Ironwoman Wednesday: Swim

I have teamed up with two other amazing bloggers and triathletes for a series called Ironwoman Wednesday – Gabi at Lean Green Island Girl and Jamie at From Couch to Ironwoman.  We will be blogging each Wednesday about topics related to triathlon.

Ironwoman Wednesday Series

This week’s topic is swim.

I just started training for triathlons one year ago. This means that I just started swimming one year ago! I have never been so intimated in my life. The pool at the gym. It’s the scary place where sexy people flip turn and speed through the water like a torpedo to get to the other side. But I had to get in.  I wanted to do a triathlon and the first part of triathlon is SWIM.

I can’t even remember my first swim because I am certain that it was the shortest swim known to man!  Maybe 50 meters, possibly 100 meters.  I had no idea what I was doing.  Freestyle!?!  Does that mean you can swim in any manner you want as long as you get to the other end? Oh man, I had some learning to do!

Pool

I am going to share with you what I have learned in hopes that maybe you will not be so intimated.

The first few things were terms:

Lap – a lap is one length of the pool or 25 meters/yards

Length – a length is two laps of the pool or 50 meters/yards

Who knew there was more than one term to get down and back?

Then I needed some equipment…yes, if you are training for a triathlon and specifically an Ironman you will need some additional equipment besides a bathing suit, goggles and a swim cap.

Pull buoy – a pull buoy is a foam figure 8 shaped block that you put between your legs to keep them floating while you work on your arm technique.

Kickboard – a kickboard is a floatation device that you use to rest your arms on while practicing kicking.

Paddles – paddles are generally hard plastic and have rubber cords that fit on your wrist and middle finger.  They are used to build strength and correct technique.

Kickboard & Pull Buoy photo 3

There are some general rules, that are not necessarily spoken, when lap swimming.

*Look at the pace of the swimmers already in the pool. See if any match up with your pace.

*Once you have picked a lane, sit on the side of the pool with your feet in the water.  This will alert the other person in the lane that you want to share a lane.

*Decide together whether you will circle swim (go down one side and up the other) or split the lane (up and down on the same side).

It’s that easy.

There are some no-no’s of lap swimming:

Don’t just jump in before letting the other person in the lane know you are joining.

Don’t use anyone else’s equipment.

Don’t meander on the wall.  If you aren’t going to swim, get out of the lap lane.

Don’t pee in the water.  Get out and use the toilet!

It didn’t take me long before I was up to 1000 meters, then 2000 meters and I just recently hit 3000 meters (which by the way is still short of an Ironman distance swim!).

I learned proper swim technique by watching lots of YouTube videos and then practicing those techniques during my swim sessions.  Tri Swim Coach has a wealth of information and videos. Don’t be afraid to watch them and try something new.

I am still no pro in the water.  My next goal is to learn and perfect the flip turn.

Until then, I will continue enjoying my time in the water while at the same time becoming a better triathlete!

Underwater Swim

Michelle

Tried it Tuesday – Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator

I thought I would try a new format by designating certain days for certain types of posts.  This will keep me more focused on what I am writing about and keep my mind from jumping all around!

Recently, I was given a chance to test and review a product from Vega Sport.

This is my first experience with Vega Sport.  My first stop was to visit their Fuel Your Better webpage. I wanted to see what this company was about, what they believed in and get a better idea of their products.

The company, located in Canada, seeks to power athletes with plant based nutrition, reduce their carbon footprint and maintain sustainable business practices.  They believe in leaving this planet a better place for the next generation.  Seems pretty great to me.

They have three main nutrition categories…Prepare, Sustain and Recover.  I was given the option to try a nutrition product in one of these categories.  I think I do a fairly good job with preparing and sustaining; however, I definitely fall short when it comes to recovery. I have been working on making sure I eat after I workout in order to refuel and restore.  For me, its not always easy to get fuel in within 30 minutes after working out.

