Backyard Brawl: Post-WOD Wrap Up

Frank Beauvais of Snake River CrossFit and Red Rush’s own Nic Wright sat down and talked about the first-ever Backyard Brawl.

Full Results

The Backyard Brawl: A Story in Pictures

World Health Organization: “Energy Drinks Are A Menace!”

energy drinks

As the evidence mounts, it’s getting easier and easier to rag on energy drinks. I mean, it’s kind of like making fun of forty-five-year-old Juggalos at this point. But as Rodney Anonymous once said “Just because it’s an easy target, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a target.”  The World Health Organization recently released a study that exposed the dangers behind energy drinks.

Science Daily:

“From a review of the literature, it would appear that concerns in the scientific community and among the public regarding the potential adverse health effects of the increased consumption of energy drinks are broadly valid.”


What makes energy drinks so “menacing” are their copious amounts of caffeine. And unlike coffee which is usually served hot, energy drinks can be guzzled rapidly, leading to a condition called “caffeine intoxication.”

According to WHO researchers, caffeine intoxication can potentially lead to heart palpatations, hypertension, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, psychosis and sometimes death. Children are the ones most often affected by this condition.

The World Health Organization researchers outlined a list of regulations that it would like to see implemented to deal with these possible health problems.

–Age regulations

–Limits on the caffeine per serving

–Change the marketing to limit youth exposure

–Public education, especially to those with substance abuse problems

–Further research

Other “fun” facts from the study: 

Young people who drink energy drinks are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors.

Nearly 5000 calls were made to poison centers in regards to energy drinks in a year’s time.

They make getting drunk riskier.

The Moral: 

Drink beet juice. No added sugar, no caffeine, just simple vegetable nitrates for improved blood flow and stamina. A subdued, laid-back and healthy way to stay energized.

Brian Pace: Author, Coach, Sports Nutritionist, Table Tennis Star, Competitive Cyclist, Red Rush Athlete

coconut cup 022507 oleta

Brian Pace is a Renaissance Man. He’s won over 18 National Titles in table tennis, is the highest ranked African American in the history of US Table Tennis, coached players to national titles and is a competitive cyclist and cycling coach. He’s also the author of ten books on the subjects of juicing, cycling and table tennis. If all that doesn’t impress you, here’s a video of Brian playing table tennis with Dallas Mavericks Coach, Rick Carlisle.

RR: How did you get your start in table tennis? 

Brian Pace: The “Nike” of table tennis was in my home town. Some people came to our school and put on exhibition and told us that if we wanted to learn more to come down to the table tennis center. I was mesmerized by the yellow balls and all the stuff they were doing. That basically put me on an important pipeline.

I quickly became one of the top players, and the Olympic Training Center called me and wanted me to leave North Carolina to train in Colorado Springs.

My mother was against it at first. She didn’t understand. The people from the Olympic Training Center told her that ‘I was first in my age category and had only been playing for a couple of years. Everyone else in the program had been playing for nine years. I was one of the most improved players in history.’

She still said no. I did everything in my power to change her mind.  They flew her out and showed her the facility. The Olympic Training Center was a place where the best athletes in the country–Carl Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya, Shaq–all came to train. That’s when my mom realized that this was really an impressive opportunity for me.

It was a little bit of a ground-shaker. I kind of lost my footing. I wasn’t ready. Imagine if you’re playing basketball and suddenly everyone wants you on their team. And then when they get you on the team, they ask if  you can dunk and you’re like ‘I never said I could dunk.’ I didn’t really know what getting involved in that program meant.

We’d have to get up at six in the morning to train before going to school until 2:45 and then train until 5:30 at night. I had never trained at high altitudes before. I’d run twenty-five feet and get exhausted. The Olympic program had a sharp trajectory, but that’s one of the reasons why I chose to do it.

RR: What is the world of professional international table tennis like? 

