Monthly Archives: April 2011

Our New Mix1 Ad

By Pete Williams

We attended a Mix1 reception this evening on the eve of the start of St. Anthony’s Triathlon weekend. Dr. James Rouse, company founder, chief evangelist, and high-performance living expert was on hand after appearing on our Fitness Buff video webcast earlier in the day. What an inspiration guy. Check out his Website HERE.

We filmed a brief commercial for Mix1 at the Escape from Fort DeSoto Triathlon two weeks ago. Thanks to Eric Hall and Liza Palas Geist for contributing.

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Filed under Fitness Buff Show Videos, Nutrition

Mixing it Up with Mix 1

By Pete Williams

For more than a decade companies have tried to come up with the right mix for post-workout recovery. There have been some decent protein powders, but by the time you get to the blender the window for fueling your muscles often has closed. As for RTDs (ready to drinks) they’re often little more than chocolate milk.

The folks at Mix1, launched from Boulder, Colorado in 2006, have found the happy, well, mix. The all-natural protein shake has a 2-to-1 carb to protein ratio that’s ideal for both pre-workout and post-workout recovery – or as a meal replacement. Unlike other drinks in the category that are kidney-crushing protein bombs, Mix1 has only 15 grams of protein – 10 for its lighter version. As someone who has dealt with a kidney stone from overdosing on protein powders, I’ll never drink anything with a higher protein content again.

We chatted with Mix1 founder Dr. James Rouse during this week’s show, along with Mix1-sponsored athletes Megan Wallin (volleyball) and Marco Hintz (triathlon).

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Filed under Fitness Buff Show Videos, Nutrition, Triathlon

Gentlemen, Start Your….Triathlon?

By Pete Williams

Waltrip doing an unconventional track workout

Back in November, I joked that I was the only person in America who competed in the Muddy Buddy race at Zoo Miami and attended NASCAR’s season-ending race in Homestead on the same day. After all, there’s not a lot of crossover demographic between endurance sports and NASCAR.

Then again, maybe there is. Take Michael Waltrip, for example.

The longtime NASCAR driver and team owner will celebrate his 48th birthday Saturday night by watching his two Sprint Cup teams compete in Richmond. The following morning, he’ll be up bright and early to compete in the Monticelloman Olympic Triathlon an hour away in Lake Monticello, not far from Charlottesville.

Waltrip is semi-retired as a driver and won’t be racing a car Saturday night. Still, he’ll be up late at the race and probably get little to no sleep. Plus, he tested a Ferrari in France last weekend for the 78th running of June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, referred to in the motorsports community as “the world’s most famous endurance race.”

We can argue about whether 24 hours in a race car is more grueling than 16 hours navigating the lava fields of Kona. But how many people have done a 24-hour motor sports event and an Olympic-distance triathlon?

I’m guessing zero.

Waltrip’s participation should put to rest any arguments that NASCAR drivers are not athletes.

Carl Edwards and his washboard abs have appeared on the cover of several magazines. Mark Martin is one jacked 52-year-old. Jimmie Johnson, winner of the last five Sprint Cup championships, follows a tough workout regimen.

But triathlon?

Waltrip has completed several marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 2000. He says he can swim but had done no swim training until this week. That’s a concern since this is an Olympic-distance event, with a 1,500-meter (0.9 mile) swim. Water temperature will be in the 60s. Let’s hope he’s accustomed to swimming in a full wetsuit.

Other than that, he’ll be right at home among a group of feisty Type A personalities obsessed with their wheels. Getting hit jockeying for position in the swim can’t be any different than trading paint on the track. Perhaps Waltrip will wear a tri kit emblazoned with the logos of Napa Auto Parts, his chief sponsor. He’ll probably be fast out of the pits, er, transition and quick to change a flat.

But will he shave his body like other triathletes and risk all sorts of grief in the garage?

And does he know that drafting is illegal?

Most of all, why is he tackling the challenge?

“I use special events for motivation,” he told reporters this week. “For example, the Daytona 500, getting to race at Talladega, getting to race at Kentucky. I feel like it’s a privilege for me to get to do those things. I just look forward to them so much, they motivate me, they inspire me. The triathlon is just a part of that. Keeping in shape, having boxes in your life that you always wanted to check and accomplish that.”

Waltrip’s participation further expands the unlikely crossover between NASCAR and endurance sports.

On May 14, Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the starting point of a two-day cycling event from Homestead to Miami benefiting multiple sclerosis research. In August, the track will host the inaugural Miami Speed Triathlon. Originally scheduled for May, it will consist of a swim in the infield lake, transition in pit road, bike through Homestead, and a run around the golf cart path surrounding the track. Sprint and Olympic distances are offered.

