Author Archives: MGrodski

Diet Is No Solution

Have we ever become obsessed with food, diet, nutrition, “fueling”, whatever you want to call it.

An industry of what to eat, in what quantities, when, and how has grown out of what used to be a profession which focused almost exclusively on hospital patients who were believed to require specific diet plans in order to recover and heal. Registered Dietitians worked almost exclusively in hospitals until nutrition, diet, and dieting became mainstream words as a result of the food industry seeking to demonize fat because it saw the opportunity to grow revenues and profits by deceiving the masses into believing that low fat and no fat diets were the solution to losing weight and then to health. With this push of industry to create new products… dietitians and legions of unregistered “food specialists” (i.e. nutritionists) were called upon to sell the propaganda that what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, etc… it is not only critical to health, but called to sell that its the pivot point of health.

Really?  Is it really?

Think about it…

How many animals eat one thing, and one thing only their entire life and are NOT suffering from malnutrition, from obesity, from disease. Consider that…

  • Koala bears eat a diet of almost nothing but eucalyptus leaves,
  • Blue whales eat plankton, tons and tons of plankton,
  • Pandas eat bamboo,
  • Spiders eat a steady diet of flying insects.

In nature it is not uncommon for animals, birds, insects and mammals to eat a tiny variety of items and still somehow manage to live their lives and have healthy offspring which grow up on the exact same limited diet.  Meanwhile, humans are told that they have to eat a wide variety of items to live healthy.

Really? Or maybe, we have once again been ‘sold’ by industry that our diet needs to have kale, quinoa, pomegranate, blueberries and olive oil or else we are going to… develop horrible diseases. Quick get a smoothee with wheat grass, tumeric, green apples and a drop of oregano oil or else!

Don’t get me started on the beauty industry which has women convinced that rubbing all sorts of lotions and potions will rejuvenate their skin making them healthy and looking young again. Meanwhile, the ingredients for their anti-aging face cream which they lathered their face this morning before they headed out to protest in front of the slaughterhouse is made from the fat and bones of the animals they claim they don’t want killed in that same slaughterhouse.

Hypocritical? Just a tad.

I digress.

And who has been recruited to sell what the food industry wants… dietitians and nutritionists! Desperate to be important in this world, desperate to carve out ‘theirs too’ in this world, desperate to have their diet book published, desperate to be on a talk show to preach that they and they alone know the secret combination of foods that yield to health and wellness… they too have sold their souls to industry.

Reality is…

You cannot pour diesel into a gas engine and hope that it will turn into a diesel engine!

But this is exactly what dietitians, nutritionists, personal trainers, coaches and everyone else will tell you.  You can “fix” all of your issues if you only eat almonds instead of blueberries, or its because your diet is a lacking a salad with pine and walnuts, arugula, and a raspberry drizzle.

We buy the bullshit that diet can fix us because we love short cuts… we love the idea that we can be and/or become healthy by buying it… by buying this fruit instead of that fruit, by going vegan, by going paleo or adding ketones to our diet, then… oh yes, then we will be healthy.

We have been convinced that there is a code of eating that if we only unlock… maybe its 12 almonds not 11… then all of our health and wellness goals will be achieved. What bull!

It was this sort of bull that got me to write this post, especially when I heard it from an interviewer for whom I have significant respect and appreciation for his desire to inform and educate how to achieve peak performance. If you haven’t watched one of Tom Bilyeu’s interviews then I would highly recommend you watching one (click here to link to his Youtube channel). But it was also Tom who triggered this post when he stated in a recent interview with Cynthia Pasquella-Garcia (a celebrity transformational nutritionist) that diet is highly highly personalized and most be highly highly customized to the individual. Say what Tom!  You’ve been sold on this bullshit too! Geez…

You cannot pour diesel into a gas engine and hope that it will turn into a diesel engine!

What does it mean that you cannot turn a gas engine into a diesel engine by pouring diesel instead of gasoline into it?  It means that you cannot change your physiology into being healthy through eating.

Why are we so convinced that it can? Because you most definitely can change your physiology to cause disease by eating garbage, so we believe that the opposite must also hold: that if eating poorly can cause disease, then reverse the equation by eating healthy and disease will be eradicated and health restored. It doesn’t work that way. If it did… then 20-30 years of all this nutrition advice and diets should have yielded results, at least some results. Has any of it? Not at all. As I have repeated endlessly here… we are the most diseased, most medicated, most drugged, most overweight and obese cohort to exist. Where exactly are all the wonderful results? If everything that we are told is remotely true, even half true then we should have results… some reversal in obesity rates, instead epidemics like raging wild fires are only spreading in size and scope.

To become healthy you have to change your physiology, and food does not provide sufficient stimulus to cause significant change in your physiology… period.

There is a right way to obtain and achieve health, and a wrong way. Problem is that the wrong way is what makes industry tick, its what leads to sales and profits and thus there are the advertising and marketing budgets to sell everything what doesn’t work. The right way to health doesn’t require much, so building multi-national conglomerates on true health is impossible. No conglomerate means no advertising and marketing budget educating how to live to achieve health the right way, the real way, the true way. No conglomerate means no lobbyist money to buy politicians into proposing legislation that would encourage living to achieve health the right way, the real way, the true way.

Let me end of this note…

If dietitians and nutritionists were not the minions of the food industry then why is the path to health and wellness only possible by eating/through food, and not through no eating (as in fasting), huh?

If dietitians and nutritionists really were at the forefront of health and wellness they should be as invested in not eating as they are in eating… but they are not; hence my position which is that instead of being professionals who critically analyze the so called “research” which today is little more than corporately funded marketing campaigns performed by scientists willing to compromise on their personal and professional credibility by completing pseudo science in order to maintain the flow of grant money for their labs, they fall for the propaganda that the food industry wants the masses to fall for… so they too can make a buck off you and your health.

Why should dietitians and nutritionists be promoting not-eating as much as they promote eating? Because not-eating, as in fasting, makes more impact on physiology than all the super foods combined. Plus research from Dr Jason Fung has demonstrated that fasting (as in time restricted eating, not even calorie just time restricted eating) can reverse and eliminate Type 2 Diabetes.

Consider this…

You won’t even hear from the American Diabetes Association that fasting can reverse Type 2 Diabetes because of the ADA is so closely tied and thus dependent on the food industry for sponsorship. Wonder why we are so sick? Its because this is how far we have compromised on our values… we will fail to deliver our mandate (as in the ADA listing Type 2 Diabetes as an irreversible disease) when the truth is the opposite.

A society which compromises on its values this much doesn’t have nutrition issues… its issues are far far greater.


And in less than a week of posting this blog… this article is posted at RunnersWorld.com:

Just 5, hah! How bout all superfoods are just hype! How bout the concept of superfoods being hype… again, some dietitian or nutritionist out to make a name for themselves, or some food conglomerate wanting their new product to be hyped as containing ‘superfoods’ so the term is coined to convince you that buying the fad is a short cut to health. Bull. Bull. Bull.

