Saturday, February 27, 2010

— Mark Trahanovsky likes the way the world looks from the top floor of some very tall buildings.

He's been to the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago a few times, and is a big fan of the 63-floor Aon Center in Los Angeles.

The thing is, when Trahanovsky visits skyscrapers across the country, the 51-year-old Yorba Linda resident only believes in taking the elevator down.
Trahanovsky competes in the growing sport of stair climbing. In fact, he is ranked no. 27, among male stair climbers in the world and climbed the Willis (Sears) Tower in 16:46 minutes in 2008. He's made 17 climbs across the country since September 2007.

"The best thing about the sport is it fits a busy lifestyle," said the fulltime salesman and father of two. "This sport (takes) 30 minutes a day for incredible fitness. I am the same weight that I was in high school."

There are over 100 competitive stair climbs, also known as tower running, in North America every year. Participation in the events, which are usually to raise money for charity organizations, can vary.

In 2009, the Fight for Air Climb in Los Angeles attracted about 400 climbers, while the Big Climb in Seattle drew about 6,000.

Athletes typically start their climb at intervals of about eight seconds, with the fastest tower runners heading up first. The climbers wear time chips to calculate how fast they make it to the top, and the difference between first and fourth place can often be a matter of seconds, Trahanovsky said.

"It can become a little bit of a contact sport if someone is there and won't let you go around, but usually we know each other and are polite," Trahanovsky said.

Things get a bit more chaotic at the Empire State Run Up, which is an invitation-only race at the Empire State Building in New York where runners all make a mad dash for the stairs at the same time.

Trahanovsky got turned on to the competitive sport after he injured his knee and had to stop running.

"There is no impact (in stair climbing) on your knees," Trahanovsky said. "The body is meant to climb."

Athletes' knees are strained on the way down, which is why Trahanovsky climbs up and then takes the elevator back to the ground floor.

The hardest part of competitive stair climbing is that unlike other marathons, there is never a period of running flat or downhill.

"Your whole body is crying out to stop," Trahanovsky said. "You are continually going up and up."
The key, he said, is learning how to pace yourself.

Trahanovsky is working out five nights a week in preparation for an April 24 Fight for Air climb at the Aon Center in Los Angeles to benefit the American Lung Society.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Five Golden Rules Of Fitness

“The Five Golden Rules of Maximum Training”

Congratulations! You just signed up for your first fitness modeling show! Signing up is just the first step, the next step is to actually train and improve your physique and take it to the next level! What are the most efficient training methods to get your physique “Stage Ready?”

This article will briefly explain how to efficiently and effectively get the most out of each and every workout and to maximize the results your want in the gym. There are five golden rules you must follow in order to take your physique to the next level.

Rule #1

Stick with non-traditional exercises

The body is generally lazy. It likes consistency, it likes routines. Doing three sets of bench press followed by three sets of lat-pull downs is not going to cut it, especially when competition is so fierce.

Begin by choosing exercises that work the entire body, the more muscles you can fire in one exercise sequence the more efficient your routines become and the faster you will generate results. Forget isolation movements until the very end of your workout routine. A huge caveat to this is an exercise called “rear cable flys” This is done on a cable machine and allows for more muscle isolation on the rear deltoid, creating more shoulder stability.

Rule #2

Challenge the body with BOSU Ball and Stability Ball work

The BOSU Ball and Stability Ball have become one of the major staples in any fitness plan. WHY? When you put your body in an unstable unbalanced environment, more muscles fibers will have to fire in order for the body to perform the movement. When you fire more muscle fibers the workout efficiency gets a huge boost.

Challenge – Create a full body routine using only A BOSU Ball, Stability Ball and your own bodyweight

Rule #3

Master “Speed Training”

What is the true definition of being fit? Give up? The true definition of fitness is doing more work in less time. For example if the average client of mine starts off on day one doing only 4 exercises in an hour, but then in a weeks time can do 8 exercises in an hour he has efficiently doubled his fitness level.

Therefore Speed training involves doing as many exercises safely in an hour as possible. Please note that this does not mean rush through sets or use sloppy technique. Always train with good form. Maybe you start off only getting through 12 exercises with good form in an hour, but the next week you jumped to 14, you have just increased your fitness level and your body will change!

Some techniques that you can use are as follows:

•Use only 30 seconds rest in between exercises, if you are fit enough try 15 seconds rest!
•Combine three exercises together, do each exercise once then rest for thirty seconds and repeat two more times. (Try this for a full hour, and watch your body change dramatically!)
•Create a series of exercises (4-6) and complete 5 times in a row, never giving yourself more then a minute to rest after every circuit.

Rule #4

Use the “C” word in your workouts!

