Nutrition Roundup: Muscle Repair and Plant-based Hydration from Gnarly, Mantra, GU and Tailwind
Whether you’re fueling up for a winter on the indoor trainer, or a summer of hot laps at the Bike Park, you’ll be in need of easily digestible calories and electrolytes to keep you riding to your potential. This week, we round up some of the latest sports nutrition to hit the market, from a drink mix with muscle repair additives to caffeinated gels packed with branched-chain amino acids. Here’s the latest from Gnarly Nutrition, Mantra Labs, GU Energy, and Tailwind Nutrition.
Gnarly Nutrition Fuel 2O
Fuel2O is Gnarly Nutrition’s new high-calorie, electrolyte-rich, easy-to-digest drink mix designed to keep you going during a long day of physical exertion; whether that be hiking in your favorite mountain range or shredding in your local woods. It’s designed to replace, or supplement, the myriad of gels and blocks you’d normally use during over a 2+ hour training session or race.
What makes this particular hydration solution stand out amongst the billion or so others is the addition of hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB), a natural compound that is produced when the body breaks down the amino acid leucine. Gnarly Nutrition says supplemental HMB during intense exercise can help prevent muscle breakdown and kickstart muscle repair.
Like all Gnarly products, the Fuel2O is non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, NSF for Sport Certified and uses only natural sweeteners and coloring. Pick it up in Limeade, Tropical, or Cherry Cola (with caffeine) flavors. A $28.95 USD box gets you 10 sticks (that’s 20 servings with 2 servings per stick). You can also get them in Singles (2 servings) for $3 USD a pop. The most eco-friendly buy is the Fuel2O Bag which contains 25 servings; this one retails at $34.95 USD. Each serving contains a claimed 100 calories, 250mg, 30mg caffeine (Cherry Cola Flavor only), as well as Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Potassium, and Vitamin D3 (said to maximize the efficacy of HMB).
Not applicable to the Fuel2O product, but relevant to Gnarly’s Pre- and Post-Workout supplements is their transition to the use of tin-coated steel cans, relying less on the use of single-use plastics. The change is inspired by the fact that steel has the highest recycling rate of any material, with around 71% being repurposed compared to 8% of plastics. Gnarly’s Pre Workout and BCAA products led the transition while the Collagen Pro, Whey, and Vegan products followed later.
Mantra Labs HYDRATE
Mantra Labs has released a new zero-sugar plant-based formula of broad-spectrum electrolytes, simply named, HYDRATE. One portion of Hydrate contains zero sugar, 1,200mg of electrolytes, prebiotic fiber, Vitamins C and B12, and more than 72 trace marine minerals. Our editor, Jordan Villela got some samples in; here’s his feedback:
“The HYDRATE packets are very strong and condensed, they say 12+oz for each packet, but I found less than half would be good for me, and I’m used to the taste of sports drinks. The flavor (Tropical Punch) is OK but nothing crazy out of the ordinary. The vegan, paleo, etc., thing seems like a marketing deal; as a vegan, I find that most drinks are in fact… vegan.
I think the overwhelming taste comes from a large amount of acid in the mix, some as binders, and some as mineral enhancements. It has a great amount of nutrition but I’m a bit skeptical if it’s all-natural. The mix contains zero sugar and they use Stevia extract to make it sweeter, maybe it’s something there. I use SiS and Flow Formulas for most of my hydration needs, so maybe this is just too strong for my pallet, but when I cut down the mix, I did like it. I’m not sure if I’m getting all the benefits of the formula, though” – Jordan Villela.
Mantra Labs’ new HYDRATE is available in single-serve packets and tubs, in organic no-sugar sweetened Lemonade and Fruit Punch flavors. A 15 serving bag retails at $18.74 USD, or you can pick up a 30 serving tub for $26.24 USD.
GU Energy Labs Liquid Energy Gel
GU Energy has released a new flavor of their Liquid Energy gels, described as “the GU you can gulp” because of its slightly higher water content compared to their Original Energy Gels. The new flavor is Cola, joining Coffee, Lemonade, Strawberry Banana, and Orange in the now five-strong lineup.
The new flavor takes its inspiration from GU’s successful Cola Me-happy Original Energy Gel launched in March 2020, and packs the same 40mg of caffeine per packet. It also delivers 100 calories in the form of complex and simple carbohydrates, electrolytes, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Pick up a box of 12 for $24 USD direct from GU Energy or Amazon.
Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel Matcha
Tailwind Nutrition has undergone a brand refresh, complete with a new logo, new packaging, and a new website. Along with the fresh look on the same fuel and recovery products, Tailwind is simultaneously introducing its newest flavor, Matcha, which joins the Tailwind Endurance Fuel family of flavors.
In case you’re wondering, Matcha is a type of Green Tea, said to offer a bright, vegetal, and slightly bitter taste, with notes of sweetness and umami. It joins Mandarin, Lemon, and Raspberry flavors in the Endurance Fuel lineup. Each serving is mixed with water to deliver sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sucrose, and dextrose. While the aforementioned flavors are offered in both caffeinated and regular versions, Matcha is caffeinated only. A single serving retails at $2.50 USD. You can also buy in bulk, at $30 USD for 12 single servings, $25.99 USD for a bag of 30 servings, or $35.99 USD for a bag of 50 servings.