There are no short cuts to health. Either your ENTIRE lifestyle is healthy… yes the food you eat, but also, how you eat that food, when, in what quantities, and how often you stop shoving food into that piehole of yours and fast for a period of time. It doesn’t stop there… how you exercise, what exercise you do, how often and it goes beyond the simple health & wellness aisles to … your job… is it killing you because you are working for a paycheque and not living out your purpose. What about your relationships… are you surrounded by toxic people? Thats no different than living beside a toxic waste dump that leaks into your drinking water supply and hoping that if you eat kale it will keep you healthy despite the fact that you glow at night from drinking toxic waste water. Insanity at its peak.

Want to be healthy? It starts with a purge of everything unhealthy in your life… EVERYTHING!

Backwards Racing

How do many athletes race backwards? By first looking to the future, to an event they want to participate in, and then by signing up for that event and then go about planning the training to survive the event, is to backwards race.

Backwards racing leads to backwards training, or as I prefer to call it: cramming, no different than the cramming we all did at some point at school.

Backwards racing results in what you typically see at the finish line long after the pros and top age groupers have completed the event: athletes who are walking, crawling, hobbling towards the finish line in hopes that they will make the cut off time, that they will make it to the finish line, that they will survive to tell the tale of yet another near death experience. Its athletes who have bitten off more than they can chew, yet so sold on the meaning of the finish line that they refuse to acknowledge their lack of training, their lack of preparedness, their lack of real health. Their hope is that the finish line will prove their fears wrong, their hopes right: that they are indeed healthy and fit enough, to show up and complete any race they select.

[A study performed at Ironman Brazil revealed that 2/3rds of all triathletes took NSAIDs the day prior to the event, and 1/3rd took NSAIDs on the day of the event. If triathletes are so healthy, why the need to pre-medicate? If you have trained properly for the event, there should be no need for prophylactic medication. That is of course unless your standard of health has been reduced to the point that relying on medication implies nothing about your lack of health.]

Time after time, I hear of athletes who compete in marathons and triathlons, and despite months passing, still have not fully recovered, still are dealing with physical and mental repercussions of the effort put into completing the competition. Suffering from anxiety, depression, pain, immune system, sleep, digestion, and/or muscle and joint dysfunction, they refuse to acknowledge that their body malfunctioning is connected in anyway to the fact that they were not healthy enough, not fit enough, not sufficiently prepared to take on the challenge of competing in whatever event they signed up, yet proceeded to torture themselves through it anyhow.

Backwards racing is comparable to going to a loan shark for money: its using the threat of broken knee caps, swimmin’ with the fishes, or wearing concrete shoes to serve as a kick in the arse to force yourself to put in the necessary effort to payback the loan. There is no difference between a loan shark and backwards racing: (a) the piper always comes to collect, and (b) the piper will always collect even when you have nothing to offer… your health is always up for grabs.

What I do not comprehend is why do athletes, time after time, gamble with their health in this manner?  Why do they put health up as collateral, simply for a finish line medal or photo? Is that medal really worth more than your well being? What does a medal or finish time prove if in the process you hurt yourself, inflict pain, harm yourself with injury arising from overextending yourself attempting to accomplish in weeks what needs months or years of training.

Racing is supposed to be about testing the progress you have made to date in training. It has to be an honest test for it to have honest meaning. Backwards racing is not a test of anything, its a form of gambling: spin the wheel, pick an event, place a wager (by registering) and then hope that you can pull off the training that at best will allow you to finish the race standing, and at worst puts you into a med-tent or an ambulance.

Backwards racing sets the athlete up to lose, and continued losing. Albeit for the delusional athlete, over-reaching for an event that you have no business attempting, and then surviving in some strange way may serve as a win (especially when the agony of recovering for weeks or months is denied as being related).

If you are not improving as an athlete, then my bet is that you are backwards racing, and training backwards, aka cramming. In fact, you are probably not only failing to improve, I would bet also that you are regressing in some way… in flexibility and mobility, in fitness, in health, as cramming causes athletes to become more prone to injury, to illness, and susceptible to the systemic diseases of prolonged over-training, and over-racing.

In the moment, hyped up, delusional images of grandeur that arise by seeing yourself at a competition – hoping that you can pull it off with weeks or months of training – is just as it sounds… a setup for failure, where pain and injury are the likely outcomes, and health is the account into which you will dip to pay the piper.

If you need a race in order to get training, in order to get motivated, then you are not training, you are threatening, guilting, fearing, scaring yourself into doing what you say you should do, but are clearly not inspired or motivated to do without some sort of doomsday scenario playing out in front of you.

Do you honestly think that health, true health, can be based on emotionally manipulating yourself into training for an event?

Why do this to yourself? Why subject yourself to the pressure, the negative motivation, to the endless reverse psychology of overextending yourself and then hoping that you can cram in enough to pull yourself out of the trap you set for yourself?

Why not take the time to do it right? Start from scratch, learn how to train, learn how to plan to train, learn how to plan to race, and learn how to race so that you can make it a lifelong journey of enjoyment and exploration. Otherwise, you can continue with the hokey-pokey in and out of being active, suffering through training and a race one year, then waiting until you regain some mild level of interest to put myself through the torture of training and racing yet again.


OK… so some triathletes, some athletes race backwards… big deal. No, its not some, its the majority. How do I know? Two sources:

  1. Race Directors – just ask how many register, then how many actually show up to events, especially triathlons.  XTerra Race Director James Kowalewski shared in one post that triathlons – across the industry – have a 25% no show rate. Think about that… athletes shell out anywhere from $100 to almost a thousand dollars when entering iron-distance triathlons, and 25% of them don’t even show. Why? Because they booked their epic event first, and then second tried to figure out how to train to survive the event = racing backwards.
  2. DNFs – review iron distance triathlon results and you will be as shocked as I was at the staggering number of athletes who never make it past T1, past T2, across the finish line. In some age groups I have seen as many as 25% of all the athletes DNF!

So 25% don’t show, another 25% don’t finish… so approximately 50% never complete what they set out to do and then there is a significant number who crawl, stumble across the finish line either after the cut off time or perhaps before but finish their event in the medical tent because they overextended themselves well beyond their capacity. Why? Because racing backwards is the norm, and healthy training and racing is the outlier.

Final story… last year an athlete who went with a local triathlon club to Arizona for a spring training camp returned to share this story. While out on a ride, there was a crash, a serious crash with one athlete in particular suffering a severe concussion. Instead of focusing on the athlete’s well-being, the coach who was also riding in the pack (but did not crash) came to the injured athlete and immediately started to promise that he would get the athlete to their event (which was coming up in a number of weeks). Seriously! A severe concussion and instead of placing health as the priority, encouraging the athlete to recover fully, reminding the athlete that there are many many races available this year and in following years… hell no! Like Monty Python’s Dark Knight… “tis only a flesh wound [Dark Knight is missing both arms, and a leg], come back here, I can still fight you!”

Where does the backwards (cart before the horse) mindset arise from? Coaches who should not be coaching because they have no clue… about what is truly important in life. Find yourself a coach who values health – and your life – over their own ego. The above coach being so obsessed with their own ego could only see themselves as a failure if the injured athlete failed to compete; meanwhile the fact that an incomplete recovery and that a second concussion poses a threat of sudden death doesn’t cross the mind of the coach. Clueless!