I decided that I would try their Recovery Accelerator.  I received a box of Tropical flavor with 12 packets in it.

Vega Sport Accelerator

Each packet contains almost a ounce of powder (.96 ounces) and was easy to tear open. The first thing I did was look at the ingredients. It is the first thing I do every time I am going to put something new in my body.

Here are the supplements and other ingredients: (taken from Vega Sport)

Everything seemed natural and whole.  I am not a big fan of Stevia so that caught my eye but I went ahead and tried it out anyways.

I decided to have my first packet after a long run.  As soon as I got home, I emptied a packet into my tumbler.  I was quite shocked on how much powder is actually inside this little bag.  It seemed like a lot to me and I was concerned that it wasn’t going to incorporate well in the water.

Packet of Recovery Accelerator photo 1 (4) photo 2 (3) photo 3 (1)

At first I stirred it with a spoon. This technique did not seem sufficient to me. You must put it in an enclosed container and shake vigorously. Doing that will mix it well enough that you don’t have a powdery taste. The tropical flavor was good. I actually really liked it.

I repeated the same routine after every workout lasting longer than an hour for the next week.

Here is what I noticed:

Note: Your pee will be bright yellow.  Recovery Accelerator has beta carotene in it!  At first I was very confused because my pee made me think I was dehydrated…then I remember the beta carotene! Don’t let this scare you!

I am not a doctor. This is a review based on my results. I was suffering with Achilles tendonitis for over two weeks. After three packets of Recovery Accelerator my Achilles pain was minimal at most. Do I think this powder magically healed me…no. Do I think it helped my body recover quickly…absolutely.

I am now a FIRM believer in Recovery Accelerator. I used it everyday during week 4 of Ironman training. It was the only thing that changed besides an increase in training hours. The difference between week 3 and week 4 was significant. I got in EVERY workout that was scheduled and was not sore or tired in the slightest even while adding 3 hours to my week.

I am looking forward to trying other Vega Products and maybe even looking into becoming a Vega Ambassador. I highly, highly recommend trying this stuff. If it can make that much difference in a week, I know that it will help once training increases again.

Want to figure out how to fuel better?  Visit Vega Sports Fuel Your Better campaign page and click on your obstacle to see what will help you become better!

Michelle

 

Disclosure: I received one box of Recovery Accelerator from Vega Sport for review purposes only.  No other compensation was provided. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Liebster Award

Recently this blog was nominated for a Liebster Award.  This award is given to bloggers from fellow bloggers.  I received this award from One More Mile. liebster-award

Upon receiving this award I was given 10 questions to answer.

1. What is your favorite way to exercise? Why? My favorite way to exercise is to mix it up.  Luckily, I am a triathlete so I get three disciplines to chose from…swim, bike or run.  Workouts can get very boring if you do the same exercise day-in day-out.
2. How do you find time to exercise? Honestly, I make time.  I get up very early in the morning to get my workouts in.  I also get a workout in at lunch time.  Setting my day up in advance really helps keep everything in order.
3. What is a typical day like for you? I wake up at 5:30 and I am at the pool swimming by 6:00.  Work from 8-noon, then run for 45-60 minutes, work from 1-4:30.  Then home for dinner, shower and change out gym bag for next days workout. In bed by 9:30.  Sounds exciting, huh?
4. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? I hope to be honest about the ups and downs of being a triathlete.  It doesn’t come easy.  You work your butt off and you hope to make those around you proud.
5. Who inspires you?  A better question would be – Who doesn’t inspire you?  I am surrounded by amazing  people everywhere I look.  There is so much to learn from each person.  Everyone has a battle they are fighting and to see that in people is always very inspiring to me.
6. Morning or night person? Neither.  Afternoon person.  I hate waking up early and I never stay up late!
7. What are some of your fitness goals you have for 2014? My biggest goal this year is finishing Ironman Louisville in the time allotted.  Everything I do this season revolves around this goal.
8. What is your favorite blog post you have written?  Actually, it was my last post titled “Love Lessons.”  The reason is that it’s real.  I am not trying to cover up the struggle athletes face by hiding behind rose colored glasses.
9.  If you could change one thing from 2013, what would it be? Well right now I am obsessed with wanting a TT bike, so maybe I would have saved more money for that instead of getting a road bike and adding tri gear to it.
10. What is one of your greatest life or fitness accomplishments? My greatest fitness accomplishment so far was 10 years ago. I was not a runner.  Had never run. Never wanted to run. I started training for a marathon two weeks after giving birth and exactly six months later, I ran the Chicago Marathon. I ran the entire 26.2 miles. I thought I was invincible once I crossed the finish line. One of the greatest moments of my life.

