I interviewed Craig Dinkel, athlete and owner of Biotropic Labs. Biotropic labs seeks to serve athletes by giving you the ultimate edge in training for sports performance success. There is a lot of controversy surrounding supplements so I went straight to the source. Biotropic labs has provided me with a one month supply which I will begin in January after the holidays and my training resumes. I will write a follow up blog regarding my personal experiences.
What is your background and why did you decide to start BiotropicLabs?
Of course this is a long story, but to be brief, from a YMCA beginning I developed into a world class swimmer, a sprint freestyle/flyer. At the end of my athletic career, at one time or another I’d achieved being the 2nd fastest sprint freestyler in the world, qualified for 2 Olympic Trials, set at least 2 individual NCAA records and several other relay records; was on 3 NCAA championship winning teams, garnered 23 All American awards; was teammates with several Olympians — the most notable being Dara Torres and also several other Olympic medalists; was coached by 2 Olympic Team coaches; and was the fastest inductee into my collegiate Athletic Hall Of Fame; and some other stuff too.
When you’re competing at a high level, you’re up against a lot of phenomenal athletes. We’re all seeking edges. As part of my never ending quest to find competitive edge supplements that actually worked, I tried every off the shelf supplement under the sun, but for me, nothing worked. Ultimately, with a lot of effort, I worked myself into a solution that worked for me. I developed it during a time when I was competing for a spot on the US Olympic Swimming team via Olympic Trials. Speaking for myself, the results this hybrid formula were startling — they really blew up my training. This experience would eventually lead me to the second part of your question, why I started BioTropicLabs.com.
Creating the company was a natural evolution. I have deep empathy for all people who “move,” but in particular, athletes, because I know what they go through in their training; their recovery, sleep, rest needs, nutrition, and how hard they train and what they give up to do it all while chasing everything from simple process oriented competition, to chasing personal bests, to elite level athletes chasing records or qualifying for their main event.
Having been through all of this myself and understanding their plight, I decided to come back around to my most natural space, e.g., sports, sports nutrition and sports psychology, etc. I really like to help all the athletes that I can to train better, smarter and harder so that their competitive outcomes, whether process oriented or as an Olympic caliber athlete — may achieve the outcomes they personally seek.
If you could only pick one of your supplements for a long distance runner to use which would it be?
This of course, is a difficult question to answer because I custom formulate each supplement to achieve different outcomes based on the individual’s wants. That’s why I offer a free consultation for guidance in the right direction, if the user desires. However, If I had to lay down the gauntlet for a single item, I’d say the AFA supplement. This is because it’s a robust formula and may fill other gaps that many athletes suffer from, like nutrition gaps. It supports muscle repair and recovery, higher cognitive functions, clarity of mind when training and competing, and has a natural “lift” effect, likely due to the Phenylethylamine (PEA). Also, athletes need the suite of B vitamins, especially B12 from the highest quality source available. Mine is from Argentinian, vegan clean, no pesticide grass fed, zero hormone and defatted liver anhydrate for energy and red blood cell production support (I know that was a lot there!); and beetroot as a natural nitric oxide simulator for vasodilation to get all this good, healthy clean energy to hard working muscles where you need it most.
These days there are a lot of concerns regarding GMO’s, “natural flavoring”, Gluten, corn syrup etc. How do you and Biotropic Labs approach this and what is your view on the concerns regarding them?
I share these concerns. All our products are essentially clean energy “super foods,” healthy and “earth made.” I use only natural ingredients, no flavorings, not GMO, gluten free, no sugars of any kind whatsoever, and that are World Anti Doping Association (WADA) “safe.”
It’s funny … people always ask me “is there research” or “where is the research.” My response is always “when was the last research paper you read that was published in a peer reviewed medical journal?” However it is also my experience that companies and vendors will quote research that is either not theirs, not statistically significant or is not published in any sort of credible journal. What is your opinion on research and can you provide our readers with links in case they want to read about it.
This is such a great and important question. Mostly I agree with your implied, if not stated, position. But as a “using athlete,” I suggest an augmented, scrutinizing approach to this subject. Peer reviews, clinical trials and such, critical as they are, are not the be-it and end-all, as the saying goes.
No matter the study, trial, or the so-called legitimacy of the study, the challenge for the athlete — or anyone for that matter — is, while being safe and sensible, we have to find what actually works. No clinical or other study guarantees that a given supplement will, or will not, work on your specific chemistry. This is the same for prescription medicine too.
For example, creatine is well documented to support muscle gain. But when I used it, following the directions diligently, I got nothing from it and found it far too much work to continue anyway, yet others swear by it. For my money, as a former world class athlete, what I ended up doing was both experimenting with hybrid formulas, and listening to my athlete friends, e.g., what was working for them? What did they recommend? It’s what was floating around my athletic scene that led me to products that might work, and in my specific case, a nutritional doctor who worked with me to concoct formulas that has an amazing affect on me, which are now on my site for you to try too.
So, for me, in the final analysis, I say be smart, do your homework, read the labels, know something of the ingredients you want to take on. If it all adds up to “this makes sense,” then I say give it a try, and most definitely ask your athlete friends what’s working for them. (Look at my testimonials please.) For my money, despite all studies — and they do matter — it’s what my athlete colleagues say that matters most — to me!
The endurance community is building especially in running. How do you plan to support this ever-growing and expanding market and what are your ideas and dreams regarding providing this community with nutritional support to help increase their performance and recovery?
Another stellar question. I was a natural swimmer. It came relatively easy to me. Training was always brutal, but competition was generally a breeze. But running is an uncomfortable sport for me. I discovered this when training for my first Ragnar Relay series, which I still do (nothing compared to you ultras!).
Training for Ragnars showed me the tip of the iceberg as to how difficult run-training is. I suppose for non-natural swimmers, that’s tough too, but I can help anyone with that. And by the way, the largest part of my audience is runners, ultra runners, and triathletes.
As I said earlier, I deeply empathize with what such athletes endure during training, and then competition. To further support the endurance community’s efforts, we continue to develop not only sports supplements around such athlete’s needs, but we offer gratis consultations with athletes to discuss their training regimen, nutrition, supplement usage, how they approach in season competition vs main event, tapering, etc., and for those really wanting highest level achievement, sports psychology counseling.