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Review: #ItsTheNerve

ed. note: Thanks to Michael Downey for this review and opinion on this product.

A few weeks back the makers of this product reached out to NES about seeing if people would be interested in trying out some samples of this new product at the beast. It is not due to hit the market till next June so the formula and or product could change between now and then but ill review based off the sample provided.

When we spoke with the rep about this product we were given a heads up that its a bit spicy and has some kick, when you read the label you can see why there propriety blend is cinnamon, ginger and capsicum (one of the active ingredients in pepper spray) . It is in a bottle about the size of a 5 hour energy drink and meant to be taken as a shot once you feel a cramp coming on. I myself am chronic cramper so I figure I had nothing to lose; even though I was not a huge fan of the idea of trying something new on a race.

A short way into the first big climb of the Killington beast my calf’s started screaming and I figure lets give this a try. I felt like I was doing a shot of fireball whiskey with the burn factor but after a few swigs of water my mouth cooled off and a few mins later my calf’s felt like they had been massaged and were nice and loose.

Now I know there is a ton of studies and science looking into the cause and remedy of cramps so I will be curious to see what they say about this in time. I do not know if its just the placebo effect or if this stuff is legit but when iItook it I felt results. If its priced within the $3-5.00 price range I think it will be a good buy

Rating: 4 star (good)

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Review: Vermont Smoke and Cure – Real Sticks

VT_Smoke_CureThanks goes to Jess, for this great review and reminder to buy local!!

Review: Looking for a Jerky stick that you know is all natural?  Look no further!  Bonus: they are made in New England – buy local!

These sticks come in 6 flavors, each is delicious and it is hard to pick a favorite!  All ingredients are all-natural and you don’t have the ridiculous amount of chewing that comes from eating jerky.   I brought them with me on the Peak Races Snowshoe Championships – they travel well and there is no concern about squishing!

Beef BBQ
Beef-Pork Chipotle
Beef-Pork Cracked Pepper
Turkey Ancho
Turkey Honey Mustard
Turkey Pepperoni

http://www.vtsmokeandcure.com/real-sticks.html

Rating: 4 star (good)

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Review: Quest Protein Chips

Thanks to Mike Downey for the review.

proteinchipsQuest Products, well known for their nutrition bars, has a new product on the market.

The protein chip (seal salt flavor) is 120 calories per bag, 21g of protein with 0g of sugar. No insane chemicals or other nasty things on the list.

The taste is less like a chip and more like a thin cracker with a hint of salt. If your trying to find a way to cut chips out of your meal this may be a option to consider. I was able to find these in stock at a local GNC but you can also get them from various other websites

Rating: 3 star (average)

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Review: Vega

Vega Logo Button

The past year has been a bit of a struggle diet wise. After dealing with some health issues, ie. high cholesterol, and some shifting personal opinions, I went whole food plant based. I have not been perfect, it’s taken some major steps to get where I’m at now. I’m not going to go into that whole thing about plant based, veganism or vegetarianism and try to sway your opinion on it, what you believe is what you believe and you have the right to eat whatever you want. This review, like any other review on this site, is meant to make you aware of a product that has worked for someone. I’m sure with the over 3,600 members that there will be another #WFPB person, so hopefully this review will help them when it comes to supplementation.

PHEW!

mac-200x300Vega has been used far and wide by some of the worlds greatest plant based athletes. Ranging from the NFL, the MLB, the NHL to Triathletes, Runners, Olympians, Ultra Runners and even MMA fighters; Vega has become the supplement of choice for them. These are not the type of folks you think of when you think WFPB athlete, there is still that image in everyone’s mind that we are frail and skinny. It’s not the case, look to your left at Mac Danzig, season 6 winner of the Ultimate Fighter. That guy fights with the best of them now and has been a contender year in and year out.