Don’t Buy It

I remember growing up… allergies were a “thing”.  Everyone seemed to be tested. I remember going to a medical clinic having 20 little needles prick me simultaneously on the forearm, each needle delivering a different allergen…. mold, mildew, dust, dander, pollen, etc… You would go home after the ‘test’, and return to the clinic in 24-48 hrs in order to have the pricks examined. Those pricks which became inflamed identified what you were allergic too. For me, the test came back stating that I was allergic to dust, mildew, and mold. I had the test due to repeated ear, nose, throat infections, hence the ENT specialist figured there was something triggering the constant infections at home. That the infections had nothing to do with dust, mildew or mold and that compulsive cleaning was ineffective in preventing the infections is a topic for another post… as is the real trigger for my infections (and medically stated reason to remove my tonsils).

My allergies aren’t the point of this post, the point is that recently it came to me… back a couple decades it seemed every other person was allergic to cats and dogs. We couldn’t have a dog or cat because my brother was allergic. I wasn’t, my parents weren’t; they grew up with dogs. Only my brother was allergic to dog and cat fur, and it wasn’t only him; it seemed that a ton of other kids were too. Coincidentally, dogs and cats were not household pets like they are now.

Which got me thinking…

What has changed? In the past couple of decades what has happened that all of a sudden it seems no one has an allergy to either dogs or cats. It seems that today not a household is without a dog or cat. How can that be?

Have dogs and cats changed, no longer creating allergens, no longer causing allergies?

Has our physiology changed such that we are not affected by dog or cat dander or fur?

There is only aspect of the human being that can change so dramatically that our physiology can change “all of a sudden” making us immune to dogs and cats… our psychology.

Growing up, there were few dogs as pets, obviously there were those who had pets, but the pets most kids had were cheap pets… goldfish or hamsters. Also, the dogs people had as pets often served a purpose other than that of filling purses or strollers to help empty nesters deal with their unresolved parenting issues or to help young adults “play” parents since having actual children would conflict with their self absorbed lives. Besides, dogs make for far better social media posts then snot nosed whiny children, because whats a day without an instagram or snapchat or Fb post that your friends can like? The dogs people had, were typically guard dogs… not cute little things you cuddle, dogs designed to bark and bite.

Which brings me back to allergies…

What if…

What if we were allergic to dogs (and cats simply by default because they have fur too) because there was a social narrative that dogs for the most part pose a threat to our well-being (again because most were guard dogs not ‘pets’ or therapy animals), hence dogs consciously and/or unconsciously triggered our flight-fight-freeze response resulting in an inflammatory response… sneezing, congestion, tickle in the back of the throat, coughing, perhaps even asthma and in some people skin changes (e.g. itching, a rash).

Today, you can bring a dog into any classroom and not a kid will run to the back of the room concerned either about being bit, or about their allergies. You can bring a dog into a classroom without even bothering to ask if anyone is allergic because you would be laughed at for suggesting that anyone could be allergic. Interesting how things (or is it people) change?

So, where did the allergies to dogs and cats go? It went the same place the social narrative went that dogs and cats are dangerous, are threats to our well being… it “went away”. We grew out of a mindset, hence we grew out the allergy.

Which brings me to the health care system in general.

Ointments and medications and whatever else the health care system suggests are the solutions to our issues… rarely are.  They are indeed solutions to major pharmaceutical companies and health service companies, but actual solutions to people…. rarely.

Health is primarily a state of mind. The health of our body is a direct result of the state of our mind, the state of our thinking, the health of our mind. If your mind is awash in narratives that identify a world filled with nothing but danger, risk, threat, then how can your body be healthy? You cannot be healthy, will not be healthy and no amount of medical intervention can overcome the narratives in your head to make the rest of you healthy.

It starts with analyzing what you think about, how you think about it, and the impact of your thoughts on your physiology. From there, you can make progress, from there you can start to select which narratives are helping you, and which narratives need to be rewritten so they to can help you, and which narratives need to be trashed as there is no saving them, and keeping them means that there is no saving you.

Consider this… the #1 medical diagnoses expected in 2020 by the WHO (as in World Health Organization) are: anxiety and depression; both of which are states of mind.

Things that make you go…. Hmm
(Arsenio Hall, circa 1990s)

Triathlon Legend Mark Allen


“We have to train the physiology so that their body is perceiving that day as low stress. How do you train an athlete so that their mind, their internal emotions are perceiving this day as something they can tackle? And also how do you train their physiology so that inside the body’s going “this is hard, but its not the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” You have to provide them with training that over stresses both of these elements.”

A Simple Standard

Before we get into the blog… a note to all subscribers: first, thank you for subscribing to The Athletes Cloud, your interest in the thoughts I have had to share has meant much to me; second, this is the last blog that will be sent out via email notification as I will be disabling the subscription feature to the blog and deleting all subscriber emails. This decision comes as a result of web-bots infiltrating the subcriber plug-in and using my website to send spam emails; I am done dealing with such web admin details. I will still be blogging, you just won’t be notified when a new one is up.


A bit of background is needed to appreciate why I use a specific standard when advising athletes what events they can compete in (that is if they want to be coached by me).

The athletic accomplishments of Mark Allen need to be appreciated to learn the source of this standard.

To this day, what Mark Allen achieved in the sport of triathlon has not been repeated by any single athlete. There are definitely athletes like Gwen Jorgensen – US Olympian and 2016 Rio gold medalist in triathlon – who like Mark Allen went undefeated in short course (or as it is now called ITU standard triathlon events); there is Chrissie Wellington who went undefeated across all Ironman triathlons she competed in during her career; but there is no one … not one athlete… who has done it all, and done it all within a consecutive time span like Mark Allen.

Allen won the long course championship race – back in his day it was held in Nice, France, and was a triple Olympic distance triathlon – Allen won it for 11 consecutive years. Allen went undefeated in short course events winning 18 or 19 in a row in one stretch. Allen also won the Ironman World Championship triathlon which is still held annually in Hawaii a total of 6 times. There is no single triathlete who has done anything close to what Mark Allen achieved.

If you are going to set a standard for training or racing in the sport of triathlon, there is only one athlete, the man known as ‘the Grip’ who should be referenced… and that is Mark Allen.

Before Allen won Ironman Worlds 6x, he had to defeat his predecessor, Dave Scott. Dave Scott’s nickname was ‘the Man’ because no one before Scott had won Ironman Worlds as many times (Scott won it 6x), nor by the margins that Scott won. Mark Allen was winning at every other distance of triathlon but Ironman World Champs in Hawaii eluded him. For nearly a decade – think about that… nearly a decade – of attempting to win in Hawaii, Allen was defeated by Scott time and time again, sometimes coming close with a podium finish, and sometimes not… sometimes in the top 10, sometimes not even ending finishing as a DNF (did not finish). Allen endured mechanical issues, bleeding issues, bonking,… you name it, Allen seemed to be cursed when racing in Hawaii.

