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Louis Therien

louis t_post

Louis lives in Ottawa and works for the government of Canada as a Senior Human Resource advisor.  He’s an avid athlete who has traveled extensively to enjoy and compete in triathlons and is a member of our DO MORE Team.

He sent us this note after coming back from training:

“As you know I’m a huge believer in the product and haven’t stopped using it since day 1!  Always talk about it. Just came back from Maui with my coach Phil Bertrand at the beginning of Jan.  What a crazy place!!”

Last year, Louis placed third overall in the amateur field at the Rev3 Half Iron.  He also finished in 04:36:56 at Mt. Tremblant 70.3, placing him 4th in the highly competitive M25-29 category. The season has started early this year having already raced the San Juan 70.3.

You can read more about Chasing the Dream at:

We’ve also posted his favourite snack: Peanut butter coconut oatmeal cookies

Louis manages to DO MORE with the help of 7SYSTEMS.

Incredible Medal Success in London 2012


Of the ten 7SYSTEMS athletes who competed in the London Olympics, an incredible 30% medaled. 

We are so proud to have helped them to the podium with 7SYSTEMS endurance sports supplement.  They are:

  • Silver: Adam van Koeverden
  • Bronze: Gillian Carleton
  • Silver: Malcolm Howard



There were lots of stories, pain, tears, joy and victory for all of the athletes.  They all have stories to share and are such great examples of people who have a passion to DO MORE.  Thanks to all of them for being such an inspiration regardless of the outcome you achieved. 

Follow the full story of the athletes at 

10 Canadian Olympic Team athletes DO MORE in London with 7SYSTEMS

7SYSTEMS, the endurance sports supplementchosen by Olympians and recreational athletes all over Canada, is pleased to announce 10 of their athletes will be participating in the 2012 Olympic Games. These athletes are not paid for their endorsement of 7SYTEMS but have been chosen by the company.

“7SYSTEMS is extremely proud to be supporting 10 athletes on their way to the 2012 London Olympic Games,’ said Jasper Blake, founder of 7SYSTEMS and Ironman Champion. “Created by world-class athletes, for world-class athletes, 7SYSTEMS was developed to ensure athletes’ nutritional requirements are being met during training and recovery.  Never has that been as important as the lead-up to the 2012 Olympic Games.”

The 2012 7SYSTEMS Team:

  1. Gillian Carleton, first-time Olympian, Track Cycling
  2. Reid Coolsaet, first-time Olympian, Marathon
  3. Paula Findlay, first-time Olympian, Triathlon
  4. Eric Gillis, first-time Olympian, Marathon
  5. Malcolm Howard, gold medallist (2008), Rowing
  6. Kyle Jones, first-time Olympian, Triathlon
  7. Max Plaxton, first-time Olympian, Mountain Biking
  8. Adam Van Koeverden, gold, silver, bronze medallist (2004, 2008, 2004) Kayaking
  9. Simon Whitfield, gold and silver medallist (2000, 2008), Triathlon
  10. Dylan Wykes, first-time Olympian, Marathon

For athlete updates, information on their training and research notes please friend us on Facebook at:!/DoMoreWith7systems

The Transition

The Transition


The transition is often considered the fourth event of a triathlon.  The transition refers to the time spent between swimming and biking (T1) and between biking and running (T2). Quite simply it is when you have to “transition” from one sport to the next.


Transitions are usually timed and will show up on the final results sheet so it’s important to practice them and get as good as you can in order to have extra bragging rights!


Having a great transition can set the tone for the event you are transitioning to and can improve your overall time.  Here are some tips on how to nail your transition.


Know the flow

It’s incredibly important to know how the transition “flows”. Part of your warm up should include a walk through the transition area so you have a mental picture of where you are supposed to go.


During your walk through, start as if you were exiting the swim and follow the path you will have to take during the race. Walk into transition and practice finding your bike. Spotting your bike among the masses can be challenging but if you have walked the path a few times before you will nail it.  Counting bike racks or using other identification markers like a sponsors banner near your bike can really help.


The next step is to pretend you are exiting with your bike.  Again, follow the exact path you will have to take and note where the mount line is (the line where you are safely and legally allowed to get on your bike).


Next, you will need to walk as if you are coming back in from the bike.  Notice where the dismount line is (the line where you are required to be off your bike or you will face a penalty and possible disqualification). Walk back into transition and back to where you will have to rack your bike. The second transition can be tougher to negotiate because your bike is not there as a strong visible marker. Picking some identification markers will really help you during the second transition. The last step in your walk through is to follow the path you will have to take in order to exit the run.



There are a few key things you will have to do during a transition and visualizing them can help train your brain so they become automatic. After you have done a walk through take some time to visualize not only the flow of transition but also what you will need to do.


Key Aspects of Transition 1 (T1) (Swim to Bike)

Exit the water

  1. Take off your wetsuit (take the top half down while you are running to your bike)
  2. Remove your cap and goggles
  3. Take the bottom half of your wetstuit off at your bike rack
  4. Put your helmet and glasses on on (**MUST BE DONE BEFORE YOU TOUCH YOUR BIKE)
  5. Put your shoes on (if you are not comfortable leaving your shoes attached to your bike)
  6. Put your number belt on (if it’s not already on)
  7. Take your bike off the rack and walk or run with it out of transition
  8. Mount your bike after the mount line


Key Aspects of Transition 2 (T2) (Bike to Run)

  1. Dismount your bike before the mount line
  2. Walk or run with your bike to your transition rack (**DO NOT REMOVE YOUR HELMET UNTIL YOUR BIKE IS RACKED!)
  3. Rack your bike
  4. Remove your helmet
  5. Remove your bike shoes (unless you left them on your bike)
  6. Put on your running shoes
  7. Put on your running hat or visor (if you are a hat or visor wearing type)
  8. Walk or run out of transition


Skills you should practice

Taking your helmet on and off is simple enough when you are not under pressure but this can be a problematic part of your first transition. When you add in the fact that you may be dealing with cold hands that don’t work properly it can be down right frustrating. You can practice taking your helmet on and off at home while watching TV if you really want to nerd out! The more you do it, the more your hands will automatically go to the right place when it counts.


Taking your wetsuit off can be practiced whenever you finish an open water swim. Practicing this skill is not as easily done at home while watching TV so make a habit of getting out of your suit in a hurry after your open water swim practices.


Putting your running shoes on during the second transition is an important skill to practice. Elastic laces or toggles with your laces will really improve your second transition time. Fiddling with normal laces and trying to tie them up is simply unnecessary, there are numerous products available specifically to help you get into your running shoes without having to tie them up.


Other Considerations

Every race will have different transition rules.  Most races allow you to have all of your gear at your bike rack and you can create your own small space to manage it. Many of the larger races like Ironman and 70.3 events have a bag system that requires all of your gear to be in a bag that you collect and manage in a change tent. Some races will supply a bin that you must keep all of your gear in that is then placed at your transition rack.


Tricks used by speedy transition masters

  1. Keep your sunglasses on your bike- you don’t need to put your sunglasses on in transition. Keeping one arm of your eyewear under the Velcro part of the arm pads on your time trial bars allows you to get up to speed on your bike before removing them and putting them on.
  2. Wearing a race belt under your wetsuit is a great way to avoid having to put one on in transition. The less you have to do in transition the better **NOTE** some races do NOT allow you to do this so make sure you know the rules.
  3. If you are tying your shoes up in transition then you are missing out on one of the easies ways to make your transition faster. Invest in some elastic laces or some toggles for your normal laces. There is no need to be tying up shoes in transition
  4. Putting your helmet and/or glasses on while you are taking off the bottom half of your wetsuit is a great way to save some time. Again this type of multitasking requires some practice.
  5. Cut the legs on your wetsuit a bit shorter so it’s easier to get off (DO NOT CUT BEYOND THE TAPE SEEMS)- We highly recommend you do this in the presence of someone with experience so you don’t ruin a perfectly good suit!
  6. Another great way to save time in transition is to practice leaving your shoes on your bike. This is a huge time saver because not only do you avoid having to stop in transition to put on bike shoes but you also avoid running, often on pavement, in a slick carbon or plastic sole. This strategy also allows you to be moving forward while you are putting your shoes on.
  7. Always be moving forward- any time you are not moving forward you are losing time. Think of things you can do that will allow you to keep moving forward. For example, when exiting onto the run you can be running while putting on visor, your number belt and sunglasses. You don’t need to do these things while you are standing still.