I am also supposed to provide 10 random facts about myself (this should be fun!) –

1. I have super long monkey arms.  I can never find long sleeve shirts that fit the length of my arms.
2. I haven’t eaten chocolate in 13 years.
3. I am obsessed with almond butter.
4. I love Miley Cyrus.
5. I have lived in 8 states.
6. I have a dream to become Instafamous (follow me @Ironwomanstrong)
7. I was a vegetarian for 2 years until one morning I woke and wanted a steak.  I ate it and never went back.
8. I went to Christmas service at the Notre Dame in Paris.
9. I believe in bucket lists and mine is extensive.
10. I currently have 8 out of 10 toenails.

Now I get to nominate some blogs to receive this award.

Toby Jones – Paddle, Pedal, Plop
Emily – Runs With Hope
Erin, Theresa & Kendra – Glitterbombs of Glory
Brandi Ferguson – Focused Fitness Journey

 

Okay group – here are your ten questions to answer.  You must follow the same rules…answer the questions, give 10 random facts about yourself and then nominate another group of bloggers and ask them questions.  Have fun and thanks for the award!

1. Cats or dogs?
2. Why do you like blogging?
3. Who do you admire?
4. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
5. Describe your perfect day.
6. What season is your favorite and why?
7. If you can have dinner with one person from history, who would it be?
8. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
9. What do you do in your down time?
10. What is your favorite fitness activity?

 

Michelle

 

Love Lessons

This week has been really rough for me.

On the training front, I have been suffering from Achilles Tendonitis.  I rested more than usual this week hoping to get the pain and swelling under control.

This is a picture of it on Monday.

Achilles Tendonitis

After my race today, I am in pain again. With two half-Ironman distances coming up in 5 weeks I really need this pain to go away stat! Rest, Ice, and Elevation…Compression makes it hurt worse so I haven’t been using my compression socks.

On the personal front, it has been a rough week of marriage.  Being a triathlete requires an extensive commitment to training.  Training steals time.  Less times equals a massive strain on relationships.  I have been neglecting my “wifely” duties.  My husband has been neglecting his “hubby” duties.  That combined with my insane training schedule has resulted in an explosive “BOOM” in my home.

This week, I spent a lot of time reading about triathlons and divorce rates.  The rates are astronomical.  The term
coined for this is “Divorce by Triathlon”.  Basically, one person is dedicated to triathlon, leaving the other to fend for themselves.  Neglect begins to take place and the spiral continues downward.  The debate is whether triathlon causes this rift or if triathlon just brings out the differences that already existed.

For a triathlete, triathlon fills a void.  It empowers, motivates and inspires.  For me, triathlon gives me a sense of self that nothing else does. It allows me that chance to reach, strive and focus my attention on a goal.  This is something that I need.  I have had this need my entire life.  I have always moved from one goal to the next, generally, with warp speed.  Triathlon challenges both my body and my mind and gives me inner strength.

Besides my desire to be a great triathlete, I also want to be a great wife. I do not want my husband to feel second to triathlon. That being said, I have not done a good job prioritizing.  I find that I get so worked up and so excited to race that I tend to let it control my whole thought process.