That is until Mark Allen set ‘the standard‘. The standard which led him to the famous battle on the Queen K highway where the marathon of the Ironman World Champs finishes up, a battle known as ‘the Iron War’. The year was 1989, Allen and Scott were never apart more than a few seconds during the 8+ hours of the Ironman World Championship triathlon in Hawaii. It was in the final miles, on a slight upgrade that Allen made his move realizing that he was putting distance on Scott on all up grades, and was losing gaps he opened as Scott would reel him back in on declines. On the last uphill before the final descent to the coast and to the finish line, Allen put in a surge and didn’t look back… that was the year Ironman Worlds had itself a new Champ, a Champion that would win 5 more times.

So what was ‘the standard‘ Mark Allen set for himself with the intent of no longer allowing the heat and humidity of Hawaii, gaps in his training, and most of all Dave Scott from standing in his way from the top podium spot at Ironman World Champs?

Mark Allen set ‘the standard‘ that if he was going to race an 8 hour race, then he must train himself to be ready for an 8 hour race, therefore he must put in 8 hour training days if he is going to thrive in competition for 8 hours.

Long story short… he did, and the rest is history.

If you go online these days, there is a race to the bottom amongst triathlon coaches… a race to who can come up with the most moronic training formula in an attempt to ‘get clients’ (i.e. hopeful individuals who would like to cross the finish line of an iron distance triathlon so that they can call themselves ‘Ironmen’ and ‘Ironwomen’). To date, the shortest training program that I have seen offered online by triathlon coaches is 9 total hours a week being heraled as sufficient training to thrive at an iron distance triathlon. Let that sink in for a moment. The best of the best complete iron distance triathlons in about 8 hrs, with the best of the best women around 8 1/2 to 9 hrs… and the average finishers in the range of 11-13 hrs. How is the average athlete going to thrive if they train less hours per week than the entire event is going to take? How is it that Mark Allen couldn’t thrive at Ironman Worlds while putting in 800km per week of swimming, biking and running and had to add in 8 hr straight sessions to achieve his potential. Meanwhile novice athletes are told that they can get away with putting in no more than 9 hours in total a week? How does that add up? Yet this is the advice coming from triathlon coaches… even coaches who are Ironman University certified, coaches with USAT or NCCP credentials.

WARNING: training programs promising success at iron distance triathlons with only 9hrs of training per week are a crock; these programs are being sold by clowns and con-men/women calling themselves triathlon coaches.

My standard is taken from the one called the Grip… its his standard: if you are not able to train at a minimum 5 distinct sessions of equal duration to the estimated time for the event that you want to attempt, then you cannot do that event (and these training sessions are in addition to all the cardio-respiratory base conditioning, core conditioning, skill acquisition and sport specific technique necessary to be competent at the sport).

If you expect that an iron distance will take you 12 hrs and you cannot put in a total of 5 single 12 hr straight sessions of training to mimic race day then you cannot compete at an iron distance triathlon.  Its not that you shouldn’t do it, its that you cannot do it because you haven’t got the training to do it. That is what is called a standard. That there is no standard to compete at iron distance or even half iron distance triathlons is why there is a 25% DNS (do not start) rate, and a DNF (did not finish) rate as high as 20%+ at some of these events. No, no one advertises the number of drop outs before the event starts, or the number who drop out during, or the number that end up in the medical tent, or the number who do not make cut off times… because that may actually dissuade some from signing up to begin.

If you do an event for which you do not have sufficient training, then I guarantee you this… to cross the finish line you will compromise your well-being, your health, and not just for a day or two… you may do serious lasting damage to your cardio-resp system, your immune system, to your hormone/endocrine system, damage that can take months, sometimes years to heal. Again, not widely advertised because of the damage it would do registration revenues, but the number of bucket listers and iron distance triathlon finishers who months or years after their race still cannot sleep a full night, still have bathroom issues, still have lingering injuries from race day that won’t heal… is lengthy. And you won’t find this advertised anywhere either; its all about profit these days, even profit at the expense of people… even at event management companies claiming to be heavily invested in your well-being, your health.

In reality, few and I mean few people with a career, with a family, especially with young children have the time to put in proper training do compete in a full iron distance triathlon.

But this standard isn’t just for full iron distance triathlon, it applies equally to any distance of event…

If you want to run a marathon and expect it will take you 4hrs but you don’t have the time to put in consistent 4hr training sessions… then you cannot run a marathon.

If you want to compete in a 70.3 (i.e. half iron distance triathlon) and expect it to take 5hrs and you cannot put in 5hr training sessions ahead of the event, then you cannot do a 70.3.

But this is not how individuals decide on what event to race.  Convinced by their ironman triathlon club or by their meathead coach or by sports media that only 70.3 or full iron distance triathlons count as ‘real’ triathlons, they register first, and then hope to train enough to be able to show up on race day and actually race. This is called backwards racing and training.

The proper way to train and race… your training dictates the distance you can race.

Say you are able to consistently put in 1hr of training a day, and on weekends 2 or 3 hrs, then you have the following options for picking events to compete in:

  • Events that are 2 – 3 hrs in length, you have sufficient training to participate in, not compete, participate in. As in, start at the back of the field, race your own race, enjoy the scenary, the experience, and finish feeling great, or…
  • Events that are 1 – 2 hrs in length, you have sufficient training to compete in, against yourself to set a personal best, but not necessarily against others in your age group.
  • Events that are 30 – 45mins in length, depending on your sport specific level of skill and technique you may have sufficient training to be competitive against others in your age group (but that is a discussion for you to have with your coach and is dependent on far more than just hours of training).

What Mark Allen realized was needed in order for him to prevail at Ironman World Champs in Hawaii is something that exercise physiologists and coaches have known for decades but seem to have forgotten… if you want to be good at swimming you need to swim, if you want to be good at running you need to run, if you want to be good at an event that is 2hrs long then you need to consistently train 2hrs+, if you want to be good at an event that is 12hrs long then you need to train consistently for 12hrs… it ain’t quantum physics, its called training specificity.

Unlike the plethora of short cuts that are being sold, specificity states clearly: there are no short cuts, neither to a full iron distance triathlon, nor to your health. If you want health, then you have to train and race right… with specific intent and specifically for the event that you want to take on. If you want to train and race right, then you need a coach, not a clown, not a con-man or con-woman posing as a coach. Its easy – too easy in fact – to obtain coaching credentials today… so instead of coaching certificates I suggest you seek out a coach who has the education and experience of an health professional AND on top of that, a coach who has the education and experience of a coach, AND on top of that… a coach who has the education and experience of an athlete… and then you may, you just may have an individual worthy of being called coach.

If you want to be trained right… then why on earth would you skimp on the quality of your coach. I don’t see triathletes skimping in the least on their training and racing equipment, so why would you skimp on that which is even more important… your training?


Excerpt from triathlete.com article titled “How to Dial-In Your Race Specific Training“:

“Fitness can be described and measured in countless different ways. It all depends what you are trying to achieve. A power lifter is fit, so is a track and field sprinter and so is an Ironman athlete. However, most of us would agree that if you put any of those athletes in the others’ competition they would do rather poorly. Therein lies the concept of specificity. Your body will excel at what you train it to do. Your training should create the aerobic, anaerobic and muscular foundation to maximize your (or your athlete’s) physiological and physical potential and then fine tune it to specific race demands.”

Standards

Imagine if we started to lower standards beyond sport… in school, in the workplace, in society in general.