So, Vega… Yes, if you know anything about this product line one of the first things that jumps out to you is the price. In doing research about Vega I saw all sorts of people talking about how pricey it is and how they can get this or that somewhere else. Having used the product now, and other companies products, there is a major difference in quality. Not only the quality of ingredients, but the quality of taste. There’s a reason why it costs a little more; it works. To hammer home that point, you get what you pay for. Having tested others and dealing with gas, bloating and a general bad gut feeling, I’m going to put down a few extra dollars to make sure I’m getting what I want out of a product.

unnamedLately I’ve been using VegaOne on a daily basis. I have found I have more energy, I’ve been more alert and focused. The biggest thing is my recovery from running has been lessened. I’m not an every day runner, as I sometimes wish I could be. So if I go a couple days between runs my legs are toast. Since using VegaOne that time has been cut in half! That’s amazing results and helps me get out there more. Here just a brief bit of whats in it…

  • 50% daily intake of vitamins and minerals
  • 15 grams protein
  • 6 grams fiber
  • 1.5 grams Omega-3s
  • Antioxidants
  • Probiotics
  • 3 servings of greens (the new formula has 6 servings of greens per scoop)

ProductPage_PreWorkout_Family_LemonLimeThey don’t just make VegaOne though, they have products that every supplement company has, including a pre-workout energizer. I’ve used it a few times to get me out the door when my “Procrasti..N8” brain gets going. It’s a clean energy, as you can imagine. There are no jitters, no sugar crashes. If you’re a gym person looking for a pump, this is not it. If you are looking for a stim, this is not it. It IS clean energy without any artificial stuff, it’s meant to do one thing and that is to help you push through your workout, whatever type of workout that is.

I’ve used a bunch of different products in this genre and have to say, hands down, Vega is my favorite. Not only are the products great, but so are the folks that work for them. Whenever I’ve had questions or concern, whether it be via e-mail or even on Twitter, they are always gracious and extremely helpful.

Find them on the web at http://myvega.com/ or follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/VegaTeam

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Review: Tailwind

tailwind

After running the Leadville 100 and coping with what the founder of Tailwind, Jeff, calls a “gut bomb”; Tailwind was born.

Some of us can cope with just water or electrolytes in our hydration packs and supplement calories with gels, gummies and bars. Hell some guys like Dean Karnazes can run all night, order a pizza  and have it delivered to him while running, and still not puke all over his shoes. For others that dang GI tract is not happy with that mess and can create a mess all of its own.

Tailwind was created to not only hydrate runners, swimmers and adventurers but to also provide clean calories that would settle decently and allow an athlete to perform at their best.

tailwindbagI’ve used Tailwind on a couple runs now and tested it to its full capacity at the 2014 Spartan Race World Championship Beast in Vermont. We all know “on paper” it said the race was 13-14 miles, but GPS data shows it was really anywhere from 16-17 miles. Regardless, it was grueling and if you were not prepared it was going to be a long day. Who am I kidding? For those of us that WERE prepared it WAS still a long day ! But I digress…

I filled my hydration pack with 70oz of water and 2 scoops of Tailwinds Organic Berry flavor and headed toward the starting line. Because it was hard to carry around the whole bag of Organic Berry, I brought along a couple sleeves of the one serving pouches to add later on. One of them had caffeine, how exciting! The flavors were clean, not overwhelmingly sweet which can be a detriment at times, I’m not looking for good taste to be honest, I am looking for results.

I was using a different product two weeks earlier and while that product claims it fought off cramps and the like, I still found myself cramping a bit. That worries me as I knew this Beast course was going to be nearly double the distance and a million times harder as far as elevation goes. I had come to terms with the fact I was going to cramp at some point, even with this new product I assumed it had to happen at some point.

