Editor's Note: We're thrilled to welcome Ryan Falkenrath to our small team of contributing writer's. Today Ryan starts with this opinion story that takes a critical look at the highly advertised triathlon performance supplements.
Have you picked up your issue of Triathlete, VeloNews, Inside Triathlon, Lava or Running Times and seen an attention grabbing “article” on EPO-BOOST ?
The articles look legitimate from initial inspection. It boasts EPO-BOOST as a newer supplement that can increase your VO2max (ability to intake oxygen) and the rate at which your body uses oxygen, similar to the benefits of blood doping, synthetic drugs and the use of high altitude chambers. Blood doping and synthetic drugs have long since been illegal in most endurance arenas and cost many an athlete titles and careers.
Lance Armstrong has long been accused of using illegal means to garner himself 7 Tour de France titles. How else can a human being win one of the most grueling road cycling races 7 years in a row, right? Right?? The jury is still out on Lance as he has never been officially found guilty of using illegal endurance enhancements. There’s no proof. He can merely be a freak of nature, which is highly plausible.
But who wouldn’t want to race like Lance, or Chris McCormack or Mirinda Carfrae and win a local cycling race or triathlon without quitting your day job to train or taking illegal substances?
EPO-BOOST’s website advertises all of the scientific testing and qualifications of why their product is effective, safe and legal. Heck, for only $59.95 you can order your first supply and be on your way to enhanced physical performance in any sport you play! Triathlon, running, swimming, flag football or soccer, you play it, it can help you. If it’s in an actual article in Triathlete and Inside Triathlon, it’s got to be legitimate.
Everyone is sold, but wait!
There’s something fishy going on here. Take a step back. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Think about it. Maintain your current training and add EPO-BOOST and then it’s off to the races. While you cannot dismiss that this product could possibly help any athlete out there, the presentation of it in the multisport magazines raises an eyebrow. It’s not one lonely article in one magazine, it’s in several publications. It’s a full page article and looks like the latest news on the supplement front. But why is it in several magazines? When you get to the end, it reads like a sales pitch. It looks like an advertisement that’s a full page write-up instead of a 2 inch by 2 inch square in the back of the magazine. It’s clever advertising. Is it really the latest trend in the sport or full page adds that EPO-BOOST took out? Take a trip to your local GNC store (one of the leaders in supplements) and ask about EPO-BOOST and you’ll most likely get a raised eyebrow and, “I’m not sure that’s a legal supplement and we have not heard of it”.
Now, let’s not take away any credit to EPO-BOOST. It could be the next best thing. It could also open the door for performance enhancing ethics issues. It may be legal, but does that make it ok? Think about professional baseball and football and all of the problems they are having with performance enhancing drugs. True most problems are illegal substances, but a lot of fans and competitors are turned off knowing that some of those performances aren’t super human, but synthetically enhanced. That’s a whole other topic in itself.
EPO-BOOST has their testimonials and they probably are true to an extent. But let’s not put a pro race triathlon kit on Joe Blow triathlete and call him Chris McCormack. It may be a good or great supplement, but when you boil it down, for now it’s a clever ad campaign for another performance supplement in credible multisport publications.
Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog falkeetriathlon.blogspot.com, and is a married father of one (soon to be two), owner of three dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001. Ryan is also the Kansas Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughs HERE. Contact Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org
*All opinions expressed in this story are by the author and are not necessarily those of EMT.