By Tom Demerly for TriSports.com
There are few absolutes in sports nutrition except this is one: First Endurance EFS has more electrolytes per serving than any sports drink.
You use a sports drink during training and racing for three reasons: Hydration, calories and electrolytes. While the principles of sports nutrition are simple, the practice is more complex. Some athletes make it so complex they use a “cocktail” of products during an event that is logistically complex and stressful to the digestive system.
If one nutritional product could combine purposes and replace the need for three or four additional products it would simplify race logistics, reduce the amount of products you need to buy, mix and carry and avoid problems with product interaction and gastric distress. First Endurance EFS is a candidate for that multi-role nutritional product. It provides enough electrolytes to replace electrolyte supplementation and delivers adequate calories and fluid to almost completely reduce the need for other calorie sources.
No nutritional review is complete without a disclaimer of sorts, although not the one you may expect. The doctrine that “no nutritional product works for everyone” may be one of the greatest cop-outs of the popular endurance sports culture. A better relative truth may be “You can train your gastro-intestinal system to use any product during physical stress”. While this doctrine eschews popular lore it becomes closer to consensus as athletes become more experienced- and faster. Gastric distress is a common limiter in long distance endurance events among newer athletes. Much of it can be attributed to a lack of digestive acclimation under stress.
You can train your digestive system to perform under stress and train it to specific products. Like every metabolic process, digestion is adaptive. If your race preparation includes an emphasis on nutritional adaptation to specific products under race-like stress and duration you will adapt. It’s a personal question as to whether you prefer to adapt to a given nutritional doctrine, or you prefer to find a set of nutritional products that work without adaptation, a laborious and random process. Your best nutritional doctrine may be somewhere between those two extremes, leaning toward adaptation as finishing time becomes a greater priority to just finishing.
In a survey of nutritional products a light bulb appears over First Endurance EFS. You could nearly do an entire long distance race using mostly this product with only minor additional supplementation. That notion is logistically elegant. Less bottles, less concoctions, less to keep track of during an event.
Another advantage to EFS is its variable concentration. Fluid and caloric needs change with weather. As it gets hotter athletes need more fluid and generally tolerate lower concentrations of carbohydrate in sports drinks. As it gets colder they will use more calories to maintain body temperature and require less fluid relative to hot conditions. Knowing that, the best sports drink would be “modular” and have a variable electrolyte concentration depending on how it is diluted. First Endurance EFS is “modular” since it can be diluted to a lower carbohydrate and electrolyte concentration by simply adding water on the fly. Athletes can mix a “master bottle” of EFS at high concentration in a regular over sized bottle carried on their downtube and squirt that into a TorHans handlebar mounted aerodynamic hydration system filled with water from aid station bottles and tossed back into the aid station.
First Endurance also added malic acid to EFS. Found naturally in foods like apples, malic acid is attributed to assist recovery after aerobic exercise. Studies also suggest malic acid reduces muscle soreness and fatigue during aerobic exercise.
Another endurance component of EFS is AjiPure’s Amino Acid Blend. Each single scoop serving provides2,000 milligrams of amino acids L-Glutamine, Leucine, Iso Leucine and Valine. AjiPure is the world’s largest supplier of amino acids and has a background in endurance sports. The benefits of amino acids in an endurance drink include enhanced glucose replacement and better immune function.
There is a strong argument to using the nutritional products served in aid stations at your “A” races. You carry less fluid on your bike, reducing weight and streamlining logistics. You paid for the aid stations so you may as well use them. First Endurance EFS still figures into the mix since it can be used during ultra-distance training in addition to the products used in the aid station of your “A” race which may not be as readily available in your area. You can also carry enough EFS on your bike in concentrated form to easily get through a 70.3 distance event while only taking water at aid stations for dilution.
First Endurance EFS is worth understanding and experimenting with because of its modular mixing capability and its high electrolyte content, especially if you are using capsules to supplement electrolytes. Incorporating EFS into your nutrition plan may allow you to go farther with less products even faster. That potential benefit is worth exploring.