Tag: ironman

By: Bert Grobben

In today’s urban city environment, we all face endless opportunities and seemingly also endless challenges. Living in one of the most exciting places in the world, at least for me, is an absolute thrill simply because this is the place where I can do what I love to do. On this journey there will always be demands and requirements imposed on us that we just have to deal with. And some we actually don’t. On the wrong side of trying to keep a balance between what I absolutely need to do and what is ‘optional’, I can feel pressured, anxious, unclear, uncreative, restless, … in short, stressed. And what I dislike about stress, is that this is a situation that might seem like a never-ending vicious circle. In the past, I would actually be good at stressing myself out even more by getting stuck in a mindset that perpetuates an unbalanced situation.

So how do I tackle stress these days. First of all, and this may sound like a cliché, I have learned the signs of when I am stressed, versus being at peace, or versus being even more stressed than usual. Sometimes you don’t even recognize you went off track, as slow changes over time go unnoticed. So being able to self-diagnose is important. Once I call myself out, I can take a deep breath and tackle the problem.

It’s also key to recognize the difference between short term stress and long term stress, and that solutions for each of them are likely different. You just don’t go on a chill holiday when the house is on fire.

Short term stress I address head on these days by:

• Listing down what’s on my mind, and separate items between what I can control, and what I cannot control. There is no point to stress about things I cannot control, so for these items I rationally come up with a plausible action plan to tackle whatever it is. I say ‘rational’, because emotional bias often is a barrier towards seeing a solution.

• Making a To-Do list. I keep a notebook next to my bed and a task manager app on my phone. A simple thing as writing down a task, and ticking it off later, helps a lot. Even late at night, when my brain is still spinning, noting down my thoughts works very relaxing. I know it’ll be right there when I wake up, so I can stop noodling about it.

• Breaking the mental status quo. I can break the mental barrier that comes with short term stress by making changes in my environment.
– Putting on the music I love helps a lot in creating a positive mindset and boost my energy levels. There is nothing music can’t make better for me. I use headphones, and not speakers, as these allow me to block out my surroundings for a while (no matter where I am), and mentally zoom in without distractions.
– Change my physical surroundings. Going to an open space like an outdoor café, a park, or just sitting at the pool opens up my mind and helps me see things in a different light (literally). I stopped assuming that doing the same thing, at the same place, in the same environment promotes change. Like now, I am not writing this blog at home or in the office. I’m writing from my favorite outdoor coffee shop.
– Eat and drink. I need to keep my brain functioning well by drinking at least 2-3L water throughout the day, and eat to fuel my body. I won’t go into much more detail here and nutrition and hydration is a whole topic in itself.
– Taking a break. Getting my blood flowing always helps in destressing. I feel better after a run, a swim or a bike session. The harder I push, the better I feel. That energy rush, and the endorphin kick, changes my mindset right away.

• Getting help. Face it, we can’t handle the world on our own, so sometimes we just need to ask for help. And yes, as a typical man, I tend to think I have to do stuff on my own, and I will always try first. But eventually I’ll ask for help. But when asking for help, I try to be mindful not to share the problem and offload, but really fix the issue and share the solution.

Tackling long term stress is a whole different ballgame. For now, I make choices that help me become healthier and stronger over time. Whatever the future holds, I will be in a better position to deal with it when I look after myself first. That’s why I do my sport, because when I am physically fit, my mind is also fitter. I look after my diet because when my nutrition is well balanced and healthy, my whole being changes for the better. There are no quick fixes for these 2 areas, so I focus on creating a lifestyle that promotes health first.


About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

How performance and recovery are of utmost importance for sustaining an active lifestyle

By: Lynnette Koh

Most student athletes understand the demand placed on having to focus on both academics and juggling training throughout the semester. We train before class, in between class, and after class. Wake up, eat, study, train, sleep, repeat.  Yup that’s the life of a student athlete. Honestly being in university is the best time for us to enjoy and excel as athletes before adulting gets to us.

Being a student athlete majoring in sport and exercise science, are two things that really come in hand in hand. Not only did I develop an understanding of the human responses to sport and exercise but I could AND should actually apply this knowledge to how my own performance and recovery can be monitored, analysed and enhanced so that every training that I put myself through is fully optimized. I was kind of like my own guinea pig, putting to practice what I learned on myself.