And on Nov. 20, Muddy Buddy returns to Zoo Miami, with NASCAR wrapping up its 2011 season at Homestead later in the day.


Filed under Triathlon

My TV-Free Lent

By Pete Williams

No longer needed?

Want to find more time for training and other things? Give up TV. Completely. Cold turkey. Not a minute.

As I write this, I’m two hours away from getting through Lent for the second year in a row without television.

You know what is the toughest thing about going 43 days without television?

It’s not missing certain shows or big events or sitting around as a family watching TV.

No, the tough part is avoiding TV in daily life. I wrote about this last year when I managed to keep a Lenten vow for the first time ever. When you’re trying to avoid watching TV, it’s startling to discover that TV is everywhere.

Here’s a short list of places that never included TV as recently as five years ago: the waiting rooms at doctors’ offices, New York City cabs, elevators, and eateries such as Subway, Moe’s, and Rita’s Ice. I don’t remember when television monitors were installed in airports (mid 1990s?) for anything other than flight information, but now it’s impossible to find a seat in the terminal where you’re not assaulted by CNN talking heads.

Who decided we needed a screen in front of us at every moment of our lives? Steve Jobs? Rupert Murdoch? Mike Teevee?

That’s the other tough part about giving up TV for Lent: defining what constitutes TV. I decided it meant not watching television, of course, but also not viewing TV content on any other device. YouTube videos, for the most part, were acceptable so long as they were not regular broadcast content. Sports highlights online? Not acceptable. Using Skype was allowed. Watching movies of any sort was not.

For a guy who makes a chunk of his living covering sports, I worried for a second year that my TV blackout would be a business liability. Fortunately the Excessive Self-Promotional Network (ESPN) has been unwatchable for years and Lent is a dead period for sports. The NBA and NHL are going through the motions before the playoffs. Baseball has not started and the NFL is on hiatus until 2012.

Unfortunately, Easter and Lent arrived later this year, so I missed the start of the NHL playoffs, early-season baseball, and the Final Four. Last year the NCAA basketball title game took place the day after Easter. This year, it came in the middle of Lent. My alma mater (Virginia) no longer recognizes the NCAA tournament but my wife’s school (VCU) went on an unlikely run this year.

I told her I’d make a Lenten exception if the Rams made it to the title game. When it appeared they would bow out to Butler in the semifinals, I caught a glimpse for about two minutes. That’s the closest I came to watching TV since March 8.

During Lent, it’s easy to be a baseball fan because Major League Baseball, for some reason, does not broadcast the vast majority of its spring games via TV or online. Of course, it helps to live in the heart of the Grapefruit League and go to spring games – and regular season games – in person.

Good thing I made it to the Tampa Bay Rays opening series. Otherwise I would have missed the Manny Ramirez farewell tour.

As usual, my wife gave me grief for my Lenten “sacrifice,” noting that I don’t watch much TV under normal circumstances. That’s true. I haven’t watched a network television series in more than a decade. Still, it’s a challenge just to avoid TV.

I’ve never tried one of those nutritional cleanses, but having given up TV for two consecutive Lents, I appreciate the concept. Like last year’s Lent, I felt more focused and had perhaps a little more time on my hands. I got more done, read more, slept more.

As for TV, I don’t feel like I missed anything.

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Tale of the Tape: Michaels vs. Fey

By Pete Williams

Battle of the NBC star books

Interesting juxtaposition of books at my neighborhood Costco: Tina Fey’s autobiography Bossypants and Jillian Michaels’ latest offering Unlimited: How to Build an Execeptional Life.

Michaels has cranked out the books since shooting to fame via The Biggest Loser. Now she’s arguably the most famous person in the fitness industry.

Fey, meanwhile, is at the top of her game as the creator and star of 30 Rock.

Both women are best known for their work on NBC. I haven’t read Michaels’ book, but while at Costco I read a few chapters of Fey’s book, including the one that included her years at the University of Virginia, and the book is hilarious.

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Filed under Nutrition, Training

Paddling for a Cure


By Pete Williams

Arnie Goodman and friend

Five years ago, Arnie Goodman was at the top of his game. At 47, he had a thriving practice as an ear, nose, and throat physician. Married and a father of two, he threw himself into endurance sports, especially cycling, swimming, and kayaking.

But something didn’t seem quite right. He became out of breath quickly while working out with his Saturday morning training group. Colleagues he always outran now were blowing by.

