If you haven’t heard of The Feed, it’s an online marketplace for endurance athletes with everything from performance nutrition and snacks to supplements and gear. Think of it like a triathlete’s Publix or a runner’s Costco; it’s there to provide you with all the top brands at great prices.
Because it’s a one-stop shop with practically every gel, drink mix, and chew under the sun, my husband Matt and I order A LOT of our nutrition from The Feed. They also have single serving packs so you can mix and match to try out new products. The great thing is that if we try something new, and don’t really like it, we can return it, because The Feed has a 100% flavor guarantee!
Since we’re pretty well acquainted with many of the brands on The Feed, I thought we’d give you our Top 10 picks for nutrition products that we use on a daily basis.
#1- SIS isotonic energy gels– Our coach turned us on to these gels years ago and they’re our go-to for training and racing. In addition to being gluten-free and vegan, they’re isotonic, which means that the gel is equal in osmotic pressure to your stomach barrier. That means no stomach upset! Also, unlike other gels that require a sip of water for consumption, these are more liquid in consistency and easier to take in than thick, sticky gels.
Also, they have two carbohydrate sources, so you can absorb more per hour than glucose alone. My favorite flavor is salted strawberry, which has extra electrolytes, but they sell out quickly. We’ve also tried apple, pineapple, lemon lime, tutti frutti and cherry. I don’t like the tropical flavor, but that’s just me.
#2- SIS Beta Fuel Chews- I LOVE these chews and so does Matt. He says the lemon flavor is like “a cross between a gummy bear and a jello bar.” It’s nice to have a different texture during long training rides, and the best part is it’s a concentrated carb source with 45g per packet. It has a 1:0.8 ratio of maltodextrin to fructose and 44mg of sodium. Each chew is divided into two strips, which have four chews for easy portion control. If I’m drinking a carb mix in my bottle, I have to keep an eye on how many of these I eat, because it’s a lot of carbs, but they’re so good!
#3- Skratch Labs Clear– Most people have heard of Skratch, but Skratch Clear is relatively new. After I had some trouble using a high carb mix during the running portion of my 70.3 races last year, I switched to this and used it successfully during the marathon at my first full distance race at Ironman Florida. The flavor I use is “hint of lemon” and it’s just that. It tastes like a very light lemonade. The best part is that you can dial up the flavor, and carbs, to suit your needs. One scoop has 13g of carbs, 270mg sodium, and 27mg magnesium. For the marathon, I put two scoops in each of my 10.5 oz. handhelds and it was perfect.
#4- Never Second C30 sport drink- We actually met the owner and founder of Never Second at the Ironman Florida expo and got to learn more about this product. It’s science first, without all the marketing mumbo jumbo. It has just 4 ingredients: maltodextrin, fructose, sodium, and natural flavor. That’s it. With its glucose:fructose carb blend, this drink mix is isotonic, which promotes fast gastric emptying and it’s pH-neutral.
It has a very mild flavor (we like citrus) and 200mg of sodium, which means I don’t have to supplement with extra salt. It has 30g of carbs per scoop, so you can modify if you need more. We’ve been testing this out during the off season, and it’s at the top of our list for races this year. Matt is looking at using the C90, because he likes higher carbs for race day.
#5- LMNT Electrolytes– A friend gave me one of these electrolyte packets after a long training ride last summer and it was amazing! I love the grapefruit salt flavor. Each package has 1,000mg sodium, 200mg potassium, and 60mg magnesium. They also have zero sugar, using stevia leaf extract instead. Because I have such a high sweat rate, it helps me rehydrate after a long workout and prevents dehydration headaches later in the afternoon.
#6- First Endurance Ultragen– If you get just one thing on this list, my recommendation would be Ultragen. It’s a post-workout recovery shake with the perfect mix: 20g of protein, 60g of carbs, 6g of glutamine, 4.5g of BCAA’s, and 350mg of sodium. Don’t be scared by the high carb count. It’s the exact ratio of protein and carbs that’s needed in order to replenish glycogen stores, rebuild muscle, and speed up recovery. That last one was a biggie training when training for an Ironman, and this helped so much after long, hard workouts.
My doctor actually turned me on to this. She’s a very speedy marathon runner who’s qualified for Boston many times and has several Ironman podium finishes. I like the chocolate flavor and put two scoops in a shaker bottle full of water after an intense workout less than 1 hour, or any workout over 1 hour. As a female, it’s important I consume protein within 30 minutes of exercise to optimize the effects, so I often drink this in the shower! Also, I like that it actually tastes good and isn’t chalky or powdery like other protein shakes.
#7- Kyoku shakes- This daily superfood shake is pretty amazing. It’s not cheap, but when you see what’s inside, you understand why. It has 16 different superfoods including: broccoli, spinach, green pepper, collards, chickpea, peas, brown rice, hemp seeds, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, black pepper, beet root, ashwagandha, turmeric, tart cherry, and quercetin from apples. For a while, Matt used the vanilla flavor mixed with frozen berries as his breakfast. It helps him stay fueled for the day, less likely to snack in the afternoons, and increased his vegetable/micronutrient count. He says, “It doesn’t taste like powder and is a good base to add other flavors to. It contains nutritional supplements that most athletes are deficient in.”
#8- Maurten Solid- We’ve used the Maurten drink mix and Maurten gels, but my favorite is a lesser-known product- the Maurten solid. It’s basically a performance bar that tastes a bit like a firm Rice Krispy treat, but not as sweet. The basic solid has a honey oat flavor, while basic C has cocoa. Each bar has 44g of carbs, 260mg sodium, and 225 calories. I use these either as a morning bar before a long bike ride or as a post-workout recovery snack.
#9- Thorne Creatine- Most people hear creatine and think it’s something for bodybuilders who want big muscles, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Creatine does help to build strength and power in athletes, because it’s an amino acid. But you have to make sure you get it from a company that doesn’t mix it with unnecessary additives. That’s why we use this one from Thorne. It’s micronized so it dissolves in water, and it’s colorless and tasteless. Matt adds it to his smoothie, and I put it in my Ultragen. He says, “It’s a valuable supplement for athletes that has definite performance gains including decreasing fatigue and cognitive benefits.”
Check out this blog post from Dr. Stacy Sims that explains why female athletes need creatine. Did you know women naturally have 70 to 80% lower creatine stores than men?
#10- Blonyx Beta Alanine- Beta alanine is an amino acid that’s needed to produce carnosine, which is a compound that acts as a buffer in your muscles. It’s a very well-researched supplement for its performance boosting effects. For example, it helps with high power activities like sprinting, time to exhaustion, and climbing hills. Matt takes this daily during race season, but beware it will give you the tingles… He says that just lets him know it’s “go time!”
Disclaimer: I’m a writer and a triathlete. My background isn’t in performance nutrition. However, these are products we use on a daily basis, and they work for us. Also, my husband is a sports medicine doctor, so he helps vet anything we use to ensure it’s #1- safe to use and #2- performance and science-driven.
If you’re new here, I post on the blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Be sure to follow @bblife234 and @thetriplethreatlife on Instagram to find out when they’re live.