Written by Jason Mahokey Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00
Before you get started I do recommend downloading the Endurance Athletes Guide To Success PDF book available free from Hammer at http://www.e-caps.com/downloads/fuelinghandbook.pdf, it will help you find the right fuel and the right amounts for your needs.
Bikeman.com carries a huge variety of Hammer & E-Caps products to suit your needs and tastes. For the purpose of this review I'm going to focus on the items that I personally train and race with.
Hammer Heed: (Mandarin Orange tested) 2 rounded scoops per 20oz. bottle works best for me. The flavor is subtle and never leaves that sticky, sugary taste in the mouth like many super-market sports drinks. It gives a nice even burn and no sugar spikes by using all complex carbs. It helps prevent cramping and replace the electrolytes. When using HEED I've never come home from a ride with the huge salt rings on my jerseys and shorts. Once you start using HEED it makes other sports drinks seem like straight sugar water. If you suffer from cramping I adding Endurolytes capsules too.
Hammer Perpetuem: (Orange-Vanilla tested) This is for training and events longer than two hours. It helps get calories and nutrition back into your system without upsetting the stomach. It contains 6 grams of soy protein per serving to help prevent the cannibalization of lean muscle mass.
When I did my first 24 Hours Solo in 2004 I tried going with mostly "real foods" and super market meal replacement shakes to help replace the huge amounts of calories I was blowing through. For many people this works. Not for me. I tended to delay eating, then try to force a fig bar or Power Bar down my throat The stomach did NOT like that. With Perpetuem I can sip on the bottle whenever possible and get calories, protein and clean burning complex carbs in my system. I still take in gels, Power Bars, Clif bars during long rides and races to mix things up, but using Perpetuem cuts down the amount for sure.
I will say the first time I drank Perpetuem I nearly spit it out from the taste. BUT after experimenting with scoops to water ratios, I found that 3 scoops per 20oz bottle works for me. You can also mix some Hammer Gel in it to add some carbs and flavor. I sometimes also like a serving or two of Banana or Vanilla Hammer Gel in a bottle to mix things up.
Hammer Gel: This is THE mainstay of my on the bike nutrition. My faves are Vanilla, Banana, and Espresso (with caffeine). I prefer to buy in the 26 serving jug and use Gel flasks. The same great gel is available in pouches too, but the flasks allow you to add water if you want to thin the gel out for easy squeezing or if you find the the gel too sweet adding a little water helps. It also cuts down on race course and trail pollution. These gels are great tasting, contain all complex carbs for consistent energy and do NOT contain any artificial colors or sweeteners. As with just about all Hammer Nutrition products you can mix and match flavors. Banana added to Espresso gives a nice banana split taste. The Espresso is my favorite flavor and contains caffeine that is a nice kick in the junk at 3:00 a.m. during a 24 hour solo race!
Like any food it all comes down to taste and personal preference. More importantly with on the bike nutrition If you don't like the taste you're not going to drink and/or eat it and if you aren't eating and drinking you're gonna have issues. I find it easy to find a Hammer Gel I like with the wide variety available and find the benefits of HEED and Perpetuem worth experimenting with. I really think once you try Hammer Heed, Gels and Perpetuem you'll find it hard to go back to anything else.
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