Carmichael Training Systems


Winning Is In Our Blood
The story of Carmichael Training Systems starts with Chris Carmichael himself. As an Olympian and elite cyclist in the 1980s he raced all over the world, in everything from the World Championships and Paris-Roubaix to the Tour of Italy and Tour de France. Though he was always interested in finding new ways to perform better, he first realized he had an aptitude for coaching while training to return to cycling following a career-threatening broken femur in 1986. Soon after retiring from pro racing in 1989, Chris accepted a position as a development coach at US Cycling, using his experience to teach young athletes like Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, and Bobby Julich how to excel at the elite level in international competition. Chris was one of the first coaches to fully embrace advances in sport science and technology that provided more precise measurements of human performance, including using the power meters with Lance Armstrong in the early ’90s. By combining new science with sound coaching wisdom, Chris built the some of the most decorated US Cycling Teams in history.

Chris’s life changed immediately after coaching the 1996 Olympic Cycling Team. On October 2, Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer. Chris left USA Cycling and worked alongside Armstrong throughout his treatment and recovery. Lance’s battle and victory against cancer was a major turning point in Chris’s personal and professional life, and led to a crucial shift in his coaching philosophy as well.

Less Pain, More Gain
Cancer changed Lance Armstrong, and Chris found he needed to adapt his coaching methods in order to bring the former World Champion back to the world of professional cycling. The result was a beautifully simple approach to achieving world-class performance – focusing on developing individual energy systems, optimizing oxygen delivery to working muscles, and leaving plenty of room for recovery and priorities outside of training. Along the way, Chris pioneered the concept of using high-cadence pedaling to shift the burden of high-intensity efforts from the legs to the cardiovascular system. It worked for Lance – he won his first Tour de France in 1999 – and showed Chris there was a better way to guide athletes of all ability levels to the accomplishment of their goals. Chris developed a proprietary education program (CTS Coaching College) to train coaches in his innovative methods, built the industry’s first online coaching tool, and founded Carmichael Training Systems, Inc. in 2000 to provide a viable career path for endurance coaches and make superlative coaching available to professional, amateur, and recreational athletes worldwide.

New Solutions to Age-Old Problems
As Carmichael Training Systems’ membership rapidly swelled, Chris continued refining his coaching methods in the crucible of Lance’s Tour de France preparation. In an effort to eliminate unnecessary weight gain – and the subsequent need for dieting – Chris turned his attention to Lance’s nutrition program. The result was a revolutionary approach to seasonal eating, referred to as nutrition periodization. Again, it worked for Lance; while his competition crash dieted to reach race weight, Lance poured his energy into training and won his second and third Tour de France yellow jerseys in 2000 and 2001. Chris’s nutrition message resonated with a far bigger audience with his New York Times Bestselling book, Chris Carmichael’s Food for Fitness. Now recognized as the authority in sports nutrition, energy-bar giant PowerBar called on Chris and his staff to develop the formula for their new line of sports drinks, PowerBar Endurance and PowerBar Recovery.

Every Effort Counts
At the same time, keeping Lance’s Tour de France winning streak alive was getting more challenging for Chris. Realizing Lance couldn’t simply add more training hours or intensity to stay ahead, Chris instead focused on eliminating wasted efforts. By focusing on the smallest details of training, recovery, nutrition, and time management, Chris helped Lance extend his yellow jersey streak to five – and applied the lessons learned along the way to every athlete in the growing CTS community. Beyond cyclists, amateur and professional athletes in running, triathlon, motorsports, and team sports started working with Chris and CTS, and in 2000 Chris became the first person to coach the winners of the Tour de France (Armstrong) and Ironman World Championship (Peter Reid) in the same year. With Chris’s coaching and nutrition methods guiding an ever-widening audience, demand for CTS content exploded. Now, in addition to coaching and camps, health-conscious individuals could interact with Chris and CTS through magazine and website columns, DVDs, books, newsletters, and television.

5 Essentials for a Winning Life
The 2003 Tour de France was a turning point for Lance Armstrong, Chris, and CTS. Lance nearly lost the 2003 Tour because difficulties outside of training hindered his preparation. Realizing that Lance’s life had shifted out of balance, Chris redesigned Lance’s schedule to incorporate more time with his family and his foundation. A happier and emotionally healthier Lance went on to dominate and win an unprecedented sixth and seventh Tour de France in 2004 and 2005. As he’s done from the beginning, Chris again sought to take what he’d learned at the extremes of human achievement and use it to help everyone – this time with an integrated approach to improving personal performance at home, at work, and at play. The result was his fifth book, Five Essentials for a Winning Life: The Nutrition, Fitness, and Life Plan for Discovering the Champion Within.

America’s Coach
Following Lance Armstrong’s retirement in 2005, Chris was eager to deepen his connection to athletes and coaches within and outside the Carmichael Training Systems community. As a middle-aged CEO and father of three, Chris shares the same challenges faced by athletes everywhere: staying fit and competitive within the confines of a busy lifestyle. Instead of staying in his Colorado Springs office, Chris decided he and all CTS coaches could do the most good by being out there with athletes. While the company continued to use the web-based coaching tools it pioneered, Chris also committed to increasing the number of ways athletes could interact one-on-one with him and other coaches.

Between 2006 and 2008, CTS more than doubled its training camp and performance testing offerings, and expanded from its corporate headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to training centers in the premier outdoor sports destinations of Asheville, North Carolina, and Tucson, Arizona. These locally-based coaching and performance centers make the world-class expertise, hands-on coaching, and performance testing available in Colorado Springs, available closer to home.

As it has since 2000, Carmichael Training Systems leads the coaching and personal guidance industries with proven and innovative products, services, and content. And the results speak for themselves; no other coaching company produces more champions, in such a wide variety of sports and age groups, than CTS. And of the four American cyclists to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, CTS coached three: Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, and David Zabriskie. From its corporate offices in Colorado Springs as well as regional centers and coaches around the country, CTS continues to deliver on its mission: To inspire and empower the athlete in EVERY BODY to perform at their best.

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