00:08:24 It takes time to get fit and healthy
00:13:08 Why using any equipment is not ideal
00:19:05 Mindset as a form of discipline
00:24:13 Preparing yourself before joining a triathlon
00:30:37 You don’t need to go to the gym to get fit and healthy
00:38:52 Don’t overanalyze stuff
00:41:56 Day-to-day life nutrition
- Athletic Greens Discount
- Visit the Fitter Healthier Dad website
- Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes
Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym. Here is your host Darren Kirby.
Darren: Welcome back to the podcast, guys. This is the number one podcast for men in their 40s who want to improve their health through nutrition and fitness. This is Episode 104. In today’s episode. We are talking with Andrew from Life of Tri. Life of Tri was born out of Andrew’s love of triathlon. Life of Tri aims to give honest reviews and strives to be a source of reliable information for the average triathlete, whether you are new to try or a seasoned pro. But before we dive into the episode today, guys, I just want to take a moment to mention today’s sponsors. Athletic Greens, Athletic Grains was created by its founder, Chris, after he had years of gut health issues that left him facing a health crisis. Chris developed athletic grains with a mission of creating the highest efficacy, bioavailable and nutritionally complete supplement to help your body function as it’s supposed to, no matter your age or activity level. Now, as most of you know, I am a big advocate of getting all of our vitamins and minerals from food. But due to the busy lives that we lead, we don’t always have the food type and quality that we would ideally like to have. So I personally take athletic greens as a bit of an insurance policy to make sure that I’m getting all my vitamins and minerals. So athletic greens have an offer for today’s listeners. If you go over to athleticgreens.com/fitterhealthierdad, you will get 10 percent off your first order of athletic greens. So let’s dive into today’s episode.
Andrew: Lovely to have a chat with you today. We just said off camera, I’ll talk about triathlon all day and I love it. But I also love hearing what people’s journeys into the sport have been, how they got into triathlon, whether they walk in the background, they have as well. Because so many people come into the sport, they don’t necessarily have a background in swim, bike and run. I came into the sport from a team sport I know that we talk about at the moment. But what is your journey to date with triathlon?
Darren: Yeah, it’s quite an interesting one, actually. And the and so it started back in twenty thirteen and at the time I was working in the city of London in a hedge fund and we were doing a large project and one of the vendors we were working with said, oh, we’re doing a complete triathlon at one of the biggest ones, which is Blenheim Palace, and said, you know, the company is sponsoring it. Would you fancy an engineer? And straight away I said, yes, because for whatever reason, I’d always wanted to do a triathlon. I have no idea why, but I always wanted to do one. So the minute I get the opportunity, yeah, bang, I’ll do it. But then so so my theory behind it was that I go to the gym three times a week and I eat pretty good, so I’ll be fine. And then I started training and it was a whole different ball game and it was at that point I realized just how unhealthy I was and how unfit I was because I jumped in a pool and I couldn’t swim one length of a 20-minute pool. Now, I could swim, I could do Funchal, but not consistently. Right. So that was a big shock. I was like, wow, I didn’t expect that. And then there was the running, you know, jumping on the treadmill. I couldn’t even do seven minutes on the treadmill. And I had to stop.
And I had such a burning sensation in my chest. Now I’m asthmatic. So immediately the excuse came out. Ah, well, it’s because of my asthma. Right. Well it wasn’t that. And then the cycling side of it, I’d cycle quite a lot in my kind of late teens. So the cycling side of it was always OK. And so then the kind of what happened at that point, then I can understand why have I been going to a gym for 15 years? And yet when I tried to train for something specifically, I’m just way overweight and why I’m fit. And that’s kind of what set me off on this whole discovery, I guess, of understanding, first of all, nutrition and then a lot more about fitness. And then I did all of that and I got to the first triathlon in Berlin and Paris. I completed it. My main objective for this first triathlon was to get across that finish line. That was it. That was all I wanted to do. And yeah, I did it, I got across the finish line in one hour, 36, not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, but what happened in this sounds a bit like a movie, like old cliches. Like when I cross that finish line, I have a feeling, although I’ve never experienced in my life before, whether it’s serotonin, dopamine, whether it’s a sense of achievement, I don’t know what it is.
I don’t really care. In all honesty. But it was just that moment that I was like, wow, I want to do this again. Like I’ve gone through all that pain and all the, you know, the struggle to get across the finish line. But I thought, wow, I want to do this again. And literally, since that day, I have not stopped. I’ve never not only last year because of the pandemic, I’ve not done an event, but I was literally hooked. And, you know, we were talking about just now off of air and it’s finding that thing which lights you up. And we’ll go into this, I guess, in some detail. But it’s not for everyone, as you said. But it works for me. And, my God, it’s completely transformed my life. I don’t say that lightly either. And I saw some people use triathlon as kind of a kind of middle-class mid-life crisis. Right. Because it’s so, so popular in our age group. Right. The 40 plus age group is just crazy popular, but hugely competitive as well. So, yeah, but then that then kind of I lost a huge amount of weight, so I lost sixty one pounds, nearly twenty eight kilos in white from doing it. And I just you know, again another cliche but I just got so switched on from an energy perspective, from a mental perspective, from a happiness perspective, it just absolutely transformed my life.
