Author Archives: MGrodski

Solving Cramps

Part 3 in a series on why articles on ‘nutrition’ and nutritional advice from ‘experts’ on diet is a waste of time, energy and effort [for the non-medically institutionalized population].


This article that was posted in Men’s Health.com, and then was posted at Bicycling.com

After reading the title of the article… what would you expect to find in the article?

I would expect to read a thorough biological/neurological/physiological explanation as to why we get leg cramps, and then based on the thorough explanation a scientifically proven (and based on real science not the pseudo-science that passes as research these days, as in ‘research’ paid for by companies seeking to “prove” [wink wink] that their product works) solution as to how to stop and/or prevent cramps.

But that is not what the article delivers. The article starts with this…

Let me repeat what the article states:

THEY HAVE YET TO FIND THE CAUSE OF CRAMPS!

First, that should be the end of the article because if there is no known root cause that consistently is appearing in the scientific literature then what more is there to say besides stayed tuned… when research comes up with something we will let you know.

Second, the article should apologize for the false marketing of the title: (a) the title promises to explain why we get leg cramps… it cannot because we do not know, and (b) it promises solutions as to how to eliminate cramps… it cannot because we do not know.

The writer goes on to say… there is research and some linkages between sitting and various prescribed drugs and there are some linkages with neurological pathologies (as in neurological diseases), and no scientifically reliable or valid connection has been found between the commonly held belief that cramps are caused by electrolyte imbalances and dehydration.

That should be the end of the article as I stated above, but no! Despite it being repeated several times in the article that there is no known cause for cramps, and only scant linkages, with direct correlations unable to be drawn… the writer goes on to offer solutions to stop cramps.

This sums up the validity to nutrition advice, to the ‘science’ that nutritional experts stand on…

THERE IS NONE BECAUSE THEY HAVE NONE!

SO THEY MAKE UP WHATEVER THEY WANT…

AND THEN PREACH IT AS IF ITS THE TRUTH

Nutritional advice and the so called nutrition experts are drawing conclusions where there are no conclusions to be drawn and worst of all they are developing prescriptions of diets, of supplementation, of hydration and recommending them to patients as if any of it is based on truth.  Its not.  They have nothing to stand on, so the bests they can do is make up stuff and sell it to you hoping that when things don’t work out, you don’t come back and blame them.

In medicine and in health care in general there is supposed to be a basis for intervention, and that basis is you intervene ONLY if you can assure the patient that the intervention you recommend will not cause harm.  Do not cause harm is the foundation of any true health care professional. In nutrition, the concept of do no harm clearly does not exist. If you do not know what causes cramping, that shouldn’t stop you from providing recommendations to stop or eliminate or prevent cramping… just guess, and hope it works out is the standard operational procedure it seems!  That’s right they are guessing when they suggest that you should hydrate, drink a fluid with electrolytes, take magnesium, calcium, Vitamin D, eat bananas, Gogi berries, or whatever it is they recommend.

If all they are doing is hoping and guessing that they are right, then what are the chances that they are wrong? Exactly! This isn’t healthy intervention, its gambling with your health hoping that what worked in one or two isolated cases (usually what worked for themselves) will work for you… they went gluten free, so now everyone else on earth needs to be gluten free.

To offer “recommendations” based on guessing… is malpractice when you hold yourself out to being a professional. Until there is consistent valid and reliable and peer reviewed data in the field of nutrition… there should definitely be no diets prescribed to anyone, let alone ‘experts’ in nutrition. What are they experts in when there is no science to back up any protocol?

But we live in a society where we cannot just stand by idle… someone has to do something! Yet what we should be doing is… nothing, UNTIL we have the evidence that we are not going to do harm to anyone. But no, we would rather risk doing harm by “doing something”. Its ignorance of epic proportions to believe that ‘good intentions’ will turn bad advice, into good.

But its only food and water… what harm can be done?  Seriously? Educate yourself by reading the prior post… and perhaps you will wake up to realize that in the past 3-4 decades of nutritional advice from so called nutritional experts the world has ended up dealing with epidemics in obesity, in diabetes, in metabolic disorders.

Finally, I challenge you to confront any of those so called experts in nutrition and ask them where they got their education and clinical experience. You may be shocked to learn that they have none, or they are “self taught” by reading a couple posts on Facebook, or they took a 1hr course at a personal training or coaching conference, or those who believe have ‘a lot’ of education have what amounts to one whole course that lasted an agonizing couple of hours. In any other health care profession, there is usually 2-3 years – years, not hours… years – of study to acquire the basic understanding of how the body functions. Its 2-3 years of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, psychology, etc… and then the study of pathologies begins, and only after that does the study of how to remedy those pathologies get discussed. In nutrition… the belief is that you don’t need any of that nonsense… you go straight to recommending everyone to go gluten free, low carb, massive amounts of protein, and make sure you drink 1 gallon of water a day (if they are on diuretics… wait, what’s a diuretic… my point exactly).

You wouldn’t trust your car to someone who took a couple hour course… yet we trust our health with con-artists who pose as nutrition experts who promise that if we listen to them our health will be restored, our aches and pains resolved.

Cause of Current Epidemics

Part 2 in a series on why articles on ‘nutrition’ and nutritional advice from ‘experts’ on diet is a waste of time, energy and effort [for the non-medically institutionalized population].