As we all know, completion of every training session leads to an increase in numerous physiological stressors such as muscle damage, oxidative stress and inflammation. If recovery is inadequate following exercise, it may prevent completion of subsequent training sessions required to drive adaptation and/or improve performance. Inadequate recovery may also increase risks of injury, illness and overtraining. Hence any strategy to reduce the negative effect of exercise-induced muscle damage and/or accelerate the recovery process is greatly welcome for any athlete.

Exercise performance and recovery are two very important factors for all athletes, recreational or elite. With the help of Astavita Sports, a supplement containing AstaReal® astaxanthin, I feel that this year I’ve been able to enhance performance through the benefit of delayed onset of fatigue, really helping me in my endurance sports. Furthermore, what I found even more beneficial was the effect it had on recovery for me. Having gotten into triathlons recently while still pursuing my passion for sport climbing meant that I was juggling four different sports (climbing, swimming, cycling and running.) Most days required a double session of training. One in the morning and one in the evening just to be able to train sufficiently for all four sports. This can sound really exhausting but I grew to love triathlons as much as climbing and I didn’t want to give up either sport, so that just meant I had to manage both of them well.



Lynnette Koh is a sport climber and an aspiring triathlete. Despite a bad fall which resulted in a spinal fracture, she never gave up her love for sports and got up even stronger than before. She believes that the “impossible can be possible” and enjoys challenging herself. Lynnette consumes Astavita Sports to help her improve recovery from muscle fatigue. You may follow her on Instagram: @lynnettekoh


By: Bert Grobben

It has been a while since I wrote, and shared with you all how my journey is progressing. It’s been a tough couple of month during which my path towards the 2020 goals has been meandering. But this is real life. The road between to where we are now, and were we want to go is never a straight line, and life will always have its ups and downs. Ok, I am not going to tell you that something major has happened, and that something like an accident knocked me off track. No, the events were much more subtle. Like every one of us, we get distracted from our goals one little step at the time.

So what really happened, is that we got good news. Almost too much of it. Growth in my company Budding Innovations was picking up. We were getting a chance to pitch for exciting contracts, while new partnerships were being forged. And as with any young company, a growing pipeline comes with the challenge of putting infrastructure in place and driving the bottom line financials to actually pay for that. One day at the time we were all working a bit harder, a bit longer. It was all great stuff, and since I was in between races, I didn’t feel the performance pressure and the fact that work was unconsciously driving me to reduce training efficiency.

Keeping that balance was very tough and slowly it tipped in favour of work. Long story short, months had flown by and I suddenly realised that the Trifactor Triathlon was just around the corner. Mentally I was still believing I was still as ready as during IM70.3 Taiwan, but I got a shocking reality check when I pushed training intensity up. My edge was gone, and it felt like I had reversed the clock 2 years. Man, it was so demotivating to notice that the results from all that past hard work had disappeared. Gone. Reset. So in a somewhat desperate attempt to make a turnaround, I started pushing up training intensity dramatically, while keeping up with a manic work schedule. And this was wrong. This extra push caused a downward spiral, simply because I was exhausting myself physically and mentally even further. Pushing only works, when you have proper balance.

So when on the morning of the Trifactor Triathlon I had to decide to drop out, that was a low point. Rationally it was the right thing to do, as I was too sick to start. But mentally and emotionally, I knew it had come to this because I let things slip over the past months

These are moments in life where we need to make interventions. We know we have gone off-track, so we have a choice to turn things around, or stay on the downward spiral. Getting back on track is hard work, because at that point you are physically and mentally drained. So how am I managing my turnaround? Let me share a few tips that are working for me now:

  • Remove what causes extra stress: Some stress is good, but too much causes me to loose efficiency quickly as I overcompensate. A few weeks after Trifactor Triathlon, I was planning to participate in IM70.3 Bintan. This was weighing on me because I wasn’t aiming to race to just finish and collect yet another medal. I wanted to start to do better. So instead of worrying about getting ready for Bintan, I choose to remove that race from my schedule altogether. Not having to go through “training – taper – race – recovery”, created a stress free period to really focus on a more sustainable recovery and turnaround plan.
  • Make new future plans, that are realistic. Since Bintan was not going to happen, I looked at the remainder for the year, and looked into making adjustments to the race schedule. Scheduled races are great motivators to work towards, so make sure to set that new realistic goals.
  • Envision the future, focus on today. Yes, I still aim to qualify for the 2020 IM70.3 World championships. That ultimate goal has not changed. But for now I have to focus on what I can do today to make that physical and mental turnaround first, before pushing ahead full steam towards that goal. This also means being disciplined again on choosing those activities in a day that help me to get there. Keep distractions to a minimum.
  • Focus on what I CAN do today, not what I cannot. Every day now I make the most of my time. I’ll get my critical work deliverables done, and I’ll focus on the key priorities. I feel better because I got work done. Same for training. I take my current level as it is, and make the best of every training I do. And not surprisingly, after a short while you notice that your good habits are returning. Small improvements work self-motivating, and instead of feeling worse, I started to feel better and more confident again. And after a few weeks, you are back to regular training schedule.
  • Focus on your diet. Working crazy hours unavoidably leads to a slipping healthy diet. High stress also increases your cortisol hormone level, which causes your body to store more fat easily, which contributes to weight gain (or making it more difficult to lean out). Work will remain stressful, rather than taking drastic actions, I focus on reducing my calorie intake and I’m trying out intermittent fasting. I’m starting to see my weight, and energy levels change for the better already.
  • Choose to be positive. Happiness is a state of mind, and anytime when life is tough, focusing on the positive side, helps to keep energising yourself and the people around you.
  • Take your supplements. Throughout the past months, I have continued to take my supplements, and especially AstaVita Sports. Although dietary supplements cannot make up for poor overall choices, for sure they help mitigate some of the damage. My physical condition most likely would have been worse, if it wasn’t for me to keep supplementing. And to be fair, AstaVita Sports has definitely supported me during the long and crazy working hours. It’s not only during and after sport we need recovery. Intense working days are also draining, and you need to recover just as much. So keep supplementing, and add your daily dose of Natural Astaxanthin to your diet.

So, I’m keeping it real. Every day is a new opportunity to do better, and I hope that by sharing the good and the challenges in my journey, you all can find some inspiration on things you can try yourself to drive your own turnaround if you need one.


About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

By: Bert Grobben

How many times have you heard people say: ”Calories don’t count when you are traveling”. It’s like you get an out-of-jail-for-free pass as soon as you check into your flight and leave home for whichever destination.  This is exactly what my mindset was in a past corporate life. The problem with this, was that I travelled so much back then, that my weight was going up literally each time I picked up my luggage from the baggage belt. The time I’d spend at home in between trips trying to get back to normal simply wasn’t long enough. Calories when traveling count as much as they do at home.

When travelling now, there are a few things I do differently. I’m writing this article while we’re on a sleeper bus in Vietnam, on our way to Sappa. Trips like this, 5 weeks before the opening race of the 2018 IM season, pose a particular challenge. Getting closer to race day, I’m ramping up training volume, but also cutting weight. Over the past 2 months there has been a focus on building strength, which allowed me to bulk a bit more, but now the diet switch to leaning out is starting. When I left home, I weighed in at a not so impressive 77.7kg, which is above my target, so let’s see where I’m at coming back home next week.

So, what will I do different this time to make sure I stay on track:

