About Coach Steve Ilg

I’m a very feeble mountain yogi/fitness monk who has been teaching a unique style of multi-disciplined lifestyle wellness known as Wholistic Fitness™ since 1982. My books, CDs, DVDs, and coaching programs have touched the lives of thousands of people at all levels of fitness, sport performance, awareness, and clarity.

Like any genuine Teacher, I’m not easy to find. I’m tucked away in my childhood home of Durango, Colorado, in a lofty, stunningly beautiful hamlet waaaay up high in the San Juan Mountains next to a wild, rushing river … where I have been waiting for you.

It’s been quite a journey getting to this moment.

Back in the 1980s, I began quietly teaching a five-limbed approach to fitness that blended kinesthetic and meditative practices like yoga and Zen with disciplines like strength training, cardio, and nutrition.

As the Training Director at Farentino’s gym in Boulder, my job was to design workout programs for our members. These ranged from simple sessions for beginners, to complex multi-cycled routines for elite-caliber athletes and teams, including the 7-Eleven professional cycling team.

I loved my work, yet I had sensed something was missing. The straightforward, scientific approach to training outlined in the textbooks I referenced seemed at odds with the emotional nature of the people I trained. Real life seemed more like a dance than a mathematical formula, and I saw the need for a more fluid, more human approach to personal coaching. I never would have predicted what happened next though, or how it would change my life.

The Accident (a.k.a. My Great Blessing)

I was also a world-class sponsored climber in those days.

One cold day in 1983, a friend and I were attempting an early winter ascent of the East Face of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was leading a snow-covered section when I pulled off a rock about the size of an office desk.

The rock and I sailed down the cliff, hurtling through the high-altitude air at more than thirty feet per second. In what proved a lifesaving gesture, I had attached two large plastic water bottles to my pack. My climbing partner said that when I impacted, a geyser of water exploded, instead of me.

During an epic bivouac that night on a five foot-wide ledge 500 feet high on the cliff, a winter storm howled around us. I was unable to move my left leg … and realized that I had fractured my spine.

In the morning, our ropes were frozen and we couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of us. How exactly we got me off that ledge, rappelled to the snowfield below, and hiked ten miles out to the car, I don’t know. All I can recall is searing pain and my attempt to rise higher than it.

The Reward

What followed was a year-long journey into the realm of physicians, body-workers, and spiritual healers. Months of eclectic healing practices and pessimistic medical prognoses led me to turn inward.

I deepened my meditation practice … and I began to see images of strange yoga postures, hear obscure mantras, and receive new training paradigms in sudden flashes of insight. Though most of these messages were beyond my conscious comprehension, some of them made sense to me.

As I healed, I began developing a unique, transpersonal approach to fitness that blended yoga and meditation with more traditional techniques. To convey the principle of wholeness at its core, I referred to my new approach as “Wholistic Fitness.”

The Five Fitness Disciplines I combined (Strength, Cardio, Yoga, Meditation, and Nutrition) not only brought feeling and movement back to my leg … they produced a comprehensive, balanced training effect that would eventually allow me to compete at even higher levels than before the accident.

I started teaching Wholistic Fitness to others … and in the decades since, thousands of people from every demographic and all fitness levels have attained athletic and personal awakening by working with me in person, reading my books, or taking advantage of my online training programs.

There’s an old saying in spiritual circles: “Your challenges are your spiritual path.”

The good news is that you don’t have to fall off a cliff to benefit from the lessons of doing so! If I could use the principles and techniques I discovered to heal a broken back and a shattered pelvis … and go on to win more than 200 races in 23 different sports … then trust me, I know that Wholistic Fitness can quickly help you achieve your own athletic goals, as well.

My Accomplishments

Here is some of what Wholistic Fitness has allowed me to accomplish over the past 30 years or so:

  • Founder of Wholistic Fitness™ and High Performance Yoga™.
  • Over 200 podiums in 23 different sports inspiring Outside magazine to name me “America’s MultiSport Mutant.”
  • Best-selling author with books in 11 languages including The Outdoor Athlete, The Winter Athlete, and Total Body Transformation.
  • Five World Championships in four different sports! An athletic feat not yet equaled.
  • 75 First Ascents in rock, ice, and peak climbing, and dozens of course records in ultra cycling, duathlon, triathlons, and quadrathlons.
  • Coach since 1982 to several regional, national, world and Olympic champions in a variety of sports.
  • Helped pioneer the bridge between western training methods and eastern contemplative and physiologic sciences.
  • Certified as a USCF Expert Coach, a registered yoga teacher, and a structural bodyworker.
  • Pioneered “Online Training” when the internet was first created.
  • A Lead Director of Sunrider® Whole Food Herbs since 1983, and developer of a proven “3-Phase Approach to Using Sunrider® Herbs” (Fat Loss/Cell Cleansing, Cell Empowerment, and Lifestyle Maintenance).

Also check out my Race Results.

A Coach to Those Who Like to Have Fun With Fear

“Steve Ilg is a soft-spoken extreme athlete and professional coach to those who seem to like to have fun with fear. He ought to know; he does not miss any rungs on the spiritual ladder of outdoor sports.”

- Men’s Health Magazine

A Guru and a Coach

“Steve Ilg is Ram Dass meets Vince Lombardi.”

- The New York Times

A Hero Who Doesn’t Disappoint

“I wrote my master’s thesis on the social and cultural history of physical fitness in this country, and I can tell you from a fairly unique perspective that it is very important for you to keep doing what you are doing. There’s enough people making plenty of money off baseball players and helping meatheads confirm that they are ‘tough.’ You are one of the few voices out there telling the shy, obese freshman or the meek housewife that they have warriorship as their birthright. Thanks for being a hero who doesn’t disappoint!”

- Matt B.

Dedication to the Science of Training

“I am impressed with Steve’s dedication to the science of training. He has pioneered a new awareness spirit that is widely recognized and firmly established.”

- Pat Ament, author and world renown climber

A Magical, Spiritual Journey

“Absolutely professional … but Ilg’s work is not about money, it’s about AWAKENING! … This is a magical, spiritual journey.”

- Peter Griffin, Snow Country magazine

Wonderful Hours Sweating

“I will forever train my mind spirit and body in a wholistic way for the rest of my life, after being lucky enough to spend the wonderful hours sweating under your direction.”

- Yogi Brett Campbell, Los Angeles, California