*The Best Fitness Foods: What to Eat Before, During and After Your Workout May 7, 2016
*The Ultimate Guide to Sports Nutrition Foods and Supplements May 7, 2016
*The businesses turning healthy eating into healthy bank balances February 20, 2016
*Need a sports performance boost? Fire up the coffee pot February 7, 2017
*Black Raspberries May Be New Superfood: Other Best Superfoods For Weight Loss February 5, 2016
Nutrition and Sports
Posted May 7, 2016
The Best Fitness Foods: What to Eat Before, During and After Your Workout
Maximize your workout – and enjoy better results – with this expert-approved fueling strategy.
By K. Aleisha Fetters
Whether you hit the gym to lose weight, build muscle or train for your first 10K, food is the fuel that will help you reach your goals.
"Eating the right foods improves your energy, your exercise performance and your body's ability to recover, adapt and get fitter from your workouts," says Tara DelloIacono Thies, a registered dietitian and nutrition strategist with Clif Bar & Company.
So what are the right foods? Here's a look at the best things to eat before, during and after your workouts:
Proper pre-workout nutrition is like filling up your car with gas before heading out on a road trip. In our body, that gas equates to glycogen, carbohydrates stored in your muscles and liver, as well as blood glucose, DelloIacono Thies says. During long-duration and high-intensity exercise, glycogen and blood glucose are your body's primary fuel source, accounting for up to 80-plus percent of your energy production.
That explains why a 2013 review published in Sports Medicine concluded that pre-workout carb ingestion improves both endurance and high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, performances – and better performances yield better results. And in one Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise study, people who fueled up with carbs enjoyed their workouts more.
Meanwhile, getting some protein in can also prove beneficial, especially if you're trying to build muscle, she says. While people generally think about protein in terms of post-workout recovery (more on that later), research published in The American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism found that ingesting protein before exercise is similarly effective in supplying the muscles with amino acids for repair and growth.
To fill up your tank, DelloIacono Thies recommends first focusing on whatever meal will precede your workout. "If you are working out at 4 p.m., your lunch is going to be a huge factor in determining your energy levels and performance," she says. "Pay attention to your foundational nutrition first."
Then, if you either plan to work out for more than an hour or you just have a large gap between your mealtimes and workouts, supplementing with a small snack that's rich in carbs and contains a moderate amount of protein can help ensure you hit the gym feeling energized. Fruit and eggs, oatmeal, whole-wheat toast with jam and fig bars, for example, are great options. While most weekend warriors don't need additional sports nutrition, those gearing up for long endurance exercise sessions like marathon training runs may also require a quick dose of pure carbs right before hitting the start line. That's where energy gels and chews from companies including Gatorade, Clif, PowerBar and Honey Stinger come into play.
However, finding the right timing and food volume for you requires some trial and error. Every person's gastric system tolerates pre-workout food differently, says board-certified sports dietitian and registered dietitian Georgie Fear. "Some people can eat right before exercising, especially if the activity is low or moderate intensity. Other people will need more time to digest in order to be comfortable during their exercise," she says. "What to eat is also a factor: Carbohydrates from a sports drink are rapidly absorbed, while solid food like a bar or toast with peanut butter will need a bit more time. Lastly, consider how much jostling your innards are in for. Running tends to give people a harder time than cycling."
Whatever your workout, hydration is of utmost importance. Losing even 2 percent of your body weight in water is linked to drops in workout performance and intensity, Fear says. While the amount you sweat largely determines how much water you need to drink, it's a good rule of thumb to drink about 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes when exercising.
To personalize that number, try weighing yourself before and after your workouts. If your "after" weight is 2-plus percent lighter than your "before" weight, you need to drink more water. For instance, if you weigh 170 pounds, losing any more than 3.4 pounds during your workout is a sign of dehydration. If it looks like you're ending your workouts dehydrated, drink more water while you work until you lose minimal if any weight during your workouts.