Am I glad I was wrong! I did not cramp, not even once!!

nutritionfactstwHow did it settle as far as digestion went? Well I didn’t barf, so that’s a good thing, right? Honestly, I wasn’t sure about Tailwinds ability to supply the amount of calories I was going to need so I did bring a few Quest bars with me. For these types of races ole Quest bars and I have been inseparable so, yeah I had a few. That said, the calories I got from Tailwind helped keep a continuous stream of energy coming. I really only ate the bars when I knew I was going to need them. It took my 10 hours to finish the race, I didn’t think I wasn’t surviving on the liquid alone. Although, it’s been pointed out to me, had I added more scoops throughout the day I could very well have received my caloric needs.

Hydration? I felt great! I did play it safe and started hydrating days before the event, with Tailwind even that way my system wouldn’t be shocked with a new product on race day. Not once during the race did I feel like I was becoming dehydrated or anything, I felt great. Now if Tailwind could only do something about all the downhill descents and the damage it can do to one’s knees, I can dream right?

Like I said though, it was great to have a constant source of energy coming in, so hydration and calories? Yeah, that’s a no brainer!

I like the fact it is a small outfit over there at Tailwind. They take the time to listen and understand what your needs are. Heck, my bag even had my name hand written on it, made me feel all warm and tingly! lol!

I know one thing for certain, Tailwind will have my back this January at the Winter Death Race, it will be the only thing (minus the water) in my hydration pack!

Product info: http://www.tailwindnutrition.com/

Rating: Excellent, highly recommended!

 

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Review: Juti Bars

jutiAwesome review from Paul, when I am seriously taking to heart and will be ordering for my pack at the Beast. These sound amazing!!

Juti Bars are an all organic, gluten free, crap free meal bar – made with love in VT 🙂 I first met the man behind Juti Bar at the Unelashed open day, and despite my usual dislike for all things crunchy, healthy, granola’y and such, I really enjoyed the bar, and using our team discount, I picked a bunch of them up for the upcoming race season.

Now, I’m no nutritionist, and barely eat healthy, so this is definitely a laymans opinion. I packed four Juti’s in my pack when we hit the NJ Super, knowing I would be at walking pace for much of it, and likely out there a while. In previous long distance events, my go-to food source was sports beans, so I packed a few of those too. I prefer something I can actually eat, over something like a Gu or gel.

Juti’s are considered meal replacement bars, not snack bars. They are more expensive than a granola bar, but  even I noticed that they are considerably longer lasting. I ate a bar an hour before setting off, and had another one about 4 hours later – and didn’t really need anything else. The bar sits lightly in your stomach, so you don’t need to worry about a full feeling, or food bouncing around inside you, and it isn’t dry, so you don’t really need water to wash it down either.

Overall, I was impressed. I packed four, used two and shared a sportsbeans pack. Last year, I had beans every hour and was famished when I was done – this year, I wasn’t that hungry at the end, and didn’t even bother with the dry, burned burger they gave me.

These will be in my pack again at the Beast, and any longer distance event I hit up.

Product Info: http://www.jutibar.com/ (make sure to use your Spahten discount by typing in NESPAHTENS for 10% off)

Rating: 5 star (amazing)

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Review: Quest Protein Bars, Peanut Butter Cups and Pastabilities

edit…. I have been sitting on this review for some time, don’t know why it never posted…

questbarsasstI have been hearing/ reading about Quest Bars for what seems like forever now. Friends of mine not only rant and rave about eating the bars raw, but there seems to be this whole cult like chef-ery (ok, I made that word up, I get it) where people melt these bad boys down, add ice cream or whatever else to them. Maybe I will delve deeper into this phenomenon another time, but for now, let’s stick to the bars as they are, and were meant to be, in their rawest and tastiest form.

You can walk into any convenience store, GNC or supermarket and see the usual run of the mill nutrition bars, which for the most part are packed with sugar or artificial flavors, ingredients you cannot pronounce and more. I could name some names, cause as I type I am comparing their nutrition labels to Quest’s nutrition label, but this isn’t a battle I am trying to fight nor am I bashing the “other” more convenient guys, I am just pointing out why you should dump them like a protein shaker you left in the car for 3 days and now reeks to high heaven.