Keep it simple!

Despite all of the information in this article, the transition is actually very simple.  The phrase “simple is better” certainly applies to a transition. The less you have to do, the faster you will be and the less likely you are to forget something. It’s amazing sometimes to see the amount of gear that people have at their transition. From swim to bike all you should really have to do is take your wetsuit off and put your helmet on (once you have mastered the art of keeping your shoes on the bike). From bike to run all you should have to do is rack your bike, take your helmet off and put your running shoes one (possibly a hat or visor as well)


Practice makes perfect

At least one of your weekly workouts should include transitions.  It is often more realistic to practice bike to run transitions simply because of the wetness factor but you should also practice the swim to bike particularly if it involves taking a wetsuit off.


Ron Slack- Escape from Alcatraz race report from WIN MORE STUFF Winner

THANK YOU to 7SYSTEMS for the opportunity to run in San Francisco.

It was definitely a check mark on the bucket list which I would do it again. On race day the water temps that I was worried about were gone once in the water. It was a different way to start a swim most definitely (jumping off a boat). As most, I found the bike course very challenging due to the hills and sharp turns on the bottom of some. Which limited the speed one could obtain on the back side. The run was the most fun for me with the beach run and sand stairs. I will take all the ups and downs of this race and use them for  the next, which is next weekend here in Edmonton and then on to Ironman Canada.

Lentil Licious

From Jasper Blake


  • Can of Annies Organic Lentils
  • Large onion
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Saute a large onion with a table spoon of coconut oil; salt and pepper
  2. Rinse lentils and add them to pan
  3. Let warm and enjoy; serves 2

Rebar Salad

From Jasper Blake

Salad Ingredients:

  • Dark leefy greens
  • Shredded beats
  • Pea shoots
  • Shredded carrots
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Goat Fetta
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Garbonzo beans

Basil Vinagerrete dressing Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 oz (45g) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil


  1. For the Salad: Wash the raw ingredients and then combine them in a bowl
  2. For the Dressing: Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor and blend. Slowly add olive oil in a thin stream until thick. Season to taste and refrigerate up to 3 days. 
  3.  Serves 4

Simple Salmon

From Jasper Blake


  • Salmon fillet
  • Lemon
  • Season salt
  • Tinfoil


  1. Wrap a filet in tinfoil with a couple slices of lemon and some season salt
  2. Cook on the BBQ on medium heat for 20 minutes
  3. Check inside wrap occasionally to make sure juices have not dried up
  4. Fish is ready when strips flake away with gentle nudge by fork
  5. Serve with basmati rice or quinoa

Linnea Humphrey Makes the Podium in Kona

The Ironman World Championship held annually in Kona has been a pilgrimage of mine for the past 10 years – mostly to race, but to also to support, watch and cheer others.  Any number of ironman triathletes will tell you that racing on the Big Island is a personal goal – a goal that takes time, dedication, talent, money and most importantly, good health.

My road to Kona this year actually started in the summer of 2010.  After a difficult race in Kona in 2009 I decided to not “chase a spot” for 2010, but instead to focus my training on having an “A” race at Ironman Florida in November.  While racing at the end of the season gives the benefit of having a full summer of training, it also means some time inside cycling and running once the poor weather hits. Being in close contact with others during inside training sessions can often lead to ill health, but I made it to IMFlorida healthy and ready to have a great race, which I did in finishing in 9:58 – 2nd amateur woman and 10th woman overall.

Fast forward to the summer of 2011, and the European Ironman Championship was the next marker in my trajectory towards Kona.  Unfortunately, Germany was not having the best weather and race week, as well as race day, was cold, wet and windy.  Again, my health stood up to the test, and I finished that race with a time of 10:17 which was fast enough to win my new age-group, place 10th amateur woman, and 20th woman overall.

And so came Kona 2011.  Despite a longer than normal (for me) recovery time from Ironman German, I arrived in Kona ready to chase my long-standing goal – to have a podium finish.  Race day was a mixed bag of conditions with swim currents and waves that resulted in a slower times for a lot of racers, but with advantages to be found on the bike with less wind than normal.  The run was hot and with little wind made it difficult for many competitors.  While I suffered the symptoms of heat exhaustion in the last 9 miles of the run, I was able to keep my position having moved up progressively during the day to finish in 2nd in my AG!!!

7 SYSTEMS has been a constant in my preparation, recovery and overall maintenance of health over the past 12 months and an important part of my successes.  Thanks 7 SYSTEMS!

Paula Findlay

Paula Findlay is young triathlete with an impressive list of accomplishments. This year alone she has won three World championship series races consecutively, one each in Sydney, Kitzbuhel and Madrid and took a third at the Mooloolaba World Cup. Now she has chosen 7SYSTEMS to help her in her prep for the Olympics!

Paula started swimming when she was 10 years old and during high school, at age 15 she started to run. In 2006 Paula began her first competitive season and competed at the World Junior Championships. She then made Canada’s Junior squad in 2007 and 2008. In 2008 she won both the junior and senior national championships. Her next big accomplishment was a third at the Under-23 world championships in 2009.

Not only was she the first Canadian triathlete to win a World Championship series event but she was also the only women to win back-to-back in 2010.

If you don’t know her now, you will. She will no doubt continue to impress leading up to to London for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.

When Paula is not training she is studying at the University of Alberta where her goal is to be accepted to medicine and become a doctor.

Lauren Groves’ Raspberry Coconut Cake


  • 1 3/4 cup finely shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cup self-raising wholegrain flour
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 170 Celsius (for those back home, 350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Mix together the shredded coconut and the coconut milk, and let rest for about 20 minutes while it forms a nice paste.
  3. Next, mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla. Add the flour slowly and mix until combined. Just before baking, fold in the raspberries.
  4. Spread into a greased or parchment lined loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Let it rest in the baking pan for awhile before cooling on a wire rack.
  6. Slice and enjoy!


Seven Simple Rules To Help You Eat Well- by Jasper Blake

1. Relationship

Our relationship with food is not just physical.  Food is so important we engage in eating it on a daily basis.  Yet we have gradually distanced ourselves from the important relationship we should have with food.  Hunting, growing, preparing and actually sitting down and eating food is largely a thing of the past.  Now we go to the grocery store, buy what we need, most of the time whatever is going to make life easier is the top choice, and we rarely ever sit down for long, social meals.  We’ve lost the connection with food to the point that most children probably don’t understand that a piece of meat actually comes from a living, breathing animal.  Its not wonder fast food has become so prevalent.  Fast means we don’t really have to connect with what we are eating, we can simply order it and shovel it into our mouths.  As such we are rarely aware of what is actually going into our bodies.  Not so long ago everything we ate was made from scratch and prepared in house.  We had a much healthier relationship with food back then.  Cooking can be a source of great joy if you engage in it.  Following a recipe and preparing food for another person is a great way to reconnect with what you are eating and appreciate what is going into your mouth.

 2. Know your good foods and bad foods

Everyone is different and our relationship with certain types of food is also different.  What’s good for one person may not always be good for another person.  Food allergy testing has become quite common over the last decade as a way to identify foods that may not be suitable for your body.  Food allergies do not always result in massive anaphylactic responses like someone’s reaction to a bee sting or peanuts.  Some food allergies lie quietly beneath the surface and affect us in subtle be significant ways.  Ineffective digestion, low energy, moodiness and agitation are a few examples of how mild food allergens can affect us.  Identifying and removing foods that you are mildly affected by can dramatically improve your overall state of well-being.  Just ask anyone who has a gluten intolerance!

3. Avoid refined sugars

Refined sugars are everywhere; in fact it’s hard to avoid them these days.  They are found in most snack foods, most fast foods, most foods that are highly preserved, bread products and most drinks including the energy drinks we consume en masse during training and racing.  Refined sugars wreak havoc with your body chemistry especially if you consume great quantities in times of inactivity.  Avoiding refined sugars can dramatically improve your well-being.

