Everyone needs a little VFuel, RecoFit Compression, and some ElevationTats in their stocking this holiday season! Feel free to use these codes to save a little cash and help support these three great small companies. The codes are unlimited, feel free to share them!
VFuel Code: JCA20 gets you 20% off via www.vfuel.com
Recofit Code: JOSH gets you 20% off via www.recofit.com
Elevation Tat Code: Josh30 gets you 30% off via www.elevationtat.com
Photos Below: Killian Jornet rocking an Elevation Tat during the Hardrock 100.
You want to know if I have "actually" used VFuel, right?
YES, of course I have! What kind of question is that? I have been using VFuel as my sole source of calories during both training and racing for well over a year now. I started using it in May of 2012 when I received a few samples from a friend at a race. Since then, I have used it on everything from short runs/rides to 100 mile trail races. At times I've consumed over 50 gels in less than 20 hours! Yuck is what most people say, and that's what I would have said too until I did it. After that? I did it again. Both times I performed well and have never had a single issue with GI, nausea, or bonking. That was enough to make me a believer, but you don't take my word for it, you should try it yourself! Now for those of you who want to hear more, keep reading.
Lets start with the important question. Does it taste good?
Right now, VFuel has 3 flavors. Vanilla, Chocolate and a very unique Peach Cobbler, the favorite of many. Personally, I like variety and enjoy all three while other friends tend to stick to the basics, the white and the brown. So which flavor is best? It's tough to say, you might just have to order a variety pack and decide for yourself. Compared to most endurance gels, VFuel gels are toned way back on the sweetness scale. When I am 80 miles into a 100 mile race and 40 gels have already gone down the hatch, I truly appreciate this. Too much sugar and sweetness would evoke some unwanted troubles, but the guys at VFuel are experts (seriously, they have run more 100 mile races combined than I probably ever will) and addressed this.They only put 6 grams of sugar in each packet, much less than the 12 g's in Cliff or the 29 g's is HoneyStinger. How is this possible you might be thinking? They use maltodextrin and dextrose as their carbohydrate source instead of that nasty fructose, making VFuel less sweet, easier to digest, and even healthier for you! Mind blowing, right?! They even use natural, and mostly organic ingredients to make those tasty flavors. The chocolate uses organic cocoa powder with just a touch of real vanilla extract (the gluten free kind, but we'll get to that). The vanilla is made with that same gluten free vanilla extract, and the fruit flavors (hopefully more coming soon) are made with organic flavors as well. There is a lot of testing over at VFuel to make these flavors just right and as close to the real thing as possible. Meaning, these guys run for hours on end in the mountains eating gel. I've even heard that they sometimes even put it on their toast in the morning... but shhh, don't tell them I told you. The point is, this product is created, tested, and regularly used by experienced ultra runners. That you can quote me on.
So now we know how it tastes, but what's in it that helps you perform better?
To start, I want to repeat what I said earlier. There is NO fructose! Instead, VFuel uses maltodextrin and dextrose as their carbohydrate sources which not only helps make them easier to digest, but it keeps you from feeling sick when you eat a lot of them. Something that ultra runners tend to do quite often. In addition, all VFuel gels are Gluten Free! Great news for those of you with a gluten intolerance. Another unique and fun fact about VFuel is that it contains fat! It's the only gel on the market to do so. Not just any fat either, a healthy, easily digestible fat that packs a high calorie punch. MCT, or "Medium Chain Triglyceride" oil is derived from coconut oil and broken down into its basic elements. Once broken down, only the "good stuff" is utilized and we as consumers get to enjoy the benefits. This fat source not only provides additional calories, but helps to prevent that awful "brain fog" that is typically associated with the late stages of ultra endurance sports. Think about it, feeling mentally fresh at mile 90! Who would have thought.
Did you know that VFuel is designed to help you recover faster?
