Putting Sponsor Products to the Test: xact nutrition, Nuun and Kronobar

Whenever you’re exerting a lot of energy – whether it’s running, cycling or playing team sports – making sure that you have enough energy and are properly hydrated, is key to healthy participation.

Every year, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend partners with companies whose nutrition products help our runners complete their race and feel great. How do we know they’ll help? Because we use the products ourselves.

Over the summer, our team was training and participating in variety of endurance events and we thought it was the perfect opportunity to revisit our favourite products and talk about their effects on performance.

For this piece, Andrew tried out xact nutrition in preparation for the Army Run Half-Marathon, and Nina Jane tried out Nuun and xact nutrition on a seven day cycling tour with Vélo Quebec.

Nina Jane – Favourite product: Nuun boost

As someone who cycles to and from work every day, and uses a bike as her primary mode of transportation, I consider myself a pretty strong cyclist. So, when my dad suggested I join him on a seven-day cycling tour through Quebec, I thought it would be fun and challenging, but something I could easily handle. Truth is, before August I had never cycled more than 55K in one day so bumping my rides up to 80 or 100 kilometres was more than a bit of a challenge. It was very fortunate that I was packing Nuun and xact nutrition with me for this blog and the ride.

My biggest mistake on the first day of our tour was not planning for my nutrition and hydration needs. After barely making it through the first day’s 87K ride, I turned to some more experienced cyclists for advice. Their recommendation: aim to drink one cup of water every 30 minutes during high intensity activity.

Every day after that, I tucked an xact nutrition bar away for whenever felt tuckered out. What I enjoyed about these bars was not only how tasty they were, but that I only needed half a bar to get the hit of energy I needed, leaving me half for later in the ride – this is super beneficial when you’re on the road for 6+ hours. The beet bars, which are designed to help women recoup the iron we lose when exercising, were especially helpful on the days when we did over 100K.

The product that made the biggest difference for me was Nuun. Not only was the hydration important, but I could feel the difference of having some extra electrolytes pumped into my system. The Nuun tabs were also super easy to slip into my bike bag and stayed dry in their tube rainy days. And it was easy to pop a new tablet into my water bottle every time I refilled.

I tried a few different types of Nuun over the week, but Nuun boost came out on top because of the boost (caffeine). They were especially helpful on the cool, rainy day of the tour and I’m not sure I would have made it through the longer loop if I hadn’t had the extra kick. Plus, the mango flavour was super tasty!

The best part of this experiment was getting my dad to try the products out too. The biggest hit for him, to my surprise, were the Kronobars. My dad has never embraced the vegan concept and I was worried he would find the dates too dense, but he loved that these bars aren’t too sweet and that they were chewy. These were perfect post-workout energy bars for him.

With 710K under my belt by the end of the week I’m glad I had these products with me. And I wasn’t the only one on the tour packing Nuun – a popular energy tablet among my fellow cyclists. To top it all off I spotted more than a few Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend shirts and bags on the tour, which made me feel like I fit in even though this was my first cycling tour.

Andrew – Favourite product xact nutrition bars

I caught the running bug 10 years ago after running the 2009 Scotiabank Ottawa Half-marathon. Since then, running has been a big part of my life, with marathon training punctuating the seasons.

There haven’t been many downsides to running longer distances, but one of the least enjoyable aspects has been fuelling on the road. While “gels” are certainly portable and give a great energy boost, I find consuming them about as appetizing as a dental fluoride treatment. And half the time the gel ends up all over my hands and clothes (although that could also be my own poor coordination).

So, this year, as I was training for the Canada Army Run, it has been a welcome treat to try xact nutrition bars as a different fuelling option. I also had the good fortune to get to test them on my neighbour, who I was helping train for his first half-marathon.

Over our long runs, we tried a number of different flavours of the small, rectangular bars. I found the maple flavour a bit too sweet for my taste buds, but the strawberry and the berry with caffeine were a hit. Easy to carry, easy on the stomach, and frankly delicious, these quickly became our go-to nutrition when our runs got to over 12 or 13 kilometres. As my neighbour said, “I can definitely feel the difference.”

What’s your go to for running nutrition? We’d love to hear about your experiences using Nuun, xact nutrition or Kronobar products. How have they helped you when you ran the Ottawa 10K or Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon or Half-marathon? Or maybe you have another favourite? Tell us on social @OttawaMarathon!

Don’t forget you can try out our sponsor products on-course when you register for the 2020 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend!

Register for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2020