However, if you find yourself exercising for more than 90 minutes, whether you're completing strength and power work with breaks between sets or straight-through aerobic work, it's a good idea to have some carbohydrates, Fear says. That's especially true if you're feeling your energy wane. Both she and DelloIacono Thies recommend consuming between 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour during exercise bouts lasting more than 90 minutes. Exactly where your needs fall in that range depends on exercise intensity and personal preference, but getting enough carbohydrates (ideally split between glucose, fructose and maltodextrin) improves performance and endurance, decreases fatigue and helps prevent exercise-induced immunosuppression.
"A simple rule of thumb many of my female athletes use is one sports gel, one banana or 1 ounce of dried fruit every 45 minutes after the 90 minute mark," Fear says. However, sports drinks like Gatorade also contain carbohydrates that count toward that 30- to 60-gram range. Avoid consuming more carbs than you actually need during your workout, as excess food intake can lead to stomach upset as well as caloric surpluses, which could work against any weight-loss efforts. Again, sports gels and chews can be vital to getting in the needed carbohydrates without also consuming protein and fat, both of which can slow digestion and contribute to stomach upset during endurance exercise.
You need to eat after long or intense workouts to optimally recover your energy stores and build muscle, but exactly how much you should eat immediately after your workout largely depends on how hungry you feel, Fear says. Post-workout nutrition can range from a full, three-course meal to a glass of chocolate milk. Research from Central Washington University shows that chocolate milk's 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is ideal for post-workout muscle recovery.
Another good thing about chocolate milk or even protein shakes or branded recovery drinks, for that matter, is that besides fueling your body with carbs and protein, they help improve hydration, which is typically necessary following exercise, DelloIacono Thies says.
Other whole-food recovery options include turkey sandwiches, toast topped with nut butter and a sliced banana as well as stir-fries that include a mix of protein, rice and veggies, Fear says. They all contain a healthy mix of carbohydrates for energy repletion, protein for muscle-building and healthy fats for optimum satiety and staying power.
Posted May 7, 2016
The Ultimate Guide to Sports Nutrition Foods and Supplements
From energy goo and electrolytes to salt sticks and jerky, everything you need to know about eating to optimize your workout.
BY ELLIE SHARP
PERUSING THE SHELVES OF SPORTS NUTRITION STORES is a bit like walking into a candy shop for the active set with one crucial difference: Instead of gumdrops and jawbreakers, these brightly colored packets and pouches contain combinations of nutrients designed to preserve energy, improve stamina, and support overall performance. The goodies are also available in a variety of formats, flavors, and textures ensuring accessibility and usability for pre- and post-workout benefits.
Before loading up on bars, gels, and drink mixes, take time to consider your activity and the length of time you will be out on the road or on the court and be prepared to experiment until you find the best product for your body. It’s best not to wait until the day before a race to try a product since you won’t know how your body will react.
“Some people make the mistake of literally picking up their race packet and asking what kind of nutrition they need for a race,” says Tonya Green, nutrition expert at Luke’s Locker. “The last thing you should be doing is trying something new on race day.”
Once you find a plan that works, watch out for the contradictory risks of waiting too long to consume and bonking, or relying on supplements over real food. “They are a nice tool to have but you can’t just only depend on these and expect your run to be miraculous,” explains Green, adding that whenever possible you should try to eat a pre-run meal composed of ¾ carbs and ¼ protein; after the workout look for ¾ protein and ¼ carbs. “It always really comes back down to having a nice balanced meal at some point, but it’s nice to have something on hand,” says Green.
Before consuming, take time to read the user instructions on the packaging to ensure you are familiar with serving sizes and always remember to wash edibles down with plenty of fresh water to help the ingredients get to their intended destinations. If you have any concerns about ingredients, discuss with your doctor or dietitian. Ready to jump in? Read on for a primer on the basics of enhancement options available online and at sports retailers across town.
A thick, gooey, gel-like substance that is squeezed directly into the mouth from single-serve plastic pouches available in a vast variety of flavors such as chocolate, strawberry banana, peanut butter, acai pomegranate, and lemonade.
They are great because: Gels are intended to offer a quick source of carbohydrates, electrolytes, potassium, sodium, and sometimes caffeine directly into your bloodstream and (hopefully) stave off the dreaded bonk. “When you run, you don’t digest food the same and [gels are] easier to pack and use,” says Green. “They hit your bloodstream faster.” For some athletes, the maltodextrin commonly found in gels can cause GI distress, but brands like Huma offer a “whole foods” alternative with 100% fruit and chia seeds to mitigate that risk.
