Dirk Baelus is a triathlete. His story is different than that of most athletes. He started off his career as a cafe owner with an unhealthy lifestyle. Now he delivers an excellent performance eating only natural and healthy food.


13-01-2016 -  by Kevin Van der Straeten

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Transcript

Dirk Baelus is a triathlete. His story is different than that of most athletes. He started off his career as a cafe owner with an unhealthy lifestyle. Now he delivers an excellent performance eating only natural and healthy food.

 

Hi Dirk, welcome to our studio.  

 

Hello.  

 

You're a professional triathlete, but you didn't start your career with sports. You started in another environment.  

 

Yes, my first job after my was running a bar, and I did that for 4,5 years. And in that bar we had a bet. Somebody was drinking a beer and was saying: "I'm gonna do a triathlon next year". And then at that moment I started to train every day to try to finish a triathlon.  

 

That's not easy if you're not used to doing sports.  

 

No, no, but it was a challenge.  

 

And you liked it because you're still doing it.  

 

Yes, and also at that moment I was not feeling very well. My condition... And I was often feeling ill. And maybe I was also missing the mornings a little bit, because running a bar is always in the night, and if you start to train for a triathlon, you can do it when you have time. You just wake up and then you go running or cycling, and you can do it during the day. And after training, I opened the bar and then...  

 

But then suddenly something changed in your life and you started to think about eating healthy.  

 

Yes, after my first triathlon, which I finished very well; I was doing it more professionally, but I was still feeling ill because I had no resistance and many inflammations and everything. I also quitted drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, and then I thought: "maybe it's the food that's the problem for me". And then I was focusing on what I was eating at the moment, and then I changed it into natural ingredients. And what are natural ingredients? Whole grain, like for example brown rice and millet and you have many different... Buckwheat for example, you have many different grains, then you also have beans like lentils for example, or chick-peas. Many different types. And you have also ingredients or products that are made from beans, like tofu and tempei. You also have products made from the protein of grains, and also products made from proteins from seeds.  

 

There are also things you stopped eating.  

 

Yes, I stopped eating sugar and refined sugar and all the products that contain the refined sugar. And I stopped eating dairy, so no milk, no cheese and no yogurt. I was a really big yogurt eater. Every day I wanted strawberry yogurt. But I also stopped eating that, and then I also stopped eating animal food, and especially meat, because I used to eat meat 3 times every day.  

 

As a triathlete you need a lot of energy. If you don't have meat, sugars and all that stuff, then where do you get the energy from?  

 

From a balanced meal, and a balanced meal is grains and vegetarian proteins and many vegetables. And it are all very pure, simple ingredients, and because it's very pure it's easy to digest. And then of course, if it's all natural ingredients, and if it's possible; all organic, then you have the best food you can have.  

 

And you prove of course that it is possible because you do top sports on this kind of food.  

 

Since I started to eat like that, my performance is always improving. At the moment, I have maybe done 74 triathlons, of which 18 full-distance triathlons; almost 4 km swimming, 180 km cycling, and then afterwards a marathon: 42 km running. So I finished 18, and I've been to Iron Man Hawaii 4 times. And this year I did 2 full-distance triathlons. One was in France, and my time was 8:53, and in September was in Almere in Holland, and I started there with professionals, and I was number 14 of 450. And my time was 8:58.  

 

That's impressive.  

 

And for me it's also impressive. It is like a dream, because to finish below the 9 hours, for me it has always been like a dream. And of course, without refined sugar and no classic sports nutrition. Only with natural ingredients. And you took it a step further.  

 

You now also make your own line of natural sports products?  

 

A few years ago I was cooking for myself, and I thought: "how can I get this meal on my bicycle?" In a small package, so a complete meal.  

 

That's also a challenge.  

 

Then that was the beginning of the energy bar, and the brand: Innerme Natural Sports Nutrition. And the bar contains just 7 ingredients, like rice syrup and seeds and a little bit of seaweed powder. Just only 1%, but it's good minerals. And it's easy to digest: long energy.  

 

And next year you are launching some new products, I heard?  

 

Yes, so next year, after the energy bars, there are 3 different bars. I created the energy gel and then two drinks. And now next year there are going to be another bar and also a protein bar and also protein mixes. It's just for drinking, and it's all vegetarian, vegan and easy to digest; a great product.  

 

I'm looking forward to that. Dirk, thank you very much for coming over. And you at home: thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week!

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