4. Good fat vs. Bad fat

The discussion around fat has been had over and over again yet we still don’t seem to get it.  We still load our foods with copious amounts of unhealthy fats.  This is largely because fat in general make foods taste better.  Restaurant foods are often loaded with fat.  Fat holds flavor and fat is very satiating. 

To make it easy, there are a few types of fat that are essential to avoid.  Hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated and shortening are all harmful types of fat.  It will come as no surprise that most good fats can be found in real food sources like avocado, olives and of course fish.  Consuming enough good fat is as important as not consuming the bad fat.  Essential fatty acids are critical for the immune system, cardiovascular system and nervous system.

5. Read food labels

One of the most important things you can do nutritionally is to become more aware of the foods you are putting into your mouth.  Reading food labels is a big step in the right direction.  If you do not read food labels regularly you will be amazed at how much “stuff” goes into most processed foods.  Reading labels will broaden your knowledge of what is in your food and at least give you the choice of whether or not to eat it. 

6. Simple is always better

If there are ingredients on a food label that you don’t understand or cannot pronounce chances are it’s some type of preservative or filler.  Cookies, crackers, cereal, anything in boxes usually contains vast amounts of these ingredients.  Fillers are rarely if ever good.  They are usually things like bad fat, refined sugars and preservatives all designed to heighten flavor or make the food last longer than it’s supposed to.

7. “Unprocess”

Generally speaking the more processed a food becomes the less nutritional value it contains.  Take for example an apple.  An apple in its purest form is just that, an apple, hopefully vine ripe so it has had a chance to absorb all the nutrients it requires from the ground.  But when we process an apple down to apple sauce we lose part of the whole- often fiber is lost and sugar is added to enhance flagor and preserve the apple.  Go one step further and apple juice has lost all but the watery flavor part of the apple save for some vitamins.  Take it a step further still and something with apple flavoring has lost everything that resembles an apple except the flavor, this includes all the nutritional value of the apple.  A good rule of thumb is to eat foods that have one ingredient.  For example, the ingredients of an apple are apple. Stick to foods that exist in their entirety


Based on the unprecedented success of the 2010 7SYSTEMS team, the entire team is returning to compete again in 2011.  As well, there are three new additions to the team that are remarkable individuals committed to DOING MORE and doing it better.


Plus Paula Findlay: Paula Findlay is young triathlete with an impressive list of accomplishments. This year alone she has won three World championship series races consecutively, one each in Sydney, Kitzbuhel and Madrid and took a third at the Mooloolaba World Cup.  Read more about Paula.

Annamay Pierse: Annamay is a member of Canada’s national swim team and the current world record holder for the women’s 200m breaststroke.  Annamay was a member of the 2008 Canadian Olympic team in Beijing and is currently preparing for London in 2012.

Max Plaxton: Perhaps one of  Canada’s top male mountain biker and is a London 2012 hopeful.  Max is a professional mountain biker, five-time National Champion and two-time World Champion in the relay event. He currently is one of four team members in USA factory team Specialized/Sho-air which is a professional cross-country mountain bike team.  This year he has won the Canadian National Championships and is the US Pro Cross-Country Tour overall champion with 3 wins. Read his full profile.

Reid Coolsaet: He’s been running cross-country ever since the sixth grade and hasn’t missed a single season.
Reid is a 7-time 5000m Canadian Champion and also credits the 10 000m,  marathon and cross-country running titles to his name.  He has participated at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, 4 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and 2 World Track & Field Championships.   Coolsaet just ran 2:11:23, the fastest time ever run by a Canadian on Canadian soil, at the 2010 Scotiabank Toronto Marathon. This time is 6 seconds faster than the Canadian Olympic marathon standard.


Jasper Blake Professional Triathlete, Ironman Champion

Mike Neill Professional Triathlete, Owner/Head coach Human Powered Racing

Simon Whitfield Multiple Olympic Medalist Triathlete

Adam Van Koueverden Multiple Olympic Medalist, World Champion Kayaker

Lauren Groves-Campbell Lauren Groves blogspot: 2008 Beijing Olympian Triathlete

Adam Campbell Adam Campbell Blogspot: Top Canadian Runner

Ray Zahab Ultra distance running legend

Malcolm Howard World champion, Olympic Champion Rower

Kyle Jones Canadian Short Course Triathlon Team

Erinne Willock Profile for Erinne Willock: Professional Road Cyclist, 2008 Beijing Olympian

Megan Brown Profile of Megan Brown: Top Canadian Runner

7SYSTEMS works with individuals not only as company ambassadors but as athletes who are committed to using the product and sharing the benefits with others. Last year there were hundreds of applicants and the team was picked on the basis of podium finishes, amazing athletic feats and strength of character.

Linnea Humphrey Scores at Florida Ironman

Here is the latest news from “Linnea Racing”…

“I competed in Ironman Florida on Nov 6th and had a spectacular race for me.  I finished in 9:58:09, swim of :59, bike of 5:19 (ok, that wasn’t so great), and a run of….. get this… 3:29!!!
I was second amateur woman, 10th woman overall, and 2nd in my Age Group (who would have guessed that the two fastest amateur women would both be 40-44 argh!  We were also the only amateur women to go under 10hrs).  My run time was also the 3rd fastest female amateur split.
I have to tell you that Glenn was sick for two weeks before the race, and I was with him when he was most contagious…and while I didn’t feel totally awesome the few days leading up to the race, I never got sick and by Thursday I felt fine (so I think was like a factor of taper fatigue).
Anyway, in part 7SYSTEMS is to thank for getting me to the line healthy, uninjured and ready to go.”

Kevin White

Occupation…Firefighter Captain
Sport…Triathlon (completed 2 Ironman distance races in 2009 but currently focusing on the half Ironman distance)
“A couple of months ago when I was sitting around after a training session with some of my triathlon friends talking about what’s new or hot in supplements, one of my friends mentioned the amazing results they were getting from 7 Systems and suggested I try it.  I was complaining about feeling lethargic and having trouble waking up in the morning and therefore not pushing through my workouts with the appropriate effort.  I went to the website and checked it out including reading some of the testimonials.  It sounded like the right product for me…so I went ahead and ordered a supply.  After a couple of months taking 7SYSTEMS I wake up earlier, with more energy and definitely don’t feel lethargic anymore.  I am getting WAY more out of my training sessions and continue to have increased stamina and speed.
I work as a career Firefighter Captain and parent a very supportive daughter (Jessica 13 years old).  Over the past several years I have competed in dozens of triathlons from sprints to Ironmans but find the Ironman 70.3 distance best suits my lifestyle.   
I raced the second half of my season while taking 7SYSTEMS and had personal bests in all disciplines of the half ironman distance…including taking a full 13 mins off my half marathon run split.  I reached my season goal and qualified for the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater which is coming up November 13th.  Thanks to 7SYSTEMS I can definitely DO MORE!!”

Post Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

After a tough swim in the ocean, Kevin hammered on the bike at nearly a 37 kmph average pace for his fastest bike leg ever.  That set him up a run that kept him on pace.  He ended up beating his goal with a finishing time of 4:58!

Linnea Humphrey

Linnea began doing triathlon in 1992 and did her first Ironman in 1999.  Now at the age of 44 and after almost 20 years in the sport this Toronto area resident has completed 17 Ironman races and countless others at various distances.  Despite the many years in the sport, Linnea keeps getting faster and is matching or bettering times she did over a decade ago. 

Her fabulous result at Ironman Brazil this year and her positive outlook and ability to always find a way to DO MORE certainly says something about her ability her ability to stay healthy.  Linnea started training for Brazil in mid January on her bike trainer and the treadmill, usually in cramped quarters at the spin studio or the gym combined with a couple of warm weather cycling camps down south.  With the help of 7SYSTEMS she managed to stay injury and sickness free the entire winter and spring and hit the starting line ready to go.  This solid block of un-interupted training paid off with a 10:16 finish at IM Brazil, which put her 12th female overall and 5th female amateur.
“I believe that 7SYSTEMS helps keep my immune system strong so I can maintain my health and maximize recovery thereby staying injury free.”

Overview of Supplement Manufacturing

Where do those little pills come from, anyway?

