National Geographic Adventure - Dream It. Plan It. Do It.

Online Personal Training
Web Favorites

Work(out) From Home

Photo: Home Gyms

All you need to workout from home, from cardio to core, and none of the bad classic rock.
Home gyms

Travel Directory
Photo: Canoe approaching elephant

Find an outfitter or a destination with our Travel Directory, now available online.
Travel Directory

Winter Weekend 
Getaways Near You

Heli-ski backcountry British Columbia, set up a camp in
a North Woods igloo, dogsled to a Wyoming yurt. Here are 11 out-the-backdoor wonderlands.

Weekend escapes

Ouray Ice Park
Photo Gallery

Photo: Ice Climber

Ace photographer Steve Casimiro takes us up a vertical ice rink while ice climbing in Ouray, Colorado.
Ice-climbing photos

Ask Dr. Extreme

Q: I'm going to Laos for a trip down the Mekong. Should I
let bird flu alter my plans?

Find out the answer and send in your own question

Online Favorites

Paddling Croatia Photos and Video

Digital Cameras Review

Audio: Ed Viesturs

Adventure Travel

Adventures in Travel Expo

Robert Young Pelton's Travel Tips

Online Personal Training 2.0
Web-based coaches are out to hook everyday athletes with pumped-up new features. Should we take the bait?   By Michael Behar   Illustration by Tim Bower
Illustration: Online Personal Training

Step 1: The Evaluation | Step 2: The Routine | Step 3: The Fine-Tuning

Last summer I took up kiteboarding—a sport not unlike windsurfing, only the board is smaller and the sail is a parabolic kite you fly from 65-foot (20-meter) lines. After my first few sessions, I learned that (a.) head-to-toe lactic-acid paralysis strikes even those athletes whose primary concern is staying upright and (b.) if I wanted to survive a week-long kiting trip in Mexico, I needed help getting up to speed.

Online coaching sites have been around since the late 1990s, but until recently they've mainly targeted hard-core triathletes and marathoners looking to better their personal records. Today, however, sites such as and Carmichael Training Systems ( are rolling out streaming video, personalized nutrition analysis, and increased "human contact" to lure average folks with tight schedules and diverse interests.

For me, a travel junkie, going virtual is a no-brainer—the Web is everywhere, and so, too, will be my trainer. I just hope I won't be stuck with a one-size-fits-all program that keeps me on the losing end of a tug-of-war with my kite.

Step 1: The Evaluation: Your trainer will Google you now
I opt for Carmichael Training Systems, founded in 1999 by Chris Carmichael, who coached Lance Armstrong through six Tour de France victories. To begin, I plunk down the $149 monthly fee for a middle-tier program that offers unlimited interaction with a coach, fill out an eight-page questionnaire, and, 24 hours later, get a call from my new trainer.

Nick White, 26, is based at Carmichael headquarters, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has certifications from both the USA Triathlon and USA Track & Field governing bodies. Though that's all I'll ever learn about White, I find myself trusting him immediately: He's a triathlete and a competitive cyclist, while I have a hard time hanging on to my kite for more than 20 minutes straight.

White admits this is his first time designing a training regimen for kiteboarding and says that he's already Googled the sport to figure out which muscle groups to target. Googled? I recently Googled "ACL" looking for knee info and was linked to the Association for Computational Linguistics. Nevertheless, White's findings are impressive. As he rattles off muscle groups, I realize he's recounting in detail the anatomy of my post-kiting fatigue.

"We should focus on your core section: abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, lower back," he says. "And since you travel a lot, I will build a whole program that you can take on the road."

Step 1: The Evaluation | Step 2: The Routine | Step 3: The Fine-Tuning

Photo: Cover

Pick up the February 2006 issue for 36 amazing Hawaiian adventures, the most spectacular treks in Australia, 11 weekend escapes near you, and more.

E-mail a Friend

Adventure Subscription Offer