What if… instead of 80/100 being an A, we lower the standard to 60.

What if… instead of the current standards for entry into university, into medical school or engineering programs, we lower the standards to make sure anyone who wanted to ‘participate’ had the opportunity.

What if… instead of the blood alcohol limit prior to a DUI infraction, we eliminated the standard altogether.

What if… we simply lower standards until there were no standards. What then?

Well, like the triathletes racing at Ironman Texas we would have clowns as our medical professionals, as the architects designing our buildings, as the engineers building everything from our roads, bridges, to the cars and planes we depend on for safe travel, and speaking of safe travel… our roads would be hazardous to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians as drinking and driving would be without penalty.

When we lower standards we may make post secondary education, professions, sport more accessible and in the short term it may seem to be a win which comes without consequence. It isn’t a win, nor a sustainable solution in the long term because with lower standards eventually we lower them to the point that we start to regress as a society, devolving into lower and lower levels of existence. That is when stealing, cheating and lying become the acceptable norm.

When we push each other to deliver higher standards, challenging each other to be better than we were yesterday, expecting more from each other… that is when and how we advance.

We need to return to expecting more from one another.

We need to return to pushing ourselves.

We need to return to challenging ourselves and one another to be better, to do right.

We will be happier, healthier, and we will suffer less physical and mental disease when we return to living in line with our design: a design which requires us to continually develop, improve, grow, reaching for our fullest potential every day.

Kaizen

Dishonesty, Now Demise

Sport is supposed to, and used to hold athletes to standards. To participate in a sport you were expected to train, in order to compete you were expected to qualify, to prove that you were worthy to engage in competition.

Over time, the standards were loosened to encourage participation, to encourage both younger and older to become involved in sport.

Now, standards are almost non existent and as a result, sport is less sport and has become more entertainment. No different than showing up to a concert, sporting events are marketing themselves as experiences were preparation is not necessary because the point is to cross a finish line, how you cross the finish line is irrelevant. Coaching standards do not exist any longer, as today coaches do not actually coach, they prepare those eager to participate in a sporting event using every conceivable short cut as the goal is to survive, not to thrive, not to excel, not to actually train and race as an athlete. Its entertainment, its a bucket list item… whatever it is, it sure ain’t about becoming better, improving, developing, and it sure ain’t about pursuing one’s potential.

The illusion being sold is that by participating without training doesn’t change the experience: the experience of the event will be no different between you and an athlete [athlete as in an individual who has trained sufficiently & appropriately, one who has gained and trained the sport specific skills to excel]. It ain’t. Its a lie. Its a lie told to sell registration in the event, its a lie told to profit off the popularity of participating in events.

Because standards of competitor worthiness has fallen, and continue to fall, training has become the losing / losers approach to racing. Cheating, stealing, and lying have taken over; they are now the short cuts used by more event participants to make it to the finish line, and sometimes even the start line.

As I blogged recently, at the MEC Burlington Run Series Race #1 in late April, cheaters were everywhere… in the 3.75km race stealing positions and podiums from the other event participants who raced honestly, from children who raced honestly, and it was no different in the 10.2km event as the timing company Speed River Timing shared that the top 5 women were removed for course cutting, as was the top male finisher. How many others… I don’t think MEC would want the real stats revealed because it would likely turn off those who compete honestly from competing again… what’s the point when so many disrespect themselves, the event, and all their competitors. What’s an event where cheating has become normal? Not a sporting event thats for sure.

A Google search of triathletes cheating reveals how far we have fallen:

This is just in the sport of triathlon. If you Google cheats or banned athletes in the sports of running and cycling… the list of not just professionals, but amateur athletes caught with motors in their bikes (in non e-bike events), or testing positive for WADA banned performance enhancing substances, or simply deciding to course cut is lengthy. Why so many cheaters? Because all they really want is the participant medal, the finish line selfee, the Instagram or Fb post. What matters is that they were there, they crossed the finish line… as if it means something without training.

Police work, not anti-doping tests, blow open Italian doping ring

What I don’t get it… is how do cheaters reconcile that cheating, lying, stealing, tampering with the equipment of another athlete – that’s right cheating to the point that you are willing to gamble with the life of another – have anything to do with living an active healthy (i.e. mentally healthy) lifestyle? Can you honestly be mentally and emotionally healthy… if you are cheater?

What kind of delusion are we living in? This is not healthy, its nowhere close to anything close to being healthy. In one case of a banned athlete the extent of their mental dis-ease came out in articles revealing the parallel between the athlete’s unsportsmanlike behaviour to the fact that the athlete also received disciplinary action from their professional regulatory body for inappropriate behaviour. Its delusional to think you are one person on weekends or at an event, and another at work or at home. You may think cheating at an event doesn’t reflect on you, that you can cheat and ‘get away with it’, but the reality is that you are living in denial, convinced that you are physically healthy, mentally & emotionally stable. Here’s a clue… ya ain’t.

Now I read about Ironman Texas. A posted highway cam gif from IMTX shows how so called athletes ran amuck cheating. FYI… Ironman events are supposed to be non-drafting. It didn’t end there; officials at the event stopped officiating using the excuse that it would pose harm? Say what? Officials are supposed to officiate in order to prevent harm… like disqualifying or at a minimum penalizing all the idiots in the gif weaving back and forth across the course median. This is sport? This is not sport, its a joke! Ironman Texas was a fiasco, not a sporting event.

They can’t even cheat right!

If cheating wasn’t enough, these Ironman event participants prove just how unskilled, how untrained they are in that they can’t even cheat right! They can’t even ride their bikes in a straight line so they end up colliding, taking each other out like an house of cards folding upon itself. These aren’t competitors worthy of the title athlete, they are a bunch of cheaters… out to steal positions, a qualification spot for another event, perhaps even a podium from a real athletes… those who raced honestly start to finish.

These aren’t athletes, these are clowns.

If it only ended there…

Then news comes out that the actual bike course length wasn’t anywhere close to an Ironman distance triathlon: the bike course was short. But Ironman Corporation decided to count the finishing times as actual full distance race times!  Ironman Texas went from being a joke, to Ironman Corporation and the brand Ironman now becoming jokes.

By eliminating the standard of what is an Ironman triathlon – to an arbitrary distance which seems to vary with each event – what once stood as a brand representing the standard of endurance triathlons…  is now a standard of nothing. Ironman now means nothing.

If there is no specific distance that is an Ironman triathlon… because every race director can just cut the distance shorter in order to make finishing times record breaking… this is the beginning of the end of Ironman as a respectable standard in sport and in business. The precedent now is not only for athletes to course cut, but we have taken another step lower by the event management company itself ‘course cutting’.

Just imagine if we did that in any other sport…

Imagine at the Olympics, it isn’t the 100m event in track & field any longer… organizers cut the distance to 95m to ensure a new world record, to ensure spectators get to see a new WR.

Let’s not stop at the 100m event… the marathon seems a bit long, and what’s the point in a race having to be 26.2 miles… what’s with the 0.2miles? Let’s cut the marathon to an even 25miles… everyone will set personal bests, there will be new records, it will be wonderful. What crap!

