Peak Performance

By Hannah Wallace February 28, 2006

Jake Martin

Developer and Extreme Sportsman

Land developer Jake Martin is always looking for the next challenge. A Florida native, Martin, 31, buys properties from Tampa to Anna Maria, building Key West-style houses that pay conscious tribute to the Florida seaside tradition.

He's also always looking for the next sport to conquer. "It started for vanity. I was a small 14-year-old and wanted to be big," he says. Martin tried every sport in high school-football, tennis, baseball and swimming-but it was in solitary and extreme sports that he found a second career.

Today, the surfer, snowboarder and amateur boxer follows a disciplined fitness routine. "A strong core-my shoulders, chest, abs, hips and back-is the source of my body's power, speed and coordination." Exercise is stress release. "If I don't work out hard I don't sleep, eat or digest well," Martin says. "I am deeply connected to my body and if that isn't up to form, I can't be. The discipline in dealing with injuries and ups and downs athletically, that's the same stuff I use in my business successes."


"Cardiovascular workouts in the morning, usually at 6 a.m. Lately, I have been into a sprinter's routine, running 100-meter sprints as hard as I can for 40 minutes, three times a week. That is alternated with biking three times a week. The heart is the most important muscle, so I give mine a lot of attention. I do my core training and weights at the LifeStyles Gym on Cortez Road five days a week. Lots of lunges, jump rope and strength training. Also yoga if I am in the mood. A lot of leg training for snowboarding and surfing."


  • "Consistency is the key. In the last 15 years the most I have ever missed was five days, and that was to go on a surfing or snowboarding trip."

  • "I always do what I hate to train first."

  • "Eighty percent of fitness is clean living and a clean diet."

  • "Even if you don't want to work out, work out. Sometimes those days you think will be the worst turn out to be the best." 

Melinda Delpech

Attorney and Biker

For Sarasota attorney Melinda Delpech, 42, one of life's pleasures is rolling down Longboat Key after work on a silver Litespeed bicycle. Dressed in spandex shorts and a jersey that reads "Biker Chick," Delpech says she is "pounding out my day. I have my own practice in family law, and it is not an easy job. I don't look at scenery at all, just at the bike in front of me, or the road if I'm in front. I find peace when I ride for a long time."

Her training also girds Delpech for bike races. "The end of September we went 180 miles from St. Augustine to Daytona and back," she says. "Then it was the MS ride, from Tampa to Orlando and back. It was 185 miles over two days. Next is the Horrible Hundred in Claremont, Calif. You know from the name that is a grueling 100-miler. Lots of hills, and most Florida riders are not used to hills. Here, the biggest hill I ride is the Ringling Bridge."

Bottom line? "It keeps me sane," she says. "I don't know what I'd do with myself if I didn't ride."


Monday and Thursday: 5 p.m, YMCA stair climber for 20 minutes, then Pilates class or an hour of weights.

Tuesday: 6 to 7:30 p.m., running clinic at Brookside Middle School.

Wednesday: 5 p.m., short bike ride (20 miles) with friends on Longboat, dinner at the Old Salty Dog on City Island.

Friday: the gym or laps over Ringling Bridge. "If I haven't missed any workouts all week, Friday is really my only day off, and then it is off to happy hour with my friends."

Saturdays and Sundays: 7 a.m., 40-mile ride back and forth on Longboat Key with the Sarasota Manatee Bike Club.


"Just get out and do it. We all have excuses, but make exercise the priority and it turns into a habit and then becomes an addiction."

Dale O'HaraRealtor and Ironman

A committed ironman triathlon competitor, Re/Max real estate agent Dale O'Hara, 36, has a theory about winning. "I don't enjoy training. I love racing. When that starting gun goes off-whoa-that is what gives me all the juice I need. I'd be sitting on the couch watching football and drinking beer with the best of them if I didn't have to race."

An ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race and a 26.2-mile marathon. It is a challenge for even the fittest athletes. "Physical preparation can take the emphasis, but it is the mental component of endurance racing I need. Sit on a bike for five hours pedaling as hard as I can after swimming through two and a half miles of waves, and the demons start coming out."

The same discipline O'Hara uses to endure painful workouts transfers to the highly competitive business of real estate. "The mental endurance gives me all the courage, confidence and ease I need," he says. "I've only been doing real estate for a year, but people say I'm doing some really good numbers. My goals, of course, are higher."


