Innovative online triathlon store, Neuff is now stocking INCUS. We speak to director and triathlete Mathew Cunningham-Neuff about his personal experience of how training overload lead to serious illness and why he believes promoting cutting edge products such as INCUS | NOVA can help save other athletes from the same training errors he made.
Neuff is a family business which began in 1966 when Dr Neuff , Matt’s father -in-law was responsible for the design of Britain's first fibreglass vaulting poles and it has gradually developed to covering all track and field events. In 2020 it split into two distinct arms, Neuff-Yellow for athletics and Neuff-Red for triathlon, “my father-in-law was the coach that began Daley Thompson’s career, he also invented a lot of equipment now used in the Paralympics. We wanted to keep the same ethos, that we don’t sell a product unless we believe in it.”
A company built on sporting passion
The whole company at Neuff has been and still is deeply involved in sport, Matt was an elite level semi-professional triathlete who spent his career using and testing a wide range of triathlon products and working with some of the best brands around. He is driven by discovering new tech and finding out how technology and products can enhance everyone’s training experience.
“This is a real passion for me, not just a company. We are solely inherent in helping athletes to be the best they can be, whilst looking after their health and performance. We would never sell a product that we didn’t think could contribute to improving their training.”
Matt also has a very personal story about why helping athletes understand their body’s and needs is critical to his motivation in the business, “ I had some success as an athlete with podiums in 70.3 events. The coach I was working with had encouraged me to go farther than I have ever been before; training harder, cutting calories, getting lighter.”
Pushing too hard
This strategy of overtraining and under-fuelling for better performance is sadly all too common in driven athletes and Matt’s health began to suffer, “it became so severe in 2019 that I trained through a stomach virus, not thinking it would be an issue. Then one morning I woke in agonising pain and was practically blind. I was rushed to hospital: the stomach virus had mutated and spread causing viral meningitis.”
Instead of seeing this as a warning that his training regime was compromising his health Matt’s was back out training within a week of returning home from hospital after being told to ‘stick to the plan’, a decision which could have ended his life, not just his competitive career.
These experiences have contributed to the passion Matt has for finding the right products for triathletes, the ones that will enhance their training experience and help them understand their body’s better. “We want Neuff -Red to be more than just a shop, it is a site for advice and guidance to see if we can help athletes to not make the same mistakes I did.”
Data for healthier decision making
One of Matt’s greatest learnings from this time period when he was unable to train and compete is that “an unhealthy athlete can never perform to the best.”
Part of being healthy is monitoring and tracking your body’s performance, so you can use data to make informed decisions on the training your body needs to progress, which is where INCUS | CLOUD comes in. “It gives you clear parameters so you can see where you are now and monitor your progress. Compared with other devices it has a broader spectrum of analytics and data. It gives you the ability to have a look at how your training is going and if those numbers drastically change it gives you the chance to see there is a problem developing and head it off before it becomes worse.”
Innovation for performance
Coming from a family business begun by a true sports innovator Matt is excited by the potential of INCUS “not just now but in the future.” Talking to him on the phone about how INCUS has supported his return to training and competition his excitement is audible,
“Being able to map power when running for the first time is phenomenal. We’ve known how beneficial power is on the bike for many years so to transfer that knowledge to swimming and running is amazing!”
As Matt’s experience shows there is a very fine line between ‘enough’ training stimulus to improve and ‘too much’. “Triathletes have a tendency to measure training in volume not quality,” Matt tells us “and junk miles/laps do little for your progress but can contribute to overload. Every session should have a reason, a clear goal and objective. Using INCUS, you can be more consistent in your training and look back at the data to ensure that the work you are doing is adding value.”
“The other day I was doing hill-sets,” he tells us, “and the great thing with the INCUS|NOVA you can record every single little bit of your session. The next time you do the session you can over-lay it so you can clearly compare how your body positioning and technique changes under fatigue, and calculate what movement and pacing gets the best results.”
The advantage is hugeFrom his years of competition, he makes a critical observation as to how this is going to transform an athlete's racing experience, “ The biggest downfall for many triathletes is going too hard in the swim, this is especially true of new age-groupers. So many triathletes blow-up in the water. If you can learn to pace yourself correctly in the swim, bang, you can hit the bike harder, run harder and finish strong. The advantage is huge.”
Try INCUS for yourself with Neuff at Outlaw Triathlon
Neuff has INCUS|NOVA devices available for athletes to experience for themselves and will be offering demonstrations at the final two Outlaw Triathlon events in September, “I’m a big believer that you should try things before you buy them. We like to use and demonstrate the products we think are good and we believe in.”Already convinced? Ready to make every training session count? We have limited stock of INCUS | NOVA and are shipping NOW