Written by: Jonathan Toker, Ph.D., developer of SaltStick product

Consumers generally take for granted that the contents inside a bottle of supplement X matches exactly the label on the outside. Fortunately and for the most part, thanks to the rules currently in place, this is true. However, there are multiple opportunities during production where the contents of the bottle may no longer be represented correctly by the label. Somewhat analogous to bicycle frame builders, most brands of nutritional supplements are manufactured in a limited number of facilities, or contract labs. It’s not economically feasible for a small company with a product line of nutritional supplements to have its own production facility.

Contract labs specialize in production of supplements, analytical testing, and packaging. These labs can be either cGMP or non-cGMP compliant at this time, and the resulting product could be affected by the way the company treats each batch of product being produced. Until 2010, supplements can be legally produced in non-cGMP facilities. The actual contract lab used by any given supplement company is usually a guarded secret as part of one’s competitive advantage. Therefore, rather than looking to the name on the bottle, one must look at the actual contract lab as the source of the product, and the inherent production risks.

From start to finish at a contract lab

a) Starting Materials

Most contract labs source their raw materials from a wide range of outside suppliers, many of whom specialize in certain classes of materials, such as amino acids, protein powders, minerals, etc. Each supplier provides to the contract lab a certificate of analysis (COA) that is issued for each and every lot (batch) of raw material. Suppliers can be located overseas or domestically with the actual starting material produced anywhere around the world.

When raw materials are received by a contract lab, they should be positively identified. This is usually done easily and quickly by near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. By matching a characteristic fingerprint spectrum of the raw material with a reference spectrum for the material, identity can be confirmed. Purity (the percent active content of the material) is not usually assayed at this time, depending on the COA of the material for this and any other details. This is the first intersection where impurities that originated in the starting material factory or packaging would enter the contract lab undetected. Note that the NIR identity confirmation is not sensitive to pick up foreign matter in the raw material and is a bulk test only. 

An entirely different set of concerns arises with herbal ingredients. Many materials such as St. John’s wort, royal jelly, ginkgo biloba, yucca root, grape seed extract, and many others originate from plant extracts. Currently, there are few standards in place to qualify these raw materials for potency or purity. This means that a bottle containing 100 percent St. John’s wort may actually have 5 percent active while another labeled the same way may have double or triple that amount. The FDA final rule guidance on these materials is still 100 percent identification testing, which is problematic due to current analytical testing limitations of some of these materials. At this time, manufacturers can apply for an exemption to this testing. It is hoped within the herbal industry that further clarity on this situation will arise before the FDA final rule takes effect.

As a result of these regulations, products containing herbal ingredients are generally non-standardized and consumers need to be especially aware of potential issues with these products. As a visual rule-of-thumb, if the “Supplement Facts” panel indicates “Daily value not established” for a given ingredient, it is likely that less than adequate information is known about that particular ingredient. Not only are herbal ingredients of often unreliable content, but their toxicity and benefits have generally not been tested in clinical settings, which further prompts the warning: buyer beware.

b) Processing of ingredients

Once the raw materials are identified upon receipt, the contract lab prepares the formulation according to specifications required by the supplement company. This can include dry mixing, wet mixing, granulation, and other physical handling steps. Containers used for these processes are part of machines that can be manually or automatically operated. Often made of stainless steel parts, these complex mixing bowls are used for a given batch and then cleaned and readied for the next product, one that may be totally distinct from the batch before and after it. cGMP contract labs will follow a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that dictate how the machine is to be cleaned, rinsed, and dried. Some facilities conduct a “cleaning verification” whereby some of the rinse wash is tested for the active ingredient from the previous batch. Possible source of contamination #2 arises if a machine is incompletely or incorrectly cleaned leading to carryover from one product to another. In this way, for example, a steroid material from one product batch could be carried over to a protein supplement in the next batch of processed product.

c) Encapsulation/bottling/packaging of the product

The final step within the contract lab takes the mixed product into its final form for the consumer. This can include bulk powder in plastic tubs, pressing powder into pills, or filling capsules with powder. Once again, industry-specific machines are used for this step. Careful cleaning between batches of different product is critical to ensuring no cross-contamination between products. Once the product is in its final packaging, a quality control (QC) unit serves to qualify and inspect the final product. Once again following SOPs, the QC analyst inspects the product against specifications that can include fill weight, color, particle size and other physical characteristics.

Testing of the final product for quantitative content of active material is currently not required, but is coming into place with the new regulations by 2010. What this means is that upon QC approval and issuance of a batch-specific certificate of analysis (COA), the product is ready to be released to consumers. What is not positively known at that time is: Was production and mixing even and complete across the batch? Are there any foreign contaminants in the mixture? And most importantly, do the contents of that bottle match the writing on the label? Fortunately, the FDA final rule of June 22, 2007, requires manufacturers to address these questions. For contract labs already following cGMPs, implementation of these rules should be fairly straightforward, although costs to producers are likely to increase due to additional analytical work required. Expect non-cGMP contract labs to get in gear with the rules or face the prospect of shutting down in the coming years.

WADA and the difference between illegal and prohibited substances

At this juncture, it is worth defining the difference between an illegal substance and a prohibited substance. We are all familiar with materials that are regulated by the government that can include cocaine and other opiates, prescription products such as antibiotics, anti-seizure, antidepressants, etc., that are regulated as suitable for certain applications only, under the administration or prescription of a physician. Some of these materials are illegal under any circumstances while others can be used as needed by those to whom permission is granted (usually by a doctor’s prescription).

WADA has defined a list of substances for which their consumption has deemed to be “against the rules” of sport. Athletes who fall within a sport governed by WADA rules are responsible for observing the WADA prohibited substance list. To be clear: WADA-prohibited substances are not necessarily illegal from a regulated standpoint, but are listed because they can provide an athlete with an unfair advantage in sport. The consequence is that some WADA-prohibited substances can legally be produced in the same contract lab as other nutritional supplements. Looking back to the production discussed earlier, one can quickly determine how cross contamination between products can present an otherwise compliant athlete with a tainted product.

Does natural equal safe?

 Health food companies and pundits for healthy living often cite that something is “natural”, implying that this automatically equates to “good” or “safe.” It is worth noting here that the most toxic substances in the world are natural (botulism toxin, and other plant and animal toxins such as from the puffer fish and poison dart frog). In the context of nutritional supplements, your body does not know the difference between purified calcium carbonate from the White Cliffs of Dover and purified chalk produced in a laboratory. While allowing for certain unique natural preparations available only in nature, at a chemical level, there is no difference between a substance in “nature” vs. the “lab.” CaCO3 is CaCO3 wherever you find it. With the above under consideration, it is worth keeping an open mind on both synthetic and natural ingredients, and selecting one over the other as needed and on a scientific basis alone.

Who cares?

With the vast majority of athletes competing at the amateur level, one must ask if it matters if a little bit of X gets in my supplement? Focusing specifically on triathlon, age group athletes are not tested currently at any race except the annual ITU World Championship. Therefore the vast majority of triathletes will never see a drug test. Are they willing to pay a little bit more for a supplement that had been prepared in a cGMP contract lab and tested for WADA prohibited substances? The professionals are tested much more frequently and races worldwide. National governing bodies (NGB) such as USA Triathlon inform their athletes that they must comply with the WADA prohibited substance list, informing athletes that it is their own responsibility to do so. However, other than conducting their own testing or avoiding all nutritional supplements altogether, there is no way that a dedicated professional athlete can ensure that neither the food that they eat nor the supplements they consume are clean. Until now…

Jen MacLean

After having H1N1 in the fall, Jen was looking for a supplement to help her meet the extensive demands of working full-time and training. Having heard positive things about 7SYSTEMS, and knowing several athletes on the 7SYSTEMS team, she decided to try it. Despite Jen’s daily exposure to germs and viruses at work,  she has been in perfect health since starting with 7SYSTEMS, and she couldn’t be happier with the effect that it has had on both her training and overall health.

