Grady Anderson is relatively new to the Missoula running scene, but is quickly making his mark. As a former standout runner at North Dakota State (don’t hold that against him), he can be easily spotted at the front of most races in town. He has just recovered from a broken foot suffered during the Snowbowl 15k, but it up and at it again. Grady is a RErun Ambassador for 2017/18 and we asked him to review the 2XU Compression Socks for us….
In the last month, I haven’t had many reasons for consuming recovery drinks. I broke a bone in my foot while running the Snowbowl 15k, and most of the month was spent crying, consuming large amounts of adult beverages, dancing in a boot, then crying again. Just recently have I been running again, and my life has improved dramatically. So, I probably won’t be able to tell you how drastic the recovery changes are between these drinks, but I can definitely give you some pointers on a drink that tastes good, goes down smooth, and works best for certain situations because when you’re training at your peak, the little things really do matter.
For me recovery drinks have always consisted of two things…chocolate milk and Gatorade. I was a chocolate milk fan from day one so that was an easy bandwagon to jump on. There’s nothing better than getting back from a killer workout and downing a half a gallon of chocolate milk and inducing unbelievable stomach pain for the rest of the day. This scenario was all too familiar to me in college, and I bet if I would’ve sought out some other recovery/energy drinks my running, and stomach, may have fared much better.
Forewarning: most of this review is focused on taste and natural reaction to the drinks. I tested products from Gu, Hammer, Skratch, and Tailwind. Each have a different goal and definitely a different taste…here’s the low down!
Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel
I tested the Endurance Fuel drinks from Tailwind Nutrition. The slogan on the front reads: “All you need, all day, really.” Well, I didn’t quite test this slogan as I ate 3 hardy meals throughout the day, with some occasional Oreos and ice cream, but I’d assume if you drank 10 of these powdered drinks to reach 2000 calories for the day you’d survive…for a little while. I enjoyed the consistency of this drink because it really feels like you’re just drinking some flavored water, but looking closer at the ingredients, I see that this little powder packs a punch. Sugars and salts and lots of words such as “Non-GMO” and “Organic” made me think that this would be a great drink while on the go, or in a race, because of the easiness to drink, and nice sugar boost. I see on the back it says: “Complete Fuel, No Gut Bombs, and Tasty All Day.” Anyhow, the two flavors I was so lucky to try were Mandarin Orange and Lemon.
Mandarin Orange: Pouring the orange powder into a glass of cold water and mixing it for a healthy amount of time reminded me of drinking Emergen-C packets that my mom always force fed me at the first hint of sickness. And I’m going to be honest. The Mandarin Orange flavor is oddly similar to the orange-flavored cold remedy. Actually now that I say that, there’s definitely a small hint of zinc aftertaste with these things, which could be enjoyable if you’re a big zinc fan I suppose.
Lemon: The lemon flavor has similar traits to its Mandarin Orange sibling. I feel like I’m drinking a lemon-flavored Emergen-C with a solid zinc aftertaste. These drinks are an acquired taste, and I would say make sure you give them a taste test before you try it in your next big race!
Hammer Nutrition has a variety of recovery drinks that are growing more and more popular in the sport. The coolest part of Hammer drinks is that they’re based out of Whitefish, MT so you’re keeping it pretty local when you buy Hammer products. I tried three different drinks from Hammer, and I’ll tell you they’re definitely a wild ride!
Chocolate: The chocolate flavored drink from Hammer was a “trip” as some of those hip young kids would say. I love chocolate, and I was all excited to try a recovery drink which resembled chocolate milk, but when I read the directions I was sad to see that this mix was supposed to be mixed with…water. I wasn’t completely turned off, but I will say it made the whole experience a little less enjoyable after I had already compared it to drinking a glass of perfectly chilled chocolate milk. The chocolate flavor was not my favorite, but chocolate is a great source of energy and is definitely a fan favorite as far as flavors go. I’d say this drink was the middle ground for consistency. I little thicker than the Tailwind, and a little smoother than the GU. So once again, I think preference is everything in these drinks.
GU has been a name in distance running for a long time now, and for good reason. They truly are a go-to brand for anything recovery. I’ve been experimenting with their drink mix, and feel like they’re playing to a little different crowd than the other recovery drinks. Their drink mix claims to have 5200mg of Amino Acids, 250mg of Sodium, and 10g of Protein. These science terms mean nothing to me, but I definitely agree that these things are hardy! I tried the Vanilla Cream flavor and it’s literally like drinking a milkshake, or probably more like a protein shake (I’ve never actually tried one of those before) if you ever drink those. These things are thick and creamy and I’ve got to say…pretty delicious. It was an eye-opening experience and I literally felt my muscles grow as it went down my gullet.
These drinks are awesome! I really like the consistency and little seeds that make you think you’re actually drinking part of the fruit that makes up the flavor. I think as far as fruit tastes go these guys have it down. The strawberry flavor is reminiscent of drinking raspberry lemonade. I’m a big fan of this drink and would potentially use this next time I race. The passion fruit was a bit much for me, but to each their own. (I’ve never been much of a passion fruit guy. I don’t even know what that fruit would look like.)
-GU Vanilla Cream
-Hammer Chocolate Recoverite
-Hammer Orange Vanilla Recoverite
-Scratch Passion Fruit