and 15+ hours a week while training for a full distance triathlon

  • Conventional training plans don't account for your busy lifestyle. Your kids, your spouse, sports, school, friends.  
  • You struggle with balancing it all.
  • You want to reclaim your free time without giving up on your athletic goals.

 Hi, I'm Luke. I'm an average guy with a wife and four kids. I work forty hours a week. And I'm a 4x Ironman.

Are you ready to change the way you train and reclaim your free time without giving up on your athletic goals

Let me tell you a quick story.

Bzzzz. Bzzzz. Ding. The familiar combination of sound and vibration let me know I had a new text message. I looked to see it was from a friend who had competed in the same Ironman race I had this year.

John Doe UI/UX Designer

“I hate to be a cry baby but secretly I'm disappointed with my time. I was way over cooked this year. I swear I think if I followed your plan, with the base I have, I would have went into the race healthier than ever before and crushed my 2012 time. Honestly, I was my strongest this spring before I started the heavy volume trying to keep up with my training partner. I'm just not built for that. You’re going to have to coach me to a 7 hour week PR under 12 hours!”

Then another text came in right after that one.

John Doe UI/UX Designer

"This year I ran the race I trained for and it was all wrong for my lifestyle. I'm capable of more. It was really hard on the family, my body, and work.”

It breaks my heart a little every time I hear these stories. And I’ve heard them a lot over the years. A typical athlete preparing for a full distance triathlon trains 20-30 hours a week, on top of working a full time job. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that there is little to no room for anything else. It is so common for loved ones to feel abandoned through the training season. Rigorous training takes a toll on the strongest of relationships. It’s hard to nurture bonds with spouses, children, friends and family when you literally don’t have the time to be physically present!



According to the 2014 USA Triathlon Membership Report, which was recently updated to reflect accurate statistics through August 2015, the average triathlete member is 38 years old, 60% reported being male and 40% female. 63% are married, 11% are in a committed relationship, and 44% have children living at home. 68% report white-collar or professional jobs. The average household income is $126,000/ year.

These statistics say a lot about who you are and what your day to day life may look like. Here are some fairly safe assumptions:

  • You're college educated and maybe even have an advanced degree.
  • You work hard to support yourself and your family financially.
  • You balance many obligations on a daily basis, including work and parental duties surrounding school, sports, etc.
  • You likely have a significant other that is a priority in your life.

Fitness and new challenges are important, but you also have to keep your priorities in line. 

You juggle a lot, after all.

Conventional Wisdom vs. Balance

Countless professional and age-group athletes have, over time, shown success in endurance events by training with consistently long bike rides, runs, and swims. This method keeps nearly all of your training at a relatively low intensity, meaning you must devote significant amounts of free time to exercise at a less demanding pace.

I am not disputing the fact that the conventional method works. But it does come with a price—the likely neglect of many things that are important to you like family, friends, work, and other hobbies.

When preparing for a full distance race such as an Ironman, this translates into an average weekend consisting of a six hour bike ride, along with a three hour run. Shorter workouts are also incorporated during the week. Training for the full distance triathlon using most conventional plans, therefore, call for an average of 20-30 hours of your time per week.

Life is all about trade-offs

Over the course of training for three full distance Ironman triathlons, I knew that I did not want to put in the 20+ hours a week of training called for by this conventional wisdom. Life is all about trade-offs, and training for an endurance race is no different. This belief, along with my desire for balance in life was the motivation for developing my approach to training.

I have observed the conventional high volume, low intensity training that many of my fellow triathletes adopt, and it seems to take a toll on the body, at times making athletes more prone to overuse injuries.


  • It's important to maintain focus on what's most important in life: family, health, happiness, and work.
    Reaching athletic goals is important, but achieving those without neglecting what matters most is crucial. 
  • Protecting yourself from injury is one of the most important ways of ensuring you make it to the finish line.
    Ditching the traditional 20-30 hours a week is a welcome change for many reasons. One of the greatest reasons, aside from providing more time to do other things you love, is that it protects your body from the overuse injuries suffered by so many. 
  • Overall health matters. 
    Nourishing your body with healthful food and providing adequate recovery time while training not only makes you more likely to reach your full-distance triathlon goal, but it will also contribute to your overall health.  Training this intensely requires a lot from your body. If you treat your body with the care it needs, it will be able to perform.  