A popular and convenient alternative to gels for people who don’t like the consistency of the above but still want similar benefits. They resemble fruit snacks and come in various shapes including cubes, beans, sharks, stars, fruits.
They are great because: Like gels, chews are easy to bring along on runs and other workouts. Unlike gels, they are conveniently packaged for popping into one’s mouth with a single hand whereas gels can be more cumbersome and require two hands to roll up the pouch as contents are expelled. It takes a little longer and can be a nuisance for those who want a streamlined process.
Solid bars composed of carbs, protein, and fats bound with syrups for quick-access energy. Ingredients often include fruit, nuts, chocolate, and oats.
They are great because: Unlike gels and chews, which are used during a workout, energy bars offer a more complete contribution to workout prep or recovery. While Green cautions against using a bar for meal replacement, she says they are a great resource to ensure protein is consumed soon after a workout. They can also serve as a quick snack an hour or so before activity, though she recommends whole, real food whenever possible.
Powders and mixes come in a variety of flavors and offer a drinkable option for protein. Options include those taken before and after a workout depending on preferences and nutrition needs.
They are great because: Shakes offer post-workout recovery and another way to consume essential protein. Simply mix with water and enjoy instant nourishment; purchase large containers to keep at home or portable packs for pouring directly into bottles when on the go. One downside to traditional shakes is their simple sugar contents that are broken down and consumed absorbed by the bodily quickly, forcing frequent refueling and resulting in energy spikes. UCAN offers a unique answer for those seeking to avoid the sugar spikes either for energy or health reasons. It was developed by a family seeking help for their diabetic son and utilizes an ingredient called superstarch, which offers a complex carbohydrate that breaks down slowly for more efficient energy.
Similar to shakes, these are powders that are mixed into water for accessible nutrition during a race, but they do not generally contain protein. Instead, they replenish electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates expelled during workouts; some brands contain additional elements like calcium and magnesium. If powders are too messy, look for tablet forms that simply be dropped into a water bottle to dissolve on their own.
They are great because: When we sweat we lose critical electrolytes and this increases even more during the hot, humid weather notorious in our neck of Texas. Failing to replace these elements can result in fatigue, cramps, and hitting “the wall,” runner-speak for losing all energy and having to stop—sometimes even ending a run or race completely—which is the last thing you want to happen. Be sure to consume electrolytes before you start to feel bad so that they have time to absorb into the body and keep you moving smoothly.
Jerky: For those seeking non-liquid replenishment, jerky offers a great post-workout sodium and protein alternative in a real-food package. Look for organic and hormone-free meat like those from Sweetwood Cattle Co. and Texas’ own 44 Farms.
BeetElite Performance Shot: Juicing veggies is a great way to bring additional nutrition into your routine but when time and logistics are a factor look to this packet, which contains the nitric oxide equivalent of six beets. “Beets are really good for your cardiovascular system,” says Green, who cautions that you need to build up in order to see the benefit. “[I’m a] big believer in beets.” Consume this product 30 minutes before your workout for optimum value. Packets cost about $3 for one serving so Green suggests saving them for the week before a race and utilizing fresh produce instead whenever possible to help make them more economical.
Salt Tablets: For heavy sweaters or particularly long workouts in hot weather, salt tablets are a good way to replenish lost sodium and stave off cramping and fatigue, two unpleasant experiences that occur when sodium stores are too low. However, most people do not need to supplement with salt if they are already taking a gel or electrolyte during their workout, since those will contain enough for a few hours of action. This is another case where washing with lots of water is very, very important, cautions Green, as is not overdoing it. Taking more than necessary will negate the benefits. “[It’s] always better to use a little less and then figure out how much you need as you go,” she advises.
Posted February 20 2016
The businesses turning healthy eating into healthy bank balances
BY CHRIS PYKE
Cardiff Sports Nutrition and Pure Kitchen Cafe are two businesses that sense a gap in the sports nutrition market
There are plenty of business opportunities in the healthy eating sectorThere are plenty of business opportunities in the healthy eating sector
Healthy eating is a global multi-billion dollar industry.
