Friday, April 22, 2011

Food for Thought, April 2011

Hello my MsM bruthas!

I hope that this article finds you all happy, healthy, and embracing the word of our Lord. How is your race season going so far? Better, worse, or about what you expected??

I had my first race of the season on April 2nd, Oceanside 70.3. I was really looking forward to it, my training was dialed in, nutrition was golden, all was good. But, as in life, things happen. I had been doing some consulting work in San Francisco for the 3 weeks prior to the event. About a week out, I was asked to speak at the Ironprayer service for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I was excited about it, but also felt that it was one more "thing" to add to my list. I knew I had been stretching myself thin, I wasn't able to drive home to Ventura, CA until Thursday, the 31st. I arrived at 6:30 p/m that night, after driving for 6+ hours. I unpacked, said hello to my apartment for the first time in 3 weeks, and promptly passed out on the couch. I was up early to drive to Oceanside, and arrived there at 8:00 a/m. After packet pick up, checking into the hotel, and bringing in all my gear, it was already 4:00 p/m, and the Ironprayer was supposed to start at 4:30 p/m. Friday afternoon traffic in So Cal, not happening. I was so worn out, I was in bed at 5:15 on Friday night! I slept until 3:45 a/m on Saturday morning. I woke up, had my normal pre-race meal of 3 buttermilk pancakes with peanut butter, coffee, and an electrolyte drink. Perfect.

Drive to the race site, great spot in transition, good to go!! My wave started at 6:56 a/m. Normally the water is wicked cold, mid to upper 50's. Race day was 62, and felt downright balmy!! My wave goes off, and within the first 50 yards of the swim, I was kicked directly in my left orbital bone. I remember thinking, "Wow, what a good shot!" Kind of knocked me senseless for a bit. I regained my composure and finished the swim. I'm running to my bike, and notice a lot of strange looks from the spectators. "Hmm, what up with that?" I grab my bike and head out on the course. I'm hammering, having the best race of my life. At mile 40, a cyclist rides up next to me and says, "Bro, are you alright?" "Yeah, I'm great, why?" He says that the left side of my face is busted open. I reach up, and sure enough, can feel dried blood all over my face. Ahh, so that's what everyone was looking at in transition, blood running down my face!! Anyway, I'm at mile 47 at 2:15 into the bike, and I hear a "ping, ping".......uh oh......guy behind me tells me I flatted. I pull off the road, and grab my rear wheel. Still full of air. What the? The wheel won't roll, lodged into my chain stay. I snapped 2 spokes right in the middle. Done. Over. Best race I've ever had. So, how do I react? Would have been very easy to unload an F-Bomb tirade. However, I just laughed and figured it was a hard lesson that our amazing God was teaching me. I slept in instead of going to the Ironprayer, next day first ever mechanical DNF. I felt bad enough about missing the service, and this just made it worse. As I'm walking back to transition, busted wheel, blood all over my face, bike slung over my shoulder, what else could I do but thank God for the amazing day, and realize that He is always in control.

I'm racing the Napa Valley Half Ironman on April 30th, and praying that the Lord gives me a shot at redemption. I know He will.

So, I can't leave you without some kind of nutrition!! Here is my favorite recovery shake:
12-16 oz. of cold water
1 scoop of whey protein powder
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup of blueberries
2 organic dates
1 tbsp of Agave Nectar
Handful of ice and mix it all in blender, enjoy!!!

Be well my bruthas, until next time:
Psalm 104:21 "The young lions roar after their pray"

Feed the machine, RP

Randy Paar lives and trains in Ventura, California and is the owner of RPMultisport and can be reached at Randy is also a USAT Coach Level 1, USA Cycling Coach Level 2 and FIST Certified Bike Fitter.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Muscle Cramping

I will start this off by saying I am not a nutritionist, and I think a trip to a nutritionist is a great idea if you have the time and can afford it. However, I think experience combined with expertise and research is very valuable, and in fact, from my research I have realized that muscle cramping still is an issue whose cause is not completely agreed upon by top doctors, nutritionists, and athletic trainers, which I was surprised to find out. Below I share my thoughts on muscle cramping, from my personal experience, research, and discussions with top endurance athletes and nutritionists. Muscle cramping was my big #1 barrier keeping me from success in the sport. Three years ago I was new to triathlon, and had no experience to learn from. However, in 9 out of 10 races I’d lose anywhere from 2-3 minutes of time simply due to muscle cramping. Sometimes it would happen 10 minutes into the swim in my groin or calf muscles, other times on the bike in my calves, or on the run – usually in my quads or hamstrings. One race, my T2 transition time was over 4 minutes, as I simply could not take a step as I had both calves and both quads cramping at once. It was not fun, but worse than that it made me feel like the time I spent training was wasted.

I’ve had muscle cramps everywhere: in my calves, glutes, hamstrings, and quads…and even in the bottom of my feet. Many people say, “eat more bananas, that is what you need”. Or, “you lack ankle flexibility, that’s why your calves cramp in the water,” or “you just need to stretch more.” Also, “you’re just not fit enough yet and the body isn’t used to the load on its muscles.” Though these people may be right that bananas are high in potassium, which can help cramping, it’s not always that simple. I was eating 3-4 bananas a day and still cramping. Through this I have learned a TON about myself and my body’s needs, as far as nutrition and training load. I am a firm believer that everyone is different, and the needs of one many not be the needs of everyone. For example, to assume every athlete has a similar sweat rate, or basal metabolic rate is foolish. Some gain weight easily, others can eat whatever they want and will stay as skinny as a rail. Some people have a maximum run heart rate of 210, such as my college teammate Craig Donnelly, whereas my run max heart rate is about 175; and I know Craig was as fit or more fit than I when were had compared. People and their bodies are very different from one another, and too many times everyone is lumped together and told there is one common fix for us all.
Sometimes trying a few different things is the only way to discover why your body is doing what it is, and training is the perfect time to experiment with certain things to figure out what works. Although we are different, we are all human, share similar anatomy, and all need some staple things to function and perform well. One of my best friends, an All-American 800m runner in college who ran a 1:49.0, could perform just fine on sugary candy orange slices, skittles, starburst, etc. before a race. He frequently ate fast food, very few veggies, and this seemed to do ok for him. Surprisingly, he NEVER cramped! I was the one eating healthy foods all day, and would be awoken at 1am with my calf cramping and seizing up, while sleeping! But his race was less than 2 minutes, and ours as triathletes is 2 hours or more. I’d like to think he couldn’t pull off his poor eating habits as easily if he were a triathlete, but who knows?

I have studied muscle cramping, read many articles, talked to Ironman world champions as I’ve trained with them, as well as approached nutritionists about it, and I’ve seen a trend. The Ironman athletes almost always say muscle cramping is due to salt and electrolyte loss, and recommend things like taking salt tablets during races. The nutritionists tend to said it’s about your day to day diet. It’s clear why the Ironman athletes say it’s salt loss, because after 8 hours on the road, yes you WILL lose a ton of salt. However, if cramping occurs 10 minutes into the swim in an Olympic distance triathlon, as it did for me, I hadn’t even begun to sweat yet… so I was having a very hard time accepting that my cramping was caused by heavy salt loss. I have concluded yes, it can be both theories- caused by a lack of sufficient salt and other electrolytes, as well as a poor diet. It also may be caused from other things. In my personal theory, established from experience and study, I separate muscle cramping into different categories, depending on when in the races or workout the cramping beings. There is cramping right at the beginning of races, or while sleeping at night, and then there is cramping after a long strenuous hot day on the course, like in the Ironman athletes’ case often.

1) I used to cramp 10 minutes into the swim during races. Obviously I’m not losing a lot of salt yet through my sweat, thus I believe this is from nutritional deficiencies.
2) In a long road cycling race, I once cramped two hours into it. It was 110 degrees out. I had been sweating for hours, and had lost tons of salt. In this situation, I believe it was from a loss of key electrolytes and salt.

These were theories I established from a few individual cases of cramping. But what about all those other times when it just happens under normal circumstances? Without any simple answers, I realized the only place to stay is to simply try every possible aid and see if anything works. So, I began with more salt in my diet, less salt in my diet, salt tablets during races, getting massages, taking a multivitamin, taking a Calcium-Magnesium supplement, stretching, eating even more bananas, staying hydrated daily, taking a SuperGreens probyotics supplement, and anything else I could think of.

