Test by Coy Starnes
Tailwind Nutrition was developed by ultra endurance racer Jeff Vierling as an all-in-one formula to combine hydration, caloric and electrolyte replacement during ultra race events. He was frustrated with the available drinks, gels, and bars that caused stomach issues to the point of hurling in a trash can at the end of his first Leadville 100. After testing several combinations he came up with the current formula with the intention of using it as his secret weapon, only other athletes saw his results and wanted in on the action. He was handing out his formula in ziplock bags in the parking lots. In his own words he said it looked a little suspicious… I wonder if he had several cell-phones on him….you know, more cell phones than a crack dealer.
The official motto of Tailwind Nutrition is “All you need, all day. Really.” Since Tailwind does not contain any protein or fat it is not a meal replacement and does not claim to be. Therefore I would not recommend it as the only nutrition for a hike of several days or more. However, I think it would work as my day to day hydration needs while underway, complemented with solid foods for breakfast and supper.
Speaking of nutrition, a single 1.9 oz packet of Tailwind provides 200 calories which is considered 2 servings. The packets have a mark in the middle in case I want to only mix half a pack but the full packet is designed to mix with 20 – 24 oz of water. This provides 50 grams of carbohydrates, 606 mg sodium, 176 mg potassium, 52 mg calcium and 28 mg magnesium. The caffeinated varieties provide 35 mg of caffeine per 100 calories or 70 mg per packet. According to the website Tailwind Nutrition is made with all natural and organic ingredients and contains no wheat, gluten, soy or dairy. The website recommends consuming 200 to 300 calories for events lasting 2 hours or longer and 100 to 200 calories per hour for events lasting less than 2 hours.
Tailwind Nutrition is available in several flavors and in the packets I just mentioned or in bulk packaging up to the large which is good for 50 servings. The packets are more convenient for using in water bottles, especially if they will need refilled during the day like a hiker would do or a race with aid stations. The bulk packs would work great for filling a hydration bladder and is cheaper than the individual packets. I’ll be testing 7 individual packets sold as the Stick Pack Bundle. The 7-pack assortment includes all 7 available flavors including the caffeinated varieties. The regular flavors are Berry, Mandarin Orange, Lemon and Naked (unflavored). The caffeinated flavored are Rasberry Buzz, Green Tea Buzz, and Tropical Buzz. Tailwind Nutrition is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. See website for complete details.
I’m certainly not an ultra endurance athlete, but I do ride a bike, recumbent, and an ElliptiGo fairly regularly for exercise. I generally only ride a couple of hours at max and often just an hour. I also like to hike and one thing I’ve always wanted was an easy way to keep my body fueled on an all day hike. Of course hiking is a lot less strenuous than racing but humping a 30 lb pack up and down hills over tough terrain over and over all day long does burn a lot of calories and I will be sweating like a race horse. Stay tuned for my update to see how the Tailwind Nutrition products work for me.