10 Questions with Pat Gilles
Pat Gilles is the owner of Pat’s Gym and was named the ReebokONE America's Most Inspiring Trainer in 2017. An avid hockey and golf player in college, he has since competed successfully in Ironman, won the Minnesota state cycling championship, and sailed professionally. Pat studied exercise physiology in college and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®).
When did you first hear the name Concept2 or try one of our products?
I first heard of the name Concept2 after college in 2006 using the (indoor) rower. I ordered my first SkiErg in 2009 with the white handles and gray color. As soon as I built it I instantly loved it and never looked back.
Do you remember your first workout on a Concept2 machine? What did you think at first? Do you remember how you felt afterwards?
The first workout I ever did was a 500m row for time, and I really enjoyed the feedback the computer gave me. I blew up with 100m left and wanted more after that. I was surprised how short of duration can be so painful in a good way. The first SkiErg workout was a 1000m for time, and for the rest of the day I had a copper taste in my mouth. I learned fast how to pace and the power of the machines. I have written many Concept2-specific training plans for athletes and take advantage of the machines every day.
Which Concept2 products do you use? Why have you chosen those products? How do they enhance your training?
I use the SkiErg, BikeErg, and (Indoor) Rower in that order. For the price you can get about three of those machines for one treadmill. I really love the SkiErg because you can use it for just about any purpose (upper body, core, lower body, breathing, strength, rehab, injury prevention, sport specific and power). It is extremely effective on the body without causing damage like repetitive running can do. One thing that separates Concept2 from other machines is the computer. It is really accurate for measuring calories, meters, watts and stroke rate. The numbers don’t lie and it makes it measurable and comparable with workouts across the board and they are easy to program.
How do you incorporate Concept2 equipment into your programming?
I use them for power endurance (intervals, circuits, progression), strength endurance, power, endurance, mental toughness, team building, relays and recovery.
What types of athletes do you primarily work with?
Everyone from NHL players, Olympic athletes, CEOs and goal-oriented individuals.
What’s your favorite/go-to workout?
I love the interval structure of:
- 10 minutes easy warm up
- then 15x 30 seconds work/90 seconds active rest (add in a movement you want to get better at i.e. 7-10 pullups or pushups)
- the athlete must ski one additional meter with each passing interval i.e. 160m, 161m, 162m, 163m, 164m, 165m, etc
- The ability to start at 160m is dependent on your level of fitness. Some people may be able to start higher and some may need to start lower. I always tell people don’t be greedy. This will seem easy at first but gets very difficult in the later rounds.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone hopping on Concept2 equipment for the first time?
Make sure you start with the damper low and focus on technique before you try to go all out. Each machine overs a different learning curve and each machine can always be modified to make it easier or harder. Find someone who can write an effective program to make the most out of your workouts.
How have you expanded or changed your use of our equipment over the years?
We have six SkiErgs, three BikeErgs, and three (Indoor) Rowers. Every year we add on and will continue to add on. We not only use them for classes and personal training but we use them for online coaching in people’s homes. We also use them for huge charity events.
What or who inspires you to keep going?
My wife Roza Gilles inspires me. I would say pound for pound she might be the best in the world on the SkiErg. She has held World and American records for the SkiErg and she inspires me to be the best version of myself every single day.
What trainers or athletes do you look up to?
Antonio Cordova. He flew into my hometown to do a 100k on the SkiErg with my wife Roza and me. He is an absolute beast on the SkiErg and together we were able to do the 100k in 5 hours, 38 minutes with an average of 1:41/500m. He is a great training partner from a distance and again Concept2 makes it easy to compare workouts and numbers because the computers are so accurate.