Cramping Remedies… or should I say “possible” remedies
Again, I reiterate what I said previously. I believe we are all different and need to find what works best for our unique bodies, but here are some places to start. As I also said, I’m no nutritionist but wanted to share what has helped me. I have always thought I generally ate pretty healthy, but have had to completely revamp my diet. This takes DISCIPLINE, time, and planning.. and possibly a bit of money. Eating healthy is not as cheap as eating crap! You can come out of McDonald’s having spent $3 and feeling full, if you order Dutch off the value menu…as I always do… or did 

Nutritional Changes:

Here are a few recent additions and general daily needs in my diet, with the help of a nutritionist (for 26 year old male, 160 lbs). Seek advice from a qualified nutritionist prior to beginning any new nutrition program:

-Eat 9-10 servings a DAY of vegetables, or 5 cups/day. Greens are a high alkaline food, and can help neutralize lactic acid in your body. “Eat a rainbow daily,” colorful foods.

-Magnesium Malate Chelate: 1 capsule 4x/day, 250mg/capsule
-Protein: 1.5 grams of protein per lb. body weight per day, over 4-6 servings
-OmegaAvail Marine TG (liquid form, 8oz bottles, from Moss Nutrition), 2 teaspoons per day or Omega 3-6-9 fish oil from other companies

-Post-workout: 30 grams protein + 45 grams carbohydrates (within 30 min of workout!)

Take a multi-vitamin daily. (Ideally in powder or liquid form, for better absorption, and as directed with a meal)

Race Day / Hard training day changes:
If you find yourself cramping during races or hot training days when you’ve sweated a ton, then for you, perhaps salt and electrolyte loss may be one cause of cramping in your specific case.

Endurolytes by E-Caps/Hammer Nutrition, Succeed S-Caps, and Salt Stick tablets are a few different types of salt/electrolyte tablets. In and Olympic distance or longer race, start with two tablets (or 3-4 if using Endurolytes) mid-way through the bike portion. (Endurolytes have the main 5 – sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and manganese - elements. These 5 work together synergistically, meaning they work extremely well together – in tandem – so they need one other to function optimally) I have read various things on salt intake. I do know this is very individualized, some people need none, some need a lot. You do need to be careful, however, to follow recommended amounts to some extent, as a high salt intake can be hard on the kidneys, and are related to water retention in your body. Extreme cases of too much salt can leave you bloated and unable to urinate. I have read various accounts of this with ultra-runners, who are often popping 20-40 tablets over the duration of their day.

Prior to the race, add a few scoops of salt in your water/electrolyte drink to take on the bike.

Massage: Although expensive, a frequent massage is great for your legs, and is another thing I experimented with and felt that helped my muscle cramps. Looking back, there’s no way to know for certain in my case if the massage was helping, or if it was the other things I was trying at the same time as well, such as nutritional changes. There are often local massage schools offering discounted prices (although don’t always expect the best massage you’ve ever had). Another alternative is using a foam roller to simulate self-massage, something I use daily to loosen up my muscles.

Brick Workouts:
In my experience, I’m also convinced part of the reason athletes cramp often in races is due to the shock to their body that they are not used to. Their muscles are not used to the stress, and therefore implementing similar stress to the body in workouts is very important. For me, I believe I need to incorporate brick workouts in training, or running off the bike. However, those like my former teammate Jordan Jones, who’s been a pro triathlete for a few years now, don’t seem to ever deal with cramps while running off the bike or in races, and he believes brick workouts aren’t crucial for him. Once again this reiterates the importance of learning your body, as we are all different. I rarely cramp on a hard ride or a hard run, but when I run off the bike it’s a different story. Running hard is very different than running hard directly after a hard bike workout, as different muscles are already fatigued prior to even starting the run.

If one was to ask me what I think helped the most in my case, as I now rarely cramp, out of the possible changes I’ve made, I’d say to main things. First, it seems like my high intake of spinach and greens, as well as multivitamins and magnesium supplement, has made the most difference, because that is the area I’ve been the most disciplined and staying on top of. I was most likely nutrient deficient somewhere. Secondly, it’s possible that after another year or two of hard training, the body is adapting to the stress load that it wasn’t used to prior.

As I have shared my experience and random ramblings on muscle cramping, hopefully it can help those of you who have struggled with similar issues. I can’t necessarily tell you what will work for you, but those are a few things to start thinking about that might be helpful. Listen to your body, and find out what works for you.

Ryan Borger
Borger Endurance, LLC.

Ryan Borger lives and trains in Denver, Colorado and races as a professional triathlete. Ryan is also the owner of Borger Endurance LLC and can be reached at

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Food For Thought " by Randy Paar

Food for Thought, by Randy Paar

Happy New Year to all my Multisport Ministry bruthas! I hope that your holidays were filled with love, happiness, and celebrating the birth of our savior.