Once we start to lower standards, there is no bottom… because there is no justification to put in a bottom at any point. The race is now to the bottom, and with that we devolve, we regress, we revert to animal instincts willing to lie, steal and cheat… grabbing at whatever you can get your hands on ahead of another.

Its one thing when society starts to cheat in order to try and make the standard, its an entirely new level of bottom seeking when society starts to drop standards in order to justify some short term/instant gratification end.

From here… the race now is only to see how far Ironman Corporation will sink, how low will standards fall, how far will it go to destroying everything that Ironman triathlons once were.

With the Ironman brand representing nothing,
the statement “you are an Ironman”… now means nothing.

Have an Ironman tattoo? Well you may want to consider laser removal before the Ironman brand becomes widely known as a symbol of failure, of dishonesty, of a lack of integrity, of a corporation which once had standards and then in pursuit of profits and popularity dropped the one thing it represented… its standard. Ironman is now a gutless, toothless, dying carcasse and its starting to smell like one too.

How did this happen?  How did we end up here?

It always starts small…

It starts with… oh, what’s the big deal… you are making mountains out of molehills… let’s just cut this corner, let’s make it ‘easier’, let’s… drop our standard.

Then, one day, we lift our heads from the hole we have dug wondering how on earth did we ever stray so far from our values, our moral compass, from our standards.

Its not in one day that we fall… its a drip by drip, teeny step by itsy bitsy step that we end up hoping that all the little decisions we made were insignificant that our failure to hold a standard won’t matter, doesn’t matter, hoping that no one was looking, no one will know. We get away with it for a while thinking our master plan is working… we can cheat and get away with it, and then it catches up to us and we are blindsided with the consequences that are snowballing into an avalanche.

It starts small, but it never ends small.

Dishonesty, turns into denial, which becomes delusion, then demise, leading only to death.

What we have done to the sport of triathlon would have been unimagineable to those who stood back in 1978 at the start of what would become the Ironman World Championship triathlon in Hawaii. Ironman gained its reputation from the fact that it raised the standard of what it meant to be an endurance athlete; now Ironman, the race, the brand, the corporation is in the process of self destruction… its disease is terminal because standards were lowered, because lowering the standards was allowed to become an option, it happened because standards became negotiable, even in the slightest amount.

RIP Ironman 1978 – 2018

In the stock market… its called “calling the top” and turning bearish. Not sure if there is an equivalent in sport, but I believe calling the top in Ironman, the race, the brand, the corporation at this point is appropriate. Ironman had its run… and had its opportunity to be the flagbearer, but by eliminating standards, its now time for sport to return to what it is truly about… standards. Its time we return sport to individuals who we can truly call athletes because they decide to devote themselves to raising the standard in sport. Its time for cheaters to be escorted out of competition, and for athletes to retake the field.


In contrast to the disrespect in sport today, here is an article revealing the original intent behind competition, in sport…

Or how about this as a concept… helping your fellow man/woman, that’s right instead of stepping on your competitor when they are down, what about extending them a hand?

The Science Behind How Sportsmanship Helped Desiree Linden Win Boston

Javier Gomez shows class at Challenge Wanaka


Saturday May 12th opened up my Youtube channel homepage and on it was this video…

So lets get this straight… in one Ironman Corporation event, officials refuse to officiate because they claim it would risk posing harm to participants so the outcome is blatant drafting and crashes as per the highway cam gif above, but in another Ironman Corporation event an athlete who qualifies as a result of placing 2nd in his age group for Ironman World Championships in Hawaii is disqualified by an official for indirectly accepting chapstick from his wife (i.e. he pick it up from the ground so as avoid direct outside help). No standards…

Absolutely Appalling

Yesterday, as a family we participated in the MEC Burlington Run Series, Race #1.  The event was held in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, and had 2 events: the 3.75km and the 10.2km trail runs.  The kids – Mark & Serena – ran the 3.75km distance, and we – the parents – ran the longer event.

You think… a fun Saturday morning run with other families, other runners, out in nature, what possibly could go wrong?

To start, everything went right.  The kids had superb races, both of them taking 3rd place Overall (Male & Female) in the 3.75km distance.  Aimee and I also had great races, although not placing overall, Aimee was 2nd in her age cat (40-49) and I came in 4th in the mens 40-49 category.

Then we got home… and as I am sure just like everyone else we went to check results to see our finishing times, to see our placing in our age category and to see how others with whom we ran also did.

In reviewing the overall results for the 3.75km trail run, there was a significant change… Serena was no longer 3rd overall, she was 5th. Two ladies – Karen and Anne Marie MacDonald, both of Burlington – all of a sudden were listed as 2nd and 3rd, pushing Serena down into 5th.

Something was not right about these two ladies all of a sudden appearing in the results as top3 finishers… couldn’t put my finger on it immediately, but what had to be addressed first was Serena. Imagine receiving a medal, a medal that you thought you earned honestly, a medal that you thought was a true representation of your effort on that day… but then to have the results change results in the meaning of the medal also changing, the authenticity of the medal changing. This did not sit well with Serena, because how does one look at a medal that you thought was true, and was true in one moment – the MEC Race Director herself hung the medal around Serena’s neck – but turns out it isn’t or wasn’t? It would be understandable for Serena to feel as if she took someone else’s medal (again, she didn’t ‘take’ the medal, she received it from the race director… but I hope you can appreciate the interpretation). I had to intervene to help my daughter reconcile what she was feeling, but Serena still struggled emotionally and mentally to reconcile the events of the day. In the meantime, I started investigating the entire affair. What I came to uncover is that adults are absolutely appalling.

I started with the event result website that is used by many large events across North America and beyond: Sportstats.ca. I typed in Karen and Anne Marie MacDonald of Burlington and found the following 1/2 marathon results for these two ladies from last year:

Immediately their results stood out… how did two ladies who run 5km in just under 30mins beat my daughter who easily runs 5km in 23min? Not conclusive on its own, but it made me dig deeper.

The 8th Overall Female in the 3.75km race was Madeline Webb. Sportstats.ca shows that last year Madeline ran the Toronto Waterfront 10km splitting 27:57mins for 5km; but in the MEC race yesterday she ran almost 3mins slower than the MacDonalds? Again, nothing conclusive, but the data is not favoring the MacDonalds – either Karen or Anne Marie – as honest.

The 11th Overall Female in the 3.75km race was Stefanie Goyert. Stefanie had a finishing time of 21:57.6 secs for the MEC event… almost 4mins slower than the MacDonalds. On Sportstats.ca this is where I found the piece of evidence that led to emails to both the MEC Race Director and to the company which did the timing for the MEC race – Speed River Timing – questioning the validity of Karen & Anne Marie MacDonald’s finishing times, hence their podium positions.

On Sportstats.ca, Stefanie Goyert ran a 1/2 marathon time 20mins faster than Karen and almost 30mins faster than Anne Marie.  So how is it that someone who runs so much faster over a distance 5x greater (i.e. in a 1/2 marathon) runs 4mins slower over 3.75km?

It doesn’t add up. It doesn’t add up at all. In fairness, is it possible that Karen & Anne Marie MacDonald improved in the course of the year, and that Stefanie amongst others were all having a bad day? Possible, but everyone having a bad day, a bad race? Unlikely. My daughter has been steadily improving and did not have a bad day or bad race, just the opposite she ran exquisitely and this year is undoubtedly faster than 23mins for a 5km, so after taking these possibilities into account, the finishing results of the MacDonalds cannot be accepted as accurate.

The 17th Overall Female in the 3.75km race was Holly Horton of Milton; based on Sportstats.ca Holly too has a faster 1/2 marathon time than both MacDonalds, and not by seconds but by minutes. The evidence against the MacDonalds became overwhelming.

Its not that these two ladies just ‘took’ 2nd and 3rd place dishonestly. There were in total 204 runners in the 3.75km trail run, and of those there were 127 female runners. By stealing 2nd and 3rd, these two ladies changed the results for everyone… by pushing themselves to the front, they had a cascading effect on results in overall standings, in their age group, across men and women. Point is… this cheating is not without consequences, it is harmful to everyone else that runs an honest race and as a community of runners we have no reason to tolerate this sort of appalling behaviour (especially from fellow adults).

With the recent course cutting by as many as 5,000 runners in the Mexico City marathon, and the others caught cheating in lesser events makes it all that much more realistic that the MacDonalds finishing times are a result of the two of them ‘course cutting’. This is made even more probable by the fact that their finishing times had to be ‘added’ after the race as opposed to simply appearing as a result of crossing the timing mats at the finish line.

I wrote to the Race Director and to Speed River Timing this hypothesis: Karen & Anne Marie MacDonald started with the 10km race runners (the 10km race started 10mins ahead of the start of the 3.75km race and started on the same 3.75km loop), but instead of running the full 10km race course these two ladies proceeded to run only the 3.75km course crossing the finish line within the pack of 3.75km event finishers.  Since the 10km course ran past the finishing line of the 3.75km race before heading out for another 4km loop down the Rail Trail, the MacDonalds could have blended in with the other 3.75km runners, achieving their finishing results without turning a single head anywhere along the way.

The reply from Speed River Timing… they agree!

But that wasn’t the end of it. I am not going to write an entire post because of a couple of boomers desperate to prove that they are healthy, desperate to fool themselves to think that they are winners, willing to lie, cheat, steal from everyone else just so that they can have their moment… what blew my mind was the following (quote from email from Speed River):

“In the 10k, the top 5 women only ran the half course, and we had to go through a full video review to eliminate them so that the actual winners could be recognized.”

“Watching the video review, I was surprised to see runners who had finished going back to the finish line for pictures and blocking the runners coming in, as well as jogging back and re enacting the finish while other runners are still coming in.”

What?  Are you joking?  What a bunch of toddlers!  Adults so desperate for self esteem that they are willing to steal from everyone else at the event just because they need a moment to make themselves feel better?  Toddlers!  I’m being kind… what a bunch of babies!

I don’t buy the line… ‘I didn’t know I was lining up with the 10km runners’, or ‘I didn’t know I wasn’t or shouldn’t have crossed the finish line if I wasn’t going to do the entire race course’?

Really?  Dishonesty flows so deeply within you that common sense doesn’t have a chance?

If you were pulled over by a police officer, you cannot claim not knowing the rules of the road; its no different anywhere else… you want to participate amongst others in this world, then it is your responsibility to learn the rules of engagement, proper etiquette, how to participate. If you want to claim ignorance, fine… then there is only one way to treat you… like a toddler. Which is why this post was needed: to call out all the adults who cheated yesterday at the MEC Burlington Race #1 in Dundas Valley as overgrown toddlers. Grow up before you race again!

You know who were the real mature individuals at the MEC race? All the children who complied with the course, with race etiquette, who ran a true and honest effort and crossed the finish line appropriately.

Children more mature than adults! What a world we live in!

That the timing company manager has to (a) video record the finish line, and (b) has to watch the full length of the finish line video in order to ensure that everyone crossing the finish line is doing it honestly, removing all dishonest (or as many dishonest as they can catch) is appalling.

If these were children, it could be understood that they need to learn, need to be taught how to participate. That these are adults… is ridiculous, and to repeat… appalling.

I am grateful for the timing company to respond to my email because I was able to help my daughter understand how she could be 3rd one moment, and then 5th the next, 5th on paper, but after this review…back to being 3rd! All thanks to a couple of adult women who crossed the finish line taking advantage of a 10min lead start time for the 10km event to move to the front of the pack of the 3.75km event.

One task done, but I am now left with another: having to explain adults cheating to a child? Having to explain adults who are willing to cheat and steal from children? How do I explain appalling behaviour by adults to a child who we are trying to teach that stealing, cheating, lying is not the way to live life?


After reviewing this post with my son – who came 3rd in the 3.75km race and who should not have passed anyone on the course based on his pace, and on the course – he mentioned that he passed a couple of ladies while in the race. At the time, he figured that they must be part of the 10km race. Now thinking about it… and doing the running/pace time math… its clear that there is no possible way that these two ladies could have completed the entire 2km side loop that the 10km runners had to do off the 3.75km main loop with only a 10min lead.  My son ran the 3.75km trail run in just over 15mins… if these two ladies did in fact do the proper 10km loop, then (a) there is no way my son should have passed them because they would have been running a faster pace then him, and (b) these ladies should have been behind my son, not in front!


Additional race results – Bay City St Patricks Day 5km, March 2018 – have the MacDonalds finishing in times that make it next to impossible for them to have finished with the times they posted at the 2018 MEC Burlington Race #1:

Don’t Train. EAT!

Seriously… a recent article on 220triathlon.com suggests:

What’s the message? Don’t modify your goal to suit the reality of how much you can train… train less because you don’t need to train… all you need to do is fuel & hydrate properly in order to achieve your athletic goals.  Here is another article on Triathlon Magazine Canada, by Coach Paul Duncan stating this is no uncertain terms:

What is being sold to us is that it isn’t training that gets us to our goals – OK… train a bit – but the point is that these so called coaches are making is that far more important than training to peak performance is EATING (oh, and don’t forget your hydration toolbelt)!

Just take a look at these article titles (click on any to link to the article):

Training… that’s for losers!  The message is winners, ‘real’ athletes, especially those who know the ‘secret‘ to success in sport… don’t waste their time doing it the long way, they take the short cut… they just eat their way to the finish line, to their goals.

EATING… THE SOLUTION TO ALL THINGS IN SPORT, IN LIFE

Let’s get one thing on the table before we load it up with food, food, and more food. The average lean individual has enough fat stored on them to last for over 500 km of running… and that is without EATING anything while on the run. Again, that’s LEAN individuals; let’s not even consider right now the typical North American who has not just a couple of extra pounds on them, but tens upon tens of extra pounds on their frame.

You can last about 3mins without oxygen, you can last about 3days without water (yes… no water for 3days to all you water-holics who carry around water bottles the size of oil drums), and you can last about 3weeks without EATING! Think about that…

If the average person burns around 1,500 calories a day, multiple that by 21 days… and you get 31,500 calories in reserve!