Test revealed multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow. Multiple myeloma accounts for just 1 percent of cancer cases but has claimed the lives of a number of prominent Americans, including Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, syndicated advice columnist Ann Landers and, more recently, former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

Goodman has written extensively about the disease online and in 2009 created the “Sweetwater Paddle for the Cure,” which began as a 5-mile kayak race and a 2-mile fun paddle through downtown Tampa. That year, just one stand-up paddle boarder entered. This year, the Tampa physician, now 52, expects SUP enthusiasts to outnumber kayakers. All proceeds go toward the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Goodman has undergone two stem cell transplants, including one at the end of 2010 following a relapse. He’s gradually getting back to a normal workout regimen. The longtime kayaker hopes to become proficient in stand-up paddle boarding this year.

Endurance Sports Florida talked with Goodman about his fight and the upcoming Sweetwater Paddle for the Cure, which begins from Riverfront Park in downtown Tampa on Saturday, May 7 at 8:30 a.m.

Q: What went through your mind when you got the diagnosis of multiple myeloma?

A: It was a shock. I was always a fitness nut who ate very healthy. I kept myself in pretty good shape and was always a big believer in fitness and nutrition before I was diagnosed. The last thing you think is you’re going to get cancer and friends said I was the last person they would expect to get it. So I did all the right things and still go it, which shows that if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone.

Q: What’s happening in your body when you have multiple myeloma?

A: Basically in your blood you have plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cells that produce the antibodies that fight infection. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of those cells. One of those cells goes crazy and overproduces, initially in the bone marrow, creating these holes and lesions which create fractures, cause anemia and compromise the immune system. There’s no cure, unfortunately, but it is treatable and there have been huge advances in the last five or 10 years. People are living much longer than before, but unfortunately it’s not a curable cancer. All the money for our event goes to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and they’re laser-focused on new drug development for multiple myeloma and have been tremendously successful at bringing new drugs to market and prolonging life for people with the disease.

Q: You’ve undergone two stem cell transplants. What’s entailed with that procedure?

A: It’s actually more of a transfusion where your own cells are harvested. You’re given a medication to stimulate the stem cells, which are then harvested by an intravenous catheter. You’re given high doses of chemotherapy, which wipes out the bone marrow and immune system. The stem cells are given back to you and those are used to jumpstart your bone marrow again. The problem is that there’s a period of 10 days to two weeks after the chemotherapy where you’re waiting for the stem cells to take where you have no immune system at all. So you’re really prone to infection and have to be in the hospital pretty much all that time.

Goodman out on the water

Q: How much training have you been able to do?

A: I went through the most recent transplant over Christmas and by the end of January I got back to working out. I’ve been slowing building up from there, back to swimming and cycling, almost to where I was before. I’m doing really good and getting back to normal life and a normal activity level. I do have some pain in my ribs but I don’t seem to feel it when I’m cycling. I do make sure to stick with calmer water when I kayak.

Q: The race is for a great cause but it seems like it’s popular for other reasons. Why do you think that is?

A: People love the course. It’s a great way to see downtown Tampa from the water. The college and high school crew teams have known about it for years. The course takes you through downtown Tampa, the convention center, Marriott Waterside, and Harbor Island. It really highlights downtown Tampa. We also reach out to all kinds of paddlers from the serious kayak and paddle boarders to those who have never paddled and, of course, those who have a connection to multiple myeloma. The reason we have two races is so there’s something for the competitive people – a five-mile race – and a two-mile family fun paddle for those with little or no experience. We have rental boats and boards available so that’s no a barrier either.

Q: What’s the status of multiple myeloma research?

A: The pipeline of drugs for the disease is unbelievable. There are no less than a dozen drugs in the pipeline; a couple will get FDA approved this year. They just mapped the genome for multiple myeloma within the last month or two. The future looks great and I’m just hoping it comes soon enough.


Filed under Enduring Athlete of the Month, Races, SUP

New Hip, New Knee – Let’s Race!

By Pete Williams

Boomers not slowing down

The Wall Street Journal revisited a story it tackled a few years ago, the trend of baby boomers and even some Generation Xers to undergo hip and knee replacements only to return to active lifestyles of running, triathlon, and equestrian events.

It wasn’t that long ago when joint replacements were for older folks who just wanted to spend their senior years without pain. Now people in their 40s – and even late 30s – are having such procedures. No doubt some of them have logged too many miles running, especially if they have muscle imbalances that have exacerbated the need for a new hip or knee.

The Wall Street Journal quotes docs as saying folks with new knees and hips should focus on lower impact sports like swimming and cycling, but naturally that’s not enough for many people.

Also of note is that technology has improved knee/hip replacements, which now can last for up to 30 years.

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Filed under Running, Training, Triathlon

What SUP? Talking Stand-Up Paddleboarding

By Pete Williams

Stand-up paddle boarding continues to blow up nationally, especially here in Florida. Today we spoke with Brody Welte of Stand-up Fitness, who in the five months since we last had him on The Fitness Buff Show has become one of the nation’s top experts on the sport.

