Saturday, March 29, 2014

Energy Bits Review

A few weeks ago, I responded to a tweet from Energy Bits.  They asked a trivia question about one of their athletes, Jimmy Kirkpatrick the striker for the Canadian Field Hockey team.  I was the lucky one who got the answer right.  I was expecting a free sample of Bits and maybe a logo tee shirt.  Instead, I got a signed jersey from Jimmy (which my 6 year old immediately adopted) and 2 samples of Bits.  Super Awesome!
My signed jersey! 

I saved the Bits until I was actually running on a more regular basis.  I'm ramping up for a 10K, after basically hibernating all winter.  Today, was a 5 mile run.  The weather was perfect and I had a really good 4 miler last weekend (there may have been some dancing to Footloose at mile 3.5), so I figured I was back in the groove enough to try the Bits.

Normally, when I run first thing in the morning, I'll have about 12 oz of skim milk, maybe a piece of toast if I'm really hungry, before I get dressed, then head out the door.  This morning, I skipped the toast, and had the Bits about 5 minutes before heading out the door.  30 bits is a surprisingly big handful!  I think if I was more awake I would have taken a picture!  I had to divvy them up into 4 gulps and unfortunately, one lingered a bit and started dissolving in my mouth.  "Green" is a very accurate description of the taste.  It's not unpleasant, it's a strong nori taste.

What was I expecting from the Energy Bits?  Not much more than the extra calories I took in.  Yeah, there's B vitamins which are supposed to be energizing (I've never had an energy drink in my life, I prefer caffeine!) but how much would it really work?  I was expecting to have more energy later in the run due to the extra protein from the Energy Bits, but that was really about it.

So I went for my run.  I started off in a bad mood, between a slight headache, allergies and contacts not sitting right, so I wasn't expecting much.  I actually felt bad for testing the Bits on a Bad Day.  But, within 5 minutes of running, my brain felt clear.  I felt awake, even though I was still in my bad mood.  I was already in my rhythm, even though my pace was slower than last week (did I mention the red wine last night too?).  Was it my best run ever? Not even close.  But what really impressed me was that it was a much better run than I expected.  I didn't run out of steam from not having enough fuel.  But I didn't feel like I had too much food in me either.  I had a light but satiated feeling in my stomach, I wasn't hungry, but didn't feel like I ate too much; it was actually rather nice.  Add to this that I'm writing this almost 6 hours after my run.  Typically, I'm ready for a nap at this point, but today, I'm feeling pretty good!  Overall, I think the Energy Bits actually did what they said they'd do.  I'm truly impressed.

There's only really two downsides that I see to Energy Bits.  The first is how to take them during a run.  I normally take 1 Honey Stinger (about 15 calories) every 2 miles on actual long runs.  I can't take in too much at any one time, it bugs my stomach.  I could see the Energy Bits going down easily and not bothering my belly, but trying to corral 15-30 bits while running; I see that being a bit challenging.  The other downside is the initial cost.  I'm not talking cost per use, here, because it's about on par with Honey Stingers (especially if you can get a discount code).  It's just the idea of paying ~$100 up front for a significant supply as opposed to $2-3 to grab a single serving bag.

Overall, I liked the Energy Bits.  I could see taking them before a run or when the mid afternoon doldrums hit.  I was impressed that I got half of my iron requirement in just 4 gulps, and maybe even taking them daily as a nutritional supplement would be beneficial for me.

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