  • Leverage climate: Hanoi is a bit cooler this time of year, and Sappa, where we are heading now, is freezing. To stay warm, our bodies burn calories. This first thing I will do is dress comfortably but stay cool. Not cold, but chill enough to boost my bodies internal heater and burn some more calories. We’ll do the same at night; sleep with the windows open, and stay warm under a thick blanket, instead of turning on a heater.
  • Increase your effort level: we always stay active when we travel, visiting many local places. This time I will deliberately carry a bigger backpack, and fill it with the essentials for that day. So instead of buying small bottles of drinks on the go, we plan ahead and carry the full daily need with us in bigger size packs. Not only does this save you money and packaging waste, it also increases your calorie burn rate simply because you’re carrying a heavier load. It’ll get easier to carry across the day as you’re drinking and snacking.
    • I take it up another level by wearing my ankle weights each day. 2kg extra on each ankle is really making a difference when you are doing +21k steps per day. By the end of the day, this actually means you will have moves 41tons on weight, just a few centimeters off the ground. Many little steps add up!
  • Uber less. We tour a lot, and want to get lost in every city just to discover new places. Plan your day ahead, so you don’t take public transport or ride services too often. Instead, try to walk from one hotspot to the next. This will keep you active for longer, and boost your legs endurance. Also try to take the stairs, and avoid elevators and escalators when possible.
  • Eat according to your activity level: This is probably the most important one. When we are surrounded with so much mouth watering food options, it’s hard to stay true to a munching strategy. So here are a few things I will do:
    • Vietnam is coffee kingdom, so I will have my shots, predominantly black (no sugar). This will avoid carby calories, and keep my metabolism higher. I also love the egg coffee here, which adds in a protein kick.
  • Noodles for breakfast. I’ll have a (limited) dose of healthy carbs in the morning, when I get a chance to burn it off. We do need energy for do all the touring, so indulging at the start of the day is better than having the same at night. Do make sure to add enough protein and fat in your meals. This will help keeping you full longer, and avoid resorting to snacking in between meals.
  • Keep portion size down: Aim to try more dishes, rather than “all you can eat” on the one you love. It’s better to stop eating before you feel full, move on to the next place, and try something else. This will spread your calorie loading over more time, and even better, it gives you a chance to sample more local food delicacies.
  • Supplement: I always take my supplements with me. Changing countries and having a different diet, does put some stress on the body. To allow me to digest well, prevent me from falling sick, or have digestive challenges when eating as a local, I will make sure to hydrate well, take my mineral and vitamin supplements, and of course my daily dose of Astaxanthin.

These are some of the tricks I use. Please share yours as well. I’d love to learn from how you stay on track towards your goals.


About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

By: Bert Grobben

With the first IM70.3 race of the 2018 season coming closer, I feel my excitement building. Coming closer to race day, and counting down in my training schedule, brings up lots of different feelings. I really look forward to traveling to Taiwan again as my last time was a few years ago. Back then I just saw office buildings and factories, so I welcome this Trication to also experience Taiwan in a very different way. I feel excited as my body feels stronger than before, and I look forward to starting the race in Taitung to see and feel the progress I made.

Besides the positive vibes, I also feel nervous. While these are the weeks training volume in increasing, I also face the challenge of the workload building as well. My team is doing fantastic work, which is recognised with an increased program load. While business will come first, I do want to keep investing the effort needed to push my performance in IM70.3. So my challenge is how to push harder, without increasing the time I need to spend on training.

My trick is fairly simple. I keep training times the same but push up training intensity as far as I can. In addition, I turn time in the office into effective training time.

  • Leverage small breaks during office time to get your blood flowing; Many of us have a desk bound job, or are at least spending quite some time sitting down. To keep our bodies healthy (and our minds alert) one should periodically move anyhow. I use small break to walk up and down the stairs a few times. Skip 2 or 3 steps for increased intensity
  • On days where I only have internal meetings, or with partners I know well, I come to the office wearing my Ankle weights. The first time I wore these, it raised a few eyebrows. But wearing ankle weights all day long, doesn’t sound like much effort at the start, but after 12 hours, you actually burned a lot more calories, and your legs got a workout they normally wouldn’t get. Make it extra tough by walk the stairs while wearing ankle weights.
  • For my CycleOps bike rides at home, I create tougher training conditions by keeping windows closed and aircon off. On weekends, I train while the sun is out for extra toughness. On days that I only have 1h for a bike session, I wear an altitude mask, to restrict breathing, and train under hypoxic conditions. This makes a short training double as efficient.
  • Leverage HIIT on run days when a longer session can’t be done. Always make sure to warm up first for 10 – 15minutes. Afterwards, I push my run pace, or bike cadence, as hard as I can, until I reach my maximum heart rate. Afterwards, reduce pace/cadence and let your heart rate recover to Zone 2. Keep cycling through these intervals for as long as time allows, or your body can take it. If you get too tired, cool down slowly. If you feel physical discomfort, stop, hydrate and consumer some easy to digest calories. For me some Pocari is enough, but you may need something more.

As always, enjoy training. A short training session is better than no training session. Every time you push the boundaries, you are making progress.