Quest was started as a company that was in it for one thing, to offer the general public a choice, a healthier choice. Their bars are packed with protein, all natural ingredients, no artificial sweeteners (in their all natural line there isn’t, sucralose is used at times in minuscule amounts) and for the most part are gluten free. The carbs are low, and in most bars there are 0 active carbs as most of them are fiber.

I did have the opportunity to try a couple other Quest products as well, such as Pastabilities and Cravings. The review for both of these products will be at the end of this review, as we get into the bar flavors. I can’t wait to tell you about 99.9% of them, so, so GOOD!!

questlemonLemon Cream Pie – Ok, hands down, lemon flavored anything is good in my book, so I was super excited to see this first in the assortment of bars I received. They were not overly lemony, which can kill it sometime as lemon is a strong flavor in and of itself. The taste was subtle, you can even taste the “crust” giving this bar a true lemon cream pie flavor profile. This is on the top of the list of favorites for sure.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Cookie Dough is not the most original of flavors, it’s probably been done to death at this point. As I say that though, there are companies that just can’t hit that right flavor and consistency. Most are too dry, not enough choco chips, etc. Quest hit it right on the mark! If I whipped up some dough right now, I am certain there will be little difference between my dough and these bars. They legitimately tasted just like raw cookie dough!

White Chocolate Raspberry – These might have been my wife’s favorite. She loved the fact that there were real raspberry seeds in the bar, not just a raspberry flavor. I enjoyed them for that, and another one of my favorite things is white chocolate, so again it’s like Quest knew this. Are these guys mind readers? I’m getting a little scared!

quest-nutrition-questbar-natural-protein-bar-cinnamon-roll-793573076397Cinnamon Roll – Straight out the gate, hands down, this is my favorite of all! There was not enough bar in my mind, although it was the same size as all the rest. I have an affinity for anything and everything Cinnamon flavored, these were right in my wheel house. They were perfect! Not dry, not so moist that they bent in the Nashville heat as I drove around in my work van, they were fantastic. I may very well be ordering just a box of these.

Peanut Butter Jelly – It sucks to let the air out of the tires at this point but these were just fair in my book. They were somewhat dry. While the peanut butter flavor was evident they could have used some more jelly. Maybe it would have moistened it up a bit. My son, who is 5, and a purveyor of all things pb&j did say he loved em. So, Quest does still get a small, albeit biased, vote from him!

Ultimate Brownie –  This is another flavor that has been done again and again. Like mentioned in the Cookie Dough description though, it matters if you get it right or not. Dead on flavor with a brownie, extremely yummy! Not too dry, not to mushy, was very enjoyable!

questcoconutCoconut Cashew – I love coconut, and my favorite nut is a cashew… Again, Quest knows me too well, and hell, we just met!! The bar itself is a perfect blend of both flavors, not to dry, yet not as moist as the others. That probably has to do with the coconut, maybe it absorbs some of the moisture? I don’t, I just know this, and that so far Quest has hit every nail on the head when it comes to taste!

Strawberry Cheesecake – This was a great surprise. Trying to clone the flavor of a cheesecake can go horrifically wrong, and it does most of the time. You get those bars that are so sour, like they are actually a cheese product and it has gone bad. I don’t know the folks at Quest but must give them mad props for hitting the mark here, amazingly similar flavor to the real thing. The real strawberries is probably what did it for me too, that stuff matters!

Apple Pie – These bars will come in handy when autumn hits. I can see firing these bad boys up in the micro for a few seconds, tearing em up into bits and putting some vanilla ice cream on it. It’s what the flavor reminded me of at least!!

questchocpeanutbutterChocolate Peanut Butter – If you are looking for that chocolate fix, but are worried about the “sin of it” this is the perfect answer. Like it’s compadre, the Ultimate Brownie bar, it is laden with chocolate-y goodness, with a hint of peanut butter. It’s not over done, it’s a great mix of both flavors and I know that at least myself, my craving for something I didn’t truly want, chocolate or candy, was satiated at last.