Jen knows a lot about health.  After spending her high school years competing in multiple team sports, Jen went to Queen’s University, where she competed on the varsity cross-country and swim teams. It was during this time that she joined the triathlon club, and began to focus her athletic attention on triathlon. While in her third year at Queen’s, Jen accompanied a friend to a World University Games qualifying race, and ended up earning herself a spot. This first international exposure gained her entry to the National Triathlon Centre, where she remained  a resident athlete from 2000-2004. During this time she raced ITU events around the world, with results including 3rd place at Canadian Elite Nationals, 1st at University Championships, and ITU finishes as high as 8th. Jen twice qualified to represent Canada at Elite U23 World Championships, and was later a member of the Canadian National Development Team. After taking five years off of racing triathlons to do her Master’s and start her career as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Jen has recently returned to triathlon, and is training with Human Powered Racing in Victoria BC.

Lauren Groves- Olympian

lauren1_vantriworlds“I’ll be the first to admit that I have always been a little skeptical about supplements. I have always been a believer that simply eating a nutrient-dense diet and eating the right foods at the right time was all that was necessary to perform at a high level in our sport. At the end of my 2007 season I decided to take a closer look at my diet and recovery nutrition as the Olympics were on the horizon and I want to be sure I have done absolutely everything in my power to be ready when I start that race. I had heard positive things about 7SYSTEMS from friends and training partners so I decided to test it out during my winter training block. It was a huge load of training so it really gave me the chance to put 7SYSTEMS to the test. Within a week of taking it, I started to notice differences in my recovery and energy levels. I have never been much of a morning person but I started to find myself more energized and motivated at the start of each morning swim. Plus, I managed to escape catching some colds that were lingering around this winter, which rarely happens when I’m training hard.”

“Thank you to 7systems for helping get me to the start line in Beijing healthy and ready to race. Now I am hoping it will help me heal faster. My disappointment in Beijing has only motivated me even more for London 2012. I look forward to working with 7systems to help achieve that goal.”

Lauren Groves is one of Canada’s most accomplished triathletes.  She is a National Champion and top five finisher at the World Triathlon Championships in 2006.  Her career is highlighted by being named and competing at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.  After her spectacular crash in Bejing Lauren is focused on recovering and getting ready for London 2012.

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7SYSTEMS, the endurance sport supplement chosen by Olympians and recreational athletes all over Canada, has named ten athletes to their 2010 PRO TEAM. The team was chosen from among Canada’s top athletes. With hundreds of applicants, the team was picked on the basis of podium finishes, amazing athletic feats and strength of character.



  • Jasper Blake: Triathlon – Ironman™
  • Megan Brown: Running – Cross Country / Track and Field
  • Adam Campbell: Running – Marathon
  • Lauren Groves: Triathlon – Olympic Distance
  • Malcolm Howard: Rowing
  • Kyle Jones: Triathlon – Olympic Distance
  • Mike Neill: Triathlon – Ironman™
  • Adam Van Koeverden: Canoe / Kayak
  • Simon Whitfield: Triathlon – Olympic Distance
  • Erinne Willock: Cycling – Road
  • Ray Zahab: Running – Ultra marathons, expeditions

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    Ajay Kohli


    7 Systems Do More Contest from Mark Kennedy on Vimeo.

    Target Race: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure 5 km on Sunday, October 3, 2010.

    Target Time: 27:00


    Ajay finished in a time of 21:19 not only exceeding the 7% improvement target but also shattering his 14% stretch target for an improvement of 27%!

    Congratulations to Ajay and the lifestyle transformation he has made.

    “Over the past year and a half I have shed over 75 lbs, made healthier lifestyle and dietary choices, as well as improved my race time by 27%. Without a doubt these choices and accomplishments have been fueled by my desire to set and achieve my goals.

    Wanting and desiring success is much different than just talking about it, you need to believe in it and then act on those beliefs. Believing in yourself is empowering. It also sets the tone necessary for you to be successful. Equally important, support mechanisms, be it people and or products can significantly accelerate and influence your progress.

    With that said, there are many factors that contribute to success. Setting goals, optimizing your experiences and meaningful use of your resources are extremely important. I’m thankful for 7 SYSTEMS endurance sports supplement, to JJ Neely and “Focus In Training” none of my successes would have been possible without their continual support and guidance. Thank you for your products and dedication!”


    Since starting 7 SYSTEMS I have seen a substantial increase in my training abilities. I have noticed this month that I am able to run, bike and swim harder. I have also noticed an increase in energy levels and weight loss. My training is more consistent and my training gains have increased. With the help of 7SYSTEMS I hope to acheive my goal at the Breast Cancer 5km run.


    Throughout the month of July, I believe my training has gone rather well. With the use of 7SYSTEMS endurance sports supplement I have found that I have the extra energy and endurance I need to complete my training. I have also been able to increase the number of training sessions I can do every week to help accomplish my goal of a 5km run in 27 minutes.


    For the past 38 years I have lived my life with not a care in the world. During those years I engaged in an extremely unhealthy lifestyle that affected my daily life. I would usually smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, drink frequently and use food as a means of escape from every day stress. I started to notice deterioration in my health and a lack of energy. The total impact left me with no motivation to interact with my children at the end of the day. I looked old, felt old, and was almost 50 pounds overweight plus nothing felt right. I was heading down the road to Diabetes, heart condition and possible high blood pressure.  As of last July 2009 I decided to make some changes. I quit smoking cold turkey.  I also stopped drinking.  I started to watch what I ate and have now lost almost 50 pounds.  Most importantly I took up the sport of running. This has given me a whole new outlook on life and a determination to succeed. I have just completed my first Triathlon I and hope to compete in an Iron Man one day.  For my Target Race, I actually believe I can shatter my 5km race time of 29.03 not by 7%, but by 14%!  Failure is not an option.

    Luke Ehgoetz


    Target Race: Muskoka 70.3 on September 12, 2010

    Taget Time: 4:40


    First of all, let’s get one thing straight.  This race should be called the Muskoka 72.8, since the bike course is actually 94K instead of the usual 90.   As a result, you certainly get your money’s worth doing this race.

    So essentially, my whole summer was geared up towards doing this race.   I had several shorter tri’s and a few longer distance ones, which all worked well as training for this race.

    So let’s get into it shall we?   
    The days leading up to this event were a bit nerving, as a lot of people (myself included) spent a fair bit of time watching the weather reports.   The weather trend was very cool mornings and they were calling for light rain most of the day.   Rain on this bike course can be treacherous, due to the tight turns and hilly course.   In 2008 when I did this event, it rained most of the day, but at least it was warm.    10 or 11 degrees and rain was not going to be fun.  

    In previous years, I went up with my family on Friday and attended the athlete banquet which was always very good.   A great way to carbo load for the race.  This year, the family stayed at home (hockey try-outs and questionable weather) and I came up with another athlete I know from New Dundee, Greg Hallman (who by the way did awesome in his first ever half iron distance event – congrats Greg!!).   I picked Greg up at home at 6am, and we made great time getting to Muskoka just before 10am with a couple of quick coffee and restroom stops.

    We were staying at Hidden Valley, which is nice and close to Dearhurst, and it allows us to keep our vehicle with us (as opposed to the airport parking for Dearhurst guests).   Upon arriving, we checked in (YES!! our room was ready at 10am!), so we put our bags into the room and then proceeded to walk our bikes to the bike check-in at Dearhurst parking lot.   From there, it was onto registration, a tour of the race expo, a quick walk around the swim start and exit, and then we headed to the Power Bar Pro Panel question and answer session that they put on.   Like last year, many of the top pro’s were there to answer questions, including 2x Kona champ Craig Alexander and last years Kona runner up, Mirinda Carfrae (also both winners of this race last year).  

    5:20am Sunday morning, alarm goes off, and I am happy to have woken up after a pretty solid night’s sleep.   I quickly ate some oatmeal and a whole wheat wrap with peanut butter and a banana rolled up inside.   After a bit of coffee, my 7 systems supplements and some packing up, we were out of HV by 6:15 and walking in the dark over to Deerhurst.  Saturday was a great day weather wise, and likely everyone wished we had that weather for Sunday.   As it turns out, most of the rain passed by overnight, and we were greeted race morning with overcast skies and what seemed like a comfortable 13 or 14 degrees.   It didn’t really feel cold at all.   It was almost “ideal” racing conditions…almost!
    We arrived in transition and I quickly got to work taking all of the wet bags off my bike and then getting everything set up.   After an easy run to get warmed up, I started putting on my wetsuit for the long walk to the swim start.   Once there, I did a good warm-up, and was ready for this race to get started.   I felt calm and comfortable, and before we knew it, the Canadian national anthem ended, and the pro’s were off and running (actually swimming….but you know what I mean!).  I was in wave 2, which was a good thing, as that would mean little traffic to negotiate in the middle parts of the swim.   4 minutes later, and the horn went off, and it was game on!   