Evolution – over millions of years – has taught our body one thing… food is scarce, there are times of plenty, and there are times of scarcity therefore always carry a store. It is only in recent times, where the constant abundance of food (and we now waste almost 1/3 of all the food that is grown/harvested on the planet) has become available.  That has happened in what… two generations, maybe three… definitely not enough time for evolution to work its wonders and rewire our DNA adapting us to 24 hr grocery stores where foods from around the world are on constant display and 24hr drive thrus offering a solution to whenever even the slightest hunger pane hits our hypothalamus.

Wakey wakey, we do not have an under-eating issue!

At last check, we – as the collective we of society – are somewhere between 2/3rd and 75% overweight, with 1 in 12 OBESE, with the projections being that by 2020 over 85% of North Americans are going to be overweight.

Yet we are told EAT, EAT, EAT? Why? Because corporations need us to buy too much, eat too much, and throw away so they can grow sales & profits; cause it sure ain’t for our own health!

The last thing we need is a mindset of EAT, EAT, EAT as if eating is the cure-all to all things. Have we not been trying this strategy for the past decade and so far its gotten us epidemics in diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, strokes, and now its starting to spill into mental health disorders which will only lead to the collapse of our health care system when we sit our double wide asses all at once in the Emerg department of our local hospital.

To be fair… there is some merit that we can improve performance by proper fueling, but “curing” undertraining, insufficient and sup-par preparation for athletic events with ‘proper fueling’ is bulls#!t. Take for instance this article which claims to be a “nutrition case study”:

The writer of this article states that an athlete who completed an iron distance triathlon ended up in the medical tent after crossing the finish line because of cramping, swelling, and then vomiting. These worsened into tachycardia, confusion and hearing difficulties, which later escalated into cerebral edema and a seizure. The medical diagnosis: severe hyponatremia.

The solution proposed by the writer so that this athlete avoids finding themselves in this scenario again… proper hydration with proper levels of sodium.

Seriously!

There is absolutely no mention of actually training to be ready to take on an iron distance triathlon to avoid pushing oneself to such exertion extremes that would result in the above list of signs and symptoms.  Nope. The fact that this athlete should not have even considered completing let alone competing in an iron distance triathlon until they are properly trained doesn’t even come into the discussion. And, this is what passes as “coaching”.

How bout this… stop teaching weekend warriors that insufficient and inappropriate fueling is the root of their problem. Why? Because it isn’t poor fueling or hydration its plain and simple not enough training! If you train enough, at least if you train properly enough then you should encounter every conceivable problem in training that you can expect to encounter in racing. By encountering these problems, the point of training is to solve them BEFORE you compete.

But with coaches claiming that you don’t need to train that much… just a few hours… athletes never come close to swimming, biking or running the full distances they will face in the event so its no wonder that athletes never encounter the problems the will face in the event. That athletes blow themselves apart, risking not only finishing, but gambling with their lives just to cross a finish line should be no surprise. And, this is what passes as “coaching”.

If you are encountering issues in racing that you do not encounter in training, then guess what:

YOU AIN’T TRAINING ANYWHERE NEAR WHAT YOU NEED TO BE FOR THE EVENT YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN

and/or

YOU ARE EXERTING YOURSELF WHILE PARTICIPATING IN EVENTS AT AN EFFORT LEVEL FAR BEYOND ANYTHING YOU HAVE TRAINED, AGAIN REVEALING THE EXTENT OF YOUR LACK OF TRAINING & PREPARATION

But no one wants to tell an athlete… no you cannot do this or that race because no one says “no” to anyone any more. If we don’t blow sunshine up everyone’s ass 24-7 then we are taken as naysayers, disbelievers, or haters. Meanwhile, those who do blow sunshine, teaching that all you have to do is click your heels 3x and you will be back home, that all it takes is enough positive thinking to ride that rainbow to your goals… well, if that’s the strategy that gets you into the mess of severe hyponatremia, why shouldn’t that be the strategy to get you out?

If you as a coach do not have the courage to tell your athlete… “NO, you do not have the quality or quantity of training to safely compete in an event so you shouldn’t”, then you do not have what it takes to be a coach because you are willing to compromise the health and well-being, and even play with an athlete’s life.

One day… all this EAT, EAT, EAT bulls#!t will catch up to those promoting it, just like taking supplements is now coming up as yet another empty set of promises of instantaneous health:

Research is now coming up revealing that all the supplement and multi-vitamin claims are coming up empty or close to empty, and in some cases taking supplements and multi-vitamins is coming up as posing a risk to health.

Its the same thing over and over again… short cut, short cut, short cut.  When will we learn?

There is no short cut to health, to performance, to our potential… the long journey is the short cut, everything else is simply someone blowing up sunshine up your arse in hopes that you will buy, so that they can sell you… vitamins, supplements, and now these days its protein powders, recovery smoothees, sports nutrition that will keep you fueled, hydrated, and going going going.

But no… we want the finish line photo so badly, sooo badly, to prove to ourselves that we are healthy, we want that participation medal sooo badly to shove into the face of our friends to prove that we are so awesome, that when something like this happens…

Instead of asking… did I really train enough for the event?  Am I truly healthy enough to engage in an event that can take as many hours in a day that I am used to being awake?  Why do that? Why actually face the reality that… we are not as healthy as we think we are… we need far more training than what we are told we need in order to compete respecting our body and brain.

What about actually respecting the signs and symptoms our body/brain are communicating, like… sensation of gripping pain which is there to attract your attention so that you hear: HEY MORON! You’re not ready to handle 12hrs of continuous swimming-biking-running (a) because you have not trained anywhere close to enough to be ready, (b) because not once have we even come close to training for this period of time in one single session so no body system is prepared even in the slightest for this undertaking, and (c) because you’ve spent the past decade sitting behind a desk you have become weak, stiff, and barely capable of climbing a flight of stairs from disuse… do you seriously think the 12 weeks of what you call training is enough to do what you are asking of me… your body and brain?

No, no… it must be a fueling or hydration issue. Why? Because such issues require no training to solve, no effort whatsoever. Making this a fueling or hydration problem allows me to sign up and do another event next weekend because all I need to do to “solve” this problem is head to my local tri shop or bike store… and BUY a solution (on credit no less, much like how we pay for athletic performance… using our health as the credit to pay for the lack of training when competing).

You want sunshine blown up your arse… no problem… the internet is full of coaches who will blow you as many rainbows and unicorns as you can pay for.

You want health, a dose of reality… then you will have to find a coach who has the courage to tell you the truth, a coach who has the courage to confront you and your illusions that you are still 18 and still in the physical shape you were when you were 18, a coach who cares enough to tell you the truth that they are willing to risk you walking away. Such a coach will smack you upside the head with truth, AND then they will take the time to train you… properly, so that you can compete in an event, pursue your goals but in an healthy manner… physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Bigger Fish to Fry

I will be continuing the posts titled “Movement is A Language” on the TOETT (The Olympian Experience Triathlon Team) website as the thread is more sports oriented which is more suited to that website. Here is the link to part [2]:

Movement is A Language [2]

On The Athletes Cloud blog I will continue to focus on concepts which need to be addressed from a wider perspective. In short, there are bigger fish to fry and I have a couple lined up that need to be confronted asap… because what is going on in sport and in the overall health & fitness industry is truly getting out of hand.