A year ago, a USA couple discovered MitoQ and began taking it. What happened next, what impact has it had on their lives, and more importantly – what does that have to do with throwing spears and night-time mountain biking?
A little over a year ago, USA obstacle course racer Alex Casteel and his wife Jenny, along with two others, won the trip of a lifetime to fly to New Zealand, meet the MitoCrew and race in the first ever Spartan NZ event. They spent an adventure-filled week exploring our wild country in the middle of the NZ winter, a stark contrast to the height of summer in their hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. The MitoCrew who accompanied them on the trip were blown away by Alex and Jenny’s enthusiasm for adventure and giving everything a go. Alex will go down in history as the only one who could get to the top of the Spartan Sprint rope climb (we have photos to prove it!) and Jenny for taking the plunge to do her first ever Spartan race here.
We recently caught up with Alex and Jenny to check in and see what they have been up to since their New Zealand trip, and if taking MitoQ for the past year has made a difference.
When speaking to Alex and Jenny, it’s easy to see that energy is a major factor in their lives. Alex has a vast work history which begins with a degree in nuclear physics and a nine-year stint as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Airforce. He’s worked in the dotcom industry for numerous years in both Silicon Valley and then Phoenix. Together, he and Jenny opened a real estate brokerage where Jenny still works, as well as teaching and promoting the benefits of natural skincare and health products. Alex leveled up, got his PhD and is now teaching at Grand Canyon University as a full time Professor. They are the parents to three grown children and enjoy spending as much of their free time as possible going on adventures and pushing their personal limits.
Alex’s fitness journey
Fitness and exercise have always been a big part of their lives. For Alex it began at a young age as he was a very athletic kid. He loved playing sports, soccer, wrestling, track – and being fit was also a basic requirement for the air force. “For three years in college I was on the Air Force Academy parachute team, which doesn't sound terribly athletic, but actually does require a lot of strength and fitness,” he says. After a few years' hiatus, Alex’s sister in law suggested he try a Tough Mudder obstacle course race, and while he admits it absolutely gassed him, he loved it. “I knew I needed to get in better shape if I wanted to do it more. And so, right at that event I signed up for the next year's event.” Since that time, he’s gotten into better shape and traveled extensively to Spartan races, including Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas, Florida and New Zealand, and has completed three trifectas in the process. A trifecta being a race series where the toughest of three courses is aptly named ‘The Beast’ and involves running a half marathon and conquering 30 obstacles.
Jenny’s new love, obstacle course racing
Alex and Jenny’s trip to New Zealand was a real turning point for Jenny’s fitness journey. Prior to the trip, Jenny was happy to be Alex’s biggest supporter on the race sideline. Since college she has enjoyed aerobics and walking, but never liked the idea of running. In fact, when she arrived in NZ, Jenny had never run a full mile before, so, it was a massive step outside her comfort zone when she decided to take part in the inaugural NZ Spartan race. “I had started thinking about doing a race and then when Alex got the opportunity to go to New Zealand, I thought, well, if I'm ever going to do a race like this in my life, I can't find a cooler place to do it than in New Zealand.” Jenny absolutely dominated the course that day and has kept the momentum up, pushing herself to run further, to learn new skills (like throwing a spear) and compete more. Along with Alex, she completed a Spartan Trifecta and enjoys getting out and exercising. “I've actually gotten to where I enjoy and even look forward to running and I never in a million years thought that I would say that, but I actually really love it.”
Their experience taking MitoQ
Prior to coming to NZ last year, neither Alex nor Jenny had heard of MitoQ. “I can remember I would go for a long run and then I would just feel dead afterwards,” says Alex, who’s in his 50s. “I know part of that's just a natural part of having an exhausted body, but it just seemed like it would take me forever to recover. So, I'd been looking for supplements or even foods that would help me with that.” When he was introduced to MitoQ, Alex says he was impressed with how well it worked for staying active and recovering.
“When I came across MitoQ I was like, okay, I know about mitochondria, I know that they are the batteries of our cells and so, if this is something that is a way of getting CoQ10 into them to charge them up then let's give this a try!”
As with a lot of customer feedback we receive, Alex didn’t experience the full effects of MitoQ straight away. “It took me about a month to really notice the change. I know other people have taken it and felt it sooner, others maybe a little longer, but I really noticed after about a month. My recovery is a lot faster and I feel more energy consistently. Not that buzzing caffeine-driven kind of energy, it’s the way I felt when I was in my early 30s. I had good energy then and I'm 51 right now!”
Jenny on the other hand, notices it most when they run out. “I think we ran out of it for a week or two, because we had forgotten to order and I did notice a difference in that time period, like, ‘I wish I had my MitoQ!’ When taking MitoQ, I have more energy after exercising and I don’t feel the slump. This morning I ran three and a half miles. I would have noticed that before, now it's just, ‘oh yeah that's right, that was today, no big deal!’ So, my recovery is better.”
Energy to try new things
But it’s more than just the effects they feel after training. Both Alex and Jenny comment on the confidence taking MitoQ gives them, and how it helps them to get out and try new things. Alex has taken up riding mountain bikes through the Phoenix desert at night (it’s too hot during the day) and has set up a gym in the garage with plans of racing many more obstacle courses as soon as they open again. Jenny now feels empowered to enter the events that previously she would have stood on the sidelines for, or to go out on a trail run with Alex. "We love to go trail running up in the mountains and I've done a couple that were 12 miles, but it’s just the confidence to be out there, to do that and to enjoy myself.”
They are also confident that every morning they take their MitoQ, they’re super-charging their cells and in turn, themselves.
“You know, it's just been a regular part of my morning routine now. I wake up, I take my MitoQ, and then I take my shower and then have breakfast. It's just a part of my daily regimen,” says Alex. “It makes sense, it's important and we notice the difference when we are taking it.”