I've surveyed and talked with many people...

After reading about and listening to the experiences of so many full distance triathletes, I noticed that there are re-emerging themes in everyone's stories. These are the two major struggles they experience on their journey to the finish line:

How to train. Which plan is right for me? How much time am I willing to devote to making this dream of mine a reality? What will I use for nutrition? When/ how will I do my workouts?

How to keep everything else, particularly work and relationships, from falling apart. Training 20-30 hours a week, folks are left doing damage control.

It wasn't until after I completed my 2nd Ironman that people really started to take notice and ask questions.  "How exactly do you have time to do all that you do?!"

Training 20-30 hours a week along with my full time job was never an option, as following that type of plan would have quite literally left me with little or no time with our children or my wife. We equally support each other in following our dreams and doing what it takes to reach our goals, but not at the cost of our marriage or time with family and friends.

Because there weren’t any resources out there on how to train for a full distance triathlon in less time, I did a ton of research on high-intensity interval training and then developed my own plan.

But the local triathlon community talked. Oh, did they talk! “No way you’ll be ready for Ironman!” And when they didn’t say anything, their raised eyebrows sent the message loud and clear. I wished them well as they went out weekend after weekend for their 100 mile bike rides, or 20 mile runs. Luckily I’m not the type of person to be bothered by others negativity, so I kept my eye on the prize and continued on. After I completed my second Ironman, the comments turned from doubt to curiosity. “Seriously, how do you do it?!” and “I just don’t see how it’s possible, but tell me about your plan.”

I’ve now successfully completed three Ironman races training with this method, and countless shorter distances races. After seeing firsthand that it can be done, the “Doubting Debbies" have quieted and are now all ears. They wanted to know. And you want to know.

Figuring out if your current plan is working for you is simple. Just ask yourself “Am I achieving my athletic goals while still giving my relationships the care and attention they deserve?”

Have you trained for a full distance race in the past and been left with the feeling that it was “all wrong for your lifestyle,” as my friend mentioned in his text to me? Did you feel worn down physically and mentally? Was your training just as hard on your family as it was on you?

Do you have time to have breakfast or evening bath times with your small children, or cross country meets and walks to the farmers market on Saturday mornings? Do you consistently have time to enjoy the things that you, your family and your friends love to do together?

If you’re in the same boat as most, the answers are loud and clear. You need more time!

Here is the THE SOLUTION you've been looking for:


Your dream of crossing the full distance finish line can be realized if you are willing to commit an average of 7 hours per week to following this plan. No slacking. No loosely following. 100% all in, all the time.  I share all of my secrets, how I've made it through each race season without any significant injuries, feeling good and refreshed all the time. Absolutely nothing is left to guess work!


  • High Intensity Interval Training. While the time commitment required by my plan is manageable, the workouts are not for the faint of heart. I will spell out exactly what needs to be done. You need to just show up, 100%, every single minute you're training.
    1. Dietary Modifications. Often overlooked, your diet is a key component to your training regimen. The body of science in the area of nutrition has rapidly grown in recent years and you need to take notice. I will guide you through the needed changes.
      1. Active Recovery Techniques. Following an intense workout, you might think that complete rest is the most effective way to let your body heal and recover. However, research shows significant advantages to engaging in active recovery. I will give you many recommendations for proper active recovery, injury prevention and rehabilitation.

What People Are Saying About

The Balanced Approach

John Doe UI/UX Designer

“Based on my own physical limitations and most importantly family obligations I completed Ironman 2015 using Luke's high intensity, low-volume approach.”

"I couldn't have done this year on conventional training, especially considering my and my wife's work demands. This plan allowed me to be more present throughout the weekends and also week nights."

Aaron Roberson
- 3x Ironman Finisher, Husband, Father

“People consider triathlon a part time job due to the many hours of training."

"I love the The Balanced Approach because it takes a family first approach. Luke's results are proof that you can maintain a competitive level of fitness with less hours and more family time.”