    1.9K Swim

    I don’t know if it was me, or what, but I thought the swim course was slightly different than the prior two years.   The course is normally a perfect rectangle, but this year, it seemed like we had to take a bit of a left hand turn at the first buoy, right beside a bunch of boats.   This made for a bit of congestion in the swim, likely the most I have ever experienced in this race.   I got a bit knocked around, hit, pushed and slapped, but nothing I haven’t experienced before.   I tried to just find some open space, and after a few minutes I was pretty much OK and swimming free and clear.   After the right turn at the 2nd buoy, I was more or less just trying to hold a nice steady pace and try to find some feet to draft off of as much as I could.   I did a bit of drafting here and there, but likely swam most of the race on my own.   Nothing else was too memorable about this part, and 34 minutes later, I exited the water.   Ideally, I was hoping to go 33 minutes in the swim, but 34 was definitely alright, and a 4 minute improvement over last year.    After the swim exit, I took advantage of the wetsuit strippers which is definitely a good idea, and also decided to slip on a pair of runners for the 300m UPHILL run to the transition zone.   Once in T1, I quickly got my helmet and clear sunglasses on and was off on the bike.   It was warm enough that gloves and arm warmers or an extra shirt was not required (for me at least).

    94K Bike

    With the 1.9K swim and 300m uphill run to transition, my heart rate was high right off the bat.   The first 20K of the bike course is definitely not easy.   A lot of steep rolling hills to keep that heart rate pumping.  At this stage, I was passing a lot of people from my wave, as I was only 28th in my AG on the swim.   This was motivating, and kept me pushing hard.   Once we got on the main roads of Hwy 35, it was time to push the pace.   The roads were freshly paved, overcast, no wind and cool.   Perfect biking weather.   I was making good time here and the average speed kept going up.
    My nutrition plan on the bike was as follows:
    – Start off with a normal concentrate (260 calories) of Infinite in my aero drink bottle;
    – Carry a double concentrate (520 calories) of Infinite in a bottle on my frame;
    – After the aero drink is empty, put the 2x concentrate bottle in my aero drink bottle and pick up 1 water at each aid station to last the rest of the race;
    – I also grabbed one gel at each aid station to give me that little extra bit of calories;

    This plan worked well and I had no issues with it at all.

    The middle 35 or 40K of the bike course went by really fast.   I found myself going back and forth with two other athletes, which kept things interesting.   After the 2nd aid station down in Baysville, things started to get tougher.   Firstly, it started to rain.   Not too heavy, but enough to get the roads wet and slippery in the most difficult and technical part of the course.   At this point, I found myself all alone.   A few of the guys I was riding with got ahead of me and joined up with another small pack.   For 15 or 20K, I struggled to catch back up with them, as I really wanted to be with a group, rather than all by myself.   I’d say with 15K to go, I got passed by Chris Van Kooten who started in a wave (or two or three) behind me.   For some reason after he passed me, it helped pull me along (no drafting of course) and we caught up to the pack of guys I was trying to catch for the last half hour.   Chris carried on, and left us all, but I was now back with the group of other riders, which really helped.   To my surprise, one of the riders in this pack was Jeff Beech, a former pro triathlete from Waterloo, where I am from (more or less anyway).   That was super motivating, as he is in my AG.   If you would have said I would be going into T2 with Jeff Beech at the beginning of the race, I would have said you were crazy.   That being said, we all rode together for the final 5K of the ride and as we approached T2, I had a nice smooth dismount, and I actually beat him over the dismount line, and was likely in about 3rd place in my AG at this point, making up 25 spots over the 94K bike.

    Into T2 though however, that would be the last I would see of Jeff.  He is an awesome runner, and with his quick transition, he was gone.   I took some extra time to put my Garmin watch on to track my pace, socks on my feet to avoid any blisters and then grab my Nathan Speed belt, for extra nutrition for the run.   I think this added 15 or 20 seconds over Jeff’s time, so by the time I got out to the road, he was already 100m ahead and gaining ground quickly!

    21.1K Run

    So although I didn’t really know it at this point, I think I was in 4th place in my AG starting the run, as Jeff Beech took over 3rd in T2 and eventually would end up in 2nd.   Right off the bat at the 1K marker, we had to climb a pretty decent hill on the run.   I could totally feel my quads starting to tighten up, which made me nervous.   I don’t think it was nutrition, but purely the effort put out on the bike.   I quickly took another salt pill, and hoped all would get better once we hit some of the “flatter” sections on Hwy 60.   Once there, things seemed to get better and I was ticking along at a nice pace.   I got passed by only a few runners, and I past a few, so things were staying pretty even.  Starting at about the 8K mark, things got tough on the run.   We had a few good climbs to get to 9K and this really took a lot out of me.   On the bigger climb, I did a few short walking breaks of only a few seconds, but it did seem to help.   I never really lost any ground on the athlete that was in front of me who just kept running.   The turn-around point was at about 10.5K and after that, it was supposed to be a lot easier, as it was mostly downhill from there.   As it turns out, I progressively felt worse as the run went on.   The downhills were pounding the legs, and every type of incline was making me more and more fatigued.    I figured after seeing some of the athletes coming back from the turn-around, I had a decent chance of getting on the podium if I can just keep the legs moving, so I was definitely motivated.

    I was keeping the nutrition up by taking in a gel every 5K or so.  In addition, I was taking in salt every 20-25 minutes.   I never really had much more cramping like I did in the first K, just a lot of fatigue.   The last 6K were quite tough, and I just had to keep telling myself to keep moving, as you’ve been doing so well up to this point.   I got passed by another athlete at 17K, but that would be it for the rest of the race.   Once we got back to the top of the hill on Canal road, it was a nice downhill to the 20K marker.   The last K of the race has a pretty tough climb back to Dearhurst, but this is where the crowds were.   Half-way up the hill, I just wanted to take a few quick walking steps to feel better, but the crowd wouldn’t have it.   They yelled for me to dig deep and fire up those quads as there was a runner about 30 meters behind me.  This definitely got me going.  Funny enough though, as I passed, I heard them yelling to that guy to dig in and go after me.   They just wanted to see a battle, but I wasn’t about to give them one.   Since I had no idea if the guy behind me was in AG or not, I just had to give it all I had for the final 600 meters.   So going as deep as I could, I rounded the transition zone and sprinted (all relative at this point) to the finish line to finish the run and the race with a new half iron PB of 4:56:26.

    Although I was one of the finalists in the 7 Systems improve more contest, I would have had to do 4:40 in this race to improve upon my previous years time of 5:01.   I knew all along that was not really an option, so my real goal was to podium and take a spot for the Foster Grant 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida in November.   Mission Accomplished!!   Sweet!


    With less than a week to go I think I am on track and haven’t had any downtime in my training….thanks to using 7 SYSTEMS endurance sports supplement!

    My only race in August was the Toronto Island Sprint Triathlon, which you can read about in my blog.   I’d say it was a success, despite having a poor swim in my opinion.

    In the 3 other weekends available for training this month, I did the following:

    August 8th – Biked 114K to a family cottage in Bayfield and followed that up with a 10K run.   The ride was almost entirely into a headwind or crosswind, so that was tough.   In addition, it was super humid and I got rained upon twice.  The 10K run was not fast!

    August 22nd – Biked an 83K loop around New Hamburg and followed that up with two loops of 8K around town for a total of 16K worth of running.   Again, VERY humid day.   I took all the hydration I could on the ride (72oz of Infinite), and consumed another 48 oz running as I filled up both my Nathan Speed Belt 2 bottles after the first loop.   When it was all said and done, I lost 6 lbs all while consuming 120 oz of fluid.   Glad I wasn’t doing an Ironman, as I’m sure I would have bonked at some point!   I just find it hard to drink much more than I did!

