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“2011 Excellence in Customer Satisfaction”
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Al Painter - Integrate Performance Fitness, Palo Alto CA
Al Painter, NASM CES, PES, BA

Al Painter is a personal training who believes that core strength is the common denominator to all successful movement. Read more.

Al is also the Fitness Editor for; in addition to being a cast member on the site’s podcast, as well as the moderator for the Training Forum on TwoSpoke.comRead more.




INTEGRATE Performance Fitness  – Into your life, into your health, into longevity!

Are you considering a Fitness Trainer or Fitness Program?  INTEGRATE Performance Fitness is located in Palo Alto, CA and is available for semi-private (2-3 people) and large group sessions.

  • Check out our calendar of events and join us today.
  • Have question? Drop a line or send an email to and get some answers.
  • Al is happy to speak to you about a fitness plan to meet (and surpass) your goals.

About Al Painter, NASM CES, PES & Fitness Trainer

Al Painter is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified Performance Enhancement Specialist as well as an NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist. He also holds a degree in Communications from Santa Clara University. His area of specialty is endurance athlete specific strength training.

Check out why people rave about INTEGRATE Performance Fitness!

Al has also been named “Best Bay Area Personal Trainer” by CitySports Magazine as well as being the recipient of a “People’s Choice Award” from Palo Alto Daily News.

Latest Articles

Friday Fitness Facts

It was "Happy Batman Day" on the 23rd!!

It was “Happy Batman Day” on Wednesday the 23rd!!

I  can’t believe we’re already through July. We had BATMAN DAY (yes, that was totally a thing!) on the 23rd! And almost as awesome, we’ve got “SHARKNADO 2: The Second One” on Wednesday the 30th.

If you missed the first one, you’re a horrible human being. It was by far the most AMAZINGLY horrible film of all time AND IT WAS AWESOME!! Luckily, the Twitterverse response to it lead to another one which are lucky enough to get next week. Long story short, SET YOUR DVRs PEOPLE!!

The USMNT reminded us why soccer (excuse me, futbol) is the world’s most popular game (which included me picking up two footie games I’ve played non stop) and the American League won the midsummer classic, or AL wins the All Star game if you will. See what I did there?

On the note of “the beautiful game,” was there not one person in the Silicon Valley who wasn’t glued to a TV, an app or the radio while the  matches were going on?? I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who bought “FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil” and “Pro Evolution Soccer 2014″ for the XBox and “Pro Evolution Soccer 2013″ For the Nintendo 3DS. An amazing month full of some great matches to watch. Now we’ve got the Premier League starting on August 16.

We’ve also got the Giants back on top of the NL West with the Dodger in town for a three game set this weekend.

We even had the return of Optimus Prime to the big screen and this time he brought the dinobots with him. “Gotham” the TV series begins this fall, naturally, I’m mildly interested. Think the evolution of Clark Kent focused “Smallville,” but better because its Batman and Bruce Wayne.

We’ve also got that annual bike ride going in France wrapping up this weekend as well.

See, busy summer to say the least.

With all of that happening, there were some really good training articles that came out. With that being said, here’s this week’s installment of “Friday Fitness Facts,” enjoy!

Read This Full Article

Runners: The Best Way to Build the Core is Off the Floor

photo 1(1)Do a search for “core strength for runners,” and you’ll come across a ton of articles, apps and websites that tout the best way to address your core strength. Once you do, you’ll see a commonality that may not be the most effective way to get better at, well, running.

Static and dynamic exercises done face down, face up and on your side while on the floor. If memory serves, running is an activity that takes place on two legs UPRIGHT.

Soooooo, why do people do crunches, V-Ups, bicycle kicks (sighhhhhh) or insert floor based exercise here? Pretty sure crunches can’t fix the hip strength dysfunction that cause over pronation, knee pain or IT band issues.

But Al, aren’t planks good for the core? Yes, in a warm up (or corrective/therapeutic situation), and no more than :30 two to three times. If you are going to use them for a workout, learn the RKC style. If you survive more than :15, you aren’t doing them right.

And let’s not get started with plank challenges that last 35 minutes. Most people don’t do them right, let alone do them right for 5+ minutes and can easily end up creating bad motor patterning as their form breaks down.

Keep in mind crawling (AMAZING way to build strength, not too mention blast your heart rate through the roof) gets a hall pass here because it is the ultimate precursor to upright ambulatory movement. Yes, it is done face down, but it is one of the ultimate expressions of opposite hip/shoulder coordination to produce movement.

You can clean up a lot of movement dysfunction with crawling. Its where we started to build strength as infants, and its a great way to reset forgotten motor patterns that can help you move better (1).

Especially if you’ve got post run:

  • Sore knees
  • Angry hip flexors
  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • You’ve got some serious corrective work to do!

If you’ve been told you’ve got “flat feet,” you over pronate or circumduct a foot (the foot makes a circular motion when it comes off the ground before it strikes again) when you run, chances are you need to work on movement fundamentals and not your cardiovascular system. Stability shoes won’t fix the issue btw.