Eric Bannon
- 2x Ironman Finisher, Husband, Father
John Doe UI/UX Designer
John Doe UI/UX Designer

“My biggest takeaway so far is the guide to clean eating.”

"I've taken in very little processed food for nearly 3.5 months. The full body exercises, combined with clean eating have made a difference in performance. I really want to do a full distance triathlon and now have the confidence in my ability to do so."

Pete Eddington
- Triathlete, Husband, Father

The Nuts and Bolts of 


This guide will show you exactly how to make time for the people you love, your hobbies and work while training for the big event (a full distance triathlon!)

What you’ll get isn’t just a training plan. In order to achieve the results you want in the allotted time you’ll train, this is more of a lifestyle guide. The first half consists of three chapters. In the first chapter, Low-Volume, High-Intensity Workouts, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Mental Toughness is discussed.

In the second chapter, dietary modifications are covered extensively. Fads, inflammation, eating clean, food intolerances, hydration, diet, supplements, and other wellness tips are included.

The third chapter includes incorporation of active recovery techniques, as well as common injuries and how to deal with them.

The second half of the book is the how-to on every workout you will do in preparation for your race. I will guide you through each of the swim, bike and run workouts, along with required strength training. Detailed descriptions along with photos leave no room for guessing what you should be doing on any given day of your training.

You will be able to do what I've done, and what countless others have done on this plan: achieve your athletic goals with minimal time obligation, so you can also enjoy all the other important parts of life.

If a full distance triathlon is still seeming a little bit of a lofty goal, know that you are not in this alone! After all, if your dreams don't scare you a little, they aren't big enough! 

Not only do you get the guide, but  personal support throughout your training. You may choose to participate in Facebook group, moderated by author and 4x Ironman Luke Powell. This is a members only, private community where you may seek the support of the group to ask specific questions throughout the journey to achieving your goal. I am 100% invested in your success! 

100% Satisfaction Guaranteed


Luke Powell
Creator of The Balanced Approach 

About the Author

I'm an average guy. I work forty hours a week. I like to spend my weekends wrestling with my sons and having tea parties with my daughter. When we can find a babysitter, my wife and I like to go out to dinner and catch up with friends. I have a blog,, that I’ve written since 2009. I enjoy sharing my knowledge about nutrition and training with fellow triathletes within my own community and beyond.

I am a proud Purdue University alumnus, holding a degree in mechanical engineering. Being an engineer comes in handy when figuring gear ratios and analyzing data! Since the beginning of my triathlon career in 2008, I have constantly researched and tested methods of training, nutrition, and lifestyle.

I’m an above average athlete. When I participate in competitive events, I consistently rank in the top in my age group. I am a 4x Ironman and have completed countless shorter distance races over the years. As of 2017, I am a six-time qualifier for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship, an Ironman All-World Athelte and earned the opportunity to represent the state of Kentucky in the 2015 Best Of The U.S. Championship.

Is The Balanced Approach right for me?

It’s important for you to understand that I designed this training plan for myself, a husband and father of small children, who works a full time job. I didn’t have 20-30 extra hours a week to devote to training and it’s likely you don’t either.

Maybe you’ve already done a full distance triathlon and, although you’d like to do another, you don’t want to go through the hardships again. Or maybe you’ve never done a full distance race and you want to avoid that heartache altogether. Either way, with your commitment to do every single workout in this plan to the best of your ability, YOU CAN DO THIS!

This plan is not for the faint of heart. I had already been participating in shorter distance triathlons for several years before I took this challenge. That being said, The Balanced Approach isn’t suitable for someone who doesn’t have a fitness base. If you don’t have a regular fitness routine and are looking to start, the intensity required may be too much. This plan is ideal if you’ve been training for triathlons for a year or more.

