Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Health Nut and Triathlete's Guide to the Ins and Outs of 2013 and2014

Every New Years Day, the Washington Post Style section posts an "In/Out" list that examines the trends in 2013 and 2014 to see what is hot and what is not. Since they like to focus on clothing and fashion, there is not much about health, fitness, triathlons, food, or "nerdom" on the list, so most of what they list escapes me. I have no idea what they are talking about the majority of the time.

With that said, I decided to do my own take on this on things I noticed in 2013 and what may or may not continue in 2014. I collected these using the best non-scientific and statistical research out there which is highly unreliable with a large margin of error.  With that said, please feel free to comment on anything I missed or exaggerated:

  • Justin Bieber hit his high (or lowest) point in 2013 and now has recently decided to retire only to be replaced by One Direction. I will not comment on whether this is good or bad, but let me just say I am out of tissues currently in my house. 
  • Built up shoes: despite the push to go minimalist, which started in around 2011 and is not dead yet, the advent of Hoka running shoes shows a swing back to the running shoe companies. Maybe we were "born to run" in shoes afterall. Neither shoe trend is for me but they have gotten popular.
  • Paleo, HFLC, and Ketogenic diets: High carb diets definitely died in 2013 to be replaced with high fat, low carb diets. Atkins seems to have been reincarnated into a triathlete. think this will only continue to gain popularity in 2014. What is needed in 2014 though is some research beyond anecdotes that shows its efficacy or lack there of in elite athletes in particular younger ones. Joe Friel says he is a convert when it comes to health but what about speed.
  • Cleanses: Speaking of diet, I am seeing more and more people do a 30 day cleanse or detox diet. I think I will stick with veggies and the sweet tones of Michael Bolton to cleanse my body and soul.
  • UCAN, Bonk Breaker, Amrita bars, Energy bits and more "natural" fuels: The original Powerbar which had the consistency of laffy taffy but the taste of an awesome chocolate bar has seemed to have died. One redeeming factor of these was that they stuck perfectly to your bike without the need of duct tape. Over the course of this year though Powerbar has released a new natural energy blend product that is part gel, part fruit. In my opinion, this is only a sign of the changing times of people looking for more natural forms of energy. Similarly, companies like Bonk Breaker and Amrita bars are offering great gluten and sometimes grain free products. Generation UCAN also seems to be gaining traction as people turn away from traditional carbs. 
  • Bulletproof coffee: This maybe just a trend but it definitely is a popular in the endurance community. I may drink a cup in 2014 and run through Anacostia or downtown Phoenix just to see if it works better than Kevlar. Honestly, I still like my coffee like I like my woman: tall, strong, and blonde with no need for artificial sweetness
  • "Bio-Hacking:" Along the same lines as the above, more people are looking into nifty shortcuts to improve their health and fitness. Whether its cold thermogenesis, genome sequencing, electro pulse stimulation, or intermittent fasting people are definitely going to extremes to gain every last advantage. I will stick to hard work and sweat  
  • Heart Rate Variability: Even though Phil Maffetone talked about it many years ago in his "Big Book of Endurance," with the advent of apps like Sweetbeat HRV has gained traction. While I definitely see the value of it, I am not sure I am willing to take the plunge and base whether I workout or not solely on a number. To some extent, there is value in pushing through fatigue some days. (Note: repeatedly pushing through fatigue day after day is not smart, which is when I like to use  HRV to prevent chronic stress.) 
  • Tailless aero helmets: the old sperm helmet seems to be dying a slow death as a tailless aero helmet seems to be taking its place.
  • Ultras: whether it is ultra runs (like 26.2 was not enough) or multi day Ironmans, people are going longer and longer (and slower). I am not ready to make the jump till I have maxed out my speed in an Ironman
  • Spartan races, mud runs, color runs, zombie runs i.e. long, adult parades that you pay to get into: These are just not my style, but if they are for you, then enjoy! They seem to be gaining popularity and more races are popping up. Just based on the number of selfies posted on Facebook and Twitter of people at these events, people seem to love them; at least it's something active, fun and constructive.  
  • "God Damn Independents" (If you went to Sewanee you will get that joke): Indies have grown in force and are reproducing like rabbits. Dare I say this has reached epidemic proportions. There are just too many twenty-somethings riding fixed geared bikes of clashing outlandish colors, with odd but perfectly manicured facial hair, Ray Bands frames without the lenses, skinny jeans, and Good Will sweaters pulling up to Starbucks to work on their "thesis"/"book"/ "blog" on Apple computers and listen to indie bands on their beats by Dre head phones. Ooops I just described my life.   
  • Duck Dynasty: never heard of it till the most recent scandal, but apparently it was big so I will include it. Regardless of whether you support what he said or not, you have to give him props for his ability to grow that beard. If only I had that skill. 
Based on what 2013 dished out 2014 looks to be even more interesting.

Did I forget anything? 


  1. Replies
    1. You are completely right! I am very embarrassed. Amateur mistake for sure. I am usually pretty good about editing but was just finishing this up as I touched down from my plane trip back home. Regardless, I will try better in 2014

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