some time so the full TrainingPeaks functionality won't be tested with her, but that's fine.

I've created a simple little test client on TrainingPeaks and am happy to email a username and password to other members offline if you'd like to check it out for yourself.
Tom
 #9 
Definitely ... we'd like to check out it's functionalities and ease of use.
Deanna
 #10 

I really like the training Peaks software. As Scott mentioned, I've used it for a while now. I was worried when I first saw it that it might be 'clunky' to use, but it's really quite simple, from a client perspective, anyway. There are a few quirks to get used to, but they are very minor ('click', don't 'right click' for journaling) - and if you get it wrong, it's not that anything bad happens, you just don't see the pop up you are looking for.

It's very well laid out (much of this has to do with the way Scott set it up, not the software itself, but since that's the way we will see/ use it I think it is worth including in a software review). The calendar view seen in Scott's origianl post is the default and most useful for day to day viewing, with a quick visual of workouts in a two week block. Although the details of each workout (sets/ reps/ weight; or intensity & instruction for cardio) actually 'live' in the workout journal, they are visible in the calendar for a one stop view of everything you need to know to do your workout.

Once completed, the post activity comments section in the workout journal is used to record actual workout details and comments, along with specific 'pods' to record  duration, cadence, power, speed, etc (pods are all cardio specific). I was worried that it might become onerous to record everything after a workout, but actually I find it helpful to go in and write about it. There's actually not much writing to do (if you don't want to) since most if it is preset to simply enter the numbers. A simple click on the workout brings you to the linked journal section.

The spreadsheet view is a great way to quickly review past workouts. It provides a list of each workout inlcuding the post activity comments so you can quickly see how many reps/ what weight you've been doing (without going in to each journal entry individually). I usually take a quick look to review my last workout before I start the next one to make sure there isn't anything I need to adjust or focus on during a workout.

There's also a dashboard to record daily metrics such as sleep hours, weight & body fat, various HR measures, and rate your quality of sleep, general health, amount of soreness, fatigue, stress, etc. I find it helpful to be more thoughtful about how I feel and I'm a lot more aware now about how much sleep I get (or don't!).

In terms of improvements, I think it would be helpful to have a 'general' journal section; or a comments section in the dashboard. Right now each journal section is specifically linked to an individual exercise or a meal so there's nowhere to comment generally on how you feel - 'I feel great today' or 'gosh my back hurts' - just the overall health or soreness ratings levels in the dashboard. It might be nice to have some journal pods specifically targetted to strength training for easier entry of actual sets/ reps/ weight. It would also be ideal to have some custom metrics fields in the dashboard so you can track what matters most to you. For example, I don't want to spend the time entering all my meals, but I do keep track separately of my overall caloric intake and I'd love to just enter my total calories per day. I'm getting pretty picky here though - because I can't come up with any larger improvements needed.

I've found the software to be a great way to track and record workouts. I especially like the way it delivers information in a simple format to get you on the way and working out quickly, but there's so much functionality hidden behind that; and you can decide how much or how little you want to utilize.
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