Here we profile two independent health food companies in Wales that are expanding in a sector only set to grow.
"A lot of people think you can go to the gym and eat what you like. Unfortunately this is not the case," says Tazmin Proctor the owner of The Pure Kitchen cafe in Cardiff.
In 2014 Tazmin opened Pure Kitchen to cater for the surge in demand for dietary-specific meals, sports nutrition and general healthy eating. The Cardiff Bay cafe has since grown from five staff members to 12 – ranging from apprenticeships to senior management.
Another Welsh business feeding the healthy eating market is Cardiff Sports Nutrition. The CNS store expanded two years ago to meet the growing demand, but the business actually started nine years ago by Marc Robinson while he was studying in his final year for a degree in Pharmacology at Cardiff University.
"In my personal experience, there was a real gap in the market in Cardiff when it came to knowledgeable supplement and health shops," says Marc.
"The ones that I had used hadn't offered a high level of expertise to their customers and weren’t able to recommend the correct supplements or advise on how to effectively incorporate them into diet and training to enable the customer to achieve their goal."
Marc's degree and his own passion for bodybuilding meant began to give advice on diet, supplements and training. He then began to purchase small wholesale volumes of these supplements and selling them along with diet and training plans. And that was the start of CSN.
Three years ago Marc's father entered the business to look after the finances and accounting, and help with expansion. Until then it had just been Marc and a former-customer turned employee Ryan working in the shop. But as the shop grew and needed more staff Marc ensured that employees "were extremely knowledgeable and had their owns experiences of health and fitness".
Some of the meals at The Pure Kitchen cafe in Cardiff BaySome of the meals at The Pure Kitchen cafe in Cardiff Bay
Pure Kitchen ensures that all macros – grams of fat, protein and carbs – of every food and drink item is listed on the menu, allowing diners to keep track of what they’re eating.
"Aside from the popular café concept in Cardiff Bay, our signature Pure Plan – a weekly meal plan that’s cooked and delivered fresh daily to your door – is at an all time high right now," says Tamzin.
The Pure Plan is tailored to individual nutritional need and dietary goals, with three meals a day, one snack, a healthy shot, and green tea with lemon
IBF World Featherweight champion Lee Selby says: “Since using The Pure Kitchen meal plans, I’ve been making the weight for my fights easily and my energy levels during training have never been better. I’d recommend this type of nutritional programme not just for athletes like myself but anyone looking to lose weight, hit some gym and training goals or for those who are busy and simply haven't got the time to cook and eat well.”
Google Cardiff Sports Nutrition shop on Whitchurch Road The CSN shop on Whitchurch Road
The cafe is now looking to put the Pure Kitchen brand into cafes, delicatessens and farm shops across the region.
"Expect to see our signature protein shakes, freshly pressed juices, wheatgrass shots, protein pancakes, protein flapjacks - they’ll really change your life - and balance boxes coming to a place near you," says Tamzin.
But Tazmin is not stopping there, she envisions the Pure Kitchen plans going nationwide and is looking at a corporate catering arm.
Across the city at CSN the team is looking to maintain their reputation.
"My success in aiding athletes such as Gareth Tanner, and Carly Thornton, as well as UKBFF Overall Mr Wales with their diets, supplements and training via plans that I send to them has gone a long way to building our reputation because they consistently place well," says Marc.
"It amplifies the message to our customers that we are giving the correct advice; we also monitor social media and try to get involved in discussions that we can advise in."
Posted January 7, 2016
Need a sports performance boost? Fire up the coffee pot
Nutrition and athletic experts agree that caffeine gives athletes a heightened sense of well-being and a decreased perception of exertion, which can lead to improved athletic performance. Nutrition and athletic experts agree that caffeine gives athletes a heightened sense of well-being and a decreased perception of exertion, which can lead to improved athletic performance.
BY DOROTHY MILLS-GREGG
Whether you’re a competitive racer or a recreational runner, you likely have a performance-enhancing drug sitting right on your kitchen counter: coffee.
