Trainer Talk with.......PJ Larsen


By Tim Crytser

Virtual Trainer: Hey PJ, thanks for taking my call this afternoon. Let's start out by talking about your first three Nationals as a professional. How did they go for you from a training and fitness point of view?
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PJ has finished in the top 20 two out of three times in his professional debut. He even beat Ryan Villopoto at Steel City!
photo: Vurbmoto

PJ Larsen: Well, I think things went pretty good. I think I was as ready for them as I could be. You never know what it is actually going to be like until you have to actually get in there and do it. I think that working with Seiji [PJ is trained by Coach Seiji] really paid off and he had me as prepared as I could be. It's something new with a steep learning curve and you just don't know what it's like until you get in there and actually do it.  

Seiji always talks about limiters that hold you back like skill or fitness. Do you think that your conditioning had anything to do with your limits in your first three Nationals or was it just a case of getting a feel for the speed?
I think that in general if you are not in shape going in then you won't be able to do very well. But like I said I think I was as ready as I could be going in. It's just something you have to learn; the fitness the speed and the other things that you need to do well.

I know that Coach Seiji has been your trainer throughout your amateur career. Tell me a little about your setup and how he trains you?
Well, I have been with Seiji pretty much my entire amateur career as an online client. We have spent weeks together periodically whenever I was in Texas but he has never been a full time trainer that I see everyday. Everything we do is pretty much online except for the few times we are together. Like we spent the week before Millville together to get ready for that race. Whenever I am in Texas we train together though.  

Did Seiji travel with you when you raced as an amateur?
Yes. He was at every one of my races. I can't really remember a race that he wasn't at. 

That has to be a little different now that he isn't traveling with you to all of your pro races. I mean he has been like a big brother to you and now all of the sudden you not only have to deal with the start of your career but you have to do it without a guy who has always been there with you at the races.
Yea, for sure it's different not having him there. He always made our food and got our drinks and made sure we were ready for our motos with warm-ups and stretching and all that. It is definitely different but it isn't too bad. I think sometimes you have to do things on your own for a while to really learn how to do it.

Yea, I'm sure you could have used him at Steel City after you banged your arm up after the second practice. Seiji is pretty famous for his "power" massages.
(laughs) Yea, he is good with his messages but I try to stay away from those things when I can. He wants to hurt you too bad during it but it does feel better afterwards.  

You said you are primarily an online client of Seiji's. The coaching packages you use online are the very same packages anyone can buy. Tell me a little about how that has worked out for you.
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Coach Seiji continues to train PJ with his online coaching package.
photo: Crytser

Well, really it works out great. He just tells me what I need to be doing on a calendar that he emails me. I can look at it day-to-day or look at the days or weeks ahead and see what is coming up. He tells me what to do for motos, when and how long my bicycle rides need to be and at what intensity, what weights to be using at the gym, and when to stretch. It's a complete program that is laid out day-to-day for me to follow.  

Do you think that you will continue with the online coaching as your career progresses or do you think you will seek out someone to be with you on a full time basis?
Well, you never know what is going to happen in the future. I just know that I was happy with it throughout my amateur career so there is always a possibility that I will just keep things the way they are.

Cycling is a big part of a lot of pro riders training and Seiji likes to cycle as well. How long have you been cycling and do you like it?
I have been cycling for a couple of years now and yea, I really like it. I was doing some stationary biking and borrowing other people's bikes for a while. But I was never very seriously into it until a few years ago when I got my own bike and started cycling a good bit then.

Have you ever entered any road cycling races?
No. I have not done that yet. I just ride every Wednesday night with a group of guys from around my house. They are a really good group of guys. A few of them say that I would do pretty good if I entered a race but it's nothing I am currently considering. Maybe sometime in the future.

Your Motosport Xtreme Green contract requires you to move to California. That is a pretty big move. What do you think about that?
Yea, I'll actually be leaving home here in the next couple of weeks. I'm renting a house with Kyle Cunningham and Hunter Hewitt. We are actually going to rent Andrew McFarland's house. It'll just be the three of us living in the house out in Menifee.

