What it Takes – One Weekend, Two Triathlon Podiums!

What it Takes – One Weekend, Two Triathlon Podiums!

1st Place Masters - Sprint Triathlon

Finishing on the podium, twice, at the Luray International and Sprint Triathlons on August 19-20, 2017 was in a word - awesome! Not because I doubted my abilities, but because these races were only a test to evaluate my fitness level and determine what I need to work on before my biggest race of the year; the Reston Olympic Triathlon in two weeks.

Beginning my athletic career in the early 90’s, I was always a mediocre athlete. I competed in sports like, cross-country, track, swimming, even volleyball, but trust me when I tell you I wasn’t catching the eye of any scouts. In spite of my less than triumphant athletic career, I never lost my love for sports and competition. Although I added triathlons to my list in 2003, I didn’t hit my stride until many years later.

How I Did It

3rd Place Masters - Olympic Distance Triathlon

My journey to finishing overall 3rd place in the masters category of the olympic distance and 1st place overall masters in the sprint is not how most professional triathlon coaches would draw up a training plan. I swim, on average, once per week, run 3 times per week and bike 5-7 times per week, but for much shorter distances than most other triathletes. However, what I feel separates me from everyone else is my cross training program, specifically boot camp.

Boot camp offers something unique to my training regimen. It allows me to focus on full body conditioning - strength training, speed and endurance. By becoming less of a “linear athlete” and more of an “all-around athlete”, I began to see results that I never experienced in my competitive career. I was finishing in front of people who had been beating me for years!

For the first time, I was standing on the podiums at local road races, as well as triathlons; and doing significantly less triathlon training. Since changing how I trained, I have rarely participated in a fitness event and not finished in the top 5% overall. I still do not consider myself an elite athlete (top 1%), but I am pretty confident to place myself in the top 10%!

When I’m asked, what’s my secret? The answer is run less, boot camp more. For many, this is impossible to accept, but I’m living proof - boot camp works! I have less injuries and am faster at age 44 than I was at 40, 35 and even 25! In addition to improving how I train, my nutrition has improved as well. It is significantly better than it has ever been, that too is a huge game changer.

Final Thoughts

If a mediocre athlete like myself can transform, you can too! With proper training, nutrition and dedication, anything is possible. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results.” If you are unhappy with the results you have been getting from your current routine, and you want to get stronger, faster or place higher - try something different!


Tom Kalka is the President and CEO of Sergeant’s Fitness Concepts. In addition, to being a successful business owner and fitness instructor, he is a loving husband, father of 3 and dog owner. When he isn’t helping others achieve their fitness goals or training for his next race, he enjoys spending time with his family, volunteering at local community events and supporting military veteran organizations.

Keep up with Tom, see his latest stats and athletic achievements on www.Athlinks.com.

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