    August 28th/29th – I had planned on another long ride/run on Sunday, but after getting a quick training email from Jasper Blake (a bit of a benefit from being in this contest), I decided to mix it up this weekend.   So on the Saturday, I thought I’d see how quick I could just run 15K.   So, in the middle of the day in hot and humid weather again, I did a 15K run in 1:01:45.  This was a pretty hilly run in windy conditions, so I was pleased with the effort.   Garmin data available here.

    In addition to the weekend stuff, I’ve still be getting to the New Hamburg pool 3x week, biking to work (58K round trip) 3x week and doing my Tuesday tempo run (~6K – 9K), and Thursday Intervals (usually 5 x 800m w 200m recovery).   If it works out, I’ll hit the gym for some weights/stretching/hot tub once or twice too!

    This routine is similar to last year’s effort where I did 5:01 at the 2009 Muskoka 70.3, but this year, I’ve definitely stepped the swimming up a bit more and have done more mid week running.   I actually have a spreadsheet that has tracked every run I’ve done since 2004.   I’d share it with you, but it’s huge!   Here are some highlights of it though.

    Due to more speed work, my average run speed has dropped 5 seconds per K.   This includes all the long runs training for the Around the Bay 30K and Ottawa Marathon this year.   In addition, I am on pace for about 150 runs in 2010, which is 20 more than last year.   Each year I am seeing improvements in training and racing (both running and triathlon) so this in encouraging.   At 37, I have to wonder how much more improvements are left.

    I hope this final week prior to Muskoka goes well and that I can have a good race once again. 


    I’ve done 2 triathlons since starting on 7SYSTEMS. The first one was the Multisport Canada Belwood Sprint Triathlon (1K swim, 30K bike and 7K run) on July 18th. I had a good race and finished 2nd in my age group and 15th overall out of 400 athletes. Next up was the Muskoka Long Course Triathlon (2K swim, 55K bike and 13K run) on July 25th. This race is generally more competitive, so I actually wasn’t expecting to get on the podium in my age group. To my surprise, I once again had a solid race and managed to finish 4th in my age group and 27th overall in the race out of 350 athletes.

    My training generally consists of the following on a weekly basis:

    • 3 swims per week in the pool (around 2500m per session) and if possible, one open water swim;
    • 2 mid week runs. One interval session and one tempo run;
    • 2 gym strength training sessions;
    • 3 bike rides to work. This is my primary bike training that I do. It is about 28.5K each way, so 57K round trip and 170K per week.
    • If I am not racing, I will look to do a long brick type of workout each weekend. A typical workout would be about a 70K ride and 16K run;
    • In addition, a lot of stretching and leg rolling is key to maintaining flexibility and working out any muscle tightness.

    It is still early, but so far 7SYSTEMS endurance sports supplement has been working well. I am hoping that it will keep me healthy and injury free, as I continue to train for my goal race.


    I’ve done this race in both 2008 and 2009 and I hope to use the 2010 race to qualify for the 70.3 World Championship down in Clearwater Florida in November.

    Read more about Luke, who he is and more details about training and racing since starting to take 7SYSTEMS:

    Adam Campbell- Sub 2:30 marathon runner

    adam22“So everyone is looking for the magic formula – how do I get faster and what can I take to improve my performance? The answer to these questions is easy.  Train more and train faster.

    However if you are going to buy into that little motto, then you need to make sure that you are recovering between sessions. I think it was the US marathoner and Olympic medalist Deena Kastor who said “there is no such thing as over-training, just under-recovering”. A key element to recovery is through diet. Anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot. How could diet not affect performance? It is the building block for your cells, muscles, bones, blood…As a hard training athlete, you are also more likely to leach essential nutrients and minerals from your body as you stress the system.

    I have always enjoyed pursuing physical challenges, from Ironman racing to running marathons.  My new love and passion is mountain running. When I began training for the Jungfrau marathon, an uphill marathon with over 5000 feet of elevation gain, I knew that I would need improve my ability to recover if I was going to be able to handle the workload and stress of training for such an arduous event. I was fortunate enough to come across 7SYSTEMS at the beginning of my prep for this race and with the help of 7SYSTEMS I was able to complete my biggest run mileage ever, and proceeded to have the best ever finish by a Canadian at a mountain running world championships.

    So if you care about your health and you care about your performance 7SYSTEMS is more than worth a shot.”

    Adam Campbell is the 2007 Canadian Mountain Running Champion and has a 2:29 marathon personal best.  He is currently at law school studying to become a lawyer.

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    Treadmill Running- Stefan Timms

    Treadmill Running

    Considering the winter we are having I thought it appropriate to post an article I previously wrote on treadmill running.  In case Jasper’s “Crap its Cold” article doesn’t inspire maybe this will.
    There has been an overabundance of “amazing and astounding” pieces of exercise equipment promoted to consumers in recent years that sell dreams of an easy way to turn your body into a toned, athletic machine. Many of these breakthrough inventions have sold millions of copies to people desperate for a quick fix and then disappeared. However, there is one piece of exercise equipment that has stood the test of time, and continues to be a fixture at gyms and in homes around the world…the treadmill.
    Today’s treadmills may have a lot more bells and whistles than past versions, but their premise remains the same: indoor running on the spot. Treadmills have been so successful because they work. Running is the best exercise you can do in terms of calorie burning and building fitness, and no other piece of cardio equipment is as efficient at calorie burning, because no other piece requires full weight bearing like the treadmill.
    The same basic training principles apply to all workouts, whether they are done outdoors on the road/trails or inside on equipment, and the treadmill can be quite useful in specific instances. Treadmills allow you to jog, run, sprint, climb hills, or even resistance train by easily and accurately varying grade and speed. Many top triathletes and runners use treadmills as a regular part of their training as they have several advantages traditional methods of cardiovascular exercise.
    Treadmill Advantages

    The main advantage of treadmills is of course that they are used indoors in a controlled environment. This means they are not affected by weather, traffic lights, or safety concerns. When you get on a treadmill you know the temperature, you don’t have to stop for anything, and you don’t have to worry about where you are going. Obviously this aspect of treadmills will appeal to people who live in places with extreme climates (cold or hot), big cities, or unsafe neighbourhoods. This is also important though when travelling, as a treadmill provides you with the ability to get your workout done without worrying about these factors in an unknown place.
    A second advantage of treadmills is that they are more forgiving then the road as they absorb shock better and are less likely to cause impact injuries then running on the road. This will help you to run as efficiently as possible, and can be a great help to someone coming back from any injury.
    A third benefit of running on a treadmill is being able to program an exact speed that you want to maintain. This is ideal for training at a certain pace for intervals or the entire workout to ensure you are achieving your desired result. This can also be very useful if you are preparing for a specific event, as many treadmills allow you to program an exact course. For example, top triathletes such as Greg Bennett and Simon Whitfield regularly use a treadmill to simulate specific courses they will compete on later in the season. Often they even take this to another step by doing these workouts surrounded by portable heaters-if the race they are training for is held in a hot climate. This is a great motivator as well as a very specific training adaptation to prepare their bodies as best as possible for race day.
    Another benefit of treadmill running is the ability it allows you to work on correcting your running form. Most gyms usually have mirrors around in which you can see yourself on the treadmill, so taking note of what you do, and trying to improve on one aspect of your technique each session is a great way to help pass the time during your easier runs.
    A final benefit to using a treadmill is that you can build a lot of mental toughness since there are not many distractions like there are on the road or trail. You have to focus on your workout, your pace, and your technique. Although it may be boring to some, for others this is just what they need to get that hard session done.
    However, treadmill running is not for everyone. Like any training technique the treadmill also has its negative aspects.
    Treadmill Disadvantages

    There are four main problems associated with treadmill running: biomechanical changes, inaccurate readings, heat, and boredom.
    Treadmill running is great when you cannot run outdoors, but you should not use it as your sole venue for running as you may find the transition to road running somewhat uncomfortable. This occurs because of several biomechanical differences that occur when you run on a treadmill vs. the road:
    When you run on the road, you must exert more energy in your running to overcome the braking forces than on a treadmill.

    You have to face air resistance outside which forces you to work harder to run the same speed.

    Your stride length is shorter outside because the ground doesn’t move under your feet the way the tread does.