And I didn’t realize just how foggy, I guess, I was going through life and how kind of maybe not as happy as what I could be going through life because I was in that statement. And it’s a classic thing if you don’t know what it feels like to feel good until you feel good. Right. And that’s then what kind of got me into starting Fitter Healthier Dad, because I want to help so many other people who are perhaps not conscious about what fitness and nutrition can do for them. And there are so many men in their 40s, you see them, they’re trying to run, they’re trying to cycle, they’re trying to go to the gym and they’re not getting any results. Now, I’m making a big assumption that they’re doing it for health reasons. But there’s so much misinformation. And obviously your podcast is perfect to kind of dispel the myths out there, because this industry, this fitness nutrition industry, the triathlon exists in. It’s just steeped in misinformation, it’s steeped in just giving this one bit of information, but not all of it. Right. And that’s about completing the whole puzzle, if you like, of nutrition, health, fitness mindset. And it’s what it can be way simpler than it’s made out to be.
Andrew: Yeah, I agree with that, because at times I find the industry a little bit like click bait in the sense of they give you a tiny little bit of information to sort of say if you do this, you will be faster, you will be fitter, you will be stronger, you will be bigger in muscle, whatever. And everyone, not everyone, but a lot of people out there looking for those quick wins to get fit and healthy and unfortunately, to get fit and healthy. It takes time and effort to put in. And it’s a bit of a long game. And interestingly, you say that you used to go to the gym quite regularly three times a week. Can I just ask what you used to do in the gym? Because I find a lot of people just go through the motions. They go to the gym, they lift a couple of weeks on the machines. They make it on the rowing machine. They lay on the mat and do some stretching. Hours later, they walked out. And my argument always is that people aren’t getting enough out of those sessions. Our time is so precious that if you are going to do an hour in the gym, you have to make it work. You have to make it interesting for you, but you have to make it beneficial. Otherwise you just go through the motions and it doesn’t really mean anything.
Darren: Yeah, it’s exactly that. And that’s exactly what I was doing. It’s almost like this, the societal norm, right? If you want to be fit and healthy, you go to the gym. Actually, what do you do when you go to the gym and what is the reason you go into the gym in the first place was the outcome you want to achieve? And when you talk specifically to guys in their 40s about this, oh, you know what? I just need to go to the gym. They actually don’t want to think about it, right? They don’t want to go. They’ve got enough stress and strains in their life. The last thing they want to do is then get the gym plan out, make it all out, the rest of it. But unless you go there for a specific reason, a specific purpose, you get nothing out of it. And like I proved for 15 years and the other side to it as well is again, coming back to my puzzle analogy is one piece of the puzzle. If you go to the gym for an hour and I hate this whole hour thing because you do not need to go to the gym for an hour is complete B.S. If you do that and then you come out and you go to a Starbucks to get your lunch or you go to a McDonald’s, you actually did yourself probably more harm than good, to be honest, because not only are you depleting vitamins and minerals, you’re giving yourself crap food as well. And yeah, I agree.
Andrew: Let me tell you a story about going to the gym and not meaning anything. Yeah. Back in I think 2011, I think I got this right on this one, but it might be 2008. It was when the Lions toured, the rugby union Lions tour was on and I can’t remember where they were, but I didn’t have Sky at the time, so I couldn’t watch the right. So I remember going into the gym and sitting on a bike. This is pre triathlon days, you know, sitting on a bike for two hours, just trying to watch the game. And I made sure I just sat at home and used my gym membership to pay for Sky Sports for that particular month because it meant nothing. I saw I just turned my legs. There was hardly any probably elevated heart rate for two hours. Yeah. And I’ve learned a lot since then and triathlons taught me quite a lot that every session counts. And when you’re training for something, especially the longer distance triathlon, which, you know, you go to the effort, then you’ve got to put the time in. Yeah, it’s a struggle between that and personal life. I’m absolutely not. I’m at a point in my life I’m not quite yet. Forty I’m forty in two months. I’m almost there. But I have two young children. I have a 10 month old and I have a two and a half year old. OK, so you know, my life revolves around them. Yeah. I don’t I can’t be selfish anymore when I go out and I have a five hour bike ride and then have to sit on the sofa for, for an hour to rest afterwards. So it’s all about being smart and it’s all about getting the most out of the time that you do have. And that’s the approach that I am coming from. And you’re right. Yeah, the gym doesn’t need to be an hour and it doesn’t need to be in the gym either. If no, you can do strength and conditioning work anywhere you can.
Darren: Yeah. And, you know, the biggest resistance you can use is your own body weight against you. So I don’t advocate anybody using any equipment because more often than not and you can tell me what you think on this when you see people in the gym using equipment nine times out of ten, they’ve got the wrong form. And if you’ve got the wrong form, particularly at our age, when you get an injury, that can be quite an impact for injury and we want to stay away from injury. But just to come back to your point on the guilt side of it, because this is something I see a lot. So guys have a family, as you quite rightly say. You know, they are the most important thing. That’s why you have a family. There’s no point in you having a family. They’re not the most important thing. And particularly kids at a young age is the age that your kids are at. Their great ages are amazing ages because they are just the little characters that are developing. So you want to be around for that, right? However, what I don’t agree with is that I don’t agree with the fact that you’re selfish if you’re exercising, because consider this side of it.