About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

By Bert Grobben

When we are training, we focus on skills that are relevant to the sport we do. The training objective is to get stronger, faster, longer lasting, and more efficient at performing the movements needed for the discipline we are training for. To prevent injury and over-training, it is important to alternate muscle groups, and to diversify your training schedule to develop overall fitness.

One aspect of training that often goes under-emphasized, is the need for cross training. This basically means to engage in a sport you generally don’t do, with the purpose of building skills in muscle groups that otherwise lag behind. Ideally, this cross training helps you build strength and endurance for the muscle groups that are critical for your main sport. So I’m not talking about playing table tennis when you are a triathlete.

During our Lunar New Year trip in Vietnam, we included one such cross training event, that fitted within the spirit of our trip. We love to explore, and be active outdoors. We have set a challenging goal of climbing Mount Fansipan (3,143m) in 1 day. Ascending and descending South East Asian’s second highest mountain had a dual purpose; 1) experience the breathtaking views during the climb and at the top and 2) give us a workout we’d remember! And man, some workout this became.

My partner, Giang, had warned me that this was not going to be an easy climb – quite the opposite. Me being me, I didn’t take that too seriously, and decided to increase the challenge by planning to do the climb with 2 x 2kg ankle weights on, and carrying a 10kg backpack. A few eye rolls later, there we were, 5:30am, at the starting point of the trail, ready to go. The main objective of doing the climb was to give my legs the extra challenge of lifting extra weight with each step, while working all the balancing muscle groups with each unique movement needed to get over any obstacle. The intent of the backpack on the other hand, was to work on core & upper body strength endurance during all the maneuvering and balancing across the climb. And of course, all that added weight was for sure going to give my legs a run for it.

As some of the picture will show you, it was tough, really Ironman race kinda tough – and tougher. But it was all worth it. The views we got when we finally made it to the peak, far above all clouds, and finally saw the blue sky, after an otherwise very foggy climb, were absolutely breathtaking. The journey up, was actually a whole series of microclimate changes. Every few 100m had something else in store for us. Going from wet and slippery, to foggy and bone chilling windy. From fairly smooth terrain to sharp rocks, steep cliffs and slippery slopes. Seeing nature (and weather) in all of its diversity and raw beauty, is a humbling experience. Trying to conquer the elements by dragging yourself and added weights up and down that mountain, is even more humbling. It was not just an extreme physical challenge, it was also mentally tough. There is always a point where your mind wants to give up, and throw those ankle weights down the next cliff. But I couldn’t give up, after Giang’s eye rolls… I had to suck it up and make it all the way up and down.

So after 12.5hrs stroll up and down a mountain (usually a 2-day trek), I got exactly the workout I was hoping for. Every muscle fiber in my legs was pushed to the limit. Both of us couldn’t properly stand anymore, and when the adrenaline wore off, our legs were still trembling. My upper body was sore and totally worn out. Taking that backpack off and not having to carry it over any more hurdles was bliss. Mentally, I was empty for a few minutes. Coming close to your limits, and giving it all you have to keep going is also part of mental toughness training.

An hour later, after a fantastic local Sapa hotpot, warm tea, a steaming hot bath, and an extra dose of Astavita Sports, we were ourselves again. Both of us were a bit worried about how immobile our sore and stiff bodies would be the next day, but surprisingly, there was no morning after hangover. Yes, of course there was muscle soreness, and I had my usual steam-lobster sunburn, not nothing even close to what we were ready to embrace.

This mountain climb was extreme in several ways; breathtaking beauty of nature, gratitude to experience this with my partner, training intensity to the max (both physical and mental), and maximum efficiency recovery.


About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

By Bert Grobben

Taking on a challenging task, trying to reach a tough goal or making it through a demanding time, quite often becomes easier when you break things up into smaller pieces. When you divide a long journey into smaller steps, then each such step is a little effort. And a lot of those little efforts will add up to a great accomplishment.

Besides breaking things up, rewarding yourself when you made progress is equally important. We all love to be rewarded. We always put in some extra effort knowing that after meeting an objective we get a some pampering. A little step, a tiny reward, a bigger achievement – a bigger reward. It doesn’t matter what that reward is, as long as it’s something that makes you happy.

