Triathlon goal calls for a balanced training regimen

The British television presenter and lifestyle coach Amanda Hamilton shares her views on health and nutrition. Call it a midlife crisis or a need to shift the remaining baby pounds, but last week I signed up for my first triathlon. In a few short months I will be donning a wetsuit and gearing up for a half-mile outdoor swim, 13-mile bike ride and three-mile run. Among the sport's aficionados, my jaunt is rather dismissively considered a "sprint" triathlon - a walk in the park compared with the real deal.

Still, triathlon is one of the fastest-growing sports around. My fellow midlife-challenged souls represent the fastest-growing group taking up the sport. According to USA Triathlon magazine's Tim Yount, many of these people are long-time athletes who like the idea of switching from one to three sports because it offers variety and also puts less strain on muscles and joints. But, I have to confess, I'm not in it for the variety. I am in it for the body: Jennifer Lopez's to be exact. The poster girl for triathlon beginners like me who famously reverted to her curvy best by undertaking a triathlon after having twins. If the best buns in the west can do it, then, I figure, so can I.

How to prepare? After finding my race, my mentor and my wetsuit, the next stop is a dietary overhaul. Nutritionist though I am, the required training regimen posed varied challenges on what to eat and how best to support optimum performance. One of the most interesting blogs on such nutrition is that of Brenden Brazier, a professional Ironman triathlete. In a jaw-dropping case of being gluttons for punishment, Ironman participants swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a marathon - in that order and without a break. The training required to perform at this level is daily and significant, including several hours in the pool, on the bike and pounding the road. Yet Brazier is a staunch vegan who eats no animal products.

Brazier adopts an ethos similar to that of a detox, where "lightening the load" on the body involves going raw and vegan, and he sees it as the secret of his success. He fends off the protein-rich posturing of muscle-bound gym-goers by disavowing the need for eggs, fish and meat, replacing them with culinary delights such as green shakes with spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae. However, what is really interesting about Brazier is that he has cottoned on to a scientific method of eating that allows his body to conserve his mineral reserve and, as he sees it, his competitive edge, by eating according to the pH effect of foods on his blood and body tissues.

As you may remember from high school chemistry, pH (potential of hydrogen) is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. It is measured on a scale of zero to 14. The lower the pH, the more acidic the solution; the higher the pH, the more alkaline (or base) the solution. The pH of healthy blood is 7.4, a figure most successfully attained by an alkaline-rich diet rather than an acid-forming one.

Avoiding acid-forming foods may have you worrying about lemons and limes when, in fact, the opposite is the case. A food's acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the pH of the food itself. For example, though citrus such as lemons are chemically acid, tests show that when they are metabolised in the body they actually have an alkalising effect and are very beneficial. Similarly, meat will test as an alkaline before digestion but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid-forming.

In the battleground of the body (where races are really fought) a highly alkaline-forming diet may well provide that performance edge. The mineral reserves that Brazier talks about having in abundance because of his pH-aware approach are the electrolytes such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium - the ingredients of sports performance drinks. If this throwback to classroom chemistry has you in a tizz, remember to keep it simple: if you are inspired to hit the gym armed with a pH plan, remember there's no room for being a junk-food vegan. Even though foods such as white bread, sugar and carbonated beverages are free from animal products, they are still acid-forming. Caffeine is too, unfortunately. Try ordering a superfood shake instead of your morning cappuccino and see how your gym session goes. Santé!


6.30pm Al Maktoum Challenge Round-2 – Group 1 (PA) $49,000 (Dirt) 1,900m

Winner RB Frynchh Dude, Pat Cosgrave (jockey), Helal Al Alawi (trainer)

7.05pm Al Bastakiya Trial – Conditions (TB) $50,000 (D) 1,900m

Winner El Patriota, Vagner Leal, Antonio Cintra

7.40pm Zabeel Turf – Listed (TB) $88,000 (Turf) 2,000m

Winner Ya Hayati, Mickael Barzalona, Charlie Appleby

8.15pm Cape Verdi – Group 2 (TB) $163,000 (T) 1,600m

Winner Althiqa, James Doyle, Charlie Appleby

8.50pm UAE 1000 Guineas – Listed (TB) $125,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner Soft Whisper, Frankie Dettori, Saeed bin Suroor

9.25pm Handicap (TB) $68,000 (T) 1,600m

Winner Bedouin’s Story, Frankie Dettori, Saeed bin Suroor

23-man shortlist for next six Hall of Fame inductees

Tony Adams, David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp, Sol Campbell, Eric Cantona, Andrew Cole, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Matt Le Tissier, Michael Owen, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic, Patrick Viera, Ian Wright.

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

Five famous companies founded by teens

There are numerous success stories of teen businesses that were created in college dorm rooms and other modest circumstances. Below are some of the most recognisable names in the industry:

  1. Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg and his friends started Facebook when he was a 19-year-old Harvard undergraduate. 
  2. Dell: When Michael Dell was an undergraduate student at Texas University in 1984, he started upgrading computers for profit. He starting working full-time on his business when he was 19. Eventually, his company became the Dell Computer Corporation and then Dell Inc. 
  3. Subway: Fred DeLuca opened the first Subway restaurant when he was 17. In 1965, Mr DeLuca needed extra money for college, so he decided to open his own business. Peter Buck, a family friend, lent him $1,000 and together, they opened Pete’s Super Submarines. A few years later, the company was rebranded and called Subway. 
  4. Mashable: In 2005, Pete Cashmore created Mashable in Scotland when he was a teenager. The site was then a technology blog. Over the next few decades, Mr Cashmore has turned Mashable into a global media company.
  5. Oculus VR: Palmer Luckey founded Oculus VR in June 2012, when he was 19. In August that year, Oculus launched its Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $1 million in three days. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion two years later.

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