What does Salty do?
Who is Salty for?
Most of our customers are cyclists and runners, but we have soccer and football players, wrestlers, and others that want to boost their aerobic performance using our products as well.
Salty started like many great companies... By accident.
But, first, some background.
I've always loved the outdoors. Backpacking, trail running, mountain biking; it didn't really matter as long as the sun was up and the air was fresh. Like everyone else, being outdoors just felt right and was necessary to my mental health.
Endurance sports weren't that popular where I lived when I was a kid, it was all team sports like basketball and soccer, so I didn't get into running and cycling until later in life.
I've also always be interested in nutrition and physiology.
I'm also very competitive. I'm too old and not genetically-gifted enough to be any sort of real competitor in any endurance event, but I love to see how far I can push myself, regardless.
Thus, my background seemed to be inexorably pushing me towards...
The Happy Accident
I've had asthma my whole life. It wasn't severe. I could still do just about anything I wanted, except for long heart rate efforts above ~150 BPM. After a while my lungs would just shut down. I could feel the tightness in my lungs after extended efforts and I knew if I kept pushing it I'd end up curled up in a ball on the side of the road, wheezing and trying to unclench my air sacs.
It was disheartening. I knew I could do more. I wanted to push harder, but the asthma stopped me before my will or muscles were ready to be done.
I tried lots of different asthma medications over the years. They were marginally effective.
I tried lots of Zone 2 training as well to try and build up my low-heart rate efforts, which was more effective than the medication, but I still couldn't get my heart rate as high as I would like during max efforts. I was essentially stuck at Zone 2...
Until, the Happy Accident.
I stopped running and picked up cycling. It seemed like a fun thing to do, and I had lots of friends riding. Biking and grabbing a beer after with friends ranks pretty high on the awesome scale.
I'd tried all sorts of ergogenic aids, carb drinks, and gels while running, but cycling was a bit different. They used a few supplements that weren't mainstream in running yet, namely, Beetroot Powder.
I read LOTS of good reviews and saw that lots of pros were taking some form of beetroot (whole, juiced, powdered, etc.), and it's not expensive. So, I picked up several types, not expecting much.
It was a game changer for me.
I could breathe again. (note: this is my experience and certainly not medical advice).
I could maintain Zone 4-5 efforts for three to four times longer than before.
I learned later that it was creating nitric oxide which opened up my capillaries and allowed an increase in the flow of oxygen, nutrients, metabolites, etc.
Since the effect was so pronounced for me, I got excited and figured I'd keep experimenting and add more ingredients.
The Kitchen Lab
I have a hard time eating during long efforts. I'd much rather drink my nutrients for efforts between 2-5 hours (most bike races and marathons). So, I added carbs (dextrose) to my beetroot powder, so I wouldn't have to try and choke down sandwiches or messy gels during intense efforts.
Then I needed my electrolytes... So I added magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium.
And then, I found another awesome ingredient that was a bronchodilator (opens the airways), called theobromine. So I started mixing this in.
Next, I heard about cyclists using beta alanine to delay muscle fatigue by limiting lactic acid production, so of course, I had to try that.
At this point, I was mixing 5 different ingredients: beetroot powder, carbohydrates, electrolytes, theobromine, and electrolytes. It was a hassle. I had to order it from different vendors, at different sizes, at a substantial price, and then mix it.
I'd worked in the nutrition industry before and knew there was a much easier way to do this--I'd make my own product!
I'd combine all the ingredients that I loved, and knew worked after many, many hours of testing and reviews of performance research.
Thus, Salty Beets was born. Hatched? Evolved?
Anyway, I had a damn good product that I loved.
The next consideration for me was to determine what to do with my product idea. Should I actually pursue it? Anyone who has built a business can testify to the many hours, cost, and stress associated with getting it set up.
If they say it's easy, they're probably selling you a course on how easy it is to start a business and make millions.
I knew that up front, so I had one simple criteria.
It had to be something I would love doing.
Something I would do anyway. And something I could stick with for years.
And Salty fit that criteria.
I love everything about endurance sports. I love the activity. I love pushing myself. I love being outside for long stretches. I love being able to justify eating a boatload of junk after an all-day effort (I know it doesn't work quite like that, don't burst my bubble).
But, mostly, I love the community. You can get all the above from other sports, except for the community.
The endurance community is unlike any other athletic community.
It's supportive and encouraging. It's welcoming and affirming.
You will spend hours next to a person doing something that pushes both of you to your limits and you'll learn about their family, their travels, their goals.
In a typical marathon or cycling event there are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of participants.
Only a very small percentage are actually in it to win it. The rest of us mortals?
We're just there for a good time and to see if we can do just a little bit better than last time.
So, the idea of being able to do something that increases my time spent in this community, doing the things I love. Well, damn, sign me up.
I hope my products help you enjoy and improve your endurance efforts just a little bit more.
Thanks for your support. It means everything to me.