I have discovered a different kind of reward. A Trication! If you have never heard of a Trication yet, then probably you haven’t combined a triathlon with a vacation. For me this is a match made in heaven. I like vacations (who doesn’t), especially the active and exploring kind. But I also like Ironman Triathlons, and these are organized in gorgeous locations around the world. Doing both separately, is too time demanding for a guy with a significant time crunch like me. Running several businesses takes its toll on my agenda. Not to mention the price tag of going for vacations, and travel again for races. My solution is very simple. I take mini vacations. I travel for a few days, a week, two weeks max, to a new destination and go there to race an Ironman, and have a few days off to disconnect. And I repeat this several times per year.

So my reward for training hard, and working harder, is to combine an Ironman race in a beautiful location, with a few extra days off to go explore the surroundings. Why is this a reward? I’ll give you a few reasons that are good enough for me:

  • I make the most of my pre-race carbo-loading days to explore food. Man, I’m a foodie!! I may be on a disciplined diet most of the year, but I have not always been. I love exploring anything that smells good, looks delicious and tickles my taste buds. Going new places always leads to new mouth watering discoveries, and since I’m “loading”, I shamelessly try things out. Post race recovery allows me to continue that extravaganza for a few more days, before sinking back into my disciplined diet.
  • Adventure! I love ending up in places where most visitors don’t go, or doing things slightly out of the ordinary. Going to the DMZ under military escort and step into North Korean while being in Korea for IM140.6 Gurye, is such surreal experience. Sometimes this adventure even happens during an Ironman race itself. Have you ever swam with sharks? No? Try going to Busselton, and swim the loop around the 2km Jetty. It’s a really awesome speed training, when the lifeguards instruct you to get out of the water because approaching Nemo may be hungry… Or having an encounter with an annoyed Kangaroo, who chases after you while you are biking.
  • Experience any travel destination differently. As a visitor you experience a local town in a certain way. As an athlete and racer, this experience is special. When you swim – bike – run, you see the sea, the villages, the people, nature,… differently. The energy of the place is different. Your perspective is different. The locals come put to cheer. You are in pain/euphoria, and push ahead towards the finish line. This sensation makes you remember a place and its people differently.

All this, and so many more things, are very rewarding to me. Having a chance to experience the world this way is a humbling experience. The quest for more exploration sustains my energy to keep working and training hard, and earn my Trication rewards.



About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

By Bert Grobben

Happy New Year everybody. Wishing you all the very best for an amazing 2018, in best of health, prosperity, good fortune and surrounded by love from friends and family. The new year is also a brand new opportunity to make a fresh start, or continue with all those resolutions you started some time ago.

During this festive season many of us look back and reflect about the past year. Quite often this leads to new year’s resolution related to things we want to change, things that were not so good and transformations we want to make. In some cases, this is a good thing. We best leave unhealthy and stressful habits behind us. We can only excel when as individuals we take care of ourselves. During a pre-flight safety announcements they say “Please put your own mask on, before helping others” for a reason. If YOU are not fine, you will not be in good shape to support others. So please reflect on how you become a better version of yourself. This little investment in yourself, is actually for the benefit of the people you love too.

Now, reflect on the things from 2017 you enjoyed, that you made some progress with, and maybe something that fueled a passion. Can you do more of that in 2017? How can you get better at what you enjoy? Can you follow your passion, and see where it takes you? Maybe 2018 is more of doing what you love already, and become a passionary for what you believe in.

For me, 2017 has been a year of focus, not new resolutions. All I did was take my resolutions from 2015, and keep focusing on them. When a resolution turns into a small step forward, when that step forward turns into a boost of energy to continue, when that energy changes your lifestyle, then amazing transformations happen. For the past 12 months I focused on work and sport predominantly. On my Ironman journey in particular, my time went into building a better base endurance. In 2016, racing Ironman was suffering. My objective was to finish comfortably. Not fast, just with better ease and a much shorter recovery post-race.

Results? Oh man! This morning I got the best news I could get all year. All small investments have enabled me to achieve what was once a ridiculously remote goal; Ironman All World Athlete ranking – Bronze. Wow, I’m so thrilled! This ranking means I accumulated enough points for my best 3 races to be among the top 10% of all Ironman athletes. And for IM70.3 I even made it to the top 5 in Singapore (and top 10 for both full and half distance Ironman)! What makes this even so much better, is that I can show transformations really work once you want them hard enough. I’m a normal guy, with a very hectic professional life, but with small steps, and small incremental efforts, this is all possible. And it started with a resolution, once upon a time.