The LO Fat / NO Fat Diet Craze

It started earlier but it was the 80s when I remember the low fat / no fat diets being blown up as the answer to all our health issues… which back then was more or less limited to heart disease. With fat being fully demonized as the source of evil… the root cause of heart attacks, clogged arteries, the war on fat was well underway. Margarine was the replacement for butter, 1% skim milk replaced 2% and 4% milk, first low fat yogurt then no fat yogurt, and then the snowball engulfed every conceivable item on grocery store shelves. When the war on fat started to plateau, then the war on sugar began. Not to be left out, soft drink manufacturers started on their own ‘solution’ which was low calorie and no calorie drinks with aspartame another solution. In the end, I’m not sure what we were actually eating… as everything was either no fat, or no fat and no calorie.

Today we know that fat is not the devil in disguise that it was made out to be, in fact, fat is healthy, a key part of our diets as it is responsible for critical functions such as nerve conduction.

And who was preaching to eat no fat/fat free.. that’s right… all the so called experts in nutrition.


The 6-10 Small Meals a Day Diet Craze

I recall sitting in the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Triathlon Level 2 course and around me were triathletes / triathlon coaches of all levels. In front of them were piles of tupperware type containers with grapes, nuts, rice cakes, raisins, others with entire rice dishes or salads topped with quinoa, chia or pumpkin seeds, or pomegranate (as I think that was at the top of the pandemonium surrounding pomegranate as the critical superfood that everyone was supposed to be eating). No one waited for a break to eat; eating or snacking was constant. Someone was shoving something in their pile hole every few minutes, and when there was an actual break in the course, that’s when forks and spoons were unleashed digging into new containers that emerged from backpacks below the table. Eating, eating, non stop eating.

Today we know that without intermittent fasting, the body is constantly producing insulin, constantly packing away the calories we are eating, never unpacking a single calorie that was meant to be released when there wasn’t anything to eat.

And who was preaching to eat non-stop, alternate snacking and eating so that there isn’t a single second in the day when you aren’t chewing on something… that’s right… all the so called experts in nutrition.


Consider just the two diet crazes above – as there are other, and even crazier diets – that were preached as the solution by all those so called experts in nutrition that were claimed will prevent us from gaining weight, ensuring our health.

And the result of all these diets… epidemics in obesity, in diabetes, in hypertension, in heart disease and cancer.  It would seem experts in nutrition are the source of problems, not the solution as they so sincerely claim to be.

Let’s look at this another way…

Who have all these diets enriched?

Who have all these diets impoverished?

As far as I can tell, the major food manufacturers are raking in the revenues. As far as I can tell, so called nutrition experts are raking in the revenues from sales of diet books. And as far as I can tell, the rest of us are diseased: fat, overweight, obese, and suffering from one disease or multiple diseases… diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and so on.

Think about this…

If you ate less, what would happen to revenues of the major food manufacturers?

Hmm… if you ate less, if all of us ate less by fasting intermittently in order to regain control of our insulin levels (without medication), major food manufacturers would have a problem. With falling or not even falling, just stagnating sales of food, revenues and profits would steady, with the side effect being a drop off in the company stock price. Well, it seems that what is more important that our health, is maintaining corporate financial health even if it comes at the cost of our health, the health of the population of an entire nation.

Think about this…

If major food manufacturers are going to continue to grow their revenues into the future, then doesn’t that require all of us to have to eat even more than we eat now? We have to consume even more food than we are consuming now, a level which is already driving us into disease as a result of our obesity. If we are already obese, already suffering from lifestyle diseases related to over-eating, then isn’t the goal of the major food manufacturers rather sinister if they need us to eat and consume even more?

And who is the mouthpiece of all these major food manufacturers, preaching to us how we need to buy this food item, buy into this food trend, buy, buy, buy this superfood, that superfood… promising that we will all end up thinner, healthier, sexier than ever before?

That’s right… the so called experts in nutrition.

Its The Fire That Matters

Part 1 in a series on why articles on ‘nutrition’ and nutritional advice from ‘experts’ on diet is a waste of time, energy and effort [for the non-medically institutionalized population].


Summer is winding down, but hopefully at some point this summer you spent some time in the great outdoors. If you did, and if you did spend some time outdoors in the evening and into the night then its likely you had to build a camp fire or you hung out by a camp fire.

If you have never built or worked to maintain a fire then this blog may offer an experiment that you need to explore – safely so you don’t set yourself or anything else on fire – in order to truly appreciate that its the fire that matters, and not the fuel (and why advice on nutrition is the equivalent of pushing on a string).

If you focus on the fuel… as in what you want to burn, you will never build a fire that is able to be sustained with ease.

If you focus on the fire… as in what stage is the fire, and what fuel the fire needs at that stage, then you will be able to get a fire going, build it up, sustain it and eventually get it to the point that it can be left to generate heat, cook food, boil water, dry clothes… do whatever it is you need it to do without constant attention.

So how do you start a fire? Have you ever watched the TV series Survivor? Have you ever seen contestants of that series have to compete in fire building? If not, then it may be worth searching for and watching on Youtube. For the purpose of this post I will quickly run through the steps of starting a fire so that I can draw the analogy to nutrition, and nutritional advice.

To build a fire:

  • Start by accumulating a variety of fuel… you will not have time once the fire is started to go search for the fuel needed at each stage: you will need paper, or leaves, or twine, anything that is bone dry and will easily take a spark and turn it into a flame; you will also need every conceivable size of fuel to help the fire grow from flame to the size of fire you want. A collection of twigs, small thin branches, thicker branches, thick branches and a log or two.
  • Needless to say this is also the time to accumulate all the items you may need to either put out the fire if it gets out of hand or if it spreads… water either in a bucket or coming from a hose, sand is an alternative when water isn’t available, a shovel or rake or other tool that will keep you at a distance from the fire but can be used to put out a fire.
  • Plan the location of the fire where at its full size you will not set anything above or around on fire and start something you didn’t intend… like a forest wild fire.
  • Plan the location of the fire so that wind doesn’t put out the small flames that you will start with, nor blow the full size fire in a direction that can cause anything else to catch on fire.
  • You are ready to build your fire… (here are the pivot points to this post):  you need to create a spark or a small flame to start… matches, magnesium & flint, magnifying glass, whatever.. and that small flame needs fuel that will catch on fire easily. As the flame catches and grows, the fire will need to be fed a steady diet of increasingly larger pieces of wood as the fire will burn through smaller items faster and faster to the point that the fire can extinguish itself if it doesn’t get fuel that is hardy enough to grow it or at least sustain it.

Now think of fires that you have enjoyed this summer or in past summers. What are the best fires to sit around, to cook hot dogs, smores, to warm yourself by, to simply be around? Its definitely not small fires that are constantly requiring attention in order to be built or maintained. Its definitely not the fires that are raging in all directions, fires so big that we have to escape their flames if the wind so much as whispers in the wrong direction. The fires we are enjoy are the ones that have burnt long enough that there are coals, hot coals, coals so hot that even if a damp log is put over top… the coals will dry out the log and in time make that log burn. These fires we can cook food overtop, we can sit beside for long periods warming ourselves, we can even sleep beside them through cold fall or wintery nights.

What’s this got to do with nutrition?

Today, the nutritional advice is focused solely on the fuel (as in the food you ought to eat), yet as the analogy to a wood burning fire demonstrates what a fire needs depends on the stage and size of fire.  When was the last time that a nutritionist evaluated your ‘fire’ (as in your metabolic rate, your physiology, your psychology), before advising you on the fuel you need?

Nope. Exactly. Never. Its straight to the superfood fad of the week… Goji berries, Acai, kale, blueberries, walnuts… oops, sorry no, almonds and sunflower seeds, oh and dont forget gluten is bad bad bad (even though only 1% of the population has Celiac disease and needs to go gluten free). Which makes my point…  nutritional advice is a waste.

What fuel you put into a fire is entirely dependent on the type of fire.

What food you put into you is entirely dependent on the type of fire in you.

If you do not know the type of fire burning, if you have no clue how to assess type of fire, if you have never built a fire, never maintained a fire, never experimented with different fuels with different fires then what business do you have calling yourself an expert on fires or in the case of nutritional advice, what business do you have calling yourself an expert on nutrition? You may be an expert in the nutritional value of different foods… but that’s like being an expert in insects, it has nothing to do with what insects if any we should be eating!

Anyone claiming to be an expert in nutrition yet lacks the education, and clinical and non clinical experience in relation to how the human fire operates [imo] should not be preaching anything about nutrition as they are clueless on what to prescribe. How can you prescribe fuel when you are clueless on the type and size of internal fire – metabolic rates & processes – of a person.

Knowing how ‘healthy’ a food item is and how much ‘health’ that food item may or may not yield when consumed by a person, or the ‘health’ of the person as a result of consuming that food… has no proven consistent correlation on any scale that is scientifically reliable or valid.

Yet we expect that by eating ‘healthy’… we will become healthy.

How’s that working out?

Let’s see… we have epidemics in obesity, diabetes, in chronic and lifestyle diseases… hmm… it appears that it ain’t. Meanwhile everyone is giving nutritional advice… from Oprah to Dr Oz.

The exception as I have stated at the outset is the medically institutionalized population as in patients of hospitals, long term care facilities, and hospices. In these scenarios, the patient is under constant observation thus it is possible to assess the impact that dietary changes have on the individual (and doing so without extracting applicability to the level of populations).

There is another exception which is disease specific individuals who would benefit from certain food items being eliminated from their diet, where the food item eliminated is the source of overwhelming and persistent inflammation which adds to the underlying dis-ease… but eating any specific food and obtaining health as a result… has yet to be demonstrated to occur with any degree of consistency, and reliably.

What matters is not the fuel, but the fire – its quality, its robustness, its longevity!

Want to change your health… then you need to change your fire, what it can burn, how it burns, what are the byproducts of it burning, etc…   How do you do that?

HEALTHY EXERCISE PERFORMED OVER LONG PERIODS CONSISTENTLY

Not just any exercise, and most definitely not the exercise that is prescribed by virtually all trainers, coaches, gyms and so called health clubs: i.e. it is not HiiT/hi intensity interval training.

The exercise we are sold today as healthy is not, its ‘exercise’ in name only as it is designed to cause you to buy, buy, buy feeding the industrial machine that is our economy. Your health is irrelevant. What is relevant is looking as if your health is improving, as if your health is important, and selling you on the belief that everyone actually cares about your health when all they want is you to buy, buy, buy. We’re promised that if we only buy, our health will be restored: its is just a matter of spin sessions, yoga tights, and smoothees away.