Caffeine may be the most widely used stimulant in the world, and studies have found that moderate doses before exercise increase performance, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
It’s also perfectly legal, at least in the amounts you’re likely to ingest by drinking your morning coffee or eating a few caffeinated energy gels during a long run or bike ride. The Olympics no longer ban caffeine, although the National Collegiate Athletic Association disqualifies student athletes whose urine contains more than 15 mcg/ml of caffeine.
That’s a whole lot of caffeine. In an online post, the NCAA says it would take about 17 caffeinated soft drinks to put a student athlete over the limit.
The consensus is that caffeine gives athletes a heightened sense of well-being and a decreased perception of exertion, said Kathleen Deegan, a registered dietitian and nutrition professor at California State University, Sacramento.
“In other words, they don’t hurt, so they can work out longer and harder,” said Deegan, who is the nutritionist for all the Sac State sports teams.
That feeling of energy comes from the body’s reaction to the caffeine, which increases heart rate and the amount of blood being pumped. She cautioned that consuming too much caffeine could prompt athletes to push themselves to the point where they get injured.
So what’s a reasonable amount? Studies suggest it doesn’t take much to give athletes a boost. The American College of Sports Medicine said benefits have been found when athletes consume anywhere from 3 mg to 9 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight – the equivalent of about two to six cups of coffee.
Moderation is good, experts warn, as too much caffeine could give you the jitters, an upset stomach or send you running to the bathroom.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, 600 mg of caffeine or more (about four to seven cups of coffee) a day is generally considered too much. The average American consumes about 300 mg of caffeine a day, the agency said.
Charlie Brenneman, 37, is one elite Sacramento-area runner who uses caffeine. Brenneman coaches runners for the Sacramento Running Association, the organization that puts on the California International Marathon every year.
Brenneman said he dislikes coffee, so instead will consume some energy gel or sport chews with caffeine an hour before an event. He estimates he takes 100 mg to 150 mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to about one cup of coffee.
“Knowing that a simple cup or two of coffee is enough to potentially improve performance, and given the large amount of people who drink it, personally I like to try to match that if I can,” he said in an email interview.
At the same time, Brenneman isn’t convinced caffeine makes that much difference. Nutrition – particularly carbohydrate consumption – is a much more important factor in performance, he said.
“I’ve run well whether or not I have had caffeine before challenging workouts or races,” Brenneman said. “But I do know I almost always run poorly if my diet is bad and/or I am not getting enough fuel in my tank.”
Athletes working out for more than two hours or doing more than an hour of running are advised to take in 30 grams to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. These can come from sports drinks, gels and other energy products.
Many of the carbohydrate gels on the market also contain caffeine – usually anywhere from about 20 mg to 50 mg.
Fleet Feet Sports Sacramento, a running store in midtown Sacramento, sells carbohydrate gels both with and without caffeine.
“I don’t know if either one is more popular,” general manager Dusty Robinson said.
People who don’t ingest caffeine on a regular basis tend to shy away from the caffeinated gels, Robinson said. But others will have the caffeinated gels and take them late in the race to get “a lift in alertness.”
The fact that caffeine is ubiquitous doesn’t mean no one in the athletic community is concerned about abuse. Deegan said she would never recommend an athlete attempting his or her first marathon use caffeine supplements found in pills or gels.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to have a lesser perception of how you’re feeling,” she said.
Posted January 5, 2016
Black Raspberries May Be New Superfood: Other Best Superfoods For Weight Loss
By Alyssa Navarro, Tech Times |
Black raspberriesSuperfoods are known to have several health benefits such as reducing cholesterol levels and improving eyesight. A new study revealed that superfoods such as black raspberries may be beneficial in helping you lose weight.
Superfoods are nutritional powerhouses that are known to lower cholesterol levels, support bone formation, improve eyesight, prevent diseases and keep the mind sharp.
Aside from the previous examples, experts have found that eating superfoods also has several weight loss benefits, and is efficient in helping people maintain a healthy physique.
With that, we have compiled a list of superfoods that will definitely kickstart your weight loss goals.
