Friends don’t let friends eat fried chicken before a workout. Keeping your best interest in mind, I’m peering into my crystal ball to give you a run-down of the best endurance sports nutrition this new year has to offer. Some products you may already know and love, while others may be on your list to try…some day. If you’re afraid to waver from your tried-and-true nutrition routine, this guide could change (more like, blow) your mind.
The focus isn’t only on what you should be eating or drinking but on when. If you’re even remotely serious about performing at your best, you’ll need to fuel well before, during and after your long-winded workouts.
Vegan diets are becoming what gluten free was to 2013. There’s something about eating plants that just makes you feel cleaner, lighter and peppier–imagine that! Brendan Brazier experienced this first-hand, moving him to create Vega. Being a top-performing professional triathlete, Brazier is no hemp head when it comes to fueling active bodies. Testers of Vega Protein Smoothie in Choc-A-Lot declare that this no-sugar-added drink mix will satisfy chocolate cravings and easily change how you energize for the day: “I’ve been drinking smoothies for breakfast ever since I purchased this product. I love that it’s plant-based, is very nutritious, and it tastes great too!”
Pure caffeine supplements are proving to be a good (and more natural) pre-workout boost for endurance athletes. In addition to the numerous health benefits of caffeine, ARO Black Series Pure Caffeine is a convenient capsule which users find “much easier than drinking coffee!” Though you might pine for the comfort of a cuppa Joe, you probably won’t miss the time-sucking bathroom breaks.
Caffeine is also grinding its way into on-course gels and chews. If you missed your morning dose, it’s not too late to get that extra kick in the cycling pants with GU Energy Gel Espresso Love with 2X the caffeine. GU Energy Gels continue to top the list “for endurance training and racing for triathlon” due to its “well deserved reputation.”
Some athletes prefer to bite into their nutrition (me, me, me!) and turn to wafer-thin waffles or gel-like chews. Inspired by the (in)famous Lance Armstrong, Honey Stinger waffles and vitamin C-rich chews are made with at least 95% USDA Certified organic ingredients. After taking the vanilla waffles on her long runs, one user rejoiced, “Easily soluble, provides good clean energy. Great flavor.” Just like Lance, you can’t beat ‘em!
Even if you’re winning the race, you’re losing key nutrients. Replenish the electrolytes your body is sweating out with Nuun Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tabs. They come in funky flavors, from Tropical Fruit to Goji Berry Green Tea. No more measuring out the perfect ratio of water to powder. Simply drop a tab into your bottle, fill ‘er up and go. If you’re like our users, you’ll be “very satisfied with the hydration and stamina they provide.”
Fatigue happens. Your muscles need protein and amino acids to repair, so you can get up the next morning and do it all over again. Unlike traditional protein powders with unpronounceable ingredients, Vega Sport Performance Protein is gaining cred for offering 25 grams of alkaline-forming protein without dairy, gluten, soy or artificial anything. One fan fell in love, because “as a vegan it is a challenge to get the amino acid Lysine and this fills the gap nicely.”
The glutamine gods have spoken and Jarrow Formulas L-Glutamine Powder is the chosen one. It’s 100% L-glutamine–nothing else! If you haven’t tried this non-essential amino acid, you’re probably struggling with muscle soreness day in and day out. Take a tip from one fit Florida woman who says, “I put in cranberry juice before and after I work out. It helps with soreness. I love it!”
Liz Lotts is a personal -trainer-turned-triathlete who is admittedly addicted to long distances and wants to share her real-life lessons as an endurance athlete. Tweet her @Lottsomiles if you have questions, quirky comments or inspirational quotes to share.