During my Ironman training, I spent a lot of time on nutrition. In the summer heat, I was losing fluid rapidly and it became important to have some sort of endurance fuel. Standard Gatorade just didn’t cut it anymore! In fact, even when I switched to Gatorade Endurance, I was suffering massive cramps after 3 1/2 hours on the bike. I actually got fairly desperate to figure out a fix and through my research into my problems, I decided I probably was fighting the wrong thing. I had been very focused on my electrolyte loss but in reality I was probably just undernourished. I saw a full page ad in Triathlete Magazine for something called e-Fuel and after some more research, I decided to give it a shot.
What Is It?
e-Fuel is an electrolyte sports drink similar in purpose to things like Gatorade. While it comes in a powder with flavors that remind you of that common sports drink, that’s where the similarities end. e-Fuel supplies a large amount of its energy not with simple sugar but wit carbohydrates. Don’t mistake this for thinking that less sugar means less calories. A full bottle of the stuff on my bike is about 270 calories which is considerably more than Gatorade. For extreme endurance events such as an Ironman and even a half Ironman, this is essential to keeping your body going. Just like other sports drinks its also high in sodium, potassium and other electrolytes to help prevent hyponatremia (water intoxication).
What’s it taste like?
Pretty good! The four flavors all have a only slight amount of sweetness to them. Enough so that they taste good but far less than any other sports drink you’ll get in the store. I never got sick of them on my long rides.
The four flavors are:
- Radical Raspberry
- Citrus Slam (Orange flavor)
- Mountain Rush (Lemon Lime)
- Tropical Blast (Fruit punch)
I don’t really have a favorite but if I had to pick it would be either the Citrus Slam or Mountain Rush.
So does it work?
For me? It sure does! I was, without fail, cramping between 60 & 65 miles on every bike ride last summer. I kept upping my potassium and sodium, assuming I just was losing way more than normal since I’m a fairly heavy sweater. But it wasn’t working. I think this provided me something that I desperately needed on long training sessions in the summer:
I never cramped again on a long bike ride. Skratch and Accelerade are definitely the most popular options in this category but for my money, I’ll be sticking with Crank Sports for the foreseeable future. I haven’t tried their gels yet for running but since I have similar problems in marathons and the running leg of half ironman races, I’m going to try and see if they work for me to.
The nice thing is they’re always “on sale” and every purchase you get points which give you a discount on your next purchase. You can get it here: http://www.cranksports.com/