Combined with a low-calorie diet, L-arginine-rich almonds have been found to reduce weight more effectively than a snack that contains safflower oil and carbohydrates.
In a study featured in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers examined overweight and obese adults, and found that
participants who ate almonds experienced a 62 percent reduction in body mass index (BMI). This means that eating nuts is indeed effective in helping you burn fat and carbohydrates.
Avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. This fatty acid is good for the health, resistant to oxidation and can be stored by the body for longer periods of time.
Keri Gans, who wrote the book "The Small Change Diet," said the vitamin E in avocado oil can help strengthen the immune system and the skin. When compared to coconut oil, avocado oil is better.
"There's no denying when looking at nutritional content, coconut oil has a big question mark and avocado oil doesn't," said Gans.
A new study published in the journal Open Chemistry has found that black raspberries give off greater health benefits than its cousins, raspberries and blueberries.
Led by Anna Malgorzata Kostecka-Gugala, researchers from the Agricultural University of Kraków in Poland measured the amount of phenolics and anthocyanins in black raspberries.
The team found that the antioxidants in black raspberries were three times higher than other fruits, and discovered that the fruit's phenolic content was 1000 percent higher than that of blueberries and raspberries.
Black raspberries were also found to contain high amounts of secondary metabolites, or organic compounds which are good for the body but are not directly needed by it.
Studies have found that black rice contains 30 times more fiber compared with white rice. It also has vitamin B1 and antioxidants, plus its nutty flavor and unique texture are praised by consumers.
"Black foods have more antioxidants than light-colored foods because of their high pigment content," said food chemistry professor Cy Lee.
Japanese researchers have found that black rice is derived from Japanese rice, but that a certain gene that went haywire triggered the plant to produce large quantities of anthocyanin.
Eating half a grapefruit before any meal can elevate how your body burns fat. A study issued in the journal Metabolism found that doing so can help you reduce your belly up to an inch in six weeks.
Researchers attribute the strong effects of grapefruit to phytochemicals that "zap" fat quickly. However, they also say that grapefruit can negatively affect certain medications, so it's best to talk to your doctor or nutritionist first before adding grapefruit to your meals.
You may be working out every weekend, but experts say it won't be too effective if you don't drink green tea.
In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers from the American Society of Nutrition found that people who took 4 to 5 cups of green tea a day and spent 25 minutes exercising at the gym lost more belly fat than those who do not drink green tea.
The effect of green tea is due to antioxidants called catechins, which hinder the storage of belly fat and help in quick weight loss.
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles found that after four weeks, people who ate pistachios as snacks had reduced their BMI more compared to people who ate pretzels. The people who ate pistachios also had improved levels of cholesterol and triglyceride. The report is featured in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Posted January 6, 2016
Finding a Common Thread in the Al Jazeera Doping Report
Sports of The Times
By MICHAEL POWELL JAN. 5, 2016
When last seen, Charles Sly starred in a do-it-yourself YouTube confession in which he insisted that everything he had said to an undercover Al Jazeera reporter about banned substances and professional athletes, including Peyton Manning and Ryan Howard, had been a fabulous lie.
“To be clear,” Sly said, “I am recanting any such statements, and there is no truth to any statement of mine.”
Manning denounced Sly as a liar, as did the quarterback’s spokesman, Ari Fleischer, who accused Al Jazeera of deeply irresponsible journalism.
“Al Jazeera is backtracking and retreating,” said Fleischer, a former press secretary for President George W. Bush.
Maybe they are right. Maybe Sly is a truth-challenged, unmade bed of a man who spins slanderous tales. Or maybe, as Sly claimed, he intentionally fed misleading information to Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter.
Peyton Manning said allegations that he had used performance-enhancing drugs were “complete garbage” and “totally made up.”Sports of The Times: Claims of Peyton Manning H.G.H. Use Raise Nagging Questions
The Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning denied a report that he received banned substances while he was recovering from a neck injury in 2011.Peyton Manning Rejects Report Linking Him to Doping
I listened, and I read the transcripts of the Al Jazeera video recordings as Sly spoke with great detail and expertise about doping and tossed out several athletes’ names: Howard and another baseball player, Ryan Zimmerman, and Manning and his fellow football players Mike Neal and Dustin Keller.