For those who have had ‘results’ with eating properly, eating based on nutritional advice… I would caution you on giving credit to where it doesn’t belong. Why? There is something called the placebo effect.  If unfamiliar with what the placebo effect is… in short, if a person in a white lab coat, with a stethoscope around their neck, a clipboard, basically someone who looks like a doctor or medical expert offers advice, when compared to the exact same advice given by someone dressed like your next door neighbour… the result is that the advice from the medical expert looking person ‘works’ better. How is that possible? Because we believe it will work better because we believe it is coming from someone who we trust is an expert. Our belief in what works and what doesn’t plays a massive role… its for this same reason that fortune telling and why nutritional advice ‘works’ and why both are still in business today.

The placebo effect is so significant that in order for any prescription drug to be permitted to be made available by medical doctors must demonstrate in clinical trials that the effect of the drug is not simply a result of the placebo effect… the drug actually has to work whether or not a patient believes it will work or not.

There is no evidence that I am aware of that demonstrates that nutritional advice ‘works’ (as in not just by placebo effect). If nutritional advice was ever shown by clinical trial not to deliver results greater than placebo effect, then the entire field of nutrition would cease to exist as a recognized and regulated health profession. I doubt that the profession is going to undertake any such research as the risk of self destruction is undoubtedly too high.

A Bike Crash

Friends and family of athletes who competed at Ironman Tremblant returned to training sessions this week and shared stories from the weekend. Unfortunately, one story didn’t end as desired… the athlete who was attempting to complete their second iron distance triathlon crashed out on the bike course sustaining numerous injuries to their head and torso. It goes without mention that friends of the athlete returned distraught.

Well… what is the normal course of conversation when we hear that someone had an accident?

We start to ask questions: how did it happen, what were the conditions, were there any circumstances that added to the risks in the moment, and so forth.

At the end of our training practice, after most of the athletes had already made their way to the changerooms I was on deck with one athlete. After all the discussion about the bike crash, the trauma and the extensive recovery process that will be required for this athlete to return to life let alone any form of training, the athlete seemed stuck on all the questions asked and answered but more so on the questions that went without answer.

They came over to me and shared the following…

Isn’t interesting how we want to ask questions and get answers after someone has an accident.

They went on…

Its like we want an out for ourselves, a way to say… oh, well… they hit a pothole and that was the reason they fell… but, I would never hit a pothole, I would never be that careless, in short what we want to say is I would not have crashed. In that exact same scenario… I would have been fine, nothing would have happened to me, I would have completed the triathlon and it would have been an amazing weekend.

The athlete then went on to reflect that…

This accident doesn’t offer the comfort of being able to sweep the reality that if we were in that exact same scenario, that we would have had a different end to the story, because… the athlete who fell, fell without anyone else around, they weren’t hit, nor did they hit, nor was there any evidence of conditions either weather or road that would have predisposed a cyclist to a crash, and worst of all, the athlete has no recollection of the fall, none whatsoever.

So that leaves us how?

It leaves us with the uncomfortable position of not having a point on which to revel in superiority that would preclude us from having a bike crash in this scenario or any scenario.  It leaves us with the discomfort of having to reconcile that we too could crash, we too could DNF from a triathlon, we too could have significant injuries requiring hospitalization, weeks of recovery, weeks of rehab, weeks of being unable to return to the routine of our lives.

It leaves us with the uncomfortable reality that… it could just as easily happen to us.


Let’s stop and think… isn’t the reality that anything can easily happen to us, any time, any day?

If so, then what’s the issue when there aren’t answers to all the questions around an accident?

Let’s stop and think…

This one athlete was concerned, but other athlete’s weren’t as concerned, why?

My wife, my son, my daughter also heard about this athlete’s bike crash, but they didn’t get overly concerned with the lack of explanations, with the lack of available excuses allowing one to suggest that this couldn’t possibly happen to them.

What’s the difference?

Well, all of us in our family have had crashes, in fact if you add up all of our falls we would have a pile up of falls to discuss. Falls while mountain biking, falls while on paved roads while on our mountain bikes, while on our road bikes, falls while riding alone, one I can distinctly remember was in the rain on a slick hairpin, others while riding together, and so on. As I write this post, I still have 3 scabs on my left elbow, shoulder and hip, remnants of my most recent fall… while riding in a pace line, I 1/2 wheeled the rider in the lead and when they ended their pull, their wheel caught my wheel and down I went.

The other athletes that seemed distraught and uncomfortable with the lack of answers were all athletes who were either novices to cycling, or athletes who may have had miles in the saddle but I do not believe have ever had or experienced a fall, at least a fall that left its mark.

While thinking this through out loud, my wife reflected on the divergence in responses as well by reminding me that at a local bike shop, one of the sales guys recently broke his collar bone, as his brother described, because “he was acting like he was 16 again and doing crazy stuff in Christie Conservation Area”. Everyone in the store laughed at the story, especially when it was revealed that the injured athlete now has matching scars (he previously broke his opposite collar bone). My wife shared that no one in the store upon hearing the story of this bike crash was overly concerned with what the cyclist was doing, how big was the berm, the jump, the log, the drop off or whatever… no one was seeking or in search of answers. Surgery was performed to repair the fractured collar bone… and its on with life.

