Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Review: (Real) Tailwind Endurance Fuel

In the past I've made both DIY electrolyte drinks and a version of homemade Tailwind. Recently, I picked up the real stuff in the form of Tailwind Grab-and-Go Single Serving Packs. Here's my review.

Taste: 3/5. I've mixed the 200 calorie packs into 1 liter, .75 liters, a tall glass and smaller hand-held bottle of water. In all cases the taste was OK. I suppose because it's a commercial product and so highly praised, I had high expectations for the taste. With the exception of the small hand held bottle, it tasted watered down and had a slight mineral after-taste. The small water bottle with the Naked flavor was quite sweet, but still had the slightly funky after-taste.

In hindsight, this all makes sense. My homemade version of Tailwind tasted better, but that's because it wasn't as nutritionally balanced and made heavy use of real citrus flavoring. In other words, I was drinking glorified lemonade, versus lemon-flavored electrolyte and fast-carb spiked water.

Shira, for her part, thought that the flavor was just fine. She didn't notice any aftertaste. For her, adding a couple of True Lemon packets improved the taste even more.

Convenience: 4/5. The grab-and-go packets are indeed super convenient, and the powder mixes into cold water effortlessly. The mix lost a point because the cost of the grab-and-go packets seem a excessive when compared to the bulk powder.

Efficacy: 5/5. Picture it, we're 15 miles into the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. I had brought along a packet of Tailwind, but after using the mix on a previous shorter hike I was less than impressed. In fact, given the taste and cost, I was pretty sure that I was going use up the Grab-and-Go packets I bought and write off Tailwind as a pricey gimmick. Except, I wasn't feeling so great. The miles had taken their toll.

With nothing to lose, I emptied the packet of Tailwind into my water bottle and over the course of a half mile drank it all. Before I knew it I felt better. The calories and electrolytes, despite the fact that I'd been eating and drinking all day, really hit the spot.

By mile 16 I was sold. I'd vowed I'd never do a long distance adventure again without having Tailwind (or the like) on hand.

A few weeks later I found myself destroyed after running the first hot run of the season. I poured myself a large glass of cold water, added Tailwind, stirred and drank. I felt better in no time. Quibble with the taste and price all you want, this stuff works.

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