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Let’s Kick Some BASE: An Interview with Paul Lieto from BASE Nutrition

For much of my triathlon “career” (stop laughing) I’ve used BASE Performance products. Founded a few years ago by Chris Lieto, the company offers products specifically designed for optimum athlete performance and recovery. My favorite product by far is the recovery activator, which are supplements you can take after grueling workouts to aid your body a bit with recovery. I’ve also used their salt (I actually cook with it), their amino mix, and their multivitamins but the recovery pills are what steer me into junkie mode. Since I’ve been a fan of the company shortly after it was founded, I thought I’d ping someone at BASE for a little interview. Eventually Paul Lieto, Chris’s brother who works for Base, got tired of my incessant pestering and agreed to answer some of the dumb questions I threw his way. Enjoy! Mediocre Athlete: Can you share the super awesome comic book-style origin story behind BASE Nutrition? Who founded it and what was their purpose behind forming the company–did they see a void in the athlete nutrition industry that wanted to fill or a problem that needed solving? Paul Lieto: BASE Performance was founded by professional triathlete Chris Lieto. He did see a void in his nutrition plan. There were several companies providing good nutritional products (like CytoSport, PowerBar, Clif, etc). But he was looking for some additional supplementation to improve his recovery specifically. Chris worked with his physicians to find and formulate the products we offer. He first utilized the products when racing the Tour of Utah, a cycling stage race. He immediately noticed the improvements in his recovery as he felt stronger from stage to stage rather than slowly breaking down over the tour. He debated for some time whether to bring the products to the public, giving his competitors a chance to utilize them, but decided it was for the greater good to help other professionals and age groupers achieve their fitness and endurance goals. MA: What makes BASE Nutrition’s products great for athletes? Paul: In a nutshell, BASE Performance develops all-natural supplements that help athletes train harder, recovery quicker, and therefore race faster.¬†Endurance training is stressful on the body (and mind). Our products primarily focus on recovery and building a base foundation of health. Our Amino helps minimize muscle breakdown during workouts while helping build lean muscle post. The Recovery Activator helps clear toxins and facilitate glycogen absorption after a workout. Our Vitamins have higher dosages of the essentials to help defend against the excess free radical production associated with strenuous aerobic exercise. And our Electrolyte Salts are not just sodium chloride tablets; they actually have all 84 essential minerals needed for proper energy balance, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It’s in a fine grain form so we recommend athletes not only use in their sports drink mix, but also replace their normal table salt with BASE salt. To become a stronger, faster athlete you need to put in the hard, focused workouts. We develop the supplements that help you attack your tough workouts and recovery quicker so you can do it again the following day. It’s the building of continual focused workouts that will make athletes faster and why we see so many PR’s from our customers. MA: How many employees does BASE have? Paul: Just Chris and I right now as partners in BASE Performance. We work with other small businesses to help fulfill orders and manage some of the stuff I’m not good at, like balancing the books. MA: What is your role within the company (other than putting up with pestering questions from mediocre athletes like myself)? Paul: Currently my role is day to...
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Dear K-Swiss: What the Hell Happened to Your Korean K-Onas?

I sent this email to K-Swiss in hopes that they’ll respond and help an Asian out: Dear K-Swiss, I’m a big fan of your products — I have numerous pairs of K-Swiss shoes and my triathlon team (TN Multisports) receives a nice discount on some K-Swiss merchandise. However, I’ve got a bit of a bone to pick with you. Last August I was in Penticton to race Ironman Canada, and while I was there I saw a K-Swiss display that featured a number of pairs of K-Ona S shoes. One of the pairs featured a glorious design incorporating the Korean flag. They were pretty awesome, but you already know that because why else would you turn a less-than-awesome design into a shoe? That would be crazy talk, which would lead to someone getting their ass fired (maybe that’s why Kenny Powers is in charge now). Unfortunately, since my mind was focused on the race at hand, I didn’t buy them at the time, a decision I ended up regretting because I can’t find these effers anywhere — not on your site, not on the Internet…it’s as if they never existed. But I know they exist because I took a picture of them: I want these shoes on my feet, damnit. I tried to fill the void by buying a different pair of K-Ona S shoes (these bad boys), but my royal blues are no match for that glorious Korean flag. Being half Korean, I gotta represent out there with my stumpy Asian legs and supreme crappiness in the water. I really want a pair of the K-Swiss K-Ona S Korean flag shoes. You guys have Australia, Japan, Germany, USA, and Brazil, but like Christopher Walken and his cowbell, I gotta have my Korean kicks. Are they available at all? If so, can you hook a half Asian sista up with a pair (women’s size 8.5)? Thank you, Rebecca Kelley (aka the “Mediocre Athlete”) P.S. Why don’t you offer awesome Korean swag like this in women’s sizes? I love this shirt but would look absurd in a men’s size small. Show Koreans some love,...
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The Strangest Shoes I’ve Seen in a While

…okay, they’re not as strange as the Seinfeld strength shoe, but they’re not too far off. Anyway, when I raced the Mount Rainier duathlon in May, I won a free pair of Scott running shoes (not because I won my age group, but because they always give out random free stuff to the athletes and I just happened to get lucky). I only had a few pairs to choose from, but one shoe, the T2, stood out because it was described as the “ultimate triathlete shoe.” I wasn’t really planning on racing in them but figured they’d be worth a try because to me they looked similar to my Zoot racing flats that are in sore need of replacement. So I ordered a pair and promptly forgot about them… …until the FedEx dude knocked on my door today and dropped off a package for me. Oh right, my free shoes! Yaay, free shoes free shoes free shoes. Who doesn’t love getting a new pair of kicks? I unwrapped the package, opened the box…and my brow furrowed. What’s this thingy in the back of the shoe? Is that Velcro? What happens when I — HOLY SHIT THIS SHOE IS INSANE. Here’s a video of a low-level Bond villain explaining how they work, plus some pics of my shoes: The gist of it is that you can pull the entire back of the shoe away from the rest and slip your foot in quickly, then pull the back strap up to tighten it into place and secure it with Velcro. It’s odd, to say the least. I gotta admit though, as weird as these shoes are, they’re actually pretty comfy. The T2 was designed to be super light and come with a few drainage holes and a forefoot strike design. I don’t know if I’ll ever actually race in these (I’ve run into a plethora of running injuries lately and don’t want to risk another one), nor am I sure about how fast you can actually get into them (I’d probably get bungled up trying to tighten them, plus I always thought the Zoot racing flats were plenty fast to get into), but they seem fine for spectating or just hanging around. Plus they were free, so suck...
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Damnit, Kinetic

When I first started this nonsense sport, Teresa lent me an extra bike trainer she had so I’d be able to do indoor rides. It was a sad little thing that Jason wasn’t allowed to use because I was convinced he’d snap it in half. After a couple seasons of slumming it on the little trainer that could, I finally shelled out major coinage for a Kinetic fluid road bike trainer, the luxury sedans of trainers. It’s supposed to be one of the quietest trainers on the market, meaning I’d be able to ride and actually hear the movie I’m watching without having to blast the volume up so loud, my neighbors want to murder me. The first one I bought had some B.S. problem where some hole wasn’t drilled properly, forcing Jason to hammer the screw in all janky-like. You’d think shelling out a few hundred bones for a pricey hunk of metal meant it would be engineered properly, but I guess that’s not the case. Despite the minor setback, I was pretty stoked to finally be rollin’ on a “grown up” trainer, and a whisper quiet one at that! …or so I thought. About six months after using the trainer, one day I hopped on my bike for a spin and my Kinetic promptly sounded as if the Inception buzzy noise had personified, gotten stuck behind my wheel, and was being slowly and tortuously ground to death. I tried to ignore it at first, but this stupid noise got louder and louder to the point where I was blasting Teen Mom 2 at full volume in a futile effort to hear whiny girls and their baby daddy drama over the honking whir of my trainer (yes, I watch Teen Mom — it’s part of a Scared Straight program for my uterus so it doesn’t try any funny business). Eventually I gave up and hauled the bright green abomination back to whence it came so I could swap it out (REI, you mofos have the best return policy ever). Thankfully, the apathetic customer service rep was fine with me exchanging the nearly year-old trainer, so I grabbed a brand spankin’ new one and brought it home. Jas offered to help me set up Kinetic 2: Electric Boogaloo, but when he unpacked it and began assembling it, he noticed something wrong. Kinetic, you’ve screwed me again. The new trainer came with a screw that was, inexplicably, too short to fit through the one hole it was designed for. You’re kidding me! This shit is worse than Ikea — I expect some discrepancies when I’m buying hard-packed sawdust passing as furniture for a fraction of the cost, but when I’m plunking down hundreds of bucks for a hefty piece of machinery, I (foolishly) figure that all the pieces are manufactured properly. Rather than have an entire department in REI hate my guts, I opted to go to Lowe’s and shell out 15 cents for a replacement screw. Afterwards, Jas was able to get my trainer working properly and I’m once again riding in relative quiet…that is, until it borks again (which, considering my luck, I fully expect it to do). Of course, Jason’s trainer has given him zero problems while I’m on my third one. Oh well, the best I can do is cross my fingers and hope that the Kinetic plays nice so I can ride and watch my crappy action movies and trashy TV in...
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Slightly Less Mediocrely Dressed Athlete

Not too long ago I blogged about how I was a mediocrely dressed athlete. My teammates all looked gorgeous in their cutesy petite Lululemon gear while I slummed it up in old race t-shirts and haggard eyes. Since then I’ve Jefferson’d up and moved into a de-luxe apartment in the sky, meaning I’ve acquired some more respectable exercise clothing. Woo hoo! First, my coaches Teresa and Mark bought me a pair of Lululemon shorts for my birthday, thus popping my Lululemon cherry. (Hey, I’m a late bloomer.) Then a teammate of mine, Amanda, gave me another pair of Lululemon shorts she didn’t like. That’s 200% more Lululemon than I had before! Teresa then tricked me into buying a Lululemon tank top by saying she was going to print the TN Multisports logo onto them for Ironman Canada, so I shelled out the big bucks for my first Lululemon top. It all goes downhill from there. I’ve since discovered that while I’m still not a Lululemon shopper (one of my teammates admitted to dropping five hundred dollars there in a single shopping trip, and when I balked at the price, other teammates were like, “Oh yeah, I’ve spent that much in one visit before” without batting an eye. Seriously, underground meth lab. It’s the only explanation), I am a Lululemon sale shopper. I’ve recently bought two tank tops and a short-sleeve performance shirt that were all on sale, plus a pair of running shorts and some socks that were marked down. Jason, on the other hand, has chugged the full-price Kool-aid and plunked down some cold hard cash for two pricey (but nice) t-shirts and some undies. (He did manage to get a pair of loungey shorts on sale, though.) Capping off my wardrobe is a pair of Nike shorts and a run shirt handed down to me by Teresa. (She also hooked me up with roughly 80 pairs of summer shorts because they were too big for her. Yes, a slimmed down me = a big Teresa.) Maybe now I’ll be able to start phasing out my gross old $7 tank tops with the permanent underarm stains. Yee-haw! To give you an idea of how perceptive my female teammates are (and how Lululemon-obsessed they are), when I debuted one of my new Lululemon tank tops at a track workout, I hadn’t made it more than four steps onto the track when several of my run buddies exclaimed, “Hey, new top!” They all noticed immediately and cooed over my fancy new digs. When I got home and told Jason, he laughed and asked if they all formed a circle around me and began chanting, “One of us! One of us! Goo-ble gob-ble, goo-ble gob-ble!” I still can’t bring myself to buy something from Lululemon at full price (seriously, $120 for a sweatshirt?), but I do admit they make some nice crap. Plus, I’ve lost enough weight to feel less like a fat cow when I try on their clothes and more like a chubby...
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