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Filed under Fitness Buff Show Videos, SUP

More Water, Less Protein

By Pete Williams

More of this

Paid a visit to the nephrologist today. Six months ago, I had no idea what that specialty entailed. Some sub-specialty of neurology, perhaps?

Actually, a nephrologist is a kidney doctor. Urologists deal with kidneys, but they only take care of the surgical part. The nephrologist helps keep patients away from the urologist. If you think this doesn’t pertain to endurance athletes in Florida, think again.

When you’ve had a kidney stone, as I did on New Year’s Day, you want to see the nephrologist to avoid having another. Actually, you’ll see anyone to avoid having another. The idea is for the nephrologist to take a look at your diet and determine what’s causing the problem.

As I chronicled in January, this has been a frustrating process and not just because of the epic pain – worse than childbirth say women who’ve endured both – and the medical bills. As a triathlete, co-author of fitness books, and someone downright OCD when it comes to healthy eating, how could I end up with a kidney stone?

I’ve learned that many healthy foods contribute to kidney stones including nuts, berries, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Too much coffee, tea, and chocolate is a bad thing, though the research is mixed on coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages. Eating too many beets also is bad, as if there’s anyone who eats too many beets.

But few people consider the role of protein. Kidneys have a tough time processing excess protein and that produces tiny particles that enable other stuff to latch onto and form a stone. From mid-2009 through the end of 2010, I was eating way too much protein – actually, whey too much protein in the form of powdered shakes.

As soon as I got out of the hospital, I cut my protein powder by 90 percent, quit eating spinach and nuts and limited my intake of berries. I’ve only consumed water and an occasional glass of wine for years, but post-stone dialed up the water consumption.

By the end of March, it was time for some bloodwork and a 24-hour-urinalysis. It is what it sounds like. The lab provides a large plastic jug that looks like it should contain liquid laundry detergent. It helps for that 24-hour period to have the option of working from home.

Today I visited the nephrologist’s office, a truly depressing place. There were some poor folks with serious kidney issues in the waiting room, a lot of wheelchairs and tubes. The nurse asked what medications I was taking. After all, this is not a place where healthy people visit.

The doctor took a look at the “StoneRisk Diagnostic Profile” the lab provided and mentioned that my calcium/oxalate levels were good. Most stones, like mine, are of the calcium oxalate variety. Foods such as nuts, berries, and spinach are high in oxalate. That’s not my problem. (Pass the spinach).

Too much salt also is a problem since it causes the kidneys to dump more calcium into the urine. I eat frequently at Chipotle and have worried that Chipotle’s high-sodium burritos might be a contributor. Nope, my sodium levels are “reasonable.” (Pass the burrito bowl).

My problem is twofold. I’m only producing 1.9 liters of urine a day, nearly enough to fill a 2-liter bottle. That sounds sufficient and might not be so bad if I was a sedentary person in a cooler climate. But it’s dangerous for a Florida-based triathlete and stand-up paddle boarder. Sufficient water can take care of a lot of kidney problems; it literally washes the stone-producing stuff away. But limit the water and everything else is exacerbated.

Pass the water.

Then there’s the protein issue. Even with my diminished intake of protein powder, I still logged a 1026 on the uric acid scale in which anything below 700 is considered good. My level of phosphorus urine was 1452; anything under 1100 is acceptable.

Bottom line, the report concluded, is that I suffer from “hyperuricosuria,” or excessive amounts of uric acid. Suspected problem? “High animal protein intake.”

Red meat is especially bad, though I rarely eat it. I left the nephrologist’s office more puzzled than ever. I’ll dial down the protein more and drink even more water. We’ll revisit in six months.

“How will I know if this isn’t working?” I asked the doctor.

“If you have a kidney stone.”


Filed under Nutrition

Runner’s World Features ‘Streak the Cove’

By Pete Williams

Ready to run

Our upcoming Streak the Cove 5K received some major publicity in the form of a Q&A in the RW Daily section of Runner’s World online. Editor Mark Remy asks some questions regarding the upcoming clothing-optional race at the Cypress Cove Resort in Kissimmee and about clothing-optional runs in general.

With a little more than a month to go, the Streak the Cove 5K is on pace with registrations for last October’s Bare Dare 5K at the Caliente Resort near Tampa. Given the head start we got on the Streak the Cove and our enhanced marketing efforts, we’re guessing the Streak the Cove 5K could draw more runners – until the Caliente Bare Dare 5K sets a new benchmark in Year Two on Oct. 9.

If you haven’t checked out the Streak the Cove promo video, here it is:

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Filed under Races, Running