A couple months ago, Fleet Feet hosted a fuel-focused event that discussed ways to naturally nourish and power our bodies for optimal performance. During the event, a holistic wellness coach provided tips on kickstarting each day with hot lemon water and green smoothies, as well as how to maintain energy throughout the day with wholesome farm-to-table veggies, fruits and protein-packed grub. While it's SUPER important to get the fundamentals in-check and sustain our bodies with nutrient-packed, natural foods, there are a few awesome products on the market that we can't go without mentioning. And guess what? Most of them are equally, if not more so, nutrient-loaded and natural! Here are some of our favorite fueling options, which you can buy in-store or online:
GU Energy: From the Stroopwafel, to chews, capsules, drink mixes, recovery tabs and Roctane gels, GU has you covered. GU believes that one of the most important keys to successful athleticism is to fuel appropriately—meaning that what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat are in line with your sporty goals—whether it be on a trail, prior to a race, at the summit of a cliff, in the gym, or in the car following a tennis match. And while GU also prioritizes simple, natural foods (i.e. fruits, nuts, grains, veggies), they also believe that the body needs more to truly maximize during certain workouts. Created for daily training and competition, the GU Energy Gel is a portable, on-the-go pack of energy-dense calories meant to sustain energy demands, regardless of activity or duration. These 100-calorie packets contain sodium, electrolytes, and carbs that can be absorbed throughout a workout, hydrating what is lost in sweat and providing amino acids to lessen mental and physical fatigue. The GU Energy Chews are similarly composed, offering 90-calories of carbs, salt and amino acids, but the chews come in a solid, gooey form, rather than a thick, liquid-like gel. The Roctane gels differ from original GU Energy in the amount of beneficial nutrients in each serving. With higher quantities of sodium, electrolytes and amino acids, Roctane gels are geared for more demanding training and endurance competition. The amino acid taurine helps the heart function under stress, improving cardiac output over a long duration, while the amino acid beta-alanine promotes all-around muscle strength and recovery.
Hammer: With a wide variety of top-notch products, Hammer provides reliable, long-lasting energy through hydration and diverse fuel forms. Perpetuem, which is meant primarily for on-the-go endurance workouts, maximizes fat utilization, while helping prevent muscle fatigue. Similarly, the Hammer gels provide nutrients that raise blood sugar levels quickly, in the form of an easily digestible, smooth substance. And additionally, Hammer's various protein products are exceptional for recovery, with various whey and vegan options.
Huma: Evaporated cane syrup, ground chia seeds, coconut water, sea salt, and REAL fruit puree? Oh yes, Huma for the win. Why chia seeds? Well, among a number of other health benefits, chia seeds ensure that you have a steady, gradual energy release that helps to avoid flash crashes and unbearable cramps. The high water content makes Huma easy to swallow, and its ingredients make this particular product much easier on the stomach than some other options.
Honey Stinger: Honey Stinger Energy Chews are the first to include all-natural proteins and fibers derived from 100% organic tapioca syrup and honey. Smaller than other chews on the market, these soft organic snacks are also less sticky than other options, making them easy to eat quickly during a competition. The Honey Stinger Energy Gels boast versatility. Rather than simply slurping down the gooey liquid, these gels make great jam substitutions on toast and tea mixers! The Stinger Waffles are excellent snacks, made up of two thin waffle-like wafers that sandwich is a delicious dollop of honey.
Nuun: Whether it be Nuun All Day, Nuun Active, Plus for Nuun or Nuun Energy, the brand has your back. Using clean ingredients, these low calorie, fizzy tablets turn ordinary water into a deliciously satisfying drink, high in magnesium and electrolytes. Nuun Active is great for any workout, while Nuun Energy takes things to the next level, with added vitamins and caffeine, perfect for longer, endurance exercise. Plus for Nuun is unlike other Nuun products, with a unique blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes, giving the body easy and fast access to the energy it needs when "hitting a wall". Perhaps the most basic of Nuun products is Nuun All Day— a product with the intent of simply getting you to drink the water your body needs. Did you know that nearly 75% of the country is either chronically dehydrated or at least below the recommended daily consumption of water? Nuun All Day is meant to increase your intake of H2O, providing a moderate blend of vitamins and minerals to increase energy and fill in gaps that normally exist in today's standard American diet. This sugar-free tablet is composed of 18 essential vitamins, meant to help you stay hydrated throughout the day, regardless of mental or physical activity. With added flavor and electrolytes, the body's natural reaction to drink more water goes up 90%, according to Nuun experts. Try it out, and see for yourself!
Sports Beans: Energizing Jelly Beans are formulated to maximize performance during intense exercise. Loaded with filling carbs, the beans also possess stimulating electrolytes and efficient vitamins (B1, B2, B3, C) that help burn away fats and protect muscles and cells against oxidative damage that can occur during grueling, long workouts. Flavored with natural flavors and real fruit juices, the beans come in a small, resealable bag that makes it easy to eat at a slower, as-you-need pace. Extreme Energizing Jelly Beans have added caffeine, to wake your senses for the long haul.
Skratch: This natural, non-GMO brand seeks to create products that fuel athletes without sacrificing quality of ingredients. Skratch sports drink only uses simple sugars, electrolytes and REAL fruit for flavor—free of coloring agents, artificial sweeteners and synthetic chemically-induced flavors. Its light taste is tasteful and energizing! Fruit Drops are similarly comprised, but formed into a jelly-like, functional food. These help to store carbs, maintain blood sugar and boost performance over a prolonged period of time. One packet contains ten fruit chews, totaling in 160 calories. Less sticky than other fruity chews on the market, these "drops" attempt to create an efficient ratio of fructose and glucose, while also increasing sodium content and eliminating unnecessary nutrients that interfere with absorption of necessary goods.
Tailwind: Tailwind's motto is "All you need, all day. Really." Originally created for racing the Leadville 100, this nutrient-loaded mix is perfect for endurance athletes, combining aspects of fuel, hydration, and electrolytes into a tasty drink that's easy on the gut and does its job exceptionally well! Tailwind believes that gels, bars, chews and tabs aren't necessary, when you use this one-stop, all encompassing mixture. The mix of glucose and sucrose fuels allow incredible nutrient absorption. Once in the bloodstream, the glucose helps directly power muscles, allowing athletes to immediately take advantage of its perks and continue on for longer, more intense stretches. Oh, and another perk? Tailwind is made of all natural ingredients and organic flavors!