"I train whenever I am not working, and I squeeze it in whenever I can-almost always in the mornings and sometimes twice a day. I am a firm believer in taking at least one day a week off. The body and mind need to recover. What I do depends on where I am in relationship to my race. I have a coach, so we are almost scientific about it, depending on my daily physical condition. The training needs to be very dynamic because at this level it gets repetitive and redundant. It is all worth it on race morning."


Swim an hour three times weekly; bike 60 miles twice a week and 100 miles once a week; and run 10 miles twice a week and 20 miles once a week.

Dean Albrecht

Jujitsu competitor and financier

Dean Albrecht, 40, managing director of Quantitative Equity Research, a $5 million company that sells financial research information to institutions, was rolling on his back, with legs and arms wrapped around his sweaty classmate, doing his best to get his opponent to submit and tap the mat, the equivalent of crying "uncle."

This is Brazilian jujitsu, a no-holds-barred combination of wrestling and boxing. Unlike karate and kung fu, where opponents stand apart kicking and jabbing for points, Brazilian jujitsu, developed in the mid-20th century from Japanese jujitsu, looks more like extreme wrestling with a fight-to-the-death attitude.

Albrecht participated in the November 2005 National Jujitsu and Submission Wrestling Tournament in Las Vegas. Despite the aggressive physicality of the sport, Albrecht describes it as a strategy game. "It throws them for a loop when they are trying to stare you down and you ask them their weight and their measurements with a straight face and then ask them how long they would like the match to last before you make them submit. I had four tough matches in the Masters Division and I came in first place and won the division."

Some might say all this training gets in the way of work. "But I've developed a robust revenue-generating financial research model," Albrecht says. "It is computer driven and runs itself. I like to think of my business as very family-friendly, because it gives me the freedom I need to be with my wife, my four-year-old twin daughters and train for jujitsu."

ROUTINE Jujitsu workout: Wolf Pack Brazilian Jujitsu at Bee Ridge and Tuttle.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Two-and-a-half-hour afternoon class.

Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights: Full contact, no-holds-barred fighting for two hours.

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: Ninety-minute gym workout with training partners. "Very intense, but just the basics. Push-ups, sit-ups, squats. Jumping rope."

Sunday: Ice hockey.

Michelle Patterson

Pharmacist and Triathlete

At 4 p.m., two dozen bikers are zipping around the parking lot of Bikesnjava, the unofficial headquarters of a bike team that meets biweekly for 32-mile training rides up Longboat and back.

Michelle Patterson parks her black Quintana Roo Lucero bike (approximately $5,000) against a wall. Patterson, 33, is a pharmacist and triathlete.

Patterson opens Wal-Mart pharmacies around the country and has the freedom to float between locations, working no more than 30 hours a week. "I wanted to take it easier and find more balance in my life," she says. "Now it is fitness and friends, and then career."

Patterson does two triathlons a year. "In November 2004 I did my first ironman race, and a half ironman in St. Croix this past spring. I am getting ready for an ironman contest in Brazil in May. I usually place in the upper quarter to one-half."

Patterson loves the mental discipline. "I always find out something new about myself. When you are running and it's tough and you don't want to quit, you have to go someplace else. My last race was full of hills, and just when I needed something to boost me I looked down at the street and saw that someone had painted a heart in pink paint. It said, 'I love you, Pumpkin.' My husband calls me that. I got filled with love and couldn't wait to finish to tell him. Of course I knew he didn't paint it because he was racing up ahead of me, but I knew he would be waiting for me at the end."


Tuesday and Thursday: 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., Personalized Fitness Center with trainer Bryan Hoskinson; 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., 32-mile bike ride on Longboat Key with buddy Chris Mayer.

Wednesday: 10:30 to noon, swim with friends at YMCA, generally a 2,500-meter workout; 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., sprint speed work.

Friday: Morning or afternoon swim at YMCA, 90 minutes; one-hour afternoon run, listening to country music.

Saturday and Sunday: "Weekends are fun, usually a couple hours on the bike and over an hour run right after. Sometimes we'll mountain bike the hills north of Tampa. Just friends out training, real hard, together."

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