I will start off this review of the EnduroPacks sports nutrition system by saying that they sent me one month’s supply (worth $75) for free. You may now take a moment to bask in the power of NYVC.
Are you finished? Great. EnduroPacks is a company concept that seeks to fulfill the needs of a special subsection of athletic society—the person who is both hyper-motivated and hyper-lazy. The hyper-motivated side of this "Sporting Sybil" will appreciate all the benefits of the supplements, while the lazy side will appreciate that EnduroPacks have formulated the system themselves and ship the stuff right to you, like an animo acid topped pizza if you will. The supplements come to you in this box right here.
The first thing I noticed about the system (I call it a system, because there’s many components involved here, it’s like Ikea started making vitamins) is that there’s a poop-ton of things to put into yourself.
And finally, this.
That’s a lot to keep track of. Luckily for me, I work at home and can easily incorporate another obsessive ritual into the maddening monotony of my daily routine. (All work and no play makes Dan a dull boy…) But if you are a person who is not cemented to a chair in front of a computer in your basement, if may be difficult to always fulfill the vitamin duties of the EnduroPacks system.
And there are quite a few duties to be fulfilled. First, there’s the liquid multivitamin. It should be taken before your workout—preferably with a meal. It’s the color of iodine, it needs to be refrigerated and tastes like, well, vitamins. (Do you care what your vitamins taste like—what are you, five?) This fits pretty well into my monotonous rut, I have the multivitamin with breakfast every morning. Easy living. Step one dominated.
The next product that get added to your athletic check list is the electrolyte salt spray. You are supposed to squirt this into your water bottle 5 times before you leave to ride. I admit that I am not always diligent about this procedure. I did try the spray in a bottle of plain water once, and the taste was akin to um, a plate of nothing with a side of glycerin. Personally, I enjoy fluids in my bottles that taste like something, so I’ve been adding the spray to my normal drink mix (it’s pizza flavored), because doubling up on drink mixes can only be more better-er, right?
It’s after your workout when things get a little weird because that’s when you put on the amino acid patch. Yes, a patch—as if you’re a recovering nicotine fiend or a US Postal rider seeking a refill on the "nectar of the man gland". Attaching acid to myself in the place where the bathing suit covers gave me cause for concern, so I emailed Dave Wiswell, one of the founders of EnduroPacks about it, this was his reply:
As for the patch issue, we understand that there might be some difficulty with the patches and people having a bit of apprehension because of Lance & Co. Our objective as a company is to provide you with the most effective mediums and our amino acid patches are the best delivery method as they bypass harsh stomach acids that breakdown a lot of the BCAAs and their recovery benefits. Instead, our patches allow for the branch-chain amino acids to be directly absorbed into the blood stream. Consequently, you are getting the entire benefit of the BCAAs as they are time-released over an extended period and avoid harsh stomach acids at the same time. Your body can only absorb so much at once. So having our amino acids time released allows your body to effectively absorb a larger amount and leverage their full benefits. With that said, we are trying to combat the patch concerns by preaching the benefits of the delivery method and how it can benefit you and your recovery.
Evidently the stomach harshens the amino acid mellow. Who knew?
So after taking the iodine-y liquid vitamin, downing some squirts of electrolyte salt spray and slapping the acid patch upon yourself, there’s one more thing you need to take care of—you need to sleep the sleep of the glutamine recovery complex. (I told you there was a poop-ton of stuff in this EuduroPacks pack) The last step in the process is to take two glutamine recovery pills before going to sleep, presumably so you can dream of kicking ass while you simultaneously become able to kick ass. (EnduroPacks does not currently back the claim of creating ass kicking dream scenarios—yet.)
Complete all of these steps and boom! One day of supplements done.
Does it work?
That’s a valid question, and for the time crunched people out there I’ll give a quick answer so you don’t have to read any further. And that answer is: probably.
If you are still reading now that means that you are not lazy. Congratulations. The longer answer about the efficacy of the EnduroPacks system involves what I thought was science, but really ended up not proving anything whatsoever. Every morning I get up and test my heart rate variability (HRV) with my phone, we did a review of this before, but a short recap is that HRV is a heart rate based metric that tells you how awesome you are, using science. Essentially it’s a metric can tells you how recovered you are. I began using the EnduroPacks on August 15th, and planned on seeing if my HRV data showed that I was, indeed, better recovered. I was going to use my HRV data the morning after racing at FBF with the EnduroPack and compare that with the HRV data of racing without the EnduroPacks. I had two supplemented FBF HRV readings and they showed an average HRV of 76.4 with an average HR of 68.7 (it’s a small data sample, I know, but there were only two races left). I compared this data with four other FBF dates without the supplements and the numbers were a HRV of 79.575 and an average HR of 66.025. For those of you who don’t know science like I do—those numbers are not better. They are worse, my supplemented HRV is lower and my HR is higher, which means that according to my HRV, the supplements make me less recovered.
But that’s not the whole story, because while all this pseudo-science is a fun way to use my seventh grade math skills, we have not yet discussed any feelings. The world of supplements can sometimes seem like the world of hallucinogens— where everyone sits quietly and tries to tell if they can feel anything. And the answer to the eternal question of "Can you feel anything?" is yes, I can feel it working. I feel fresher in the morning, I feel stronger on rides, and strangely, it’s been easier to maintain my weight as of late. All of these effects may be due to inhaling some sweet, sweet placebo, but my bathroom scale doesn’t lie—it does steal, but we’re trying to work on that.
So I’m lighter, I feel stronger, but I can’t scientifically quantify that I’ve recovered any better. That’s why I say that the supplements probably work. A one month subscription to EnduroPacks is $75, which is quite a lot for a casual rider. The price drops if you commit to a longer subscription, but they are still a lot more than the multivitamin you buy at the grocery store, but I’ve used the grocery store vitamins, and they’ve never made me feel anything like the EnduroPacks have.