On the way to my race this morning, I got to talking with my friend about how I was feeling.  I find that talking to other triathletes about things in my life helps me because each person has a different story and life experiences.  She told me that her and her husband recently read “The 5 Love Languages”.  She was telling me all about the 5 different languages and how each person has a certain way they need to be loved. Light bulb moment!

I knew that I was not being loved in the way that made me feel love and I certainly wasn’t loving my husband the way he could feel it.  I was trying to love him the way that I would want to be loved…”Acts of Service”.

The 5 Love Languages are –

Acts of Service

Physical Touch

Quality Time

Words of Affirmation

Receiving Gifts

My husband and I are going to try and really focus on the way we love each other.  He knows that the way I feel love is for him to help me around the house and I know that if I can stop and hug him and hold his hand that he will feel love.

I don’t think that triathlon has to be the death of a marriage.  I think that I can manage my time in a way that I dedicate quality time to my husband so that he knows that he is number one.

That is my goal.  I love my husband.  I love triathlon. I want both.  I need both.

And at the end of the day if I work hard enough…I get both.

Don’t give up on your relationship if it gets in a tight spot.  Really look at what is driving you apart and see if what you loved about each other in the beginning is still there.  I am sure that you will find that love is there hidden in plain sight.  Marriage isn’t easy. Love isn’t easy. It is, however, worth it.

Michelle

Try Tri Race Recap

First triathlon of the year was today!  I was very excited to get to racing.  I decided to start my year off with a long course sprint triathlon.  This is a good way to ease into the season. I signed up for RaceMaker Productions Try Tri Triathlon.  My first reason for signing up for this race was the hoodie!  Lame, I know but it was really cool. The back of the hoodie says, “Don’t just try, Achieve”.

Here is the Swag that was given out: hoodie, gel, water bottle and swim cap.

Try Tri Swag

The race was at the SIUE campus in Edwardsville, IL.  Complaint 1 – the address given on the website was not a valid address.  Once I got to the SIUE campus, I had to drive around until I found the correct building. Not a big deal but a good address would be nice.

After I got my bike racked and transition set up, I headed to the pool for a warm up swim and a quick bathroom break.  I am a nervous pee’er!  I have to pee about 1o times before the start of the race. Complaint 2 – they only had one bathroom and it was a good 3 or 4 minute walk from the pool and there were no bathrooms on the bike or run. After finding the bathroom, I was ready to warm up!  Complaint 3 – we were not allowed to warm up swim until 10 minutes before the race.  That means that 100 people are going to jump into a six lane pool and try to warm up all at once.  Not really ideal.

There were two races…a short course (150 m swim, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run) and a long course (300 m swim, 20 mile bike , 4 mile run).  I was racing the long course. Generally, you line up to swim based on your overall time. Complaint 4 – that was supposed to happen at this race as well except the pool deck was pretty small and there were no time signs for people to stand behind.  This causes a cattle call at the front of the swim.  People who would swim 300 m in 8 minutes were jumping in with the 5 minute swimmers.  I swam over two people because they were moving too slow.  My swim time was 7:40.  I was thrilled with that considering the serpentine swim scenario.

Swim

Out of the pool, onto the bike!  Transition 2 was 1:24:05.  I knew that I need a strong bike to compensate for my weaker run.  Yesterday I did a 33 mile hilly ride with my SBR group so I needed to really push.  The route was pretty flat but holy wind.  Illinois is a plain state and there is nothing blocking the wind.  It was pretty vicious.  The bike was pretty uneventful. Complaint 5 – 20 mile bike with no aid station.  It’s okay for me because I carry plenty of fuel but this was a triathlon focused on first timers.  An aid station would have been pretty helpful to all those who were new at racing.

Bike

Off the bike and running.  Transition 2 was a quick 43 seconds! The run was beautiful.  It was a paved and tree-lined path that went through campus.  I have no real complaints on the run.  There were two aid stations.

Run

Finish line!

