Energy Bits Product Review

A while ago on #runchat night I got to chatting with a rep from ENERGYbits. I was immediately intrigued by their product – an all-natural energy source for athletes. As I’ve mentioned before, I have frequent stomach problems during races which I believe are caused by both nerves and my fuel choices. I have tried several different brands and products, but they all seem to upset my GI tract by the 12km mark.

ENERGYbits are made of 100% organically grown spirulina algae. They are high in protein and have just one calorie per tab.  “Endorsed by the United Nations as the most nutritious food on earth, spirulina algae has been a favorite of Olympic gold medalists for decades and is a super food in every sense of the word, delivering instant and enduring energy to your brain and body.”ENERGYbits website

My free sample arrived in the mail a few weeks later and I immediately popped the top off the little tin. Whoa. This stuff smells like fish food! Okay, to be fair, it IS algae after all, what did I think it would smell like? There were 65 tabs in my sample, enough for two doses plus five left over. I decided to wait until I had a more challenging run to try them out, so I could properly compare them to other fueling options.

A couple of days later my training plan called for 9x400m repeats at mile pace with 400m recovery between each, plus a warm-up and cool-down of course. Perfect! I carefully counted out my dose of ENERGYbits – THIRTY tabs. This was a big draw-back for me actually. I’m not someone who has a problem taking pills, but thirty was still a lot to swallow. The ENERGYbits people say it’s actually better to chew them, but they’re “an acquired taste,” so best to just swallow at first. Yeah, fish food is an acquired taste too. 😛 Three handfuls of ten later the algae was in my stomach and I headed out for my run.

My run went very well and I was pleased with my energy levels and my split times (1:46, 1:54, 1:47, 1:46, 1:55, 1:52, 1:57, 1:55, 1:49). I don’t think I had any MORE energy than I would’ve after taking a gel or chewing some chomps, but I definitely had just as much. My run totalled 10km, and I had zero stomach issues. My stomach usually only acts up in a race situation, but I thought it might with the faster speeds of the repeats in this work-out. I made it through just fine, and had no trouble sleeping after this evening work-out.

Trial #2 was during a 10km tempo run, with 5 of those kilometers at 10K race pace (5:27/km for me currently). I swallowed the rest of my ENERGYbits, 35 this time. Again, I had no stomach problems and the same energy levels I would expect after taking a gel or some chews. Excellent!

Pros: This is an all-natural product. Most people who have digestive issues in races blame it on the processed and unnatural ingredients in their fuel. Many runners have recommended that I try a natural fuel, and this did seem to work. The travel tin they came in was a convenient way to transport the tabs.

Cons: The smell, the taste, the fact that you have to take 30 tabs for one dose. For this reason, I think it would be nearly impossible to use mid-race. A gel or a couple chomps are easy to take while on the run, thirty pills isn’t. The cost also makes me hesitate – 1000 tabs retails for $115.00 USD. At thirty tabs per dose, that ends up being 33 doses at $3.48 a pop, and that’s before shipping.  That’s about the same price we pay for a package of chomps here, except that eight to ten chomps will last me an entire half marathon, and I don’t think one dose of thirty bits would have the same power over a two hour run. However, to be fair, my training has slowed a bit in the mileage department right now, so I didn’t have a really long run to try these with.

Overall: I’m still on the fence. I love that there are no artificial energy sources or additives in ENERGYbits, but the smell and sheer volume was  a turn-off.

FREE FOR YOU! You can try ENERGYbits too! Simply “like” them on facebook or tweet them on Twitter and a rep will contact you to send you a sample so you can try them too. The rep has also provided me with a discount code to share with all of you! When you order, enter the code RUN at the check-out to save 30%! That translates to savings of $34.50, making that 1000 tab tin only $80.50 ($2.43 per 30 tab dose). Big savings, so if you’re intrigued like I am and want to give them a try, now is the time!

Have you tried ENERGYbits or another form of natural energy or work-out fuel? What did you think?

Gotta run.

Follow me on Twitter! @RunMommyRun3

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