Oh not that word! It’s called “Cardio” Yes fitness competitors hate cardio, who wants to get up in the morning and do 45 minutes of cardio to burn fat? Boring! By incorporating cardio into your workouts you will dramatically improve the way your body responds to fat burning! You will also cut down on your other “cardiovascular activities” and spend less time in the gym. Talk about being efficient!

For example try combining a core conditioning exercise like four count push-ups with thirty seconds of plyometric knee tucks and then finishing off the tri-set with one-legged hamstring ball curls. FEEL THR BURN!

Rule #5

“Temet nosce” - Know Thyself

The most important rule of all is “Know Thyself” Get to know the way your body responds to training.
Listen, do you have any old oxygen or muscle magazines lying around? Great! Throw them out, or give them to your competitors. Routines that the so called professional athletes do are not geared toward your body.

This type of training, called “Intuitive Training” is the trickiest part of creating that winning package and it is often the most over-looked.

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.” - Henry Ford.

To really succeed at this sport you must engage your thinking processes even further then the average fitness enthusiast. You must really hone your intuitiveness and instincts and train with your head and your heart!


I hope that is article has taught you to not follow the crowd when getting into “contest shape” Always think outside the box when training for a show, if you do I know that you will come into the show feeling and looking amazing! Even if you follow a few of these golden rules you will come into your next show at your all time best!

I also encourage you to seek the guidance from a professional fitness coach who has the knowledge, the skill and the now-how to help you develop your winning physique. I can be found at where I design and implement programs for beginners to the advanced athletes using the online technology SKYPE.

I wish you all the best in your upcoming contest preparations!

Trevor Folgering
Fitness Professional
Professional Stair-Racer

Friday, February 19, 2010

Welcome to the Canadian Competitive Climb Series!

Well time has just flown by, and with not much blogging done I am ready to spill the beans!

The Canada StairClimbing Association is proud to announce the official schedule of the Canadian Competitive Climb series.

We will have very soon a full seven races scheduled across Canada for all fitness enthusiasts and athletes to try!

Right now I am 50 percent full capacity in the pre-registration, meaning spots are closing fast! I can only accept fifty athletes per Tier per race! We have 5 Tiers so there has been a lot of great interest in the last few months!

If your an extreme athlete, or just love trying new challenges, sign up!

You might be asking yourself what the heck is the competitive climb series all about?

Good Question! The Canadian Competitive Climb series are competitive races that happen each year in Canada. Competitors race up towers such as the CN Tower, Calgary tower etc. Each city will host a regional qualifier and the top athletes will compete as Team Canada in our Canadian and North American Championships.

The amazing thing about stair climbing is that anyone can do it! Even if your not a super fit athlete you can still participate!

So check pre-register today! You do not have to give any money at all! Just fill in a basic form!

Pre-register HERE!

Hope to see you at one of our climbs across Canada!

Trevor Folgering
Canada StairClimbing Association

Monday, February 15, 2010

More Empire Articles!

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Tim Van Orden covered 86 flights of stairs in 12:22 to finish first in the 40-49 age group and 11th overall in the Empire State Building Run-Up on Tuesday.

The Bennington native ran up 1,576 steps in just over 12 minutes to reach the observation deck of the historic New York City landmark. Van Orden also competed in the Run-Up in 2008, finishing 14th overall and seventh in his age group.

Van Orden is no stranger to footracing success, having won the annual Zem/Benn road race in each of its last two runnings.

Thomas Dold, a 25-year-old from Stuttgart, Germany, finished first in this year’s Run-Up in 10:16.

"I’m so tired ... It was quite hard," Dold said. He is the third person to win the race five times. His only loss was a photo finish in his 2005 debut.

Melissa Moon, 40, of Wellington, New Zealand, placed first among the women in 13 minutes, 13 seconds. She finished panting, but smiling.

"Oh, look at that view!" she said at the top.

Trevor Folgering, of Burlington, finished 31st overall with a time of 13:50.

The unorthodox race has been run 33 times since 1978. Competitors start in the lobby, where they take just a few strides before squeezing through a doorway and into a stairwell for the long climb.

Passing can be difficult. The stairs are only wide enough for two people. Contestants also have to deal with an ear-popping altitude change of 1,050 feet. Some 162 men and 76 women entered this year. The event draws stair-climbing specialists from around the globe.

Gretchen Grindle Hurlbutt, 31, of New York, placed second among the women, then posed for photos with her 4-month-old baby.

She said getting back into shape so soon after pregnancy took a little time, by her standards anyway. She didn’t hit her usual regimen of 30-40 training miles per week until Christmas.

"I figured I’m good at two things, running and motherhood, so why not?" she said.
Hey Stair Climbing Fanatics

Just found this article!

Step It Up
Local stair racer Michael Branca faces an uphill climb to gain recognition for his sport.
by Kristin Pazulski

Published: Mar 21, 2007

You've seen it. Runners — young and old, Philadelphian and tourist, in shape and out — after chugging up the 72 steps leading to the Art Museum, panting from the exertion, throwing their fists above their heads, mimicking Philadelphia's Hollywood-made hero, Rocky Balboa.

You've probably done it. Though some Philly natives are reluctant to admit they've participated in this clich├ęd re-enactment, Roxborough native Michael Branca has no qualms. But when Branca runs up those stairs, his celebration denotes more than the completion of the infamous Balboa run. Running through the mind of this 58-year-old is a future where stair runners can celebrate the completion of a much different run — a stair climb in the Olympics.

Stair-racing competitions are held mainly in the winter, as an alternative to 5Ks and other outdoor charity runs. Branca, who has been running competitively since he was in the seventh grade, discovered the sport at the 1996 Mellon Bank Center Stair Climb for Cystic Fibrosis. After 30-plus years of winning races and participating in marathons, Branca had found a new challenge.

Although after that first race, a 53-floor, 1,019-step climb, he vowed never to return ("I did finish the race," he says, "but I finished almost on my face"), Branca has since embraced the sport, recruiting a new generation of runners, creating training programs specifically for stair runners and sharing his goal of making the sport Olympics-worthy.

The biggest obstacle stair racing presents the runner is not the leg-pumping, says Branca, but rather the dusty, thin air in the stairwell of a skyscraper.

A runner training for a stair race must concentrate on expanding lung capacity in preparation for the big run, he says. This is especially important since most runners take their pavement pounding outdoors rather than the stairwells in which stair races are held.

"Any skyscraper looks clean, but there's going to be dust there. Even if [the stairwells] are damp-mopped prior to the competition [to pick up dust], your airways are going to be clogged in some way," he explains. "It's just harder to breathe."

Becky Kay, a 32-year-old who lives near the Art Museum, learned that lesson at her first Mellon Bank Center Race on Feb. 25. She says she'd trained by trekking the museum's 72 steps 2,000 times a few times a week. Yet in the 53-floor race, she didn't make it past the fifth or sixth floor at a running pace.

"I trained on steps, but when you do that, you get the down, so it's not the same as going straight up with no down," remembers Kay. "It was pretty rough. I felt like there was so little air."

According to Branca, it's hard for runners to find a venue to get a one-up on the dusty environs. Besides training on the stairs of their own apartment buildings, homes or offices, runners have to stick to outdoor staircases because it is nearly impossible to get permission from tall buildings to use their steps because of liability and safety issues.

But by training outside and incorporating weight lifting (because runners are allowed to use their arms to pull themselves up the stairwell), running uphill, and, of course, pumping up hundreds, even thousands, of steps, Branca has been able to win numerous medals at the Mellon Center, and was invited six times to the Empire State Building Run Up. That race, with 86 floors totaling 1,576 steps, chooses about 200 participants from a pool of more than 1,000 international applicants.

Now he is ready for a new challenge: pushing it as an Olympic sport.

For a sport to be considered worthy of the Olympics, it first has to be registered as an International Federation. Then the federation can apply to the International Olympic Committee for qualification as an Olympic sport. Branca recognizes that as a "normal, ordinary person," he does not have the clout to convince the IOC, nor to organize the International Federation.

So instead, Branca is doing what he does best — besides running — to advocate for the sport.

"I've been told by people that I have the gift of gab," says Branca, a quality that has earned him the title "Mayor of Valley Green." He's using his gift to recruit runners in the Wissahickon area, like Kristina Butcher, a 28-year-old triathlete from Chestnut Hill. She raced alongside Branca Feb. 6 at the Empire State Building Run Up.

"My goal, before they put me out to the pasture, would be to train Olympic-bound stair climbers," Branca said, like Butcher. "It's exciting when you talk to stair climbers, it's a different process — a different think — than course running."

Branca believes that young, talented athletes will be the ones to best advocate for the sport, and his efforts are to do what he can to create an interested group in Philadelphia.

"Something new is always going to be looked at by athletes, and athletes with credentials are the ones that are going to push for the sport for themselves because they will want to compete on that level," he said.

Last month's Mellon Center race is one of more than 30 annual races held throughout the nation, and there are more around the world. It has also been the only one held in Philadelphia, until this year.

On March 24, Pennsylvania's chapter of the American Lung Association is introducing its first Philly stair run at the Bell Atlantic Tower, which boosts a 50-floor, 1,088-stair climb.

Runners travel around the country, and sometimes the world, to compete in these races. At the Mellon Center race, City Paper talked to a couple from Houston, Texas; a man from Miami; and a couple from Atlanta, Ga., who came to Philly just to run this race.

"I love this race. It's different because it's vertical," said six-year Mellon runner John Schultz, a 74-year-old from Wilmington, Del. Schultz started racing at 59, "just to see that I could do it, just out of curiosity," he said. "And I found I could."

Though most runners agree stair climbing is a unique challenge, not everyone has jumped on Branca's Olympic bandwagon.

Amby Burfoot, editor of Runners World, a runner's magazine based in Emmaus, Pa., agrees that stair climbing is a challenge many serious runners want to tackle. "Go to a road race and ask anyone who would want to run the Empire State Building," he says. "They all would."

With any specialty sport, Burfoot figures, people will discover they are good at it and direct their training to focus on that specialty, but he doubts it will become an Olympic sport.

But Branca doesn't question his mission. "This should be, it must be, an Olympic sport," he says. "I think the U.S. should lead this. I would like to see that because we have some young, up-and-coming stair climbers that I have run against. I'm like their father, basically, but you can see a generation of talent there."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Updates, Updates! Long Overdue!

Yes! Its been a long time since I have updated this blog. Training for the Empire State Building, and getting the new website up and running there has been little time for bloggin! But I am refreshed and ready to keep you updated!

So the website is up and running and what I really want you to do for me is show your support for our competitive climb series happening in Canada. I have had lots of positive feed back and would like all athletes and non-athletes to pre-register! (Do not worry, you do not have to give us any money yet, and if you choose to later down the road we can remove your name from the list. Just follow this link:

Pre-Register Here!

Even if your not a great athlete you can work through our Tier System. You can start at Tier 1 and work your way up to pro elite athlete!

You can compete as a elite athlete and win great prizes!

I also just came back from climbing the Empire State Building! Wow what an experience! It was amazing! Check out the article the Oakville Beaver did on me!

I climbed up the tower in 13 minutes and 49 seconds, not too bad for my first international competition!

Ok buying memberships! I am in the process of setting up a Secured page so that you can buy memberships from that page with A credit card.

It should be up and running in a few weeks. Have patience!

Our membership base is growing and I should have a brand new list of all members on the site soon!

In addition our AGM is scheduled for the 3rd week in March! You will get an update as soon as possible.

Finally I would like to thank everyone who has stood behind me and helped me with my vision! I owe everyone a lot of gratitude!

More updates coming soon!

Keep on Steppin!

Trevor Folgering

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pre-Register for our competitive climb series to kick of June 2010!

Hey everyone!

Well what an exciting time! Our new website has launched, we have made great connections in the stair climbing world, and we set to launch pre-registration for our competitive climb series set to take place in May-June 2010!

If your into fitness and want to challenge the body, this is a great place to start! We offer a competitive atmosphere for people who are interested in climbing towers.

Anyone can do this! We have 4 level tier system that allow you to compete with people who are at the same level as you are! You can start at Tier one and moe to tier two the following race!

Are first climb series is the Eastern Regional Event which is here in Toronto at the CN Tower.

You can pre-register now by following the link below!

Pre-register for our eastern and western regional qualifiers!

For more information on out association please visit our website here:

The Canada Stair Climbing Association

Hope to see you at one of our regional qualifiers!

Trevor Folgering

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Website!


I just wanted to update you quickly on what is happening behind the scenes here at the Canada StairClimbing Association!

Our new website is set to launch today or tomorrow! I am so excited! We have a ton of information for you! Our new website is more dynamic and lets you know how serious our association is about stair climbing!

Now because you got in on the ground floor membership for you is still free! However a basic silver level membership is 5.00 a year.

Our company has switched routes and is now a non-profit company We do have a profit company called Step Up Canada, and this is where you can get online personal training help and get fit for your stair climbing races!

Our competitive climb series is set to launch June 2010, I will be having early registration set out on the website as early as March 2010.

We will be having a Tier system set in place. We have five tiers, which will allow even the beginner stair climber to enjoy racing up towers.

I am also going to be giving cash prizes to the top climbers in the Elite/Pro Tier which makes this even more exciting! So if your a competitive athlete I want to see you out there!

To make things even more exciting the top 5 Pro athletes from each competition will form TEAM CANADA and be able to travel to the Canadian Championships right here in Toronto, Ontario Canada! This is so amazing!

Our Association plans to also hold the World Championships in Dubai sometime early 2011!

We are following the World Anti Doping Agency and want all of our athletes clear of drugs! Natural is the only way to compete. You will be asked to provide a urine test if you are an elite athlete who has finished in the top 5 of your class.

We also have now three board of advisor members and are looking for three member liasons! Are you interested in sitting on the Board? If so contact us when the new website is up and running!

On a more personal note, tomorrow I fly out to New York to race up the Empire State Building, and I have to tell you I am ready! I am so pumped about this event and have been training hard for the past 3 months. Wish me luck! I will update you of all the details when I return.

Till next time!

Keep on Stepping!

Trevor Folgering