Monday, July 22, 2013

REVIEW: Kickstart Endurance

Over the past 8 weeks, I've been trying out a wide array of nutrition products thanks to the help of Kickstart Endurance, the one stop shop for endurance nutrition.

As you can certainly guess, some products were great, some were okay, and others just didn't make my cut.  But to be honest, how many different products did you have to ask about, look up, search out, and test before you found what worked for you?  It's part of the game.  Thankfully, Kickstart Endurance is the place to go!  There's no Google searching for stores that carry one product of five you want or driving around to all the various stores that might carry it in your area.  Kickstart Endurance has it all and whether you're looking for a specific type of product or just looking to try something new, they've got you covered.

But enough of that!!  Onto the products!  Let's see what made the list. 

Picky Bar - Need for Seed
As the brain child of pro triathlete, and staunch aviator sunglasses supporter, Jesse Thomas, Picky Bar is a very natural, non-processed nutrition bar made with nuts as the main ingredient.  If you're looking for a granola type bar that doesn't use chemicals, artificial sweeteners, or ingredients you can't pronounce, Picky Bar is what you want.

Personally, I've loved the whole idea behind Picky Bar.  However, I'd have to say I was not as impressed with the product.  I tried the Need for Seed bar and while it tasted great and sat very easily in my stomach, it was a little dry and needed water moisten it up.  I am definitely going to try the other flavors to be sure it wasn't just the one flavor, but overall a decent product.

Final Say: The 'Need for Seed' flavor didn't hit the spot, but I'd bet there is a flavor out there that might.

Quest Protein Bar - Peanut Butter & Jelly
Quest has a full line of gluten-free, low-carb protein bars with quite a variety of flavors!  I dare you to tell me you can't find one in a flavor you like.

As someone who has tried a number of post-workout or meal/snack-replacement protein bars, I will tell you that most of them carry the horrible protein after taste.  Not Quest!  They've definitely nailed it with the protein and flavor.  The only thing you have to get used to is the bar's density; though it'd be great if you have a kid with a loose tooth.  Take a big bite of it and yank on the bar.  Tooth fairy, here we come!

Final Say: Not for me.  It has good flavor, but is too dense.

OSMO Nutrition Active Hydration Drink - Blackberry
OSMO is a hydration system based on the science of fluid absorption in the body.  Using this concept, Dr. Stacy Sims, the chief research officer developed what she believes to be the best engineered drink for maintaining optimal performance during exercise by optimizing the absorption of nutrients.

Aside from the technical details, I took the OSMO out with me on a mid-distance ride and found a few things right off the bat; the flavor is light, it is sweet, and it's very smooth.  The flavor was most likely "light" due to having 22oz. of water instead of the recommended 18oz.  The sweetness level reminded me of Gatorade & Powerade.  And the flavor itself was exactly what Smuckers Blackberry Jam would taste like in liquid form.

Final Say:  Great smooth drink, but not my choice of flavor.  I'll try other flavors!

Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink - Elevation Orange
Elevation is an issue for anyone who doesn't live in it regularly.  From what I've heard, it takes three weeks to start getting acclimated to large changes in elevation such as a racecation to Boulder, CO.  Acli-Mate makes a drink to specifically help with the adjustment.  It's quite an interesting product.

To be honest, when I opened it, I expected the powder to smell like a mix of ground up Flinstone vitamins and Airborne.  Neither were the case; it smelled just like oranges.  Mixing now with the suggested 10oz. of water, the drink packed a lot of flavor, but was very smooth.

Final Say:  Good to go!  I'll have to get this for my Ironman Boulder trip next year.

Pocket Fuel - Coconut Cherry
Pocket Fuel is a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, vegan, and 100% natural nut butter product meant for anyone with an active lifestyle. 

Astronaut food.  That's what my original thought was when I picked up the small, silver wrapped thing filled supposedly with some sort of gooey substance.  My second thought was "Cherry?  Really?"  It's not my go-to flavor, but what the heck, let's try it.  HOLY!!!  If you like almond butter, you are going to LOVE this!!  Mine was a little tough to get out of the squeeze packet, but that may have just been me fumbling around at mile 60 of my ride.  haha  Trust me though, I kept it in my pocket and cut it open with scissors when I got home.  I wasn't going to let this deliciousness go to waste.  The flavor is great as well unless you really are looking for a strong cherry presence (sorry cherry lovers!).

Final Say:  Yes please, may I have another?!

VEGA Sport Pre-Workout Energizer - Acai Berry

VEGA is the birth child of professional triathlete Brendan Brazier.  It's a dairy, gluten, and soy-free supplement based on the idea that a clean, plant based nutrition plan should be just as convenient on the go. 

I will first say that I have never before taken a pre-workout, supplement or drink.  VEGA mixed well with the recommended 8oz of water and smelled great.  However, the flavor was very overwhelming.  I diluted the mixture to 16oz. and while it was more manageable, it was still too strong for my taste.  Just as with those little 5 Hour Energy drinks, I think the flavor woke me up enough, so I can't say if the contents had much of an affect.

Final Say:  Thanks, but no thanks.

Mazama Bar - Wild Berry
The Mazama Bar is a high calorie energy bar for the active, outdoor lifestyle; climbing, hiking, biking, running, ski, explore, and more.  Owners Brittany & Derek Manwill decided to create a bar for their adventures in order to have "a tasty, compact, healthy, meal replacement that would last on the trail."  

With nearly 400 calories, this bar is a beast!  I took it along on a long ride (along with plenty of other nutrition options) and was quite pleasantly surprised.  The bar looks like a very all-natural energy bar and smells amazing.  The flavor comes a close second, but is very satisfying.  I actually had to keep myself from eating the entire thing all at once by reminding myself that there were 390 calories.  Other than that slip, it was great!

Final Say:  I'll take another!  It's a great long-ride nutrition bar or just a snack.

Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration - Orange
Skratch Labs is a low calorie, all natural sports drink that has a lot of fun pointing out the fact that most sports drinks out there are ridiculously artificial.  You're going to want to see their commercial at the bottom of THIS link.  It's hilarious!

With a not so stellar line of up of drinks so far, I was not super optimistic when I mixed up the Skratch Labs drink.  Once mixed, I even had to pull the container back out to make sure I had gotten it all; it mixes up to be quite clear.  I expected a watered down flavor without much to it.  It sure tasted like water in terms of texture!  The flavor was good and light as well.  All-in-all, I was quite pleasantly surprised.  This was a drink I could definitely see myself making use of.  However, the low calorie bit would force me to eat more during training.  That might be okay on the bike, but not on the run.

Final Say:  Add this to the list of drinks for further rigorous testing!

Saquito - Vanilla Goji
Saquito is "vegan, gluten free, low in sugar, high in omega 3 fatty acids, offers complete protein and is made with 95% organic ingredients" including the main ingredient Chia Seeds. 

I really had no idea what to expect from this...  is it a bar?, a mix?, what is it?!  It's called a "mix," which means it has no binders.  This allows Saquito to have a low glycemic index, but an odd first impression for this user.  "Just go for it."  I ripped open the RESEALABLE pouch and found a finely mixed....  well, mixture.  It's what I would expect to find mixed in with oatmeal in the morning.  And best of all, it tastes great though I am suspicious that I might be a bigger fan of something without the Goji.  Either way, I would eat this again.  The only major downside?, chia seeds always end up stuck in my teeth!!

Final Say:  Odd to think of eating while in a race, but quite good. 

Shower Pill - The Athletic Body Wipe
The Shower Pill is a body wipe for those who don't have time or a facility to get a full shower in before returning to your normal life, whether that be getting to work, picking up the kids, or just getting in the car after a gym session (who wants their car to smell like gym sweat?!).

Finally, the non-nutritional product.  The first thing I liked about the Shower Pill is that it's non-alcoholic meaning it won't dry your skin out.  It also smells clean.  Not bleach clean, but a nice, non-perfumy type of clean.  Soap-like clean.  However, the one downfall I have is that after my long workouts or particularly my intense ones or even a race, I feel i would need multiple Shower Pills in order to wipe off the profuse amount of sweat I have.  But for short workouts or a gym session, I think they'll work perfectly.

Final Say:  This would be a great product to have on hand 'just in case,' but I'm not running out to grab a pack.

So there it is.  A whole slew of products, testing a wide array of new nutritional (and one non-nutritional) options for the athletic lifestyle.  As I said, some were great, some were okay, and a few just weren't my cup of tea (which my favorite is gingerbread by the way).  However, the common link is that all of those products came from the same place.  I didn't have to go to 10, 5, or even 2 places to get the lot.  They're all one click away at Kickstart Endurance.

Free yourself from the multiple trips or clicks it takes to get your nutrition.  Check out Kickstart Endurance.  You won't regret it.


1.  Where do you get your nutrition?
I've done the local bike/running shops, REI, grocery stores, chain sports stores, and online.  It's a hectic process keeping track of where everything comes from so I remember where to go when I run out.

2.  Do you use any of these products?


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