For all the triathletes back in the midwest and east coast, I'm sure you're having a hard time believing that the triathlon season is a few short months away, Especially as I am sitting on my patio, looking at the ocean, on a beautiful 80 degree So Cal afternoon. Thank you God for this amazing day!! No matter where you are, give a big shout out to our amazing God!!

The last few articles I've written have been about nutrition, some eating do's and dont's. And, since people are starting to get back into more serious and structured training, the thought of putting together an article on that, would be fitting.
But, I want to talk about a different kind of nutrition. How about food for your soul? We can take the time to take our supplements, our pre-ride, post-ride drinks, bars, gels, and whatever other fuels we can come up with.

Without the love of our Father, and the feeding of our souls, we will forever starve, searching for that winning "supplement". Why not supplement your life with biblical readings, or prayer groups. Take the time during a ride or run, and forget about your splits, heartrate, cadence, and look around in childish awe, at all the Lord has blessed us with. From majestic views of the oceans, to the green and rolling hills of Madison, WI. Thank God for feeding your soul, it's there everyday, all you have to do is take the time to appreciate it. It doesn't cost a monthly fee, you don't need any money down! What you need to remember is that our God gave up His son to die for our sins, so that we may live! We are all sinners, and we always will be. Do not strive for perfection-it's impossible. But strive to be the best man, spouse, mate, friend, mentor, person you can be everyday. Remember, all of us are struggling with things, and we are the ultimate "Food Network"!! Some days we're not as fresh as others, but hey, that's life!!

Like Springsteen says in the epic jam, "Badlands", 'It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive, I wanna find one face, that ain't looking through me, I wanna spit in the face of these badlands'!!!

Embrace the day!!

I will leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein, "He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; His eyes are closed."

Think about that my dear friends.....

Have a happy, loving, and blessed month.....


Randy Paar is the owner of RPMultisport and can be reached at Randy is also a USAT Coach Level 1, USA Cycling Coach Level 2 and FIST Certified Bike Fitter.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food For Thought By Randy Paar

Proverbs 23:21

For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.

I want you to think about this verse. If you gorge yourself at the table to celebrate Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and all the holiday parties that exist, your fitness and mental state will come to poverty. Think how you feel after slamming mega calories. I equate it to a food hangover. You don't think clearly, nor is your training up to par. I know I'd much rather curl up on the couch, watch some football, and have another turkey sandwich.

Those wicked cool MsM tri uniforms that fit your body like a painted on skin, now fits like the rags described in the above biblical verse.

We need to constantly remind ourselves that our great Lord blessed all of us with these amazing bodies, so we can go and shout out to everyone, "Hey, look how the Lord blessed me!!!!" Remember, we ought to be doing this to glorify Him, and not to feed our own vanity.

The last time I checked Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Let us celebrate this amazing day with our families and friends, but show the same self control in eating, as we do during the race season. Be an example for others to follow. Now, there is nothing wrong with having a small piece of pie for dessert, but remember the big picture here.

Before going to those parties, or sitting down for a huge dinner, make sure to drink some water, have a handful of almonds, allow that to settle in before dinner. Show the same discipline at the table, as you do in all the other parts of your life.

This is a time to celebrate Christ, and everything that we have to be thankful for!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!!!


Randy Paar is the owner of RPMultisport and can be reached at Randy is also a USAT Coach Level 1, USA Cycling Coach Level 3 and FIST Certified Bike Fitter.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nutrition 101 By Randy Paar

As a triathlon coach, and former bodybuilder/weightlifter, nutrition has always been a great interest of mine.

I find it amazing how our Lord has blessed us with the most amazing gadget out there: ourselves!!

We spend all kinds of money on go faster carbon fiber frames, space age aero helmets, sleek form fitting skinsuits, fancy race wheels, carbon cages, powermeters.....and the list goes on. I even see they have carbon fiber swim goggles? For real.......

We spend hours cleaning and polishing our fancy space age steeds, right? So, answer me this: WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE SKIMP ON THEIR NUTRITION??

I love the excuses: I don't have time, I don't know how to cook, my wife doesn't like it, my kids won't eat it, my dog won't eat it!!! C'mon on!!

What wife doesn't love it when their man cooks for them? And kids, shoot, they don't know what they like until they are brainwashed by McDonalds, Red Bull, Burger King, and all of the other processed foods (I use that term loosely) that are constantly shoved at them. It's our job to ensure that we teach them what is really good.

