Triathlete Magazine July 2009 - BASE Performance Product Review

Chris Lieto officially threw his hat into the ring of sports nutrition a year and a half ago. Since then, he’s learned what a challenge it can be to start a company, launch a brand and be a professional athlete. “As a full-time multisport competitor and family man, it’s all about energy and recovery. Well, and staying healthy,” explains the three-time Ironman champ. “I had been consulting some of the most trusted sports doctors for two years when I thought, ‘Hey, if I’m having to seek out customized help from experts, there must be something missing from today’s commercially available supplements.’”

And so a product was born. Lieto began by offering Base Amino and Base Water. His initial pitch for Base Amino was compelling: Essential amino acids allow for more efficient burning of fat, provide more energy, create leaner muscles, and facilitate better and faster recovery. Base Amino also includes adaptagens, which have garnered much attention and praise in recent years. Lieto tells us that he went back and forth about whether or not to create two products out of the Base Amino formula, but he decided that it was worth having a product that is basically two in one if athletes saw quick results while using it. We definitely did.

Base Water is structured water designed to improve the absorption of water into individual cells, taking hydration to the next level. We have been using both products for a little over a year now. Five or six months ago, Lieto added Base Electrolyte Salt and Base Recovery Activator to his line of products, which we’ve been using for about a month.

Although the jury’s still out on his structured water product here at Triathlete, it’s hard not to use it once you’ve read the testimonials of Lieto and other notable athletes. We found that on really hot days and before events, we couldn’t help but add a few drops of it to water bottles filled with filtered water, as he recommends.

With Base Amino and Base Electrolyte Salt, we experienced pronounced results after just a couple of long workouts. Base Salt works like good electrolyte tablets or liquid dripper supplements, but it comes in small canisters with a tiny scoop. Not only can you add it to your favorite sports drink along with Base Amino, but Lieto also encourages athletes to use it in place of table salt, flavoring cooked food with a generous helping of it following exercise. “Table salt and simple sodium chloride products lack the minerals necessary for effective hydration and sustained energy,” Lieto says. We have found Base Salt to be a great way to ward off muscle cramps. The canister makes it easy to use, and it does taste really good on food.

We haven’t been using Base Recovery Activator long enough (or strictly enough— two tablets in the morning and four after daily training) to give it a fair shake, so we’d like to provide a more thorough review of it at a later time. The product is designed to help the body more effectively digest and absorb carbohydrates consumed during and following exercise, restoring muscle glycogen levels for better and faster recovery. Lieto tells us that the best way to test its effectiveness is to use it during high-volume training for two weeks then suspend use for a few days. “When athletes stop taking Recovery Activator, they experience more fatigue and sorer muscles,” he says. Lieto reports that this is the same formula his research and development team has been providing to Olympic athletes and Tour de France riders for several years with excellent results.

As for Base Amino, we feel it provides many of the same adaptagen results we’ve experienced with other products containing Rhodiola rosea, with the added benefit of more sustained energy. Lieto credits it with helping him be his leanest and strongest in 2007, when he took sixth at Kona, and one of our testers says it’s one of the reasons he’s been able to stay near race weight during the off-season for the first time in years.

One of the things we like most about Base is that we can use it with other products: “My offering is not intended to replace sports food or energy drinks, but to enhance them,” explains Lieto. “They are complementary; it’s all about balance and giving your body what it needs when you’re pushing it to its limits.”

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