Kyle Larson, Owner Endurance House Madison
I’m a creature of habit just like lots of people. I try to go bed around the same time every night – it’s early! I like to wake up to my brewed coffee I even have my favorite water bottle (it will be a sad day when I need to let that bottle go.) So when I decided to try a new sports nutrition hydration product it was a big step for me.
Let’s start with a few basics before we get to Tailwind Nutrition.
For activities lasting less than one hour you can get by with water as a hydration source and you generally don’t need to worry about calorie replacement.
During training sessions and racing staying hydrated is very important and water does the trick for staying hydrated. Keep this in mind when your state of dehydration increases even 2% the result can be as high as a 10% reduction in performance or power. You can’t “bank” your hydration store so don’t try to hyper-hydrate the day before. Follow a good hydration plan of about 8 glasses of liquid per day and about 8 to 16 ounces of fluids an hour during high activity.
For activities lasting longer than one hour the game starts to change. Hydration is still as important and now you need to start to consider calorie replacement and a plan to keep electrolytes in balance.
While you are working out or racing your body burns calories and pulls from our energy stores – glycogen and fat. It is never the intent to replace all the calories you burn. If you try to do this it is highly likely you will get nauseated and all the bad that comes from that. So – the plan is to aim for 200 to 275 calories per hour as a replacement. With this caveat – your number may vary. For example a smaller athlete may be lower than 200 calories per hour while a larger athlete may be more than 275 calories per hour. And – the type of activity we are doing will impact your intake capacity. Biking will afford us the ability to get to the upper range of calorie consumption while running due to its jarring and jostling will be on the lower end of the scale. You need to experiment in training to understand what works for you.
Fending off cramping can be a constant battle for some athletes. Cramping can be caused from many factors from fitness level to dehydration and depletion of sodium and other nutrients. Sodium is typically the first line of defense and some products have high levels of sodium already in the product. Understanding what is included in your favorite product is important before you build your nutrition plan.
I’ve used Gatorade, HEED, PowerAde and nearly every combination of hydration/fluid replacement solution at one time or another. When I looked at Tailwind it struck me that it was a little different than the rest and as they promoted it has a subtle taste. I like this. I’ve found that when a drink has an overpowering taste it can cause issues I’d rather forget about. As you look at the contents you see a high sodium content coupled with potassium, calcium and magnesium all good at reducing the chances of cramps. And – you get your calories back at about 200 calories per bottle (more on this later.)
Here is what Tailwind states on their web site: “Complete Energy+Electrolytes+Hydration – Ditch the gels, bars, chews, and pills and go all day with just Tailwind. Tailwind mixes with water to meet your calorie, hydration, and electrolyte needs, no matter how big a day’s in front of you. Deliberately mild, customers describe the flavors as “clean” and “light” with a mouth feel as close to water as you can get while still meeting your nutrition needs.”
Great! But, is it true? In my testing it is true. I tried mixing my bottles at different levels based on my training to understand how to formulate my calories. I mixed bottles at the recommend level, at 300 calories and at 400 calories.
I’ve found that mixing my bottle at about 200 to 300 calorie concentration maximum works the best for me. When I mixed it at 400 calories or more I found the sodium content too high for my taste. I believe the best approach is to mix your bottle and consume the bottle and then mix another bottle for the rest of my ride or workout. The best taste is at recommended concentration. As they claim – it is possible to use this as my calorie replacement strategy without using gels or bars. It is also very possible to eliminate electrolyte replacement tablets as the mix has what you need to keep you going.
While Tailwind says that it can be your hydration source I supplemented water to make sure I was fully hydrated.
Here is my hour breakdown on the bike ride and repeat this for the entire ride:
- :15 Water
- :30 Tailwind
- :45 Water
- :00 Tailwind
Try it! I really like the flavor and found the results to be great. If you like a strong taste – this is not the product for you. Because it may be different than what you are used to using you may need to give it a couple trys before making your final opinion. I feel a new habit in the making. Next up – BASE Performance.