Banana Nut Muffin – I really wished I had warmed this one up, more so then the room temperature of my 90 degree work van. You know when your making banana bread and you got to lick the spoon afterward? Yeah, these are that good!

Cookies and Cream – The newest addition to the Quest line-up and hands down, one of the best. There are little pieces of cookie heaven throughout the bar. This flavor has been done for some time via other companies and their product. Sometimes the flavor seems to synthesized and turns you off. Quest hit the mark with this new flavor and have great flavor and texture.

cravings_2Here’s where we get into the other products that Quest produces. The first is the Cravings Peanut Butter Cup. These are supposed to be similar to a Reese’s peanut butter cup, I assume at least they are. Like the pb&j flavored bar, these really didn’t live up to what I was hoping for. I understand the peanut butter part of the cup is a protein blend, but it was extremely dry. The chocolate was tasty, I enjoyed it thoroughly, but had to have something to drink to get these down.

questpastabilitiesQuest Pastabilities on the other hand, were an interesting endeavor. The first thing I noticed was the fishy smell when you open the package. It wafts right out of the package, and had I not read the package and the fact that this is normal, I may never have given this a true to life shot. The noodles are packaged in an alkalized water concoction that gives them that fishy smell. After they have been rinsed a couple times, the smell is gone, completely. My family was having the regular pasta night, so I thought it would be the opportune time to give these a roll. I rinsed them and heated them up in the microwave. I added the same sauce my family was using and sat down to eat. I was pleasantly surprised. The noodles had lost all traces of that smell, and it didn’t carry over to the taste. It was just like having pasta, without all the empty carbohydrates. The one thing I will say, there was a texture similar to eating bean sprouts, this is because the noodle is made from the Konjac root. I enjoyed the noodles, both the plain and spinach.

Overall, I have been sold. I have tried many different meal replacement bars. I have tried a variety of supplements. Quest has won me over 100% and will hopefully become a staple in my diet to continue to gain and maintain lean muscle growth. As well as satisfy me on runs, hikes and those pesky OCR races!!

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Review: Pacific Health Labs

pacific-health-logoTook me a couple months to give these products a true test. Pacific Health Labs were extremely generous and I really wanted to put the products they sent through a complete evaluation process. Having enough, I was able to stack them when necessary to see the true benefits.

First, a little about Pacific Health Labs, taken from their site:

Pacific Health Laboratories, founded in 1996 by two prominent scientists, started with a singular purpose – to help athletes achieve their personal goals. We never lost sight of that mission. Collaborating with some of the world’s top nutritionists, biochemists and sports scientists, our research and products have reshaped sports nutrition. Our discoveries help muscles work stronger, faster and longer and are an integral part of the daily training and race regimens of athletes at all levels.

One thing that needs to be said, and probably has your ears perked up a bit, although they are a “lab” and do “scientific research” to develop these products, it doesn’t mean they are synthetic. You can skim their ingredients and see most, if not all, of the ingredients are natural. The last thing I want to put in my body is some unnecessary chemical. Every time I take a supplement that is what concerns me most, as I try to eat as cleanly as I can. With that to the side now…

pacificenergyshotLet’s get into it with the Body Glove Energy Shots. These look a lot like 5-Hour Energy drinks because in theory, they are. Of course they are exclusive to Pacific Health, and their team came up with the concoction, but the idea is the same. When you need a pop of energy it’s simple, open the top, slam it back and wait. The rush that comes on is clean and non-jittery. For whatever I was doing, whether it was a work-out, a run or headed off to work with a sleepy head – these shots made a difference. Loaded with 140mg of caffeine I sure as hope they would have!! Without the jitters, and not feeling like I was completely tweaked out I could focus and get done the things I set out to do.