As I turned over the possibility that Sly had lied to the undercover reporter, I kept coming back to the names. Why these specific athletes?
With the help of my New York Times colleagues Ken Belson and Doris Burke, I scrutinized the list of names, and it soon appeared less random than at first blush. Nearly all of the athletes Sly named are clients of Jason Riley, a fitness trainer based in Sarasota, Fla.
Here is where Sly’s story becomes more intriguing.
Sly is a business partner of Riley’s. When Sly applied for a pharmacist’s license in Florida, he used Riley’s home address.
Riley and Sly founded Elementz Nutrition, a nutritional supplement company whose website and Facebook page feature many of the athletes Sly mentioned on camera. Zimmerman was featured on the website; Howard, Neal and Keller (who is also featured on the website) appeared on the Facebook page. In one photograph on Facebook, Riley poses at his gym, the Compound, between the mountainous Howard and the no less imposing Neal.
Not every athlete cited by Sly in the Al Jazeera report is connected to Elementz, and not all of Elementz’s big-time clients were mentioned by Sly.
Elementz proclaims all-natural bona fides. According to its website, it specializes in “vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes” that are “essential for our bodies to perform.” In other words, chia seeds, flax, whey and all that.
Riley’s work as a trainer is so celebrated that he was called “baseball’s M.V.P. of the post-steroids era” by Men’s Fitness magazine.
His most famous client, the man whose career he was credited with reshaping and saving from mortality’s shadow, was Derek Jeter. In 2010, a few years into Riley’s makeover, The Daily News proclaimed: “Derek is turning back the clock at short.” ESPN declared that Riley had “dumped the Captain into a hot tub time machine” and turned him into a 25-year-old.
Significant caveats are in order here: No evidence has emerged linking Jeter to performance-enhancing drugs, and Sly did not connect him to banned substances, although he boasted of helping other athletes obtain them. And a connection to Sly, Riley or anyone else is hardly proof of any wrongdoing.
Sly and Riley did not respond to several interview requests. An email sent to Elementz’s angel investor, Janis Krums, went unanswered. Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, did not respond.
Mum’s the word on the west coast of Florida.
Howard and Zimmerman let their lawyer, William Burck, address the Al Jazeera documentary: He called it reckless, wholly false and unsubstantiated. On Tuesday, both players filed suit against Al Jazeera.
Manning, too, has rumbled about filing a lawsuit. Zimmerman’s photo disappeared from the Elementz website last week.
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As for Neal, the Green Bay Packers linebacker, Sly described him as a close friend. Neal went to Merrillville High School in Indiana, about a 90-minute drive from where Sly went to high school. In the documentary, Sly said that he had spent about six weeks in Green Bay and that Neal, who served a four-game suspension for doping in 2012, had introduced him to about half the team.
None of this amused Neal.
“I’m sure you saw how pissed off Peyton Manning was about somebody coming out with false accusations,” he told reporters last week. “So if you want to piss me off, that’s one thing. But please don’t.”
The Elementz Facebook site features several photos of Neal: “Mike Neal dedicated to Nutrition programs to maximize his career longevity.”
It’s difficult to get worked up over the possible doping of football players. N.F.L. players are the closest approximation we have to gladiators, and some ingest or shoot up whatever is needed to get them through another bloody and bruised Sunday, Monday or Thursday. Pain, and the specter of brain trauma, will be their lifelong companions.
But what to make of Sly? In the end, this story hinges on his credibility. A man who operates in the athletic shadows, he was confronted with his hours of undercover interviews and recanted. He proclaimed himself an idle boaster.
What was he supposed to do, if what he had said was true? Acknowledge it and allow his words to become his manacles?
The Al Jazeera documentary was only the latest report to reveal sports doping as a spider’s web that stretches across continents and oceans. You wonder if the pro league chieftains, Rob Manfred in baseball and the N.F.L. sachem Roger Goodell, have paid attention, and have the stomach to pursue these strands.
They might want to hurry. Last week, Elementz Nutrition voluntarily dissolved and closed its doors.