I was greeted by my personal support crew!  My husband, one of my daughters and my sister!  There is nothing better than getting to the end of a long race and seeing people cheering you on.

Support Crew

Me and Lizzie

My final time was 2:04:40.  I was pushing for under 2 hours so I will take it!  I ended up placing 1st in my age group.

When you race a hard race, you look forward to getting a medal. It is something that I keep and hang with my other medals.  Its a way to look back and see your progress.

Complaints 6-8 – We did not get medals.  We did not have a podium.  We did not have finisher pictures.

We got…

Wait for it…

an umbrella.

Umbrella1st place umbrella

An umbrella.

This was my first race with RaceMaker Productions and it will likely be my last.  It was too unorganized for me.  I am used to races that have been well thought out and have amazing awards ceremonies, food and beer.

It was great first race of the season but I am already looking forward to racing TriZou (UltraMax Sports) next weekend.

Michelle

SBR Tri Club

Before I start my post, I want to say Congratulations to Meb Keflezighi for his amazing race in Boston today!  Kudos!

Towards then end of last year, I started considering joining a triathlon club. There are many of them around Saint Louis so my options were open.  The problem was me. Did I really want to join a tri club? Then I would have to be social. If I didn’t know everything about triathlon would I look stupid? I don’t know the name of every element on my bike. I know some but I don’t want to subject myself to feeling inadequate and looking like I don’t belong.

Over the winter months, I looked at all the different club website…numerous times.  I went into the stores that sponsored the clubs. I just wanted to see if maybe I could fit in somewhere.  I used to be extremely social but since I got married (my husband is very introverted) I have become less outgoing.

In March, I decided to join the Facebook page of one of the clubs.  I could secretly snoop and see what kind of culture this group had developed without committing.

By the end of March, I had weighed the pros and cons of joining.  The pros outnumbered the cons two-fold so I decided to join Swim, Bike, Run tri club.

Here is why I decided to join:

Camaraderie – I felt like I needed to be around like minded people.  I was starting to feel like maybe I was becoming overly obsessive and that I might need a mental health assessment.  When I found out that there are other people out there who dream, sleep and eat triathlon, I felt like at least we could all be committed to the same hospital should anyone find out our “sickness”.

Discounts – Let’s be real.  Triathlon is expensive.  Very expensive.  Besides tri gear, shoes, bike, pool fees, fuel and hydration, there are fees to race.  It cost me over $600 just to sign up for Ironman Louisville.  That is a lot of money to swim, bike and run around a city.  Being able to take a discount on smaller local races is a huge benefit.

Social – Besides the camaraderie, there is a social aspect that I am truly looking forward to enjoying.  Meeting new people and hearing their stories is something that inspires me.  As I get older, I try to talk less about myself and listen more to others.  There is so much knowledge and race history inside of a tri club but you have to be willing to absorb it.

Training – I really like the idea of training with others.  If not while swimming and running, then definitely while biking.  There are real dangers when biking alone on a road.  When you ride with others, you are more easily seen and there is help if you need it. The other benefit is others can push you beyond what you believe you can do.  This is huge for me.  I want to be pushed.  I want to go out there and give my all and being around others kicks in my “competitive” nature (in a friendly way…until race day!).

Joining a club can be very intimidating.  Do your homework.  See if their culture will fit you.  See if you can be of some benefit to them, as well.  I researched a second club and realized that their “balls to the wall” mentality would not have suited my training.

I am really looking forward to developing long term friendship with the other members.  They have already been so welcoming and have really taken the time to go above and beyond in making me feel like I belong.

If you are considering joining a running, cycling or triathlon club, take a chance and join.  Just remember, you are only going to get out of it what you put into it.

ad_SBR_STL

Michelle

 

What is Ironwoman Strong?

While on a training run, not long ago, I was thinking of starting a blog.  I like to write and tell my story and inspire others in their journey.  I got to thinking, “What should I call my blog?” You have plenty of time to think on long runs so I pondered it for awhile.  Then out of nowhere the words “Ironwoman Strong” came to mind.  That was it. I knew it as soon as it crossed my lips.  I ran straight home and created this blog.