If you don’t exercise, I classed as being inconsiderate because you’re not going to be in the best shape for your kids. Therefore, you potentially are not going to be able to have the energy to run around with them. Now, the other side, too, is when you’re talking about triathlon. Yes. The three disciplines, I think they do take time and you have to be smart with your time. But I have always been of the opinion that you’ve got twenty four hours in a day. So when my kids were younger, they’re a lot older now. They’re ten and thirteen. But when I first started they were like five and eight. Like you, I don’t want to be away from them for hours, so I would get up at 5:00 in the morning, do my sessions before they even woke up so that we could spend the rest of the day as a family together. So I think there’s two sides to it, really. But I do agree with you and I think, you know, come ten o’clock on a Saturday morning, you say wife, great, I’m going out for a three hour cycle. Now, that’s just not going to go down very well.
Andrew: And I don’t do that anymore because when I say I lost it and I am on in 2016, so like I worked this out obviously earlier before we came on the call was five years ago, which is a big shock. You know that it’s been that long. I went in 2019 but postponed it for a year and then an injury happened and whatever. It didn’t happen. Yeah, but I am very fortunate that my other half is a runner, OK? And she’s part of a running club. So we can sort of say, you know, you have your time, I have my time. Then we have family time. But back in the day it was just here to my time and you could play around with that with the kids. It’s a little bit different, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. And, you know, I’ve made a conscious effort now that I probably won’t do. I am on for a couple of years, just like kids a little bit older. They’re a little bit easier to manage when there’s just one of you and you are carrying one around, but the other one’s running around your feet. But, you know, the good thing about triathlon is it gives you options you don’t need to do in Yemen. And again, this is why we say on the podcast and through life of tri, people sometimes automatically think you have to do something ridiculous, like an ironman and you don’t allow my hands up.
I was one of these individuals you signed up for Ironman without doing a triathlon before. And my wife said to me, Don’t you think you better do something short in distance? Yeah. So I did a half Ironman as my first. Okay. Which again I don’t advocate. Tip your toe in the water and into a short and see if you like it. And again, this is where I suppose life of tri evolved from the mistakes that I was making. I just want to make people aware of them. I don’t want to say to them, don’t do this because I did it and it was wrong. I just want to make people aware of it. And if you’re going to do something like an Ironman, which you spend X amount of money on 400, 500 pound easily, that’s without all the equipment to then go and do it as your first race and then not understand something like transition. Yeah. And, you know, because we often talk about swimming, biking and running, but there’s so many other disciplines. There is a stand, there’s triumph, there’s transition, there’s nutrition, there’s hydration. Yeah. I’m just understanding things like how a bike works.
So, you know, if your train comes off, you can slip it back on that subject. But so often what I say to people is try and do a couple of short distances first. Yeah. Or you build up and OK, that might not be for everyone. And I think you’ve got to understand why people do triathlons as well. And I think it comes from two camps, right? Of maybe three. You see other people in the sport and you want the social aspect and you that’s the vehicle for the sport. Yeah. There are the people that want to be healthy in their chosen sport or activity at the time. And there’s a third one group. I think those who just want a challenge. Yeah. They’re always looking for the next thing. And, you know, whether that’s climbing the three peaks, highest peaks within the UK, you know, whether that’s true or not, I imagine whether that’s true in a marathon ultramarathon, what is the basis behind it, I think is still the same. And the mindset is still. Yeah. And so that’s often why and that’s why we exist, I suppose, is just to say to people, these are the scenarios. These are what other people have said to us. This is my experience. Now you’ve got some information. Make a choice for you.
Darren: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. There’s a few things that you raised there, particularly around the distances. So I’ll give you my side of it, actually, because like I said, I got the invitation to do the Sprint in Planum and that was it. That was only ever going to be. I just wanted to do a triathlon. That was it. So I had no grand designs of doing a half Ironman, an Ironman. You know, people in the office would talk to me about half Ironman. I was off from doing that. You know, forget that. And what happens is I think that around our mindset, we put these kinds of ceilings and the limitations on ourselves and what you kind of realize from doing this sport. And I guess other endurance sports really are that the human body is just incredible. The limiting factor in actual fact is our mindset, and that prevents us from finishing from even attempting stuff in the first place. So I think the other discipline is a huge mindset. We can do whatever we tell ourselves that we can or can’t do. Right. And so I think there’s that element of it, really. But I think yeah, I agree. I think people need to expect because the whole event of doing these three sports in one is a discipline in itself.
Like you say, you know, open water, swimming is a different ballgame. So this is this is something that I think it’s worth talking about as well, is that I’ve been to many open water lakes where you get confident, like swimming good, confident pool swimmers who jump into a lake and absolutely freak out and they freak out because they can’t see, you know, when you’re swimming in the pool, you see the black lines you see in the nice tiled floor. Immediately when you’re looking down, you see a lot of weeds, potentially some fish and all the rest of it. And people get really freaked out by that. And they and it’s and I think what freaks them out more is, in fact, they’ve got freaked out because they didn’t assume or didn’t realize what they’d be looking at when they looked in the water. The other side of it as well is the water temperature. And so your whole breathing has to change and you don’t get that input. Generally oppose between twenty-seven to twenty-nine degrees, which is fairly cold. But when you’re getting in like 15 degrees, believe me, even with a wetsuit on, you know, it takes your breath away, you get a cold head. So there’s lots of other things to consider.
