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.

Chris Lieto, professional triathlete and founder of BASE Performance

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.

Paul (left) and his brother Chris having a bromance moment (photo shamelessly stolen off Paul's Facebook profile)

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 day operations. I pretty much manage everything from sales and marketing to customer service and some fulfillment. We are a small family-run company and both Chris and I enjoy being able to personally connect with most of our customers.

MA: How many Lieto brothers are there? You guys seem to multiply like wet gremlins.

Paul: There are three of us. Chris and Matt, both professionals. And I bring up the rear, though I’m the oldest.

MA: How does your Brand Ambassador program work? [My teammate John Frair is a BASE Performance brand ambassador.]

Paul: The Ambassador program is one way we build a mutually beneficial relationship with some of our core customers. They receive a significant discount on our monthly supplement program in exchange for being vocal about what they’re already doing… training, racing, and sharing their passion for endurance sports.

MA: Swim, bike, or run?

Paul: I love the bike, though I’m not as fast as either Chris or Matt, unless I have towline. For that reason I like the run in races. For my age group I’m a better runner than cyclist.

MA: Would you rather have a permanent farmer’s tan or a permanent tri short tan?

Paul: Good question. I would go with tri short tan. Less noticeable when in board shorts stand up paddling or catching some waves.

MA: Which Lieto brother would win in an eating contest?

Paul: Dang, another good one. I would go with Matt. He is the local champion for slamming an 18oz burger, order of fries, and a milkshake followed by sprinting a one mile uphill run segment. More carnage than Alii Drive on that one.

A not-at-all-photoshopped picture of Matt Lieto racing while eating a humongous burger

MA: If BASE stood for something (assuming it doesn’t already), what would you suggest? I’m thinking Bad-Ass Sports Endurance, but I’m open to other suggestions.

Paul: I like yours!

Thanks, Paul! Be sure to check out BASE Performance products–they’re really awesome and the company is run by a couple of cool (and ridiculously athletic) dudes.

2 Responses to “ “Let’s Kick Some BASE: An Interview with Paul Lieto from BASE Nutrition”

  1. Jill says:

    Great interview, Rebecca, and random general question:

    How exactly did you get into all this?

    When I knew you (waaaaaay back when), you were definitely athletic, and looking at your race list, I see you did a couple running races early on, but what was it that made you jump from occasional marathoner to WOAHHOLYSHITMEGAENDURANCEATHLETE in 2008? Was it a slow build? Were you always doing a lot of cross training but just not racing? What flipped the switch?

    Though I’ve done some longer races, I don’t even know if I’d consider myself a “runner” at this point because my workouts are so sporadic. But I find that I do really love training cycles and having an eye on that next big goal. It’s really the only way I won’t sit on my ass all day and slowly eat myself out of house and home.

    Ironman is not it–at least not yet, since doggy paddling is my idea of a strenuous swim–but considering bigger goals and longer training, how did you go from “yeah, right…” to “wow, totally happening and actually doable”? I guess a marathon used to be my “yeah right,” so moving longer, more often, or into other sports isn’t something unfathomable, but certainly not all of us are serious endurance athletes (and I count myself out so far), so I’d just love to hear a bit more about your story.

    /End ridiculously long comment.

    • Rebecca says:

      Hmm, good question. Maybe I should write a blog post addressing my “origin story” instead of responding with a hugely long comment. Stay tuned!

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