But “Ironwoman Strong?” Shouldn’t it be Strong Ironwoman?  No, no it shouldn’t!

Ironwoman Strong mean that you are doing what it takes to reach your dreams.

I have come up with a few things that “Ironwoman Strong” means to me.

It means:

*Progress not Perfection

*Impossible is not an option

*Believing in yourself

*Taking risks and chances

*Rising up after failure

*Empowering other women

*Inner strength and determination

I started triathlon as an outlet for becoming active.  It has transformed me into an athlete who believes in herself.  I see changes in my body, my mind and my soul.  That is “Ironwoman Strong”.  You don’t have to be a triathlete to feel like you are queen of your life.

I proved myself “Ironwoman Strong” today.  I am not an expert on hills when cycling.  I have only been cycling for about a year and most of my training has been on very flat courses. My upcoming races have plenty of hills so I am stepping up my training to include lots of hill work.  During my ride today, there were two major hills.  The first one, I dismounted my bike and walked up.  I got to the top, and though I didn’t feel shame at walking, I did feel disappointment in myself.  I had psyched myself into believing that I couldn’t do it.  Towards the end of the ride there was another big hill.  I took a deep breath, dropped into a low gear, got out of my saddle and pedaled up the hill.  Was I pushing?  Yes.  Did it kill me? No.  It is that moment that I was “Ironwoman Strong”.  I had belief in myself and my ability to do what my mind told me I couldn’t.

I know that many people reading this blog have moments when they are “Ironwoman Strong.”  I would love to hear your stories about a time where you overcame and proved yourself right or wrong.

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to purse them.” – Walt Disney

Michelle

 

 

What are you eating?

Since going Paleo over a month ago, I have spent a lot of time shopping, cleaning and eating vegetables and fruit. Today I saw a small blurp on Facebook about the little labels on our fresh food and was instantly intrigued.

You have seen them hundreds of times (maybe you have even eaten a few, like me!).

They look like this –

photo 1photo 2

They are called PLU codes.  PLU stands for Price Look Up code.  I never gave these stickers a second thought but I should have!

Here is the scoop on them.  The number assigned to each fruit is significant.  A four digit number (which is actually a 5-digit number with a leading zero omitted) like above, is the standard fruit that you have been eating for years.  The four digit number generally starts with a 3 or 4.  This fruit is farmed in traditional farms which use chemical pesticides.  You should wash this fruit thoroughly especially if it is thin skinned like berries, apples, etc.  Though pesticides can get into thick skinned fruit like oranges, bananas, and melons, it is likely to not absorb as much.

Five digit numbers that begin with a 9 are certified organics.  Certified organics do not use pesticides and adhere to strict standards for growing, processing and transporting their products.  Organics are widely accepted as healthier though there are critics who would say differently.  If it were me and there was a standard apple and an organic apple sitting together, I would always choose the organic.

The one number you should never buy begins with an 8.  A five digit number starting with 8 means that you are buying a GMO, or genetically modified.  This is a process where science has taken produce and altered its genes to make it more resistant to bacteria, pesticides, etc.  Genetically modified foods have not been proven safe to eat long term.  There is a great article on Mother Jones if you would like to read more about GMO’s.

There is, as always, a glitch in this labeling.  Right now there is legislation in the process to make it mandatory for food companies to label their food properly.  As of now, produce is not required to be labeled GMO even if it is.  The PLU code is optional and most companies who produce GMO’s do not label their products as such.  If they believe in their food so much, why hide it, right?

Look for food that specifically says NON-GMO Verified.  If you are considering buying corn that does not have a PLU label on it, you will likely be eating GMO corn.  Instead buy organic.  It is a little more costly but you will not be eating food that has been altered in a laboratory.