Andrew: Such a great topic, though, because I’ve done a podcast on this actually. But open water swims through my local Ironman races, put it that way as I am. Manuela’s right. Yeah, it’s a sea swim. And so many people swim in a pool train for nine months, 12 months, however long they train to then come to the sea swim and Hiver. I haven’t tested the wetsuit out in the open yet or I’ve had very little exposure to it and it’s a totally different ballgame. And a lake swim is a step up from a pool swim. Yeah, but something like a river swim or a swim is a step up again because you’re fighting currents, tides and waves. My first Ironman Wales was 2014 and is notorious for this. Oh yeah. Being really bad. If I was swimming out I would hit that. I would come over the top of the wave and my stroke came over. There was no water there because the waves were so high. We go back to transition. There were people being sick left, right and center. It felt a little bit like a war zone. Yeah, yeah, yes. But they’ll tent. And there were people dropping out. And I was trying to encourage Guy next to me saying, you know, you’ve nothing that could be as difficult as what might come through and you’ve done it.
Yeah, that’s me. Then I’ve also got a mate who I was training with. I am on to Wales 2016 for. Yeah. And again, a very confident pool swimmer. No problem at all. I took him down to a 50 meter pool in Cardiff so you could test his wetsuit out cold water pool as well. And he just freaked out, couldn’t get used to the wetsuit being around him, really tight, fitted on it. Don’t get me wrong, he tried it on at the shop. He tried it on in the house. No problem. All put him into a scenario where he then needs to swim 50 meters, which he had never done previously. All of a sudden, there’s this wall to sort of have a rest on and bounce back off and off. After the session. He was almost quittin. Yeah. You know, until we sort of talked him down and just said, look, this takes time. You can’t just expect everything to be amazing the first time. And, you know, next session we’re going back in the pool, in the wetsuit. And he was like a fish. And thankfully.
Darren: Yeah. So I think there’s quite a few things we can pick out. What you just said, funnily enough. And I think that, you know, the one thing is for people listening is not for this to put them off. Right. And all of the things that we just talked about there are all valid, but a lot of people might not even go through that. It’s just to be aware of. Right. So it’s a case of just accepting that it’s almost like a little bit of an unknown. Right. So, yes, you might be a swimmer. You might not be an open water man. Like you say, Emanuels is notorious for having huge choppy waves and southeast winds, even more so if you’re if you’re listening to this and you’re considering yet a fancy doing a triathlon, you know, us men like to go big, right? It’s ego is all the rest of the year. I can do it. I’m finished now. Just step it back like you say. Do I do a super sprint or do a sprint is your first triathlon. You do it in a nice open water like before you go to a sea swim. And it’s just about understanding that, you know, of your ultimate goal, whether that’s an Ironman or whatever. You know, it’s not necessarily linear. And so you might have to go through a process of a couple of years.
And I’ve been ridiculed on forums when I’ve said this, particularly Ironman forums. If people go in there and say, nah, you only need to train six hours a week, I did a nine hour triathlon, I, I was like, yeah, but where have you started from? You know, you might already be a runner, a swimmer and a cyclist. So it’s about understanding the use individual where you’re starting from understanding your capabilities in the three disciplines and then just choosing your event accordingly. And like you say, you know, don’t book, can I man? And then just go and have to train health level for one. I definitely would take it one step at a time because like you said before as well, Andrew. People might not like it, they might like an individual say, hey, here’s the thing, I couldn’t stand the thought of running a marathon. I can do a marathon at the end of an Ironman, I don’t know why, I don’t know why that is, but I just couldn’t think. I don’t know what it is and whether it’s all for me. Triathlon works because it’s a variety. I like the variety of swim, bike, run, but I couldn’t just go out for weeks and weeks, weeks to train for a marathon
Andrew: And got bought four years ago. My marathon PB was my Ironman marathon because I’d never done the marathon outside of it. Yeah, and exactly for that mindset that I will happily run twenty six point two miles at the end of I am on crew all the amazing crowds and things like that. But yeah, yeah. For years I just couldn’t get past, only just run in and find. I do it now but yeah it’s going back to the swimming element as well. We have quite a lot of people come and ask us about the swim element and I think it’s the one discipline that scares people the most. Yeah, don’t get me wrong, everyone is different, but it’s probably the most that we get questions about. Do I have to swim in the sea? Do I have to wear a wetsuit or do I have to do Ironman? And the answer is no. And we’ve touched on it already. There are so many races out there. OK, you may have to travel a little bit further in distance. There’s plenty of pool swims. Yeah, there is a lake where you won’t get a tide.