So what’s the difference?

The difference in responses is directly correlated to the level of experience of the athlete.

Athletes with little riding experience – they may have logged endless miles on Zwift, or even on the road but never actually having ‘felt’ the road – will be terrified of the thought of falling.

Athletes with little experience in a sport are going to want to believe that… they can avoid getting water up their nose, swallowing a wave of water, being underwater and needing to breathe yet they want to swim, they can avoid falling off their bike yet they want to be a cyclist, they can avoid having to run outside, avoid ever tripping and falling yet want to call themselves a runner.

Moral of the story…

To all novice athletes,

Instead of wasting energy, emotion, and the time attempting to build narratives that paint an idealistic picture that you will never [let’s stick to cycling] have a fall, never experience a fall, never cause a fall, never be caused to fall… how bout this: take all that energy, emotion and time and develop the skills, the technique and the capacity to do the sport.

If you want to do the sport, then do the sport and stop trying to figure out how to do the sport without doing the sport.

There is not one single performance level athlete in any sport that hasn’t fallen, tripped, strained, sprained, etc.. themselves as a result of training in the sport. Obviously, crash mats, helmets, protective clothing, foam pits, etc… should be used but even with all the optimal safety equipment in place, stuff happens… even to the pros.

I propose the following… embrace it [as in reality].

Stop pretending that it cannot and will not happen to you, stop bracing in preparation or anticipation of the risks just in case you may be wrong, and train instead [for reality].

That’s what it means to be an athlete… it means to train and by default training will inevitably lead you to having your own set of scabs, scars, and setbacks; but there is a difference.  Injuries sustained by pros are rarely fatal, terminal, career ending, yet interestingly enough similar injuries sustained by novice athletes who fail to acquire, develop, and train fundamental abilities are often disastrous. WorldTour team leader Richie Porte of Team BMC last year in the Tour de France fractured vertebrae in his neck as a result of a high speed crash. This year he was back in the Tour, where he again fell breaking a collar bone, but is scheduled to race in a few weeks in the Vuelta dEspana. Any novice involved in a similar crash to the one that fractured vertebrae in Porte would have likely ended up dead. That’s the difference. Having small controlled crashes in training prepares pro athletes for when major crashes happen.

Novice athletes, instead of running away from reality I propose that you embrace reality and start to train for it. It will make you a better athlete, it will make you a more confident athlete, and as a result I guarantee that you will perform far better. On top, your longevity in the sport will be at least double if not triple all those who do not train properly allowing you to out-last, thus out-train, thus out-podium others in your age category.

Most importantly, you will actually enjoy the sport because every time out on your bike you won’t be pissed scared about the risk of falling. Having embraced the risk of falling, having trained agility, balance, and coordination you know that your chances of jumping off or getting off your bike and avoiding a crash is more likely than ending up sliding down the road like cheese over a grater. And even if you do end up as cheese, by training and experiencing falls on a quasi regular basis you will know how to tuck and roll, how to slide, how to glide, how to fall, reducing the severity of falls, reducing the severity of injuries, reducing the chances that any one fall will be the end of you in the sport, or worse, the end of you period.

Creators, Coaches, Skimmers & Scammers

The prior post titled “Energy – Not Money – is Wealth” provides us with a context to self examine what part we play on this earth. Are we a creator of energy: an artist, a musician, an athlete, a writer, an inventor, an entrepreneur, a farmer? Are we a coach, one who was successful in creating and now wishes to mentor those aspiring to be creators with the goal of assisting them to achieving their creative purposes? We should be one or the other, a creator or a coach; unfortunately, the world instead teaches and trains us not to be either, instead it teaches and trains us to become skimmers and scammers: those who instead of creating seek to monetize the work, the effort, the value generated by creators and their coaches.

A large segment of skimmers and scammers in our economy can be found in one place: the financial services sector. This is a sector that once made up a paltry 5% or less of our stock market, but today makes up as much as 30%, if not more. Why? Because our world teaches to be skimmers and scammers and the simplest way to become one or the other is to become one who specializes in the exchange of money. Make a tiny fraction, an almost infinitesimal fraction but make it on a steady flow of transactions, especially transactions which are large in size and you can make a mint simply by skimming “your share”. Hence the growth of financial services.

I’m sure that all those who work in finance will argue that they ‘make’ the world go round, they ‘make’ it possible for creators and coaches to monetize their effort but that’s a stretch. ‘Make’? The financial sector does not make anything of value; at most it can hope to retain the value of the money that creators and coaches generate but make… hah! All that the financial sectors seems to make are financial instruments of greater and greater complexity which do nothing except exponentially magnify structural weaknesses in the banking, investment and trading sectors leading to cyclical crises: case in point the financial crisis of 2007-2008 which cost us what as taxpayers? Billions and billions! Meanwhile the financial industry continues to service charge – skim and scam – all of us one penny at a time. It goes without mention that the Quantitive Easing which Central Bankers around the world have been gorging on to sustain the illusion of all being well in the world of finance has done nothing to preserve the value of money… which is the absolute minimum that the entire financial sector should be focused on achieving. Devaluing currency by printing, sorry adding zero after zero, does nothing but devalue money as a store… just look to Venezuela if you wonder how awesome it is when a country’s currency has to be devalued.