If you would like to look up your produce with the PLU codes to see where they are from and what they are exactly, visit PLU Codes.

Here are the results from the apple and orange above –

SnipImage

orange

Very interesting, I think.  We should care about what we are eating and where are produce is coming from.  Be informed and make smart decisions while in the grocery store!

Michelle

Ironman training

I am registered to race Ironman Louisville in August.  I have scheduled my entire race schedule around training for this event.  An Ironman or in my case an Ironwoman!

My 20 week training plan for this race starts tomorrow.  I have been revving up my workouts over the last month or so in order to prepare for the massive amount of time and distance that training will bring.

I have been trying to work in hill repeats and rides with lots of hills.  I am not fast on hills but I am determined to get stronger by doing them!

Yesterday I rode 29 miles with lots and lots of hills!

A gain of 906 ft!  That was quiet a ride this early in the season but I could feel myself growing stronger!

Today, I did something amazing.  I hit a 9:00 mile while out on my run.  Not only that but I ran 4 miles in under 40 minutes!

I ran this same course six months ago and basically crawled it!

I was going from about an 11 minute mile and then dying…to a sub 10 mile.  This just goes to show that with determination and hard work, progress can be made.  My goal by the end of this season is to be under a 9 minute mile for up to 10 miles.

What did you do this weekend to better yourself?  Any awesome achievements that you want to share?  I would love to hear your stories!

Michelle

Just a little energy and a GIVEAWAY?

Energy – It’s what every athlete wants, right?  The ability to wake up in the wee hours, train hard, go to work, enjoy family time, and maybe get a few chores done all before heading to bed just to do it again the next day

That sort of energy is bottled up in children and somehow gets dispersed and evaporated out of our pores with each passing year.  Energy is something we are all searching to keep and maintain.  It gives athletes that little extra edge to push harder or go the extra mile.

Energy supplements are booming in the athletic world.  Everywhere you turn someone is selling energy. I googled “energy for athletes” and it gave me over 13 million results!

Image

It’s big business.  As a triathlete, I have tried many of these products from energy bars, drinks & gels to supplements and pills, you name it, I’ve tried it.

Recently, I have been given the opportunity to try two different products that provide energy for athletes.  The first is PocketFuel’s Cold Brew Energy Shots and the second is Energybits.

Energybits are algae.  It doesn’t get simpler than that.  The little green tablets have one ingredient – Spriulina algae.  Spriulina algae is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  The big hype for taking spirulina as a supplement is the protein content.  The University of Maryland Medical Center website states, “Amino acids make up 62% of spirulina. Because it is a rich source of protein and other nutrients, spirulina has been used as a nutritional supplement. However, although spirulina contains a certain level of protein, you would need to take very large quantities to see any effect. Other sources of protein, such as nuts, legumes, whole grains, and meat, provide protein in smaller servings.”

I received the sample packets on Saturday.  Perfect timing, I was racing the half marathon on Sunday and thought that would be a great time to test them.  I received two of these small packs along with a wealth of information about the product. With everything I read and all the hype surrounding these little green pills I was super excited to try them.

Image

I didn’t take a picture of the pills so here is one from the Energybits website.

Image

I was excited to try them until I realized I wasn’t going to be just taking one little pill.  I was going to have to take the whole packet of pills. One single serving is 30 pills. YES, 30 PILLS!  Sunday morning, about 90 minutes before the race, I gaggingly took 30 green pills.  That a lot of pills for someone who hates taking pills. I wonder if there is a way to increase the potency in order to reduce the number of pills in a single serving…

I had plenty of energy come race time.  I felt like I had a better run than I expected.

Here’s a little know fact about me…I love naps!  I love naps after races.  I get home, curl up in bed and crash for a couple of hours.  I feel like it speeds up my recovery and I just like it!

Sunday after the race, I did just that.  I got all curled up in my down comforter.  It was pure bliss EXCEPT I couldn’t sleep.  I was wide awake.  Sleep was not an option.  Damn pills!