Very cool. That sounds like a lot of fun plus you will have two other guys that are in the same situation as you. Will you guys train together as well?
Oh yea, for sure. I think it will be good. We have three good guys that want to go out and train and cycle and do the things that are necessary to get better. 

JGR [Gibbs Racing] uses a team concept to train their riders. The trainer works for the team and is responsible for all of the riders. What do you think about this way of training?
You know it's really a toss up. It could be really good but it all depends on the guys that are on the team because they are the ones you have to train with. If you can have a whole team of guys who want to train hard and get better and all the other things it takes to get it right then it could be really good. But if you get a team with a couple of guys who could really just care less and not want to be training or doing any of the other stuff then that could really bring you down. Realistically, I think it all comes down to who is a part of the team and who the trainer is.

Now that the outdoors are over and Supercross is next, what will you concentrate on most to get ready for the season?
Well, for me I think I am in great condition and Supercross won't be a problem. I think for the most part I need to work on my timing and stay on the bike. I'll be putting in my 20 lap motos for sure to get ready for some of the longer tracks like Daytona and a few others that they stretch out. I think for the most part I just need to get used to Supercross and the tight conditions, the hard pack, and working on my starts. The physical conditioning side of it is all good. I just need to be able to put in 20 solid laps.

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PJ understands the importance of warming up before his motos.

photo: Crytser

Since you have never raced a Supercross, what experience have you had so far on these tracks?
Well, I have never raced a Supercross but I have practiced on them quite a bit. I used to play around on Supercross tracks when I was on 80's and stuff like that. I go out with some of my buddies now and do some motos and stuff like that.

Are you going to race the US Open?
We aren't sure yet what we are going to do with the US Open. I would actually prefer not to race it since I won't have very much time on the new bike. But if I get on the new bike and adapt really quickly to it, then yes there is a possibility if that is what the team wants to do. It all depends on how the testing goes just before the Open and if the team wants me to.
What do enjoy more; outdoor racing or Supercross?
That's really a toss-up. Some days I feel like I want to go ride Supercross and other times I feel like I want to ride outdoors. It just really depends on the mood I'm in at the time and what I have been doing. Like right now I am really looking forward to Supercross and I enjoy riding Supercross a lot and it might actually fit me a little bit better. I am more of a smooth type rider than one to really let it hang out there. So I think Supercross will be good for me. I just need to be able to get some good starts and run up front.

I know this may be difficult to answer since you haven't actually race Supercross, but do you feel there is a big difference fitness wise between MX and SX?
For me it really just depends on the particular day and what I have been doing that week. I know sometimes I can go out and put in 20 lap motos on a Supercross track and feel great and some days I can't even do 10. It just really depends on the day and the atmosphere. But I think that a 15 lap Supercross main and a 30 minute moto are fairly close because on an outdoor track you get a good bit of time to relax and on a Supercross track you are pretty busy the whole time.

Let's talk a little bit about one of my favorite topics and that is performance enhancing drugs (PED's). Do you think there should be drug testing for PED's?
You know it's not a topic that I know a lot about except for what Seiji has told me about them. I know very little about the drugs themselves but do know a little about what they can do and the side effects. I know that PED's can be a big benefit to a rider but if you look at the side effects and what it can do to you after you are done using them and as you are getting off of it, that stuff is bad news. They are really bad for you and I think the AMA should be doing a week-to-week test. I think they should do a random test each week on a few guys and start finding out who is using the stuff. I definitely think it is something that is starting to happen more and more in the industry and I think the AMA should crack down on it.

It is especially important for a guy like yourself who is educated on the bad things that PED's can do to a person and won't use them to make sure the playing field is level. The uneducated guy or guy who doesn't care about what happens to his body may take PED's and create an unfair advantage.
Definitely. If it didn't create such a big advantage there probably wouldn't be that many guys who would take it. For the guys who are putting in the work and trying to do things the right way, it isn't really fair to them.
Well, PJ I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. You seem like a real nice young man who has his head on straight. Seiji has nothing but the best to say about you and I wish you luck in your professional career.
Thanks a lot, I'm really looking forward to it. I think it will be good and hopefully I can get some good results and run up front! 

That's it from PJ for now. Until next time, good luck with your training and, as always, VT can be reached anytime at . In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section , your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.

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