I have been running marathons and ultra-marathons since 1998 and I have refined my nutrition so that I understand what works for me. This is a blessing and a curse because there are so many new products that launch each year to help runners achieve their best. 33Shake is one such company. They make Chia Energy Gels and Pre/Post workout shakes. I will be reviewing both of their products.
33Shake was founded in England in 2012 after the founders, Erica and Warren, became disenchanted with the energy gels currently available on the market. They believed that they could do better and that led them to develop the Chia Energy Gels. They followed up the gel with the development of a Pre/Post workout shake. Their website has a good layout with tons of information on their products.
I will be reviewing both of their products and will start with an overview of the gel. The gels come in a satchel or small pouch. The satchel is larger than most gels, about the width of two standard gels side by side. It has screw off top versus a tear off top. The ingredients are dry in the pouch and the user has to add water or other liquid of choice to the dry ingredients to make the gel. To use the gel simply unscrew the lid, blow into the satchel to inflate and add liquid. Wait 10 minutes and then the gel is ready to use and is good for 24 hours. The ingredient list is quite simple – Chia seeds, Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic Madagascan Vanilla, and Himalayan Pink Salt. The gel is certified organic by the Soil Association. The gels are whole foods so they have a shorter shelf life, and the ones I received have a date of May 2018. Each gel has 95 calories.
The Pre/Post Workout Shakes also come as a dry mix in three flavors – original, cacao, and mocha. They offer several ways to serve the shake. The first is to combine the mixture with 200ml (or about 1 cup) of milk or milk substitute and a banana in a blender and blend for 60 seconds. They also suggest adding ice or frozen banana slices. There are also directions for those that don’t have or don’t want to use a blender. Combine the mix with 200ml of milk or milk substitute, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes. Like the gels, the shakes feature real food so have a shorter shelf life. The ones I received had a use before date of October 2017. Each shake has around 270 calories before adding liquid or bananas. The ingredient list is too long for me to replicate here, I believe it has 33 ingredients hence the name, but the main ingredient is Organic Flax Seeds.
I wanted to get an idea of what the hype was all about so I used a gel on a 15 mile training run this past weekend. I clearly missed the inflation step as I tried to get water from the faucet into the packet, however, I eventually got enough water in there to mix up the gel for my run. The larger size package made me have to look for new place to stash the gel. I eventually settled on squishing it up and pushing it in the pocket on my hand held bottle instead of trying to shove it in a pocket on my vest. This seemed to work fine. I used the gel about half way through my run on a hot, humid day in New Orleans. I was not sure what to expect, but the gel tasted great. There was a slightly sweet taste and vanilla flavor that was very pleasing to my palate. I also like the texture of the gel and the slight crunch of the Chia seeds. My energy seemed to be good for the remainder of the run, but the heat and humidity of a midafternoon run definitely wore on me.
Once I completed my run, it was time to try the shake. I did not feel like getting the blender out, so I followed the non-blender directions. When I poured out the shake mix, it looked like I was pouring granola into a cup. It is definitely dense and filled with food pieces. I added the milk stirred vigorously and let it sit for 5 minutes. I used the original flavor and it had a hint of cinnamon and was sort of like drinking granola. However, it was good and did help stave off the hunger pains that had developed at the end of my run and during my cool down.
Reviewing food is very subjective; however, I look for the following characteristics. The first is do I enjoy the product and want to use it? Second is ease of use, do I have to deal with messy wrappers and trash and sticky fingers? Third I look at taste. Finally, I look at performance. Does it help me succeed? Do I feel refreshed after drinking the shake? Can I use multiple gels in a single long distance training run or race without feeling sick?
Thanks for taking the time to read my initial review of the gels and shakes from 33Shake. Check back in a few weeks for my final thoughts.
Thanks to 4alloutdoors.org and 33Shake for providing the products for this review.