Pros of Energybits:

Energy and plenty of it!

Non GMO algae

Cons of Energybits:

Cost – $115 dollars for 1000 pills or 33 servings (That’s $3.48/serving!)

30 pills per serving

Inability to take a nap (yes, this is a con!)

PocketFuel’s Cold Brew Energy Shots are single serve (1.15 oz) packets.  They come in three flavors – Java, Mocha and Vanilla. Like Energybits, they are 100% natural energy.  Each packet has 70 mg of caffeine from organic coffee.  The studies on caffeine and performance in athletes are numerous.  An article on Fitday.com titled “Consuming Caffeine before Working Out”  states “caffeine is thought to help endurance athletes by reducing the muscles’ consumption of glycogen, the stored energy used up during exercise. There’s only a certain amount of glycogen available, and once it’s used up, muscle fatigue sets in. Caffeine is thought to delay the onset of muscle fatigue by helping your body use its own fat reserves as energy instead, reducing the glycogen burn rate. This is known as “glycogen sparing.” The longer your glycogen lasts, the longer your muscles can function. Caffeine consumed during a marathon has also been found to be an effective aid, helping to release pain-reducing endorphins as well as reducing mental fatigue.”  This article also mentions that caffeine has been found to benefit long distance endurance athletes as well as sprint athletes.

I received three Cold Brew Energy Shots to try – one of each flavor.

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It took me a couple of days to try them.  I kept thinking in my head that it was going to taste like coffee grounds.  Really, Michelle, coffee grounds? I know, I know.  The first one I tried was the Vanilla Energy Shot.  Holy canoli, it was amazing.  I was in vanilla coffee heaven. I took it about 30 minutes before hitting the pool for a long session. As I started my swim, I could feel my energy growing.  All the sudden, I was Michael Phelps winning the gold medal (but in girl version).  I felt like I could swim for hours.  I was shocked how much energy this little packet provided me. I actually swam my furthest distance this the season – 2250 meters.  I definitely owe that to my energy shot…oh, and I was able to sleep like a baby that night!

As you know, health and organics are very important to me.  What I love about this product is that it is 100% organic AND FAIR TRADE.  Double goodness.  It is also Vegan and Soy, Dairy & Gluten Free.  The ingredients for the Java Energy Shot are cold brew coffee, organic coconut milk, organic evaporated cane juice and tapioca flour.  It passes my ingredients test.  I can pronouce and have knowledge of all the ingredients listed!

Cons of Cold Brew Energy Shots:

I am being very honest when I say I can honestly not find a con.

Pros of Cold Brew Energy Shots

Cost – $49.17 for 33 servings (That’s only $1.49/serving, which is well below any standard energy gel)

Instant energy when you need it

Convenient and easy-to-use

Taste delicious

Organic and Fair Trade

After reviewing both sources of energy, my choice would be the Cold Brew Energy Shots hands down.  I truly wanted to enjoy Energybits but I just didn’t.  It took me a couple of days to get it out of my system and I ended up feeling “a crash” for two days.  The pick me up that the Cold Brew Energy Shots gave me was a perfect blend of “beast mode”.  Enough to increase my endurance and athletic ability without keeping me awake for hours.  I can’t imagine taking Energybits for a night workout.  I would never sleep.

PocketFuel Naturals was created by athletes for athletes.  It’s whole food that will sustain and fuel you.  To learn more about this amazing company, visit their website.

NOW, IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!  PocketFuel Naturals has been generous enough to offer a giveaway to my readers.  Up for grabs is a PocketFuel sample pack which includes one of each of their favorites, INCLUDING the Cold Brew Energy Shots!

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Click below to win some energy:

GET SOME ENERGY HERE

Have fun and good luck!

Michelle

 

Disclosure: I received Energy Bits and PocketFuel Naturals for review purposes only.  No other compensation was provided. All thoughts and opinions are my own.