I remember two in the Cotswolds, one one three, which is a half a million years ago. And the lake at one point got so low in volume that there was one element that people had to walk through the water. Somebody I was swimming with my hands were like dragging along the bottom. And then all of a sudden this guy sort of walked past me in the water. Yeah, yeah. But it’s just to say that the joy of triathlon is the variety and the choice that you have these days. There are so many different races there. All the things that we say to people, they say to people, is if you don’t like the swim element. Try a duel on a bike run, if you are not a fan of the cycling element, do an acquisition. I know a crackerjack goes on in Monmouthshire, which is a river swim. And nice thing about it, you come down while you go up the river, then come back down. Yeah, but you’re brilliant. You know this. Yeah, right there.
Darren: There is. And I think like you said, that’s becoming more popular. Now VSL Othello, like this swim run, a swim race where you’re swimming between little islands over distances, has become very popular. So, yeah, there is like you say, if there’s a particular discipline that you don’t like, there are lots of other events that you can do out there. And I think that, you know, to come back to the swim, what I believe, you know, the swim is the hardest, but actually the swim is the one. The one discipline where. You know, it’s not the it’s not the discipline where you can make up a lot of time, you know, you can be a good swimmer, you can be an okay swimmer, and you swim times won’t necessarily be hugely different over, you know, seven fifty or one point five K swim where you really make time up. If time is a focus for you on the bike, you might spend the time on the bike all day long, whether that’s a sprint, whether that’s Ironman. So that’s yeah. So I think we are kind of done around a little bit here, but I think mindset is key, finding the disciplines at work, you know, and just when you first if it’s your first event, just your aim, I believe your aim just needs to be just to finish. Doesn’t matter what time it is and just finish the event, but also enjoy it as well. And this is another thing I want to touch on because because I come back to the gym scenario, so many people want to get fit and healthy, but they go to the gym and I absolutely hate it.
You know, don’t go you know, there’s so many things that you can do that don’t need to go to a gym, that you don’t need a membership, you know, that you can find that you can enjoy. I mean, I’ve recently got into a lot of functional fitness, functional movement, calisthenics and things like that. Because the other thing is that. I think what’s important is that as you age, your mobility is more limited because of the way that you’ve grown up, either sitting at a desk or anything else like that, your flexibility is far reduced to how it used to be. So doing things like that can really, really help your performance in triathlon because it means you can run more efficiently, you can swim more efficiently, you can be on the bike in the right position for longer. So you’re more aero. So there’s just so many things that you can do now, I think, to kind of aid that. And, you know, I’m kind of on a bit of a little bit of a rant here. But, you know, it’s not just about swim, bike riding. It’s not just about smashing out the distances because they’re junk miles. You know, you need to be really smart about your training and the functional fitness and the strength work is, as Kay is doing, the swim bike run.
Andrew: Yeah, no, I agree. And, you know, like I said, I’m almost hitting 40 myself, and I’m finding that my range of movement is definitely different to when I first got into the sport. Sitting at a desk all day does not help me. No, I’m not. You know, even with a standing desk that I know you work is not great. And all of a sudden now my training is tweaking in the sense of rather than spending X amount of hours on the bike, maybe one less hour. Yeah. I’m throwing in some sort of body movement, function improvement, yoga, plotty, whatever you decide as you watch a bloody Joe Wick’s video on YouTube if you have to. I don’t read whatever works for you and that’s the important element, is finding something that works for you? Interestingly, I’ve got neighbors who a couple of years ago I helped through with a coach to five K. Right. And it’s funny that they hated every minute of it. And at the end I said, look, we tried it but didn’t enjoy it. You find something else that you like because they kept saying to me, you know, I want to start running again, but I don’t really enjoy it. I don’t do it.
Darren: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: Yeah, they love walking and if that’s what they want to do, go for long walks every evening, you know, and, and just enjoy it. You find something you enjoy.
Darren: Yeah. And it is about that movement. And this is a funny thing, right. Walking is highly, highly underestimated. If we’re thinking about fat lost weight loss, body composition is very, very valuable. If you’re doing fifteen thousand steps a day, which is a lot, but it’s doable. Your body as you’re walking will be accessing its fat as fuel. Right. So it will be using that fuel source in the body. So if you want to burn fat, go on a massively long walk. It’s low impact is nice, particularly this time of year. It’s accessible, you know, and you can walk and talk as you go along. You can have me often go out and cause walking because I get my steps in and I have called them out outside. You get in fresh air. So yeah, I think, I think that’s really, really key for people to, to kind of recognize. And it does have an impact. You know, it does really, really help for movement and white.
Andrew: One of the questions I want to ask, and I’m not an asshole. Yep. I’m just going to touch on one thing that you said earlier, and that’s the finish line from when you finish your first triathlon. I had exactly the same moment the first time I finished in Amman. And I don’t and it’s not just within triathlon. I find this within running races as well. That red carpet, let’s call it at the finish line. And it could be three people there or there could be three hundred people there. Yeah, I get such a rush from that. Yeah. So that moment where you run up, you cross the line, you think, yes, I bloody did it. Yeah. And it’s an amazing feeling. And again, people often say to me, oh, I couldn’t do an argument, that’s fine, but try it at one of the shorter distances. And I generally think that you’ll have the same rush because yeah, the emotion of I have trained bloody hard to get to this point. And I always say that the event itself is the crowning point is the icing on the cake because the hard work has been done before. You should be at a point, hopefully, if your training is going well, then you are fit enough to be able to complete that event. Yeah. So you get to it. And it’s just that buildup of emotion that you have worked so hard to get where you are to complete something and accomplish it on your own. After anyone who does anything from one mile race to five to ten. It doesn’t matter exactly. It’s what I’ve said. I’ve prepared, I’ve planned, I’ve done the preparation, I’ve done the training, and now I’ve completed it.