What’s this got to do with our physical, mental and emotional health? Everything!

In 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that anxiety and depression will become the top medical diagnoses globally. Take that stat along with stats from the US of how many people are dissatisfied with their jobs, would leave their jobs, add in the opioid crisis in the US which only further underlines the crisis in health and well-being and you can connect the dots…

We live in a world which celebrates skimming and scamming.

We live in a world which celebrates money, money, and more money… having it, spending it, showing it off, etc…

We live in a world which has a breakdown, a complete and absolute breakdown in ethical standards, a world with no moral compass, a world where the word ‘professional’ no longer carries the distinction it once had identifying those select few who independently vowed to uphold standards of excellence in practice. Now, malpractice, fraud… i.e. skimming and scamming has become a way of life for us in the West. We are eliminating standards at an unprecedented rate, while implementing restrictions as quickly on free speech, hence free thought (the war on ‘fake’ news vs fake new which is actually real news which must be restricted to keep  social narratives intact e.g. everything is great, everything is fine, no need to panic, move along citizens).

And thenwe wonder why oh why… are our lives so empty, so impoverished (despite all this apparent abundance in material/consumer ‘wealth’), so unfulfilling, so unsatisfying, so boring, so blah that only a steady stream of alcohol and drugs can lift us out of our doldrums (albeit temporarily, but long enough that our dealer can get as another supply).

The financial sector is a proxy for our state of well-being… the more financialized our economy the worse off we are (click here for an article in Forbes to this point). Why? Because deep fulfillment, high level of satisfaction with life, the ability to jump out of bed in the morning full of energy comes from living a life spent either creating or mentoring someone directly in their desire to create (i.e. coaching), not a life obsessed with skimming and scamming.

Joy comes from progress, and progress comes from creating or being part of a creative process.

Instead of creating, we have been sold that a life of skimming and scamming with the profits used to consume will lead to fulfillment, to satisfaction, to jumping out of bed everyday with energy, with vitality, with robustness and resilience.

Hmm… how does that seem to be playing out?

Aha… not so much.

So keep on keepin’ on…

Keep skimming, keep scamming and see where that leaves you in life.

Oh right, you have a fix… you’re signed up to do an Ironman triathlon, a grandfondo, or perhaps a major international marathon to which you will have to travel the globe in order to be part of… that is your ‘fix’ for your state of dis-ease, for you lack of health, for your frailty, your weakness, your dependence on drugs and alcohol to make it through another day.

Good luck with that.


I picked on the finance sector just because its easy pickins’ but you can find skimmers and scammers in every industry. There are those who call themselves coaches, trainers, even life coaches who do not even have a basic education in human biology, let alone physiology, anatomy, pathology, psychology, etc… yet they are ready to mentor you to better health, better wellness, better everything. That’s called a scammer… unwilling to put in the real effort to becoming truly knowledgeable, truly wise, truly a source of valuable information… out to make a quick buck hoping that they’re ignorance doesn’t clear before your cheque does.

Pick any sector in the economy and you will find skimmers and scammers. Perhaps you have been living a life as one… I suggest you consider the deep thought that perhaps the true source of your unhappiness in life has nothing to do with the number of followers or likes or whatever on your favorite social media app, or with the fact that you failed to follow the upgrade cycle in handheld devices, and more to do with the fact that the last time you created anything of meaning, of significant, of value to another human being in this world was… well… when was it?

Energy – Not Money – is Wealth

My son yesterday ended up buying a 29er MTB rim off a guy through Kijiji. He ended up with a rim that won’t work because the rim uses a 12mm thru axle but his hard tail GIANT MTB frame can only take a 9mm skewer. I think it was $50 well spent… because the lesson should hopefully prevent my son from making the exact same mistake (as in not buying something he isn’t 100% sure about, and as in not taking the time to ensure that he is 100% sure) with items that are much more expensive.

My son though was as could be expected not so pleased with his mistake, and in the moment expressed that he blew $50. Indeed $50 is a fair amount of money for a teenager who just started working this summer, but I maintained that the rim should stay in his room and remain there as a lesson to prevent future losses (hopefully).

My son replied… but its $50, “its money wasted” he exclaimed, and “money is what makes this world work, money is most important”.

I do not agree, but I also remember being a teenager and recall having the outlook too that if I only had so much money, then everything would be right in the universe because I could afford x, y, and z. In the moment I didn’t have a line that could deliver a powerful knockout punch that could end the argument; so I said nothing…

But today is another day, and today while on a ride the series of knockout punches required to deliver the powerful end to the argument (i.e. if money is most important) came to me…

Money is not that important, what is important is energy because it is energy which creates, it is energy which innovates, it is energy which produces taking ideas and turning them into businesses… and it is those businesses which end up generating revenues, profits… i.e. money.

So why are we making money into such a priority? Why does my son feel that money, money, money is most important? I believe it is because boomers – who as a result of their cohort size are still setting many of the trends in society – are desperately trying to get their hands on, and hold on to as much money as possible. Why? Because they have been sold the belief that as you age you are less energetic, hence you are able to generate fewer ideas, or able to translate fewer ideas into money making enterprises. So, the goal of retiring boomers is to accumulate money, money and more money to last them through their un-energetic years, their unproductive, their energy sucking years.

