I was lucky enough to be sent a big selection from Vega's sports nutrition line about a month ago, and initially I was pretty excited. They offer a lot of nutritional supplements like protein powders and energy gels, but everything is plant based.
I'm not vegan by a long shot, but plant-based sounds good to me. Everything is divided up into three main groups: prepare, sustain and recover. So that you can, you know...prepare for a workout, sustain your workout, and recover after the workout. Got it? You guys are geniuses.
I have already read a few reviews for Vega's products online, and most reviewers seem to be in love with the stuff. Me? I have my moments, but for the most part it wasn't a hit. Here's my take on some of their products:
The only item in the "prepare" section is called the Pre-workout energizer. You mix it with water to drink 20 minutes before your workout for energy. It's full of all the buzz words: ginger, green tea, kombucha leaf and coconut. I did enjoy the taste of the lemon lime, but bottom line = it is 70 calories of sugar in the form of brown rice syrup and organic palm nectar.
For the sustain category, there are three different products: an endurance gel, an electrolyte hydrator and an endurance bar.
Endurance Gel: This is similar to your Gu or any gels you might take along for a long run. They are 100 calories and the main ingredients are dates, which I did like. The flavors I tried were raspberry and orange zest. Did they taste HORRIBLE? No. Did they taste AWESOME? Also no. Just mediocre, in my opinion.
Endurance Bar: This was not a success in my home. In fact, I still have half a bar in a ziploc bag that I refuse to throw away because it's wasteful. I also refuse it eat it because it's horrible. I can imagine that it would be fine to eat on a longer bike ride, if you handle the taste. The mocha bar, in fairness, was fine. But the acai berry I actually spit out. I'm sure it's good for you, but I couldn't keep it down. Life is too short.
Electrolyte Hydrator: Ok, I like this. Really, I do! They are tiny packets of powder to mix in your water for longer runs/rides, and they were tasty without being too sweet and zero calories. You get all your sodium/electrolytes, and they reminded me a lot of nuun. I liked both flavors I was sent, very fruity.
For post-workout, Vega has three items again: performance protein, protein bars and a recovery accelerator.
Performance Protein: Oh, I hate doing this. I really do. Not a fan. I tried vanilla and I couldn't get the "green" taste out, even after making it into a smoothie with tons of peanut butter. I put chocolate protein powder in my oats every morning, but Vega's chocolate powder made me contemplate throwing the bowl out. The nutrition seems great (120 calories, 26 grams of protein) but I just wasn't a fan of the taste.
Protein Bars: Vega's redemption is these bars. Actually, one bar in particular. There were two flavors, saviseed and chocolate coconut. That chocolate coconut bar? Heaven. Genuinely one of the best tasting bars I have had in a long time. Sweet, filling, and great nutritional stats. If you buy anything from Vega, get one of these bars.
Recovery Accelerator: This powder is meant to be mixed with water and consumed after a workout to help you recover faster and reduce inflammation. I used it after a run of 8.5 miles and didn't notice anything drastic, but the apple berry flavor was refreshing after a workout.
Final Verdict: I love the idea of Vega Sport. Plant based, great ingredients, easy to use. I don't love most of the flavors. I know I have a sweet tooth, so there's a good chance other people like it more that I do. I also can't imagine actually using ALL of these products. It definitely seems like overkill. In the future I would definitely buy some more of the chocolate protein bars and the electrolyte hydrator.
So, your turn. What nutritional supplements/powders/bars/etc do you need for a typical long run? Do you think it's all that necessary?
I'm a sucker for anything that could potentially make me run faster/longer, but even I have to draw the line somewhere. Before a run it's typically just normal food for me, but during a long run I often have gels/nuun. After a run, more real food.
What are your honest thoughts about reviews on blogs? Here are your options
a) Love them! Wish people would be more honest though.
b) Skip them entirely.
c) Skim through in case there's a giveaway at the end.
For me, it's a. I like to see what people think of things before I try them myself, but I get frustrated when EVERYTHING is always awesome. I will say that I have sent items back that I don't like rather than give them a negative review, but I'm trying this out just to see the response. Would you guys rather read a bad review, or none at all?