Darren: Yeah. And I think all too often, you know, this is a human trait that we have this trait of comparison with my mates. So I need to do that. No, the challenge is between you and whatever event you’re doing. And the other thing about it, which is a kind of an aside which people may be not thinking about, and that is, you know, particularly with our children. Right. We want our children. You know, we like to kind of educate our children and show them things. And we want them to grow up in a certain way. Right. There is no better way than showing your children what to do than to do it yourself. So my boys have come along to a few events that I’ve done. And I and I in no way believe that I should just show them these things and then they can make their own choices. But both of them have done school as long as they’ve done many triathlons, not because I pushed them, but because I’ve seen that doing now and then they want to give it a go. And so I believe there’s no better way than to show, you know, to get your children involved and to show them how to do it, you know, and then they’ll naturally want a game of whether they continue with it or not is irrelevant. Right. But you’ve shown them another opportunity that they could pursue if they wanted to. And I think that’s the benefits of it. And, you know, the event is, well, your families go through all of this training with you, good, bad ups, downs, all the rest of it. So the day that you have the event to have your family there at the finish, there’s no better feeling than that then clapping you across as you come across the finish line, then seeing the achievement, you’ve made the sense of this so many plus points to it. It’s just, yeah, I think that’s why I love it.
Andrew: And all of these events I go to, you’ll always see a handful of people completed and then nine times out there, I know names that there’d be a long time. You see the memo, the dad who has just completed it and the child is wearing the medal. Yeah, yeah. And I love that. Yeah. Again, you know, there are times where triathlon could be such a lonely sport if you train on your own, but for a large proportion as well. It can be such a family atmosphere, not just you, a family, but the community around it as well. And, you know, fortunately, there’s always someone who is willing to give their time and advice within the sport. Unfortunately, that’s not always the best advice to give. Yeah. And it comes back to what we were saying, and I prefer to give people information, but say to them, this is your choice and your decision on what you do with it, because some of it will be my experiences and some of them will be slightly biased. But at least you can make an informed decision if you have some of the information in front of you.
Darren: Yeah, I agree. But also what I would like to say is don’t overanalyze it. You know, we love overanalyzing stuff, men particularly. And I would just say just set it up, set yourself that first target. You know, coming back to what we said before we start recording about all the gear or the nutrition and all the rest, you can get down a rabbit hole in all numbers, those different things. Your main objective is to enjoy and finish it. You can do it. Now, I’ve seen people do, particularly Planum, because I’ve seen people do it on a number of different bikes. But instantly us men use it as an excuse to get a sign off from the wife and we won’t go and buy two, three grand. But you don’t actually have to do that. And funnily enough, you can actually go and buy some very, very good second and bikes.
Andrew: And we say this on the channel all the time. Right. Because we get the question, isn’t triathlon expensive? It can be expensive, but that’s up to you. Yeah. So you can use what you already have on an existing bike. It could be a mountain bike. It could be a hybrid. Yeah, it could be a penny of it for all I know. Yeah. But in theory you can use it especially for short distances, maybe longer distances. You may want to consider something else. There’s also the option of either Hyorin or buying second hand. Yeah, you can hire a wetsuit, you know 50. Sixty quid for, for, for a season or an event. Sorry. And yeah. Buy second hand. My first road bike was a second hand bike from eBay. It cost me one hundred. It’s still not a lot of money sort of thing. But that’s not to say it didn’t do me a job. It got me around a half Ironman and Nyoman and to this day I still have that bike and I love it. Yeah, it’s just what I learned on and I just got comfortable with it and it’s my winter bike now, so I really look forward to winter. Right.
Darren: Yeah. And I think the other thing is, like we said, a. Out not liking it earlier, imagine the huge pressure if you then actually do this and you actually hate it and you’ve got to spend 250 grand on a bike 500 quid on a wet suit and all the rest of it trisomies, the rest of it that comes with it, you know, just start off small. And if you absolutely love it, just keep upgrading, you know,
Andrew: And that’s why Facebook is at the end of a season with gains to be had.
Darren: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Now, I love Facebook marketplace, you know. Yeah. It’s very, very good. I agree. I agree.
Andrew: So the final thing I wanted to ask you, because you’ve mentioned it a couple of times around nutrition, and we also touched on some barriers into the sport and what people need to consider. But the one thing I think people fall down on is nutrition. Yes, race, nutrition. I’m not talking about that now. I’m talking about day-to-day life nutrition.