BP: Table tennis is pretty hot from an international standpoint. I’m more well-known in other countries. If I go there for a tournament, they say that’s the American dude, that’s the black dude. I lived in Europe for three years. I had a pretty good lifestyle.

You get a lot of free stuff from the sponsors there. The sponsors will set you up with a car and an apartment and food at the grocery store. You may only make like 40 k a year, but you get 30 k in perks. You travel seventy miles to play a team, and then the next week they travel to play you. You just do that the whole season.

There were 250,000 people in the city in Romania where I lived. I was the only black person there. From their standpoint, they see a black dude and they assume that you know all the black dudes in America or just all the Americans. People would ask ‘how’s P. Diddy? How’s Snoop Dogg?’ or ‘How’s Elton John?’ I was like, dude, he’s not even American. They could tell I was American because of the way I dressed. I didn’t know Americans dressed a certain way. People would come up to me and say ‘those are American shoes.’

It was a remarkable experience on every level, but eventually I just wanted to go home and watch SportsCenter. You get homesick.  Back in ’99 the Internet was not yet something you could watch all your shows on. I missed my local radio station. You lose footing with what’s hot. Jordan came out of retirement at that time. I didn’t hear much about it. There was a headline about a bombing in the Middle East, something about an albino alligator and like a five-second story on Jordan playing for the Washington Wizards. I would have liked to have heard more about it at that time.

Brian Pace Table Tennis Cycling

RR: There was a clause in your contract that disallowed you from cycling while playing professional table tennis. Did you miss cycling? 

BP: At 16, I was introduced to professional cycling at the Olympic Training Center, and I’ve been using cycling as my cross-training ever since. Cycling is huge in Europe. They said I couldn’t cycle, and I was like how do I cross train? I’m a double athlete.

One of their top table tennis players had been paralyzed in a moped accident and there was a sweep across Europe: No motorcycles, no mopeds, no skateboards. I had to use a stationary bike.

Literally, if you cycled, your contract was null and void. I could change my contract because I didn’t like the phone the sponsors provided. I could change my contract to switch apartments, but they wouldn’t budge on cycling.

RR: Are you more into cycling or table tennis now? 

BP: I’ve been torn between the two as of late. Table tennis is the cute girlfriend with the really bad attitude. You don’t know how she’s going to be from day to day. Cycling is the mistress who cooks for you and doesn’t rock the boat.

The big thing is traveling. From Virginia down, I’m the best player in the country. To get beat, I have to leave my region. It’s not a bragging thing. I’ve beaten everyone since 1997. I’ve lost five times since I’ve moved to Florida. You can check my history. Most people lose three times a month. If I’m going to play competitively, I’m going to need a bigger pond. In Romania, I got beat a lot, even though playing there was the right thing for me to do.

A lot of my friends who play table tennis aren’t professional athletes, and they just don’t have the time to train or can’t get out of work often enough to do serious table tennis. Cycling is how I keep my competitive fires burning.  There are fifteen or so people who I train with who are just as good as me.

RR: You do mountain biking and road biking. Is there a difference in how you train? 

BP: You have to train longer for road cycling. We don’t have mountains in Florida, but we have really jagged trails. In Florida, the trails go up 45 feet at 40 degrees. It’s almost more like climbing. You get really beat up from mountain biking. After an hour and twenty minutes, your hands and your butt are numb. Mountain biking is physically harder because you have to jump and maneuver. Your abs and core get sore.

Road cycling is legs, just legs. In mountain biking, you may be able to position yourself to cushion a sore spot from the bumps, but there is no hiding your legs in road cycling.

RR: How did you get into cyclist training? 

BP: I was training table tennis players when one of them asked if I was a really a cyclist. I didn’t like the word cyclist. It was just cross-training.  There was a local fitness center. They asked me to get certified and come teach on Sunday. It was a great two-hour workout, and I started teaching and it just sort of snowballed.

RR: You’ve written extensively about juicing. What’s your juicing philosophy? 