A nearly perfect and easy day of eating:

Breakfast: 1 cup of organic rolled oats with sliced berries, 2 scrambled eggs

Snack-handful of raw almonds, piece of fruit

Lunch-2 cups of brown rice or Quinoa, 4 oz. of protein source, side of fresh sliced fruit and/or veggies

Snack/Preworkout-1 english muffin w/banana & nutbutter

Postworkout/Dinner-5 oz. protein source, 1 sweet potato, large spinach salad w/veggies

There you have it, delicious and nutritious!!

A rule to live by: If it grows in the ground, or you can pick it off a tree-eat it. If you buy it from the center isle of the grocery store, you're probably better off consuming the packaging that it came in.

Feed your body and mind with quality foods and nutrients, so we can be strong role models for all. We've all been blessed to do this sport, to spread the word of our God. We should present a positive and healthy image.

See, and I bet you thought this was going to be another "cookie cutter" nutrition program with specific formulas. I can bore you to tears with one if you like, but I hope this one reaches out to you.

Have a blessed and safe day!

Randy Paar is the owner of RPMultisport and can be reached at Randy is also a USAT Coach Level 1, USA Cycling Coach Level 3 and FIST Certified Bike Fitter.

The Best of NING, Highlights by Dan Matheson

John Adams announced the launch of the MsM Chaplaincy program. Find out more about the chaplain for your region.

Damone Brown let us all know about a must see short film:

A topic that we all deal with daily and need to rely upon our brothers for support is temptation

If you don’t have something that hits your inbox each day to think about first thing try this recommendation from Brandon Cox:

One thing that is different for everyone and there appear to be a thousand answers for is what to do with your race day nutrition. We all know what works for us or have questions so ask/answer here:

Triathlon is an expensive sport and we all need to save a buck getting there on airfares, shipping or otherwise, so if you have any hints on how to save $$$ please let the rest of us know here:

It is very easy to get distracted each day and forget to ask why are we here? What do I need to do? Our sport is very similar as we ask – why am I racing? What do I need to do to improve? Trevor Sultz stumbled across the following quote which got him thinking "The Ironman has a way of finding a weakness. It has a way of weeding out the pretenders from the contenders...". What do you think?

We all struggle with inspiration every day and strive to inspire the next generation. But sometimes they can show us the way as John Tidball let us know:

Stepping out and leading others is tough so please pray for Kenneth Ramsay and his wife as they do what can be so hard:

Lap, after lap, after lap, after lap, we could go on….but how do you keep count:

Finally, one our board members, Scott Bishop reminds us of what is important – fellowship and standing together for two are stronger than one. We can all be there to lift each other up and remind ourselves of the colours we wear:

Tip From MsM Pro Ryan Borger

The Off Season...

Since it's nearing the off-season, or better said non-racing months, it's a good time to take a break from the strict training schedules some of us tend to become slaves to, and take a short mental and physical break. If you're someone who has trained consistently and worked hard this season, you're probably ready for a break. Following you're last race of the season, I recommend taking a week or two off of training, or at least planned workouts, and follow this time with one or two weeks of training just by how you feel, doing what you want to (unless that means doing nothing at all, or lifting weights in the form of modified arm curls- AKA lifting cookies, donuts, or cups of egg-nog into the mouth). It's also a good time to mix in some other types of workouts and cross-training, such as nordic skiing, snowshoeing, rowing, hiking, etc, because a few months down the road you'll likely need a mental break, and physical rest, if you didn't take one at the end of the season.
It's important to adjust our training throughout the year, mixing up workout types, volumes, and intensities, in order to benefit the most. Build in training phases throughout the year, with the off-season months at lower training intensities, and focus on getting stronger as opposed to simply lighter and fitter. When getting back into the routine, the winter months are a great time build strength without burning yourself out with high intensity workouts. If you're a weaker cyclist, it's a great time to focus on improving cycling strength. Even though the heart rate does not need to be as high as our intense workouts in the middle of the racing months, we can still become a better cyclist. How? By building muscular strength. At least once a week during the winter, mix in a low cadence workout, pushing your biggest gear. Keeping cycling cadence around 55-60 RPM for 45 minutes to an hour, while pushing a bigger gear than you're used to, is an example of an affective way to build cycling specific leg strength.

Ryan Borger is a professional triathlete who lives and trains in Denver CO. Email Ryan with questions at