30 January 2017 0 Comments

A Year Powered by Etixx

Note: all the products reviewed below were won in a competition except where noted. No-one from Etixx has asked me to write this post or has requested editorial input. Product links provided are to the Etixx website and there are no affiliate marketing codes included if you follow them.

Last year a couple of very clever members of COLT (City of Lancaster Triathlon – my club) won a competition to power our entire membership with sports nutrition for a year! The brand running the promotion was Etixx, not a hugely well known name over here in the UK, but cyclists know them well as a sponsor of Tom Boonen and friends at the Quick Step pro cycling team. Luckily, George, one of the members in question, had a garage large enough to cope with the pallet loads of gels, shakes and bars that duly arrived. However, it was all fine and dandy to win all this free stuff but it wouldn’t be much use if it was no good. All my races and training last year were powered by Etixx and here’s what I thought of their products.

Energy Gels

Love ’em or hate ’em, energy gels are the fastest and most efficient way to get vital carbs into your system when training or racing. I’ve used a number of brands over the years with varying degrees of success and enjoyment. I tried 2 of the Etixx gels range, a standard carboydrate gel and the guarana and caffeine infused stimulant gel. The normal gels came in two flavours, lime and peach. Both contained 24g of carbohydrate so about right for 1 an hour of moderate exercise and doubling up for more intense sessions. I found them to be very easy on the stomach when consumed with water which is not always the case with some other brands I’ve tried. The formulation of 3 different sugars with differing rates of absorption seems to avoid the sugar rush of gels with just fast sugars. The flavours are quite strong and I had a marked preference for the peach flavour (which seems to be no longer available on their website, replaced by cola) and some club members disliked them for that reason. However, I found them fairly palatable, and the lack of stomach stress was a big bonus for me. They got me through Ironman UK last summer so they definitely work!

The stimulant gel was a real opinion divider as the red berries flavour had a marked cough medicine taste to it. Some people hated them. I stuck with them and got used to the taste. These gels really work. Normally stimulant gels leave me feeling a bit shaky and nauseous after taking them. Again, like the standard gels I experienced no stomach stress with these gels and they gave me a definite boost during flat periods in long races. They do a second flavour, maracuya, which I haven’t tried so I might give them a whirl next season as an alternative to the cough mixture taste.

Energy Bars

Although I prefer gels for their ease and convenience, on longer events and for less intense longer training efforts I like to munch on a cereal bar. Unfortunately we didn’t receive any in our prize, but in the name of research I actually invested some of my own cold hard cash in some energy bars to train with prior to using them at Ironman UK. I tried chocolate and lemon flavour (orange and raspberry are also available) and I found them to be very nice indeed (lemon was my favourite). They are quite sweet, so there is plenty of carbs in their formulation (29g per bar) and not too “bitty”. With some cereal bars I find I’m chewing on bits of oat for ages after I’ve finished them.

On Ironman UK I took an energy bar followed by 3 carbohydrate gels spread out at 30 minute intervals during the entire bike leg with the occasional stimulant gel thrown in and it was a combination that worked out really well, setting me up for my best ever Ironman run.

Recovery Bars

These seem to have been a real hit with the COLTs and stocks depleted rapidly. I did manage to get hold of a box of them and used them after tough training sessions. They have a nougat like texture, a nice enough caramel taste and a thin layer of chocolate to sweeten the deal. They’re quite chewy and the why protein does give them a bit of a powdery texture, but with 17g of carbs and 13g of whey protein they do an excellent job of replenishing lost stores after a race or a tough training session. My own preference is for a recovery shake drink, but for sheer convenience these are hard to beat.

Recovery Shakes

Reading around, it seems that Etixx recovery shakes have a great reputation, and I have to say that they are an essential part of my training routine. I’ve had both chocolate and raspberry and kiwi flavour, with the latter being the favourite among COLTs.

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