Nor will mummifying yourself with tape or braces to run. If you look like a bad halloween costume to go on a run, chances are cardio health isn’t what should be at the top of your exercise list.

Here’s the long and short of the best way to get better at running: run LESS, strength train MORE. Yes, I get specificity of training.

You wouldn’t golf to get better at running. However, if you’ve got postural distortions, poor joint stability and movement dysfunction, running won’t fix that. It can make it worse, but it won’t fix it.

Especially since your hip stability is proportional to how much power the brain will let you use (1). You can’t shoot a canon from a canoe!

If you need more stability, you’ve got to strength train to create that.  Especially since reduced joint stability increases perceived threat levels  from:

  • Postural distortions
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Reduced flexibility
  • Decreased core strength

All of that adds up to reduced ability to put out power, poor quality of movement, poor performance and increased chances of an injury. Since well over half of all runners get injured each year, this is something to take into consideration shall we say.

Regardless of if you pin a number on, or you take a more casual approach to running, your goal should be to progressively do more work in less time. This means runners need power, and lots of it (1).

In my opinion, one of the best ways to do this is to get off the floor to work your core. Here’s the biggest reason why:

Your running performance is critically dependent on the diagonal connections of shoulders and the opposite hip (2). I feel the best way is to train this in an unsupported standing position.

This means you need to strengthen your X-patterns (left shoulder/right hip  and vice versa) to:

  • Stabilize joints better (support during the foot strike phase)
  • Decelerate movement safer (controlling your body downhill)
  • Produce force with strength, balance, POWER.
  • Reduce chances of injury

Do this, and you will improve gait patterns, keep your joints healthy and enjoy yourself more on each run. Especially since we know “functional training on a regular basis can significantly reduce injuries by 75% and training days lost to injury by 90% (Mark Alexander, Physiotherapist for the Australian Triathlon National Team).

So this means pick up a load and walk with it. Do your single leg and split stance squats and hinges. And by all means get into a split stance and use single arm or alternate arm movement patterns to pull and press. Want to hit the muscles that improve running without actually having to pound the pavement? Do standing (or kneeling) split stance exercises with cable pulleys or exercise bands.

The biggest reason to do these is these exercises Look. Like. Running. If you keep in mind the further away from a movement you want to improve an exercise is, the further away from improving that movement you get.

If you live in the Silicon Valley, and want to run better, drop me a line and let’s get you going on an endurance athlete specific strength training program.

1)”Original Strength Performance,” Tim Anderson

2) “To The Max: Functional Training for Endurance Athletes,” Gary Lavin BS, CSCS, USAT II, Juan Carlos Santana MeD, CSCS

3) The Essence of Band and Pulley Training Companion Guide,” Juan Carlos Santana MeD, CSCS

Read This Full Article

Core Strength For Runners Workshop July 23, 2014

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Split stance exercises are a runner’s best friend!

In an average year, 65% of all runners are injured. One running injury occurs for about every 100 hours of running, and runners miss about 5-10 percent of their workouts due to injury (“Incidence and Severity of Injury Following Aerobic Training Programs Emphasising Running, Racewalking, or Step Aerobics,” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, vol. 25(5), p. S81, 1993).

Whether you’re a competitive or casual runner, your performance is all about progressively doing more work in less time. This means runners need power, and lots of it.

Whether you’re running around the block or an ultra endurance event, you’ll need it because power is the amount of work you do divided by the amount of time it takes you to do that work (“To The Max: Functional Training for Endurance Athletes,” Gary Lavin BS, CSCS, USAT II, Juan Carlos Santana MeD, CSCS).

Join me at the Sunnyvale SportsBasement on Wednesday July 23, 2014 at 6:30pm and learn the six core strength exercises that I feel are the best way to improve your performance and reduce your risk of getting injured.

This workout is incredibly simple to do in terms of complexity of movement and is even easier to set up. All you need is a cable pulley and a pair of weights at the gym or exercise bands and 3-5 gallon water bottles at home, that’s it.

This allows you to put together what I think is the ultimate runner’s core strength workout: something done standing that mimics the way your muscles move while you run.

If you’re ready to take your running to the next level, we’ll see you on the 23rd!

Space is limited, please RSVP by Monday July 21 if you plan to attend.

Space is limited, please RSVP by Monday July 21 if you plan to attend. Click here to reserve your spot!

“After 18 months of physical therapy with modest improvement, it became apparent that I would not completely heal until I got serious about strength training again. After a receiving some promising results from our personal training sessions, then joining your group classes, I am happy to say that I can actually run, ride and sit on an airplane for more than 30 minutes completely pain free.” – DV



 “Never Run Again”

“Six Exercises for the Ultimate Indoor Strength Workout for Runners”

“Your Off Season Starts in the Gym Part II: Runners”


Read This Full Article


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