pacificgelNext up we have some gels. At this point I have tried a variety of different gels from a multitude of companies. Some are really thick, some to runny, some are just outright gross! Pacific sent a variety of flavors of their standard gels and a pack of their 2nd Surge gels which were chocolate espresso flavor. The latter was absolutely amazing. Let me stress that, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The flavor was fantastic and the boost was spot on. Consistency was great, nice and smooth and not gritty or to watery. Easily you can take these out of a pack, open them and squeeze em all while running or staying in motion. The flavor variety pack was great and came in chocolate, key lime, citrus orange, raspberry cream, strawberry kiwi and vanilla. The only one I really couldn’t get on board with was the orange which was kind of acidic. I loved the key lime and it was probably my favorite, besides the 2nd Surge chocolate espresso of course!

pacificbarThey sent a bar too, the Accel Recover Bar. They reminded me of a brownie bar. Nice and thick, not extremely dry which happens a lot with packaged bars. They were amazingly nourishing and I felt full after a run or workout. rather than down a recovery drink I had these bars with a glass of water and felt more than happy with them. These are not meal replacement bars, or breakfast bars, they are meant to be eaten after exerting yourself ie. a workout, a run or any other sort of physical activity. They are for recovery and having had a bunch of them, felt like they achieved their goal. I do not have the science to prove it, they are the scientists, but what I can do, and am talking about here, is based on experience.

detahraceboxSome of the products, such as the gels and bars, even made their way to the Winter Death Race via the Spahten Express. I had put some gels in, bars, energy shots and some Accelerade in the care package. Keith Glass, Death Race veteran, had this to say “I consumed everything they (the Spahten volunteers) put in front of my face. They were fantastic… Gels were great on the trail, instant energy boosts…” Death Race tested, Death Racer approved!

One other product worth mentioning is Accelerade. This is a powder and when mixed with water tastes like Tang and is supposed to work like Gatorade or other similar products. Like they say on their site “why waste money on glorified sugar water”. That said, coming from Pacific Health the mix is meant to support you not fatten their bottom line. Here’s a couple bullet points from their site in regards to Accelerade:

pacificaccelerade• You will have 29% more endurance.

• You will rehydrate 40% better.

• Your muscles will recover 40% faster.

• You will lower your perceived exertion.

It comes in a variety of flavors. Besides mixing in a bottle it can be added to a bladder and I did just that many times in my hydration pack for long runs. With Accelerade added I felt like I could run longer, and did. My longest run to date came when I had this in the pack. Take that for what it’s worth.

As with anything, these products may not be for you. I know lots of people that are all about supplementing and then those that aren’t. You choose. For me, based on my experience with these products, I know they work and will gladly use them again. I hope you found this review helpful. For more info and discount use NESPAHTENS15 for 15% off and free shipping, check out http://www.pacifichealthlabs.com/

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Review: Hammer Nutrition Gels, Recoverite, Bars and Fizz

hammer nutrition logo

Hammer Nutrition has become synonymous with fuel, energy and recovery products for endurance athletes from all sports and genres. Having started in 1987 it has always been their mission to provide athletes with healthy, safe, natural and legal products to help them achieve their goals. Whether it’s on a bike, on foot or in the water, Hammer is there to help.

I was given the opportunity to try a variety of their products and here is my review on them. I tried my best to be a tedious as possible about them because I found that I really enjoyed them and will stand them 100%

gelsGels: I’ve tried a bunch of gels at this point. Some are uber sweet, others are chalky and super thick and others taste completely synthetic. It’s extremely difficult to find the right gel, a decent gel even. That said, I found Hammer’s gels to be smooth, not too sweet and tasted as natural as a gel can possibly taste. Mind you, gels are not made to be snacks or to replace foods. Gels are meant to give you vital nutrients during endurance exercise. Whether that’s on a run, biking, hiking or in our case, obstacle racing – they were made to help sustain energy. We’re not talking something jammed with sugar that’s just going to cause you to crash later, no, we are talking complex carbs, 4 essential amino acids and all-natural ingredients. The gels are vegan friendly, contain no MSG and no artificial flavors or sweeteners. So far these are some of the best gels I have had, here’s a run down on the flavors.

Banana – This one was amazing. While it did taste like it could have been artificially flavored, because the banana flavor was so clean and pronounced, Hammer swears they are not and are made only with real fruit. I believe them, cause this stuff was good and was probably my favorite.

Apple Cinnamon – Lord almighty, this was like my wife’s Apple Pie in gel form. It helped during a run when I was wearing down, not only for the energy but in hopes that magically there was a home-made applie pie waiting for me at home. Alas, no pie but the gel was seriously good!

Vanilla – What can you really say about Vanilla? I mean, it’s good and all but it’s vanilla. I mixed this one with one of the recoverite packages to get a few more carbs in it, and while the taste was slightly diluted, I liked that it was a blank flavor canvas to work with.

Chocolate – The only gel that had a slightly chalky-ness to it, but we will blame that one the fact it’s chocolate. And saying that, it’s chocolate, should be enough for any of you. It’s flippin’ chocolate!!

Montana Huckleberry – I had to dig deep to figure out what these things were, I’d never even heard of a huckleberry before. These particular one’s are Montana specific, obviously, and cannot be grown in a commercial environment as they are particular to the mountainous regions of Montana. But enough about the history, how did it taste? Surprisingly tart, but sweet at the same time. Reminded me of a blueberry, but at times a cranberry. Either way, it was delicious!!

Raspberry – Not a huge fan of anything raspberry flavored, except the real thing. It’s just a hard flavor to capture. There’s got to be a certain level of tart and sweet, you know? Well, this gel was close and was tasty, but alas didn’t quite capture the flavor, although they are made with all natural ingredients.

Orange – I was hoping for something like an orange cream-sicle type of flavor and I should have known better. It was quite acidic, true to a citrus fruit and nothing like a cream-sicle. Yeah, I know that is an artificial flavor, but my taste buds can hope right? That said, I eat and orange a day so I appreciated the realistic flavor in this gel.

Peanut Butter – Whooo boy, this hit the mark. I swear I was squeezing out pure peanut butter and not a gel. The taste was there, it was super creamy and because it’s a gel the was no grit. Ok, so I guess with this flavor a little grit would have been acceptable, but it was not and for good reason, it wasn’t supposed to.

All in all these things were great. I used some on runs and various training sessions. They helped to perk me up when I needed it and sustained me for a good amount of time energy wise. They are super convenient and can be tucked in a pack, a pocket or wherever.

recoveriteRecoverite: This product, obviously, is a recovery drink mix. Each serving has 10g of protein, which seems low but being isolated whey protein it is easily digestible and hits the sore spots sooner. With a 3:1 ratio of complex carbs and amino acids the claim is that muscle soreness after training will be lessened. They hike up the amount of glutamine as well which is believed to be one of the most important amino acid in recovery.

There were a few packets of this stuff so by the third or fourth day I did notice less time to heal my soreness. Instead of taking a year for my out of shape self to recover it only took 6 months… I jest, I jest. I did notice the difference though, placebo affect or not, I found it did work and will use the product again.

There were a few different flavors such as vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and citrus. My favorite had to be the chocolate as it had the best flavor. The others weren’t bad, I just preferred this the most. Although, the strawberry was spot on too!

barsBars: Again, they sent a good variety to try out. I preferred some more than other, and will get into that, but as far as their selling points here a little info from their site, which to me are some of the most important bits.

  • Natural, all-organic ingredients
  • Delicious taste, moist texture, easy to digest
  • No preservatives, trans fats, additives, coatings, soy, peanuts, refined sugars, or dairy
  • Gluten-free, vegan friendly, and GMO-free
  • Contains no MSG
  • Almond Raisin, Oatmeal Apple, & Cranberry (Kosher Certified)
  • Chocolate Chip & Cashew Coconut Chocolate Chip – (Kosher Dairy Certified)

I’m not here to preach food cleanliness and all, my words are mine alone based on the way I choose to eat. That said, the list above is key to how I eat. I understand that yes, it comes from a package, but as far as packaged foods go you can’t get any better.

Hands down my favorite was the Almond Raisin. The Cashew Coconut gave it quite a run for the money though and was amazing in it’s own right. I didn’t have the opportunity to try every single flavor, but did try many of them. All the rest were great as well, and are not standard packed tight bars. These are somewhat chewy and easy to swallow. I find that some protein and energy bars are so thick that you need to sip something to help get them down. These taste and feel like they were cooked in the kitchen.

In all honesty, not all of them had a pleasant flavor. I found that the Almond Cacao Vegan bar was very gross. Not sure if these things have a shelf life, I am pretty sure it wasn’t bad though, just not something I would want to eat again.

If you are looking for good clean energy, or just looking for a snack, I highly recommend you try these out.

fizzEndurolytes Fizz: Lastly, we have something I’d never tried, nor thought of. It’s kind of a genius idea actually. Fizz is a compressed tablet of electrolytes that you drop in water and it dissolves into a tasty drink. It’s not artificially sweetened and does not contain any refined sugars. I found I cramped less when I put these in my hydration pack on runs. Muscle fatigue also seemed to be lessened a good amount on top of the fatigue. These are as straight up and practical as you can get. I not only used them during training and or runs, but I used a few on long work shifts. Usually at the end of the day I feel really wiped out physically. Having popped these in water I felt less burnt out when I got home. Obviously at work I couldn’t rock my hydration pack, so I broke them in half to drop in a water bottle. For shame, I use water bottles, but the tablets are too big and had to be broken to get them in the bottle regardless. I absolutely loved the grapefruit flavor the most. With these I did try them all, and have no complaints about any of them. The flavor was not over powering, if anything they could use a bit more. Maybe I was popping them into too much water? Not sure, but I liked em anyway and found they proved their worth.

So what to do next? If you click http://www.hammernutrition.com/ and click the “begin shopping” button you will get 15% off your order. They have some great programs where if you find you like the product and you do lots of races, training, etc than you can set up auto-shipments and receive your order each month or whatever time frame you choose. I’m down with it and will be getting on it once race season really picks up.

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Review: NuAquos Sports Drink

nuaquosNot all sports drinks are the same. The market is currently saturated with products claiming to help you hydrate yet these same products can actually dehydrate you even more than you might already be based on the fact they are riddled with sugar. The average bottle of the “leading” sports drink has nearly 40 grams of sugar, NuAquos has half of that. The “leading” brands also list sugar as one of the first few ingredients, which normally is a good determining factor in just how much sugar is in it. There is also less carbs and less sodium. While sodium  is necessary for proper hydration, as it is lost through sweat, it’s not needed in an abundance. Like the saying goes, sometimes less is more.

For that matter, not only does NuAquos have less sugar, it has NO fat, gluten, lactose, caffeine, cholesterol or high fructose corn syrup. Wouldn’t that just make it water? Well, no! The whole idea behind this product is, in their words, to “rehydrate, restore, recover”.

So what does it have then?  Besides the fact its way more tasty than the others, I liked the watermelon flavor best, it is the first active sports drink to add protein (12g) into the mix. Yes, there are tons of containers of protein specific drinks on the market, but most of them are dairy, heavy and do not hydrate you at the same time as help you recover from physical activity.  NuAquos is also packed with all electrolytes, vitamins and mineral, amino acids and more.

This stuff is not water, it’s thicker obviously based on the ingredients. That said, it’s not thick or syrupy. The consistency is thin, similar to water. The flavors are good, like I said watermelon was my favorite. All in all, NuAquos is a refreshing, thirst quenching drink. I tried it before and during workouts, and even tested a bottle or two out during my long 10-hour work days. If seen in the store this would be my top choice over any of the sports drink monopoly companies!