Right for Me

  • I've already done a full distance triathlon and I want to do another using a better training method
  • I've never done a full distance triathlon but I have an excellent fitness base or have trained for triathlons for a year or more
  • I am willing to make the needed changes to my current diet to be healthy and train most efficiently
  • I will commit to doing every single workout to the best of my ability

Not Right for Me

  • I've never done a triathlon but I really want to
  • I am fairly out of shape and don't currently have a consistent fitness regimen
  • I really love my junk food and am unwilling to give it up during my training
  • I prefer to have long, more leisurely swims, bike rides and runs during my training, as opposed to short, intense ones

The Balanced Approach is an instant PDF download

  • Gain instant access to this 103 page guide that tailors your training around your lifestyle, not the other way around.
  • This complete training program shows you how to cross that full distance finish line by devoting just seven hours a week using dietary modifications, high intensity interval training and active recovery.
  • Optional Add-on: Race Day Execution Guide: How to Physically and Mentally Prepare for Your Best Race Yet
  • Optional Add-on: Personal Support. Includes membership to a private Facebook community where you can seek support to ask specific questions throughout your journey, moderated by the author.

100% Satisfaction Guaranteed


100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

You are fully protected by my 100% Satisfaction-Guarantee. If you decide The Balanced Approach isn’t working for you, contact me within 90 days, show me you actually did the work (describe your dietary modifications, show record of your workouts) and I’ll issue you a prompt refund. 

I'm not ABSOLUTELY POSTIVE this is right for me

Kudos to you for recognizing that there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. It's important that you choose a plan that is right for your ability and your lifestyle, so let's address some concerns you may have. 

I'm concerned that I'll get injured doing the required high intensity workouts

The first thing to realize about injuries is that they are caused by placing repetitive stress, or loads, on the body greater than the body can handle. You typically don’t get injured from just one run. You get injured when the body is not allowed sufficient time to recover between runs.

A study conducted by the University of South Carolina studied 583 veteran runners. They found that the most important predictor for injuries was total mileage. Those who ran 40 miles a week or more were more likely to get hurt. This doesn’t mean you should never do more than 40 miles a week in your training, but the research does suggest that, over the long haul, mixing in hill repeats and speed work with the long runs may be the way to go.

Note that the South Carolina study was conducted on veteran runners, not beginners or sedentary subjects. This is important because it clearly indicates the injury rate for experienced runners is similar to that observed in beginner runners. Runners are frequently told that with proper training and time that they can safely and successfully increase their weekly mileage. This study clearly indicates otherwise.

A study shown in Med Sci Sports2 showed that running 30 minutes, 3 days/week resulted in an injury rate of 12% – 24%. Running 30 minutes, 5 days/week resulted in an injury rate of 39%. Running 5 days a week for 45 minutes each time resulted in an injury rate of 54%. This study does a great job of illustrating the increasing risk of injury associated with increasing training volumes. Each increase in training volume results in an increase in rate of injury.

Notice that injury is related to total running volume and not speed work. Conventional wisdom holds that speed work causes injury.

Research challenges that belief.

The strength building portion of The Balanced Approach is essential for injury prevention. Building strong muscles and joints will help prevent injuries as well.

References: 2Pollock ML, Gettman LR, Milesis CA, Bah MD, Durstine L, Johnson RB. Effects of frequency and duration of training on attrition and incidence of injury. Med Sci Sports.

Everything in triathlon costs so much! 

There’s no denying that triathlon is an expensive hobby. At the minimum you must have a bike, helmet, pair of shoes, a swimsuit and goggles. From there you can spend tens of thousands of dollars in pursuit of having the most aerodynamic time-trial bike, lightest shoes or fastest wetsuit. But even the most casual of multisport athletes probably spends more money than they think on gear that will have a very minimal impact on their performance or overall health and happiness.

So instead of upgrading to that $50 carbon-fiber water bottle cage or $60 for the Speedo goggles that Michael Phelps wore at the Olympics, invest that money in a guide that will help you achieve your goal of the full distance finish without sacrificing your relationships, and will give you fitness and nutrition knowledge that will last you a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this appropriate for both men and women?

What are the minimum fitness requirements?

Can I print out a hard copy of The Balanced Approach?

How long is the full distance training plan?

What if I don't want to follow the dietary modifications?

How do I modify my plan for shorter events?

Now is the time to invest in yourself and your relationships. You CAN lead a balanced life while training to reach your goal of crossing the full distance finish line! I'll be here to help you along the way, rooting for your success!

Don't let another race season go by, feeling like you have to either put your relationships or your big dreams on the back burner.

Yes, I want to start The Balanced Approach now!