FitnessBank Des Linden Spring Step Challenge
Disclaimer: I received an Amazon gift card to review FitnessBank as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
This has been a weird time for running. With the coronavirus shutting pretty much everything down and shelter-in-place orders across the country, running has looked quite a bit different. Before all this started, I was training for the Flying Pig Marathon. This marathon was supposed to take place May 3rd, but was obviously cancelled. Cancellations are hard, and when the marathon was taken away from me, I lost a lot of the motivation I had to get outside and get moving.
The FitnessBank Des Linden Spring Step Challenge was exactly what I needed. This challenge, which started April 1st and goes until the end of May, is a celebration of movement. When I first started getting into distance running a few years ago, I have a distinct memory of watching Des Linden become the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years. Ever since then, I’ve been a big fan of Des, so the opportunity to compete against her in a step challenge was one I couldn’t pass up. Not only this, but there was also the opportunity to win a bunch of great prizes such as a signed poster from Des, a free pair of Brooks shoes, and free race entries for a year!
All these things combined to give me the motivation I needed to get outside and move. In this time, it’s easy to stay inside for a day or two, which then turns into a week or two. However, I wouldn’t let myself do that because of this challenge, and I quickly found that getting outside and moving was the perfect remedy. While I usually just do my run and get on with my day, I’ve found that I’ve spent a lot more time walking and enjoying my time outside because of this challenge. And every moment spent outside improves both my mood and mental state. This makes me extremely grateful for this challenge. While I’m nowhere near the top of the leaderboard (someone is averaging 60,000+ steps a day for goodness sake!), I am still a part of something great. The 300 other people in the challenge (even though I don’t really know any of them) have provided the support and encouragement I’ve needed to keep moving!
NOW Foods BCAA Blast & Effer-Energy
Disclaimer: I received NOW Foods BCAA Blast and Effer-Energy to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
This was the first product I’ve been able to test as a BibRave Pro. I’m always looking for new supplements to try before, during, and after my runs, so I was super thrilled to be able to try NOW Foods BCAA Blast powder and Effer-Energy tablets (I also got a sweet new blender bottle, which I’ve been needing for a while now). Normally, my go-to drink during and after long runs is Gatorade. However, Gatorade has too much sugar for my liking for shorter runs, but I still want a way to replace my electrolytes. This is where BCAA Blast and Effer-Energy come in handy!
BCAA Blast (Raspberry Flavor)
This pre-workout supplement powder offers 5 g of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) per scoop to support muscle growth, retention, and recovery.* Additionally, a scoop of BCAA Blast contains 100 mg of natural caffeine, 130 mg of sodium, and only 30 calories! You can add a scoop of BCAA Blast to 10-12 oz. of water before, during, or after your workout, depending on your needs. Most supplements of this nature taste terrible to me, but the BCAA Blast was surprisingly tasty. However, my biggest issue with using this product is that I do most of my runs at night, and I didn’t want to consume 100 mg of caffeine after noon. Caffeine after noon keeps me up at night, which means that the only time I was really able to use this product (and the Effer-Energy tablets) was for my long runs on Sunday. If I was a morning runner, this product would be perfect for me to drink before my runs! When I used the BCAA Blast before my long runs, I had plenty of energy to easily get through 20 or 21 miles and I wasn’t as sore as normal the next day (I say ‘easily’, but is 20 or 21 miles ever easy?). However, when I tried using the BCAA Blast during one of my long runs, it gave me terrible stomach cramps. I pride myself on being able to digest just about anything on the run (i.e. sweet potatoes, M&Ms, Oreos, sour gummy bears, etc.), but a few sips of the stuff had me walking in minutes. Maybe you can use BCAA Blast during your workouts, but I would suggest using it before a workout and giving yourself a little time to digest.
Effer-Energy (Tropical Punch Flavor)
This electrolyte tablet was made to provide energy and support recovery for athletes of all levels.* One Effer-Energy tablet mixed in 16 oz of water offers a range of vitamins and minerals, including 360 mg of sodium and 100 mg of potassium. Additionally, a tablet provides 36 mg of naturally occurring caffeine (from green tea extract), less than 1 g of sugar, and only 10 calories! Most electrolyte tablets taste terrible to me, but the Effer-Energy had a decent taste. Now, it wasn’t the best tasting thing ever (it can’t compete with Gatorade on taste, but how is it supposed to without any sugar?), but I could actually drink it and enjoy it. For most electrolyte tablets that I have tried, I don’t even finish half of the bottle before having to throw the rest away out of disgust. So ‘decent taste’ is a big deal to me. Also, I used Effer-Energy during some of my long runs, and I could definitely feel the caffeine kick. However, it still kept me hydrated and replenished all the electrolytes I lost in sweat. I’ll definitely continue to use this product in the future!
Through April 30, 2020, use code NOWSPORTS20 for 20% off your purchase of NOW® Sports products at nowsportsproducts.com.
Offer valid 2/1/20 through 11:59 PM Central Standard Time 4/30/20. Offer valid only on products found at https://www.nowfoods.com/sports-nutrition/sports-nutrition-all-products. Prices are as shown. Some exclusions apply. Must use coupon code NOWSPORTS20 in the Promotion Code field at checkout while supplies last at nowfoods.com. This offer does not apply to applicable taxes or shipping & handling. Offer cannot be used on previous purchases. NOW Health Group, Inc. has the right to end any promotion at any time.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.