Money itself is no more than a store of value, money itself does not generate, create, or translate anything into anything else of value… so money can actually be seen like a battery.

Batteries do not generate energy, they store energy. Batteries once depleted can be recharged but an energy source has to be used to recharge the battery as they don’t just recharge spontaneously.

Batteries are important to have in emergencies, but even more powerful, even more valuable, even more critical is the ability to generate energy, loads and loads of energy because if you can, then you have no need for batteries (or at least minimal need) because you know you have the potential and the ability to generate as much energy as needed.

Its no different with money. If you are poor at generating ideas, at translating ideas into reality, poor at executing on plans to turns dreams into goals into viable successful and sustainable businesses then absolutely you will think that the world rotates around money, and if only you had some, or more then all would be well in the universe (or at least in your own life).

But… if you know how to generate sustainable energy, you know how to communicate and share that energy with others, you know how to harness your energy into production, then you have no need to be worried whether you will have enough energy through out life, whether or not you will have enough money through out life… if you are energetic and train to become efficient and effective in using your energy, then there are no limits to what is possible, to what you can achieve.

Hence, the importance of sport, the arts, and music. These all generate energy.

Wonder why Taylor Swift can command $800 a ticket for a seat at her concert… because the energy generated at the concert is worth $800 to those who appreciate her energy and who want to share in the energy of her concert.

Wonder why 9x Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, why top footballers such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, along with top NBA, NHL and NFL athletes can command millions in contracts and then even more millions in endorsement deals and sponsorships… because the energy they generate and express appeals to millions of viewers, viewers who want just a piece of that energy and are willing to spend spend spend in order to just be associated with the energy of such pro athletes.

Its not money that is most important in this world, in this life.  Its energy.

Question is… do you know how to generate sustainable energy? Do you know how to harness that energy to be the most productive version of you, to be the most expressive, creative, innovative version of you? Do you know how to translate energy into executable plans that turn energy into material (e.g. money)?

Einstein told us that energy and matter are interchangeable. Well, money is matter, hence energy and money are interchangeable according to Einstein’s equation where E = mc2.

Question is… what are you spending your time doing? Whining, complaining about how others can work the laws of physics into the laws of business and build business after business making as much money as they want; or are you starting to learn, study, train and experiment with how to become more energetic? Once energetic are you working to channel that energy into power that can be harnessed to take your ideas your innovations into mass production?

For those who understand energy, $50 is nothing, in fact $500, $5,000, even $50,000 is nothing because when you understand energy you know that its not the battery that is powerful, its not money that is powerful, its the ability to generate and harness energy that makes the world go round. When you understand that… then you will understand that the world is limitless including your opportunities.


There is another reason that boomers are desperate for energy… they sold their health in exchange for money thinking that money, not their health is true wealth. Now, with declining health, the desperation of the boomer generation can be felt across all generations as their hoarding is impacting not just their personal economy but the economy of cities and countries.

Boomers scared of being alive without money, running out of money before life runs out have become obsessed with money. Its a shit way to live… scared out of your mind about money, so you spend none of your life living, just time worrying about money. Hmm… the WHO (World Health Organization) stated that by 2020, anxiety and depression will be the top diagnoses globally… hmm, a connection? A world obsessed with money and a world drowning itself in drugs, alcohol, medications and disease and trying to drown itself in money.

Hopefully after reading this my son may appreciate that money is merely a tool – a temporary way of storing some energy – and not the pivot point of life. Money becomes the pivot point for all those who never took the time to learn about energy, how to create it, how to transform it, how to share it, so that it does become money. For those who understand energy, money is a piece of paper with funny pictures, silly signatures, and is given far too much focus.


A final point…

The technology sector, its not energy, its not energetic, like money, technology is a tool, it leverages existing energy. Technology consumes energy, it doesn’t create energy. Think about it… how much life does your device have and how much of your life rotates around ensuring that your device has enough energy?

Hence why I despise the concept that children need devices. Children need to learn how to harness the energy they are generating, they do not need devices designed to absorb their energy, effectively numbing children into zombies before they turn 8 years of age. We were all sold the Baby Einstein bull that it will improve your children in years to come; now we know that Baby Einstein was well packaged bull and Disney swallowed a major loss in acquiring the company.

Children need to be encouraged to generate all the energy they can, and not be enslaved to staring at screens in preparation for the terminal disease called employment. Children need sport, need the arts, they need music (not listening to it, but learning how to make it). Let the boomers and their obsession with money, finance, stocks & bonds die with them; lets focus on the next generation… a generation that can be freed from the restrictive mindset that money is primary, and all else secondary.

The Trait of Peak Performers

Peak performance is not a day job where you punch the clock and are ‘on’ only while training.

In a word, the pursuit of peak performance is obsession.

Peak performance is an obsession, to which 24/7 is devoted by those pursuing their potential. Its not just the decisions made and actions taken while training, its every decision and every action 24/7 that matters.

