Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My experience with EnergyBits

I am always seeing EnergyBits all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  At one point I did google them to see what they were. The website says "Made from 100% organicallly grown spirulina algae and loaded with 40 nutrients, ENERGYbits® algae tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%) all for just one calorie per tab. They will improve your energy and endurance. Also take whenever you are tired, hungry or don't have time to eat or cook. They are a terrific high protein, low calorie snack or meal on the go."  Since I see posts about them all the time, I was curious how they would work.  Lucky for me @energybits contacted me during a #healthywaymag chat which occur every Monday at 8PM ET.  I mentioned I had never tried them before and next thing I knew I had a tin in my mailbox to try.
My First Bits!
Coming off of two marathons in two weeks I really didn't have any plans for a long training run in the near future however I did have the Rocky 50k.  After asking Jonathan from EnergyBits a few questions I decided to give them a try for the 50k.  I wouldn't normally try something new for a race but since the Rocky 50k was all just for fun, I figured why not?

The instructions for EnergyBits are to take 20-30 pills about 15 minutes before the activity.  Jonathan recommended taking another 20-30 every 45-50 minutes.  Since my tin only had 64, I decided to take 32 before I started and then the other 32 around 45-60 minutes into the run.  That way I would feel what it was like to fuel on EnergyBits alone before having to switch back to something else.  And I was able to stick to this plan.

So what did I think if the bits?  I went into it a bit skeptical.  1. Because I would have to swallow pills while running.  2. Because 30 pills is only 30 calories.  Other fuels that I use are usually around 100 calories a pop so I wasn't sure these would be enough.  Surprisingly, I found that it was enough, at least for the first two hours that I was solely #poweredbybits.  I actually went a bit longer than I typically do as far as fueling.  I ran about an hour off of each serving of bits versus the 45 minutes I usually re-fuel at.  I was feeling good so I didn't feel a need to sooner.  I noticed that I did not get as thirsty as I typically do with other fuels such as gels.  I also think the bits left me more hydrated.  In the end I did drink as much water as I normally would however I feel this was due to switching to gels which make me feel more thirsty.  However, normally, I would not have had to use the bathroom more than once during a 50K.  During the Rocky 50K, I went twice and really had to go again at the finish.  This leads me to believe I was very well/more hydrated despite drinking the same amount of water.  I would be very interested in running a marathon or more solely on bits to see if that would help me not only improve my energy/decrease the amount of times I need to fuel but also decrease my water intake as I always end up drinking SO MUCH.
Rocky 50K

So take home message is Energybits really do seem to give at least the same if not more energy than say gels for less calories.  For those concerned about fueling with non-sugary, more natural substances, bits are definitely perfect.  There's not really a taste issue since the bits are just swallowed and they are easy enough to transport.  The only issue that I'm sure some people would have would be the fact that they are pills that you have to swallow.  It's not a big deal before you start your run however I can see how some people would not want to have to swallow 30 or so pills while on the run every hour or so.  I, however, did not really find this to be a hindrance.

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