Brian Pace Juice Book

BP: You can juice for speed, endurance and power. The reason I got into writing these books was because no one had written anything about juicing for athletes. Way back before it was popular, I was juicing when you had to get fresh produce from the farmer’s markets because the supermarket stuff had pesticides. Juicing was kind of my introduction to a healthy lifestyle.

Everything was taken care of at the Olympic Training Center. They made sure I was eating healthy, like getting enough iron for the high altitude. I went to college and had to get a job at a burger place because there was no funding for table tennis. I had to throw away everything I learned about nutrition until I got a private coaching job.

When I got a real job, my kitchen transformed. I stopped going to juice bars and spending 16 dollars a day on juice. Back then I got a juicer called a Norwalk. Norman Walker was the founder of juicing. He was supposed to die and he juiced some carrots and watermelon and got himself back to health. Being able to juice allows you to keep your health at a better level. I was a crash test dummy for juicing in those days, and I’d go down to the library to learn about celery or carrots or whatever and then try it out.

RR: What are your views on beet juice? 

BP: Beet juice is another cute girl with a bad attitude.  If you’re drinking 16 oz of beet juice a day, you will not have anything in your intestines. It cleans you out. Your body cannot easily hold 16 oz of beet juice every single day.

I drank 16 oz of beet juice for sixteen days and did laps around the park on a bike. I knocked over a minute off of my time. People using drugs cannot get that result. Steroids may make you stronger, but nothing else decreases the oxygen cost of exercise.

I wrote a book on how to juice beets. Now, I just tell people to drink Red Rush because it gives you a more concentrated benefit. You no longer have to go to the store, find, clean and juice beets and then wash up after. I just hit the shot and I’m done. Red Rush made it cheaper and easier and took away the guess work. Also, I’ve never had gastrointestinal problems with Red Rush.

If someone gets a new set of wheels or a new heart rate monitor, everybody wants the latest gadget. It’s harder to get them to change their food rituals.The last two times I’ve went out, my friends could tell something was different. I’m famous for cramping up in the home stretch. I don’t cramp up anymore. I’m not selling my peers on Red Rush. I don’t have to. They just have to look at my performance.

Visit Brian Pace’s Amazon Author Page

Visit Dynamic Table Tennis:

Visit Pace Cycle Training 


10 Nutrients You Need for Optimal Vascular Health


You may ask yourself “How does a beet, a vegetable I rarely think about without adequate prompting, help improve athletic performance?”  Well, hypothetical 2nd person-character, beet juice contains nitrate and that nitrate is converted naturally by the body into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a signalling agent that causes blood vessels to widen. Wider blood vessels allow more blood, oxygen and nutrients to get to the areas where they are needed.  Hard-working muscles need oxygen badly to continue working hard, and because they are getting that oxygen, they can (according to the studies) work about 10-16% longer.

Nitric oxide is manufactured in the endothelial lining of your veins. The reason why prople over forty tend to manufacture less nitric oxide naturally is because stress, poor diet, and the aging process tend to whittle away at that lining. Maintaining proper vascular health is paramount to tip-top beet juice supplementation. Here is a list of ten nutrients that can help your veins run smoothly. Remember, this ain’t medical advice. This information is for entertainment purposes only. All information has been sourced with links.

1. Magnesium

Dr. Russel Blaylock of NewsMax Health:

Magnesium reduces inflammation in blood vessels (the real cause of atherosclerosis), deters platelets from adhering to the walls of blood vessels, and reduces free-radical damage to body tissues.

Also, magnesium sulfate has been used to treat sore muscles for years.

2. Fiber (not technically a nutrient) 

Fiber helps lower your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is bad because it clogs up your arteries. According to the Cleveland Clinic, consuming three servings of fiber a day is ideal.

3. COq 10

According to a 2012 study, “COq10 supplementation is associated with significant improvement in endothelial function.”

4. Vitamin C

A study out of John Hopkins found that the test subjects who consumed large amounts of vitamin C, had lower blood pressures afterward. They aren’t quite sure why that happened, but there is a lot of evidence that vitamin C protects arteries.

5. Niacin (Vitamin B-3)

Niacin has a track record of lowering the bad kind of cholesterol and raising the good kind. Niacin supplementation is controversial, but you can find it in foods like chicken, broccoli, beets and asparagus.

6. Vitamin K

Vitamin K has been linked to better vascular health, fewer varicose veins and it may have the ability to prevent arterial calcification.

7. Flavanoids 

According the the European Food Information Council, cocoa flavanoids may:

-inhibit the oxidation of bad cholesterol

-help keep platelets from forming blood clots

-regulate vascular tone

8. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the likelihood of blood clots and arterial plaque build-up and they might increase good cholesterol and protect the arteries during inflammation.

9. Garlic/Hydrogen Sulfide

According to a study out of the University of Alabama Birmingham, garlic boosts the production of hydrogen sulfide, a compound that helps to relax the arteries.

10. Vitamin D

Most people don’t get enough vitamin D in their diets. That’s too bad, because a lack of vitamin D can really stiffen those arteries.

7 Natural Ways to Relieve Post-Workout Pain


During the Backyard Brawl, I discovered that I had several  muscles that I have never used. Then I proceeded to overuse each and every one of them. Upon returning home, I collapsed into a stationary heap for the rest of the weekend. My odious moans echoed throughout my dull, suburban neighborhood, scaring off several murders of crows. The dogs whined and howled, afraid of my inhuman clamor. My poor wife spoon-fed me mush between hoarse, caustic yelps. My muscles spasmed as if electrocuted by invisible lightning bolts hurled by Zeus. My wife wept at the monstrous display of truculent suffering splayed out upon the parlor floor. She gnashed her teeth and tore at her silken hair.

OK. It wasn’t that bad. But yeah, I was sore, just with a lot less melodrama. Here are seven natural ways to deal with soreness. Please note that melodrama–the kind usually reserved for shows on the CW and the Victorian Era–does not help with muscle soreness.

1. Ice

A 2014 review found that ice baths reduced muscle soreness by twenty percent when compared to doing absolutely nothing.

2. Cherry Juice

Tart cherries are known for their ability to reduce inflammation and soothe muscles, but sweet cherries, like the ones in Red Rush, may also help out in that department.

3. Stretching

Stretching is  controversial because no one is quite sure how or if it really works. A lot of people swear by it though. Men’s Fitness provided an explanation that makes the most sense and is, hopefully, the least controversial.

When muscles are in recovery mode they tend to tighten up, exacerbating feelings of soreness. Slow, gentle stretching of the area will relieve that tight feeling and diffuse the pain.

4. Hydration

Water helps lubricate your joints, promoting pain-free movement.

Not drinking enough water can also hurt athletic performance, so drink enough water, guys.

5. Light Exercise

Weirdly, putting the muscles back to work in a non-strenuous way can reduce muscle pain.

6. Protein: 

Sports Medicine:

 Overwhelmingly, studies have consistently demonstrated the acute benefits of protein supplementation on post-exercise muscle anabolism, which, in theory, may facilitate the recovery of muscle function and performance

Researchers at Iowa State found that protein may relieve muscle soreness.

7. Improved Circulation

A new study on massage found that it can relieve muscle soreness by increasing circulation systemically. But massage isn’t the the only thing that improves circulation. Nitric oxide widens blood vessels and speeds up blood flow in a similar fashion. Additionally, improved circulation can get more blood to working muscles and helps remove lactic acid quicker. Lactic acid isn’t related to delayed onset muscle soreness, but it is linked to prolonged muscle discomfort and fatigue.

Heat therapy is also used to widen blood vessels, allowing more nutrients to get to sore areas.

So when you don’t have time for a massage or a sauna, beet juice may be the next best thing.

Bonus: Magnesium Sulfate has been an age-old remedy for post-workout pain.