Gwen Jorgensen (triathlon)

Chrissie Wellington (triathlon)

Being an Ironman is a 24/7 job,” Wellington says. “It’s not just training, which I do up to six hours a day; it’s eating right, it’s recovery, it’s massage, it’s injury prevention and it’s sleep. That doesn’t leave room for the other things I enjoy.   The Guardian 2011-Jan-02

Michael Phelps (swimming)

Leading up to the Athens Olympics, Bob Bowman set an expectation on Michael… 5 years straight, no days off, everything comes second to swimming. When Bowman said everything, he meant everything… birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, you name it, it was second to swimming.

Lornah Kipligat (athletics)

Sometimes its not the training that is all consuming, its everything that goes into ensuring that the training of one day doesn’t compromise training of the following day.  To allow the body and brain to integrate all the training, to fully recover so that training tomorrow starts with a fresh awake ready and hungry body and brain requires FULL recovery. Lornah Kipligat was known to sleep 16hrs during peaks in her training.

Adharanand Finn (author of “Running with Kenyans”)

When they [Kenyans] run, they run.  When they are not running, they are not doing anything. They rest. No, they don’t go out with friends.  No they don’t go out to the mall (the fact that there is no mall in Iten Kenya likely helps).  No they don’t go eat out with family. They rest.

Roger Federer and Andy Murray (tennis)

After getting in training sessions, both on the court and off the court, eating and travel time, there isn’t alot of time left when you sleep 12hrs, but if thats what it takes to be seeded #1, then thats what those who seek top seed will commit.


Loads of people work hard, but never end up at or with their goals.  The difference is not working hard, its being obsessed with your goal, your dreams, your vision translating into every moment of every day; where your goals are the deciding factor in what you do and how you do it.

Deciding to meet up with friends? How will it impact my progress to my goal?

Deciding to stay out late at a party? How will it impact my progress to my goal?

Deciding whether to have a drink? How will it impact my progress to my goal?

Deciding how much to sleep? How will it impact my progress to my goal?

Deciding how much to nap? How will it impact my progress to my goal?

Deciding what to read, to watch on TV? How will it impact my progress to my goal?

You want to experience your peak potential, but are unwilling to make the decisions making your goals, dreams, and visions priority, so much of a priority that everyone and everything that isn’t leading to progress comes second… then stop fooling yourself, stop pretending.  You ain’t gonna experience anything but frustration and disappointment, because your one foot in one foot out hokey-pokey dance ain’t gonna cut it. Stop beating yourself up, if you aren’t gonna give your goals 100% of you, then how can you honestly ever expect 100% in return?

Your potential deserves all of your attention, your focus, your energy, all of you.

You want to fist pump like Phelps, you want to have your own trademark move like Usain Bolt, you want to run screamin’ across a soccer pitch like Christine Sinclar while your teammates chase you so they can pile onto you in celebration, then you need to commit, wholeheartedly, without limits, conditions or constraints.

When you do commit, and when you do achieve your goals, you will not ask yourself if it was worth it. Because that would simply be a ridiculous question.

The Travesty of IM

Imagine you created a contest – a test – to determine athletic supremacy.

Imagine you created a competition to decide who is the ultimate athlete.

Imagine you created a challenge where swimmers faced off against cyclists and runners to see who is the top athlete.

Imagine that your creation goes on to inspire thousands upon thousands to become athletes.

Imagine that your creation goes on to become an Olympic sport.

Imagine…

Now imagine, that in the pursuit of the acknowledgement that comes along with completing a triathlon, and more notably an Ironman triathlon (mainly due to the marketing) that individuals who call themselves coaches start to diminish, dumb down, disrespect your creation.

Now imagine, that coaches see an opportunity to monetize the aspirations of those who want to complete a triathlon, and start to take advantage of the recognition that you hear when you cross the finish line of an Ironman Corporation triathlon that “you are an Iron-man” and see it as an opportunity to sell short cuts.

Instead of your creation being a contest, a competition, a challenge, it has now become a way for non-athletes to one up their fellow non-athlete in a pissing contest of who will compromise on their health enough in order to make it across an Ironman Corporation finish line. How you finish doesn’t matter… crawling across the finish line may even come across as more ‘heroic’ because you can elicit emotions of giving it your all (when in reality you never trained enough to be allowed to toe the start line).

To those who are or aspire to being true athletes, who refuse to disrespect the arena of competition, the sanctity of competition, to those who refuse to diminish their fellow athletes, to those who refuse to compete until having put in the training that is the true payment required to toe the start line of a competition… its time to stand up against the fakes, the frauds, the finish line selfee takers, its time to protect that which you respect because sport is no longer respected for what it once was.

Sport has become entertainment, with any form of cheating, be it course cutting, doping, or worse… tampering with equipment of your competitors so you can gain an advantage for yourself has become accepted as simply part of the entertainment. Sport is no longer about training for years, about commitment, dedication, sacrifice, perseverance, its about short cuts and short cutting your way to the front of the back, to the finish line. Its about tshirts, selfees, and participation medals.

Athletes… its time to take back sport, your sport. Its time to set standards for yourself and for all those who want to truly be athletes.

Coaches… its time to take back sport, your sport. Its time to set standards for yourself and for all those who want to call themselves coaches.

If we do, then the clowns who want short cuts and the clowns who want to sell short cuts can come to realize that their mindset, their attitude, their disrespect is no longer wanted in or around sport, that they are no longer tolerated in sport.

If we do, then we can return sport to where it belongs, to what it is meant to be.

If we do, then we can end the travesty that has become training for triathlon events…

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!