Nutrition is never more important than in a world record attempt, as Colin O’Brady, professional endurance athlete, knows well. In his recent and successful manned-row across the treacherous Drake Passage, O’Brady’s partnership with Standard Process helped keep the six-man team fueled and healthy throughout the twelve-day, 655.2-nautical mile expedition – breaking five world records in the process.
“Standard Process is my secret weapon,” said O’Brady. “This is the third expedition I’ve partnered with them on, and the entire ‘Impossible Row’ team was so happy to have something with as high-quality nutrition and as efficient to eat as the ‘Colin bar.’”
The nutrition science team at the Standard Process Nutrition Innovation Center (NIC) in Kannapolis, North Carolina, updated the custom expedition bar (Colin bar) developed for O’Brady’s “Impossible First” trek across Antarctica in 2018. Hand-made, including whole food-based, nutrient-dense ingredients and a blend of Standard Process’ supplements, the ingredients were reviewed and updated to support the new challenges Colin and his team would face:
- the environment, including cold temperatures and constant wetness,
- the level of anticipated physical activity, concentrated in the upper body and core,
- nutritional deficiencies that may occur due to high physical demand and limited food access, and
- the shorter duration of the expedition.
“Nutrition is extremely important with this kind of attempt; every ingredient had to add value to the bar,” said Kristine Polley, PhD, nutrition scientist at the NIC. “We added higher carbohydrates for more energy, vitamins for energy metabolism, and supplements to help support immune health.”
The six-man team rowed in two shifts, with 90 minutes of rowing and 90 minutes of rest, for the duration of the expedition. The quick recovery period – especially as the physical and mental exhaustion set in — is why the custom-made Standard Process bars were so important; the team needed to intake food and calories as quickly as possible so they could still have time to rest and recover. Freeze-dried meals that are typically consumed on this kind of expedition need preparation time, and have reduced nutrient value compared to the bars.
O’Brady and his team ate approximately four Standard Process custom nutrition bars per day. More than 600 custom bars were made for the expedition. To see several of the ingredients of the custom expedition bars, visit standardprocess.com/Campaign/Colin-OBrady.
“No one on the team got sick — everyone stayed strong the entire time, all the way to the very end,” said O’Brady. “You often see an ocean rowing or project like this where guys break down, people miss shifts or need to pick up extra rest, which weighs on the entire team. But with the nutrition of the ‘Colin bars’ we stayed really strong and healthy throughout the entire expedition and were ultimately successful.”
O’Brady’s “Impossible Row” team included five additional crew: Jamie Douglas-Hamilton, John Petersen, Andrew Towne, Cameron Bellamy, and Fiann Paul. These champion rowers broke two existing world records, and set three new world records during their journey: First row on the Southern Ocean; First row across the Drake Passage; First row to the Antarctic continent; Southernmost start of a rowing expedition; and Southernmost latitude reached by a rowing vessel.
The Standard Process NIC is one of the only clinical research centers of its kind, dedicated to both mid- and long-term support of whole food-based clinical nutrition. During the partnership with O’Brady, the NIC collected blood samples and data on his health before and after his expeditions to evaluate his condition and adjust his nutrition to optimize both his physical and mental health, ensure proper recovery, and get him ready for the next adventure.
“Coming to the Nutrition Innovation Center right before and right after my expeditions has been crucial to capture this important data to continue to optimize my health, as well as hopefully show others what they can do as they optimize their own health through high-performance supplementation and whole food-based ingredients with Standard Process,” said O’Brady.
Through the partnership and experience with Colin, the nutrition science team at the NIC developed sports performance and recovery kits for athletes and customers of all kinds to fuel their “Impossible First.” These performance products deliver the nutrition needed to help support the body and mind during training, competition, and recovery by supporting muscles and joints and helping to address the inflammation response process. For more information about Standard Process sports performance and recovery products, visit standardprocess.com/Campaign/Sports-Performance-Recovery-Products.