2018 will be simple – more of the same. In sport and health I don’t need a new resolution, but deeper resolve to focus on the few things that drive us forward. I will not train more, but I will train better, with more intensity, and better recovery. As we progress towards the goal of qualifying for the IM70.3 World Championships, we will continue to make small steps forward with smarter training, better diet, and the best supplementation and recovery tools. The benefits of Natural Astaxanthin will be central in my recovery program. All the hours spent on aerobic training, and the huge amounts of energy we consume, I need to have my muscles’ energy factories (Mitochondria) work optimally. In addition, adding more strength training to my routine, increases the need for recovery from muscle damage ahead the next aerobic swim/bike/run training. With Astavita Sports I will be able to push harder responsibly. Follow my journey here, or on Instagram, on how Astavita enables me to be a better athlete, professional and consequently as a partner as well.

Have a great year every one! Wishing all of you focus, and a path ahead, that with each little step takes you closer to your dreams.


About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

By Bert Grobben

With the Ironman season coming to a close, it’s the right time to look back, and analyze the progress made over the past 12 months. My journey started back in April 2016 with my first IM70.3 (Putrajaya, Malaysia). This was pure survival, trying to make it through each transition ahead of cut-off times. With each subsequent race, steady but slow progress was made, mainly because of higher training intensity. The most significant improvement was the bike timings. In 2016 I hovered around 3h 05 mins for the 90km distance, while after significantly tougher training in 2017, I brought that down to around 2h 58 mins. For first 3 IM70.3s of this year (Danang, Bintan and Cebu), my timings were very close, which made it seem that progress was stagnating.

I must admit that after Cebu in June, training intensity leveled off. Work picked up at immense pace, which made training much more challenging. The good news obviously was that entrepreneurial life was picking up, but it also required keeping training intensity at a status quo.

October marked the period where Astavita started to support our journey. I was blessed to become a Brand ambassador, and started supplementing my training routine with the power of natural astaxanthin. When the combination between work and training intensity were insanely high, it was a much needed supplement to enable faster recovery, and benefit from building better endurance even with the same training intensity. Every day, I started to supplement my diet with 12 to 24mg/day astaxanthin depending on the training intensity that day.

My last IM70.3 in Busselton, came after using astaxanthin for 8 weeks, at the same training intensity as earlier in the year. Actually, my training intensity dropped 3 weeks pre-race due to sickness. This was the worst time to get sick as efforts shift to recovery, rather than pushing harder in the volume buildup. Nonetheless, my bike performance in Busselton were an eye opener!

The race conditions in Busselton were somewhat comparable to Cebu (Philippines). Each race is unique, but for the sake of making a comparison, conditions between these were closest (flat course, temperature, headwinds). The key difference was my pace; 11 minutes faster, with a new bike personal best of 2h 47 mins for the 90km distance. My heart rate results were even more remarkable. In Cebu I performed at an average heart rate of 160bpm (175bpm max), while in Busselton this had come down to a 150bpm average (159bpm max) with 97% of the effort in Zone 3. Seems I had some reserves still, and could have pushed those pedals harder.

These improvements simply cannot be attributed to 1 particular variable, but undoubtedly astaxanthin had a positive impact on recovery during training, and enhancing endurance.

Looking ahead towards 2018, the plans are shaping up. It is going to be a great year, where the aim is keep significantly enhancing training efficiency and progress with improvements in race performance. With the support of Astavita, and the anti-oxidant power of natural astaxanthin, this will be productive journey. #TeamGrobPhaFam can’t wait for all the experiences in 2018. Bring it on.


About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

By Bert Grobben

When something ordinary turns spectacular, it is the best feeling ever. Many of us wish we could break with routine, and finally achieve something extraordinary. Not that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with regularity, but deep down I believe we all have our moments we dream about breaking out. The unfortunate reality is that we all have so many things to tie us down, too many barriers, too many challenges, not enough time, not enough resources.

My story is one of such a turnaround. After a blessed childhood, and young adult life, I got swallowed by corporate working life. What was once a well-balanced life, became slowly unhinged simply by making small seemingly unimportant decisions that cumulatively had a big impact. 15 years of corporate life was very exciting, and has given me tremendous learning opportunities. Without it, I would not be the person I am now. Simultaneously, the high-paced lifestyle drove me away from active sports filled schedule and tipped my diet to something that was convenient and fast, rather than nutritious and well-balanced.

The change

In 2011 I reached a point where I had become the most sluggish person I had ever been. Energy levels were low, mental clarity was at best average, my outlook was one of faded colours. No matter what I tried to do, it didn’t seem to change. When I landed in Singapore, the first U-turn happened. Inspired by the energy of my daughter and encouraged by seeing so many active people around in this gorgeous city state, I started running,… well, walking very fast. After I ran the first time for 5km, I almost landed myself in a wheelchair for a week with aching joints, blisters on my feet and sore muscles. That wasn’t very motivating.


So before doing anything else, I focused on diet. You have to realise that every 1kg of body weight results in an 8kg impact force when your foot strikes the pavement. Losing weight was the best remedy for my joint pains. Making a deliberate effort to shift my diet around, away from processed food, reduce carbohydrates and increase lean protein and veggies, made me drop 12kg in a matter of a few months. Soon after with consistent and progressively increased training, I finished my first 21km Standard Chartered Marathon in 2011.

What followed has been a journey that slowly brought back energy, mental resilience, a more colourful outlook. With every small incremental improvement, all that was grim became a bit brighter. By end-2013 I had completed 5 marathons, and the new routines were now a habit, a new lifestyle.

Leaving a corporate lifestyle behind in 2015 to become an entrepreneur was the next best thing. It didn’t exactly feel like that immediately, because I have to admit that leaving a structured life with (some) security behind was scary. It did feel like jumping off a cliff. However, the fresh breath of air was liberating at the same time. It was time to follow my true passion which lead me to realise that

1) Passion drives real resolve

2) Resolve drives action

3) Consistent action leads to a lifestyle

4) A lifestyle leads to a world of possibilities and achievements

I fully embraced it, and went all out in entrepreneurial life, and an ambitious new challenge that lead me down the path of becoming an Ironman finisher.

Inspiring others

It has been a positive and reinforcing rollercoaster ever since. What was even more eye-opening was that when I started to notice differences about my turnaround, others did the same. Making the leap and show that change is possible, is catchy for others who just needed that small push to start trying something new for themselves – to start their own turnaround. This sense of creating impact for others has been extra renewable energy for me. It never runs out. And even when I am having a bad day, seeing that others observe you when you lead by example, spurs me on to keep reaching higher. Especially my daughter who has been a fabulous observer, and a crystal-clear mirror onto my personality.

These days, #TeamGrobPhaFam is the best of all worlds. Together we combine the drive, the passion, the resolve and the support to take our family to ever new heights. Entrepreneurial life still is challenging, as it will always be – the benchmark just increases. In 2 years, I have co-founded 6 start-ups and built out my main firm Budding Innovations to a hockey stick growth path. Our pipeline of exciting programs is wider than I ever could imagine. #TeamGrobPhaFam is driven by a BioWellness lifestyle with a responsible and balanced nutrition plan, fueling an ambitious sports life, centered around Ironman and AcroYoga.

Future plans

2017 has been a year of building a solid base in life, in work, in sport. Going into the future, we have signed up for even more ambitious goals. As we grow as a family, and build our businesses, we are also shooting to compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships by 2020. To achieve all of this, we will need to fire on all cylinders, and train – recover more efficiently. With Astavita joining our journey, we can do exactly that. The benefits natural astaxanthin brings are enabling us to gain an edge to train harder, recover better and address unavoidable stressors that are created by our demanding schedule. It’s the ideal supplement to complete a well-balanced high protein diet. As our journey progresses, I will check back in to share tips & trick on how we are managing our balance responsibly.

For 2018, we have 2 IM70.3 races lined up; Da Nang (Vietnam), and Bintan (Indonesia). We’re still deciding how to complete the schedule with a year-end event, and a few more races locally with TriFactor. Check back in occasionally for progress updates as we move towards 2020. It will be challenging, it will be demanding, it will be painful sometimes. It will also be very rewarding, addicting, energising, enabling,….and maybe it gives you the courage to try something new to, and start your own turnaround.


About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

Your Cart

No Item

My Cart