Darren: Yeah. Yeah. This is a huge topic for me personally and one which out outside of triathlon as well, we get hugely, hugely wrong. And there’s this you know, if we’re talking in the context of training for a triathlon, you know, there’s this misnomer that we need to stuff ourselves full of food in terms of volume and food, in terms of carbohydrate. And we don’t quite simply, you know, the Western diet has evolved in such that it is predominantly carbohydrate based, but we haven’t evolved with the diet. And what I mean by that is we are not moving as much as we would need to in order to for the body to be able to deal with the amount of carbohydrates we’ve given it. And so portion sizes are another one. I remember being at a training camp a couple of years ago in Spain and there were a lot of other English clubs there. And there was this one particular guy and he sticks in my mind. He was a big guy, probably like me in terms of height, about six foot three, but he must have been double my weight. And every single night at the end of this training camp, his plates would be piled high. And the common thing is, well, I’m a big guy, so I need a lot of food. No, you don’t. You absolutely don’t. You know, you don’t need massive portion sizes.
Your body can’t deal with it all. That’s the problem. If you understand metabolism and the way the body deals with the food and the digestive system, why it deals with it, the body can’t deal with massive loads of food that we give it carbohydrate based on the rest of it. Now, I could go off on a tangent around blood sugar type two diabetes, but I won’t. But I think in a very basic form, you don’t need a huge amount. You need to be very clever with your diet and you need to have the three main macronutrients, which are protein, carbohydrates and fats. Over the last two years I have become more fat adapted. And what that means is for people that don’t necessarily understand that the body has two primary fuel systems, which is glycogen, which comes from carbohydrates, which is stored in the muscles and then fats, which is stored in our fat cells. Now I’ve become more adaptive. What that means is I am able to train when my body accesses fat as fuel and not just carbohydrates. What that means is I don’t need to ingest so many carbohydrates. And here’s the thing. From glycogen in the muscles, the body stores the equivalent of two thousand calories a day, which over a long course will get depleted and you will have to replace it. With facts, though, we have an unlimited fuel source, so we have the equivalent of over 40000 calories in fat as body, as fuel in the body, so being very clever with your diet is very, very important and not overeating, eating timely as well.
So eating when you’ve trained, not being too rigid with your food, very basic level, just don’t eat processed foods, eat you, create your food from raw ingredients, which is very, very basic, very, very simple and actually cheaper. Yeah, I mean this is a whole podcast on its own, if I’m honest. And then if we talk about nutrition as well, I’m going to put this out there. I am hugely against Jews in a big way because they are very, very detrimental to our gut and the manufactured sugars that I got. Now, people might be listening to this and thinking, well, we need gels. We need if your body’s got the right nutrition pre race, you don’t need as many jokes as you think you do. And if you know, if you have become more fat adapted, you won’t need as many of the sugars that convert into carbohydrates anyway. So, yeah, I think there are a lot of people in the sport of triathlon who are taught to diabetic as well, and that is borne out of diet. And I think you have to be very clever with your nutrition, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Andrew: Yeah, one thing we promote on the channel is sort of eatin’ from scratch. Yeah, just less processed. I’m you know, I’m not a nutritionist and I don’t claim to be any sort of expert in it, but just try and eat less processed food and that’s what we try to say. And GELDZAHLER Yeah. If you’re the type of person that we generally believe, if you were the type of person that you want to use gels, OK, that’s up to you. But all I’m saying is there’s plenty of people out there who will stick with bananas. I’ve seen bananas, duct tape around the drop handles of a bike, the most ingenious. Yes. I’ve ever seen one before. Bananas I had to make you did I imagine, years ago on some sandwiches. And it’s just to show that the options and you just because the person next to you is using gels.
Darren: Exactly. And I see way too many of this. I’ve recently joined a cycling club. And, you know, we go out for a two and a half hour ride on Saturday. I’ll just have electrolytes. That’s all I will have. I won’t have any. But you see, guys, every time we stop there smashing gel and it’s just so detrimental to your gut and having lisagor gut health is just really we don’t need it. The muscles have enough glycogen for us to withstand an hour and a half of high intensity work before we are depleted. And, you know, when you’re depleted because you hit the wall and you won’t be able to go any further.
Andrew: And people often say to us as well, what do I need to take nutrition wise on a certain length of race? And we say, well, really, realistically, you don’t need to do anything for 90 minutes. You can probably get around to race on that. Beyond that, you might need to consider what your plan is. But again, don’t complicated.
Darren: And the other thing is, test it, test it in training, see how you feel. I remember in my early days when I was back in the jail camp, I’d go out for an hour ride and I smashed to jails. I came back and I was in bits because it spiked my blood sugar so much that the body couldn’t produce enough insulin to deal with it. And I was literally wiped out. So yeah, it can be. Yeah, it can be
Andrew: Dodgy if you get it wrong. Well, let me tell you a story about my friend, a man that I will use a gel with. I really am. But back in those days I was like, what can I do that works? So I ended up putting 12 gels into an open bottle, putting them in, and topping it up with a little bit of water. And that’s what got me around. But Jesus Christ, I was. I finished the race and my wife said, finish the race and identity. Some like 14 hours. Yeah. And she said, are we just going to go back now? You’re getting late. It was, you know, close to 10:00 o’clock at night on time of finishing, going through transition. And I said, no, I want to go back out and I want to see the finish at 12 o’clock. And then I just couldn’t stop. And don’t get me wrong, adrenaline was high. Of course.
