Every now and then we receive products that we are a little hesitant to test. Sometimes the concept seems strange to us, or maybe it goes against our team’s training philosophies. And of course there are situations when we just don’t think a particular product is going to work as advertised. Then again, these also tend to be the times when we’re pleasantly surprised. And that’s exactly what happened with the Clean Energy Patch. While it originally sat on the shelf for a month before any of us tried it, now we can’t keep enough in stock for the team. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Before we talk about why we love the Clean Energy Patch so much, let’s start with a little background.
Clean Energy Patch
Think of the Clean Energy Patch as a skin-based (patch) energy supply. It contains caffeine, Guarana (Paullinia cupana), and Cacao (Cacao theobroma) applied to kinesiology tape in an easy-to-use 2.25” x 3.5” patch delivery system.
Now we know what you’re thinking. If you’re like us, the first thing that came to mind was the WADA prohibited drug list. We did our due diligence, too. Caffeine is allowed as long as its urine concentration is less than 5 micrograms per milliliter. The patch contains about 35mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to a 12oz Coke (many of you are probably indulging in that after your races already). Additionally the patch falls under the International Olympic Committee (equivalent of 12 cups) and the NCAA (15mg/mL, equivalent of 5 cups). Both Guarana and Cacao are also not on the prohibited list.
As we mentioned earlier, the patch is made of Kinesiology tape (KT tape), is easy to apply, and stays put. We have used the patch in workouts up to three hours while swimming, riding, and running. And even when wet (from the pool or sweat), we never had an issue with the patch’s adhesion. Although the manufacturer does not claim the patch to be waterproof, we wore it successfully during a 30-minute saltwater swim.
Speaking of adhesion, we did have an early issue with one of the patches out of the 10 or so we tried. That one patch left some sticky residue on the skin that was tough to get off, even in the shower. However, we were assured that this was an early design flaw that has since been corrected. And sure enough, we have not experienced any issues since then. Otherwise, all of the patches have removed cleanly and easily.
Wearing the Patch
Two different editors wore the patch throughout our testing process. Both wore them for early morning workouts where they typically used little to no energy products prior to training (though both have caffeine in their hydration products). Shortly after applying the patch for the first time, both editors felt a little extra pep in their steps (or pedals, as the case may be). It was such a pleasant energy “hum,” that we assumed what we were feeling was a placebo effect—it couldn’t be this perfect. But then we felt the same thing with the second patch. Maybe these were really legit? And by the third patch, we were hooked. These were nothing short of fantastic.
Clean Energy doesn’t give you a sudden jolt of energy or make you feel like you’ve just downed five espressos. This is the perfect wake-up call for your body and mind. Whether on the bike, out for a run, or doing some laps in the pool, you just feel a touch more alert and…well, happy. We know that sounds a little odd. Think of it this way: when you’re mentally alert and your body has more energy, you don’t get that dragging feeling half-way through your workout. Your mind doesn’t travel to those negative places, telling you to throw in the towel and cut your ride or run short. Instead, that extra spring in your step helps you push on mile after mile. And the best part? We never felt that “hangover” effect you can get from other energy drinks and supplements during our testing process.
We used Clean Energy during workouts beginning with both an empty stomach and with some food—neither seemed to have any negative effect. In fact, that was one of our favorite benefits. We could get all the caffeine contained in a Coke without having to chug one before heading out.
If there is any negative about the patch it’s that they aren’t cheap. You’ll pay $9.99 for three or a 48- pack for $72.00. By our math, that’s about 2-3 times the price of a gel pack. You typically take 2-3 gels per ride (depending on distance and intensity), so it roughly equates to the same total price per workout. Plus you can always just plan on dropping that post-ride latte, which will more than make up the cost. Besides, if you’re wearing a Clean Energy patch, we think you won’t need that latte so much anyway.
Overall, we found the price of a patch is well worth it, especially when we’re already hours into a training session. That touch of extra energy makes the workout go that much better, and mentally we find it easier to push just a bit harder. And for us, that’s the key. Anything that makes us feel better and helps to make us stronger (legally)—both mentally and physically—is a win for us. And for those skeptics among us, head over to www.cleanenergypatch.com and click on the ‘Try a Patch’ link to give one a whirl for free. Let us know what you think in the comments below (apologies to our international friends, the free patch is available to ship in the U.S. only).