    Your feet are always on a smooth, flat surface on a treadmill so that your neuromuscular system does not get any work on proprioception the way it would on a road or trail.
    All of these factors mean that you will fatigue sooner and be more susceptible to injury if you mainly run on a treadmill and then try to transition to outside.
    A second problem with treadmills is that they are notoriously inaccurate. Treadmills are usually calibrated when they are first built up but then as they are used, wear and tear knocks off the calibration. As a result, it can be hard to determine how far you actually have run, or the exact speed you are running at. This can be a big detriment if you are using the treadmill for a specific workout.
    Thirdly, many treadmill users complain that they get extremely hot when working out. This occurs because of the lack of air resistance that helps in cooling you off when outside. The easiest way to combat this problem is with a properly placed fan, but if that is not possible you may find yourself sweating more than normal. Ensure that you are staying hydrated if this is the case, as you will quickly lose electrolytes in your sweat, causing fatigue and dehydration.
    The most common criticism about treadmills is that runners find them boring. Running in one spot with no change in scenery is not particularly stimulating. Although it may help build mental fortitude, it can also cause people to shorten sessions or avoid treadmills altogether. If you do get bored on treadmills, but you want to continue using them as a fitness tool, then you need to spice up your workouts a bit. There are now several great books on the market that have a variety of treadmill specific workouts that will keep things fresh and interesting, or you can use the guidelines below to design your own.
    Treadmill Workouts

    The best way to combat boredom and maximize the benefits on the treadmill are to only use them for specific workouts. I do not recommend that athletes use the treadmill for regular easy runs of 20-40 minutes, unless they have to because of certain circumstances (injury, weather, they are away at a race, etc). I prefer they use the treadmill for one of the following sessions:
    · Fartlek is a great idea for indoor workouts as it really helps break up the monotony and helps get the person’s mind off the fact that they aren’t actually moving anywhere. I use a couple versions of the indoor fartlek: “commercial” and “song” that has the athlete go hard during a song or commercial (after a proper warm-up), and then easy during the next song or during the show. “Commercial” is used for long workouts that are mainly aerobic with the small number of short intervals included to work their other system. The “song” version, which is used most often, involves increasing speed and/or grade during the harder parts.

    · Tempo runs, which simulate a specific course, are usually what my athletes use the treadmill for. After a 15 minute warm-up, you would then run 20-30 minutes at your race pace over the pre set course, and finally finish with 10 minutes easy cool-down.

    · Hill workouts are especially great for people who don’t live in a hilly area and want the benefits of hill running. Treadhills are a series of short, hard efforts up a 5-10% grade. After the warm-up, you would do a set of 3-10 x 1-3 minutes up the hill at a challenging pace, with 1-2 minutes rest between each hill repeat. This can be done by presetting the treadmill or by manually adjusting it at the start of each hill.

    · Interval sessions normally done on the track can also be run on a treadmill. After warming up, a set of a specific distance or time, such as 2:30 (an 800), is done at a fast pace, with adequate rest between intervals. They only problem with this is that the rest is still running unless you choose to hop off the treadmill between intervals. Also remember that most treadmills max out at 10-12 mph, so short, fast repeats are hard to simulate, and should be left to a track.
    Treadmills are great when you cannot run outdoors or when you have a specific workout that it is best suited for, but you should not become dependant on them. Use them for the advantages they provide, but try to limit your use of treadmills to when they are necessary, and get outside the rest of the time. The outdoor environment provides not only a more pleasant and invigorating atmosphere, but it will keep you more biomechanically correct. So enjoy those treadmill runs, but don’t forget about that park around the corner from your house.

    Treadmill Tips

    · Run on a grade. Treadmill running is slightly easier than outdoor running due to the lack of wind resistance. This enables you to be more efficient in your running on the treadmill, so to accommodate for the lack of resistance set the treadmill at a 1% grade for all of your workouts.
    · Use a heart rate monitor. By using one you can eliminate “junk training” and get fitter faster. The monitor allows you to maximize your efforts at the gym by guiding your intensity so that you work out in the zone that you want to be in, helping you get results faster. A heart rate monitor also allows you to work out in zones that are safe for you and helps reduce your risk of injury or overtraining, as well as preventing boredom from doing the same thing every day.
    · Bring a waterbottle. Be sure to hydrate lots while working out on a treadmill. You can lose even more water running on a treadmill then you would if you were running outside. This is because of the lack of air resistance to help to keep you cool. Just a 1% loss in water can lead to a noticeable decline in performance.
    · Use the mirrors. If you have a mirror nearby try to check your form during several parts of the workout. Do you start to hunch over or tighten up, as you get tired? A mirror can help to point out to you how to improve your training.

    Anthea Seeton

    “I have taken the product and I really loved it.  I found out about it on line while preparing for a 30 day Bikram challenge.  All my fellow yogis had all sorts of cramping, stiffness, etc., that thanks to 7SYSTEMS I didn’t suffer from.  I am off to do teacher training in Palm Desert for 9 weeks and decided instead of putting together my own supplement program that I would take the 7 systems.   I don’t take it all the time, but for those times when I am pounding my body it is amazing.”

    Mike Neill- Ironman/Coach


    “Over the years I have discovered that the only way to improve my performance is to recover properly and put together days, weeks and months of solid, consistent training. Since I have been using 7systems I have been able to put in some of the best blocks of training in my entire Ironman career. I am seeing improvements across the board in all three sports.  I recommend 7systems to all the athletes I coach and anyone who is looking for a simple convenient way to stay healthy and improve their performance.”

    Mike has been Canada’s top overall finisher at Ironman Hawaii in each of the past 3 years, breaking 9:00 each time, and has over 15 top 10 overall Ironman finishes in his career.  Mike is also a coach to over a dozen athletes of the Human Powered Racing Team and the Island Triathlon Club

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    Andrea Perego

    andrea-perego-run_2“I began taking 7Systems when I was determined to make the most of my recovery time between two Ironman races and I have been taking them ever since.  I am not the fastest or the fittest triathlete out there, and despite my coach’s best efforts, I don’t always do my workouts the way I am supposed to.  I have been known to stack hard workout on top of hard workout and fill my days off with things like squash or just running around trying to get a thousand things done at once.  Despite all that, I still recover quickly and am ready for the next workout.  And I just don’t get sick.  I travel now and then for work and it is so easy to take along.  You just can’t argue with all of that.

    Thanks for making a great product that is so easy to use.   I am a believer.”

    Andrea is an accomplished age-groupers who juggle straining with her busy job on Bay Street in Torono.

    Gord Henderson

    I’ve often found it difficult to get the balance right between ‘fitness’ and ‘health':  training for and racing endurance events, parenting a young child and stress from unpredictable work often left me feeling run down – even while I was fit enough to race well.  Although I thought that supplements would probably help with some of these problems, I was confused by the range of products on offer and concerned about using something with uncertain efficacy whose composition I didn’t understand.  7Systems addressed each of those issues:  it contains everything I need and nothing I don’t, and since starting to use it, I’ve felt healthier than at any point in the recent past.  I’m better able to juggle work, training and parenting, and have more energy and mental focus;  I’ve found that 7Systems does exactly what it claims to.

    Gord Henderson

    Jasper Blake- Ironman Champion


    “At the heart of it I believe the only way to get better is to train harder and smarter than everyone else and not get injured. To be honest, I usually stay clear of supplements but 7SYSTEMS has created a product that is worth using. Prior to Ironman Canada I incorporated 7SYSTEMS into my nutritional arsenal and it helped me get through one of the toughest training regimens of my career. 7SYSTEMS is a great product. It’s easy to use and takes the guess work out of my nutrition.”

    Jasper Blake, Winner, 2006 Ironman Canada

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    Nigel Gray

    nigel-gray“I have not been a big believer in supplements over the years. It was always hard to decide what exactly I needed and how much, and with numerous positive doping tests being attributed to uncertified supplements it stopped me from trying to sort it out. 7 Systems has solved all of this. By offering a certified product in which I can be sure of its content, as well as a daily mix of the appropriate vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants, it allows me to train and race with confidence knowing that my body is getting what it needs without any risk of inadvertently ingesting a banned substance.”

    Nigel Gray is the head coach, NRG Performance Training.  NRG is a Toronto based multisport team.  Nigel has been part of dozens of personal victories for people over the years.

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