Darren: Of course. Yeah.
Andrew: But those without the sugar in me must have had some sort of impact as well. Yeah.
Darren: Oh, yeah. I mean, the sugar is profound, isn’t it. So what was your first Ironman Wales? Yeah. Wow. I mean that is no mean feat. If anybody wants to say, oh man, I was just going to YouTube and have a look at the Ironman while swimming because it is renowned for being challenging.
Andrew: It’s that the thing is being from Cardiff and being in South Wales, it is not it is drummed into you, but you have a lot of exposure to it. And so this is the camp that I come from and I can put money on the I’d say at least seventy five percent of the people that I am in Wales have exactly the same as me. I come from a football or rugby background. Yeah, I played it until my 30s. My knees are some part of my body. Said no more. Yeah. Then I looked for something else. I went down and saw the first I am Manuela’s in 2011 got hooked and then three, three years later, after mulling it over, I finally decided it was a challenge and I put on. A lot of people are in a similar sort of mindset, but within South Wales I am in Wales is a huge thing. There’s loads of events on as well. There’s an event called The Long Course, which takes in some of the Ironman Way route, but does it over three days and. Yeah, it’s sort of ingrained into you then. This is what you should strive towards if you get into triathlon and I think at times detrimental for some people in the sense of it puts too much pressure on them. Because you say within our local area, oh, I’m going to do a triathlon. Inevitably, someone will ask you along the way, are you going to do it on wheels? And I will do a sprint like I’m done. But, um, yeah, but what I would suggest is if you are thinking about doing a triathlon or something like that, you’re just Spike, should pay attention go and watch one. Yeah. And it’s brilliant. And what I would say is don’t go and watch Ironman whales because you’ll get hooked because I’ve.
You ever gone down to Tenby to watch Ironman wales? I haven’t. No, I haven’t. So the day starts obviously seven o’clock in the morning with a swim. And what you have is two thousand spectators on North Beach within ten being Tembisa, the harbor town, which is done, and the beaches lower than the town and the town is upon. Let’s call it a cliffside, but it’s not. Yeah, but it’s at least 150 foot up. Yeah. And what you have then is as well as a two thousand people on the beach, you probably have 5000 plus people watching it above. Yeah. They play AC DC at the beginning and they play the rest of them and then they set off on four more or less an hour and a half to two hours. It’s buzzing there. Everyone comes out of the water by that point and they’re out on the bike. So Tenby as a town sort of settles down and everyone goes, oh, yeah, then go for the bacon sandwiches while they wait for the bikes to come back for the first loop. Yeah, that inevitably then by the time that happened, the pubs are open. It’s not having their first pint, the second loop come back round. You may venture over to a couple of the points to watch the bike, but ultimately what happens is spectators get progressively more and more drunk as the day goes on. So the driver drinking more than Dinmore. And I’m trying to get to it’s a it’s an amazing event, but that’s just one event. And there’s plenty out there which are an amazing atmosphere to go to. Yeah, but the danger is that you get hooked and you’ll want to do.
Darren: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s the thing. Right. And the adrenaline, the camaraderie, the friendliness of it, particularly for not just the crowd but in transition, you know, people are so friendly, people are so willing to kind of help you out and give you support and all that kind of stuff. I mean, that’s the other side to it as well, which is a hugely community type sport. And I know I have not really been into sports like the triathlon. I was really taken aback by people saying, oh, you know, good luck or what you hope to achieve today and stuff like that. You know, if you get goggles break, I like guys, give me a pair of goggles on the start line goggles break. You know, it is very, very. Yeah, supportive sport.
Andrew: And I found one of the best things that they’ve done in the last five to seven years or what have you. They now put your name on your race. No. Yeah. So you can literally run through the town. And I’ll take Tenby, for example. You run for the reason it can be run through the town itself. And it’s a really enclosed town, which is an old walled sort of castle. But literally, people are on you. Yeah, take it. Come on, Andrew, are you doing well? And it does give you a bit of a lift.
Darren: It always is massive. I mean, I had that back in twenty nineteen. They man Vishy in France and that day was thirty eight degrees. So I was doing the run and I was, I came off the bike depleted. My marathon was shocking. I finished it but there was a group of British guys there, they obviously had people in the race but they, they kind of pitched themselves under this bridge along along the river in France and every single time somebody came through, they cheered them. But the minute somebody came through with a British flag on their on their native, they went ballistic. Now, I finished the race at about six o’clock at night, and I went to a restaurant that was just up from the course. And at nine o’clock at night, these guys are still there. They were still there, still cheering everybody on. And it was yeah, it’s just amazing from that standpoint, really.
Andrew: Yeah, I love it. And I encourage anyone just to go and watch a race in the, for instance, and just see if that’s something that you want to do. Yeah. Let’s call it a day that ‘s been lovely chatting to you and hopefully you never know. Maybe we’ll do a couple more in the future if we had more to discuss, but thank you very much for coming on now.
Darren: Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe. And I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes or the things mentioned in the website will be in the show notes and a full transcription is over at Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast.