Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tailwind Nutrition Review

It's all about what goes into the body as to the production you get out of it. And with a recent change in diet myself to a more organic outlook and dropping red meat out of the equation it had also come to my attention to look further into my race & training nutrition.

It's true I was a gel man! I liked the little packets the way they fit in the back pockets of my jersey, or running belt. The ease to rip the top off and digest the sweet sugar filled energy; but the high and lows of gel taking meant I was taking too many and finding my workouts were based on surging efforts when the going was good and trying to survive when the going was bad. Washing away the sweet after taste with that extra bottle of plain water.

On exploring more endurance nutritional options, I was steered in the direction of Tailwind products; a USA based company that has it's connections here in Australia. Developed to combat the Leadville 100 and avoid the dreaded gut-bomb that taking synthetic sugars and large amounts of "energy bars" and rubbish calroies can do to the body (we've all been there)

Tailwind works with some pretty simple philosophy; combing energy+electrolytes+ hydration mixed in with your water bottle it's idea is to supply your full nutritional needs, as well as claiming to absorb better than most gels on the market, and the interesting fact that it is Hydration Pack friendly.

Having collected a Variety Pack to test before getting on-board with the Tailwind Ambassadors; I felt we needed something a little tough to give it a true test, a Sommerville Sports AU Arthur's Seat 70km/ 1400m climbing on the bike was the perfect tester, warm conditions, killer vert meant plenty of calorie usage and the need for constant hydration. I handed two to the Captain to test out and also tell me what he thought.

The first sign is the white powder and my water staying clear; that's right unlike other sports drinks (we won't name names) tipping the powder into my bottle didn't change colour, and there was no 'sugary' smell - you know that sweet smell like you just walked into a donut shop. It mixed really easy and quickly with no residue floating or collecting at the bottom of the bottle.

I was using two flavors on this trip the Raspberry Caffeinated & Lemon flavour, now from a taste perspective I was impressed. You wouldn't want a full sache of the variety pack in a small bidon would taste too sweet but a half packet is just about right, with a still very refreshing watery taste - kind of like that cordial your Nanna used to make on a summers day.

Passing the taste test early in the ride, it now needed to do its job. Tackling Arthurs seat and the back steep roads of Red Hill, which by the way does what it says on the box (hills!) I took the test to the limit by packing no gels and just my Tailwind and 2 rice cakes, I was a little nervous of the dreaded bonk. Saches claim 200 calories and this ride was going to burn 1000+ by the end of the day, knowing I had a lunch/ coffee stop I really just needed to break the back and get through the first hard 40km and then I could refuel on solids again.

Despite taking a caffeine loaded Raspberry I didn't feel over excited, if anything maybe slightly more focused on my task at hand, my gut never felt empty or a cry for help (grumbling noises) this is usually the point when I can tell my body is lacking calories.

On the way back to the finishing point I topped up further with lemon just to keep my levels right and felt strong all the way around the ride, sticking strong with the group and at no point did I feel like I was lacking water or food which is a rare one for me; I didn't have surges in activity levels but kept a consistent effort.

From chatting to my other test case within the Sommerville Sports AU Team; very similar report - taste was good, didn't feel like he needed any extra gels to top up and carried little to no food on this trip other than sharing a power bar.

Getting home and testing the final claim of Tailwind, Hydration Pack friendly - I like clear water bottles, means I can tell which juice is in which on a long ride. But most of them have been stained or left with an awkward flavor residue in them from constant use. A quick clean out and a scrub and there was no lemon after smell or after taste when I poured some water into the bottle.

It was hard to think of going on a ride without a gel or something overly sugary to get me past the breaking point, but Tailwind seemed to have found the perfect mix - this VEGAN, yes you heard me right this vegan friendly nutritional option is free of wheat, gluten, soy and diary. It mixes well with minimal scoops to give you upwards of 250cal and could easily provide you a simple nutritional race plan without the hassle of pills, gels, bars and the odd pre-wrapped sandwiches.

I don't think I will completely replace solid food on my rides/runs, but this certainly cuts down on carry-on items with regards to gels and 'extra' goodies (bananas, biscuits) With the absorption into the body at a steady rate rather than a blast of energy I can see this product being a big factor in my IM70/ Olympic distance challenges this year.

Super pleased that I can represent this excellent product that in Victoria is a hidden gem, with no retailers stocking these powders. As a Tailwind Team Member I'm encouraging you to get in touch and let's sort out an order, you won't regret it, in fact your gut will love you for it!! 


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