That's right, one of the major benefits of using VFuel is that you will incur less muscle damage while training/racing and also recover much faster afterwords. You won't find that in many energy food products. So what makes it possible? It starts by including ingredients that act as detoxifiers, most notably OKG & Citrulline Malate. These "detoxifiers", specifically OKG help eliminate unwanted ammonia which your cells produce while engaging in prolonged physical activity. Ammonia tends to break down your muscle cells causing soreness and fatigue. So be sure to thank that OKG! (and the guys at VFuel for including it) Oh yeah, OKG also promotes amino acid synthesis and protein availability. What does that mean? More or less, it means there will be a decreased rate of muscle breakdown and an increased race of nutrient absorption in the muscles, specifically amino acids and glucose. Less soreness, more energy! There are a number of other small ingredients that add the recovery aspect of VFuel, and if you want to find out more I recommend visiting their website. They go into much greater detail than I can.
Caffeine, Electrolytes, and Amino Acids - How much does VFuel include?
Since I mentioned Caffeine first, lets start there. Each of the VFuel flavors contain just 10mg of Caffeine. Being that is a stimulant and that everyone reacts differently to it, there is no way of finding an amount that suits everyone. As a result, VFuel chose to include just a trace amount. That doesn't mean its not effective, because it is. Having just a small amount of caffeine gives the metabolism a bit of a kick start, acting as a digestive aid and not as a stimulant. The benefits of this? Increased glucose absorption, less bloating, and no unnecessary spike in insulin levels. That sounds good to me. Electrolytes are a major factor in ultra endurance sports. Like caffeine, everyone reacts differently to them and as a result there is just enough included in VFuel to achieve a baseline amount. Too much would cause unwanted physiological responses in some, and would be not enough for others. So according to the guys at VFuel, you should experiment with outside sources of electrolytes and find what works best for you. Everyone is different. Now the final part of the equation, amino acids. They are a necessary part of nutrition, mainly for recovery especially when they make a complete protein. That being said, there are no complete proteins in VFuel. It would have taken an unwanted amount of preservatives and they were against that. Thank VFuel for looking out for our health! Instead they put what amino acids they could in their mix in order to keep your base levels high enough to better utilize the body's proteins naturally.
So what are the 5 main things you need to take from this review?
Finally, would I recommend it to my mother?
Well yes I would, if she ran. I do recommend it to all my running and cycling friends though. And you know what? They continuously tell me how glad they were that I did. Sometimes I even think that they like it more than I do, and that's saying a lot. Check out the reviews (below) that some of them gave me after they started using VFuel.
The VFuel Peach Cobbler is the best gel out there. It got me my first podium finish in a 100-miler in 2013. VFuel settles my stomach and gives me clean energy." -- Pat O'Neill (Crested Butte, CO)
"You could call me an endurance gel hater. Nutrition is the most difficult part of ultrarunning for me. I'm picky and my stomach is sensitive. VFuel has made me a convert. In my last 50 mile race, VFuel kept me full of energy and feeling great. In fact, it was the only consistent calories I could keep down throughout the race. Can't wait till they get new flavors." -- Jessica R Hamel (Boulder, CO)
""I'm a fan of VFuel because the gels have an easy to eat consistency and the flavors never seem to get unpalatable. Unlike some of the other brands, VFuel has just enough caffeine in them to give me a little jump start without upsetting my stomach. Well, that and I can eat the Peach Cobbler ones for days. They are so freaking good." -- Craid Lloyd (Draper, UT)
"I tried VFuel for the first time when I ran my first half marathon. It gave me exactly the boost I needed to remain neutral and strong. It actually tasted good, and unlike other energy gels, went down easy. Now, whenever I'm out for 10 miles or more, I don't leave home without it." -- Adrienne Ziluca (NY, NY)
"VFuel is hands down the best gel I've used and the only thing that gets me through 100 milers. It's great for a sustained energy that never leaves you crashing or bonking. Not to mention it's the best tasting gel from mile one all the way to the finish line." -- Zac Marion (West Jordan, UT)
"My favorite flavor of VFuel is the peach cobbler. I've tried many energy gels & VFuel is the perfect consistency to swallow after many hrs of running. And no tummy issues!" -- Lara Moscatelli (Ashland, OR)
Ask the audience.
What flavor of VFuel do you like best, better yet, what flavor would you like them make next?
VFuel is an endurance gel for runners, cyclists, and outdoor enthusiests of all abilities. Experience a gel that DOES NOT cause stomach distress, and DOES taste good! As an added bonus, you might just see some performance benefits to boot. Here are the details: