While some may argue that there are actually four disciplines in triathlon (swim, bike, run, and transition), we think there is really a fifth that many forget – nutrition. And if you’re an athlete who has struggled with GI issues, or if you simply can’t nail down a dependable nutrition strategy, you would probably agree that nutrition can make or break you on race day. And the truth is, nutrition only gets more important as your distances increase. So when we heard that Tailwind was claiming it solved many common nutrition issues (bonking, GI distress, flavor fatigue, and more), we decided to give it a try.
Tailwind was developed by founder Jeff Vierling and his wife Jenny in Colorado as a solution to GI problems he had encountered himself during the Leadville 100. Like many of us, Jeff was tired of the issues caused by his nutrition that were taking away from the efforts he was putting into his training. He wanted a nutrition source that was simple to use, tasted good, and was easy on his stomach, and so Tailwind was born.
Jeff worked with nutritionists and tested his product with a long list of endurance athletes (check out more about that here) to get the perfect formula. And when we say “perfect,” we actually mean something that can meet your calorie needs (seriously – it’s all you need, but we’ll get into that in a bit), tastes light and refreshing, and won’t revolt on you hours later.
Our Chief Editor, Mike, was the primary tester of Tailwind. He went through several flavors, but Raspberry Buzz ended up being his favorite. Mike’s been using Tailwind consistently for several months now, including racing with it at Ironman Florida back in November. Even during times of intense heat and long days, Mike never experienced a single episode of GI distress. I know, it seems too good to be true. Even he thought so as he watched several athletes on the course of IM Florida run for the porta-potty or garbage can as their nutrition betrayed them throughout the day.
So, what makes Tailwind, well… Tailwind? For one thing, the mixture’s electrolyte profile mimics what you’re sweating out. Its ingredients are all natural, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free and include Non-GMO Dextrose (Glucose), Non-GMO Sucrose, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sea Salt, Organic Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate. Tailwind’s glucose/sucrose fuel mixture was developed with the way our bodies naturally absorb nutrients, so Tailwind enters your system and is processed quickly, without taking a toll on your digestive system.
Using Tailwind was just as easy as they say it is, which was especially appreciated when we were mixing bottles at 5am. Each serving is one scoop, which equates to about 100 calories. Simply mix anywhere from 2 – 3 scoops for each 24 oz of water per hour, depending on your individual calorie needs. Tailwind advises that you use your hunger as a guide. Once you’ve figured out your perfect mix, you’ll feel satisfied and energetic, not hungry or too full.
As Mike was ramping up his training volume for IM Florida, he would supplement Tailwind with solids during his longer training days. Tailwind recommends that you reduce your Tailwind intake by the calories you’re planning to consume elsewhere to avoid overloading your stomach. Mike found that he was able to add a gel, blocks, or half of a bar (like Cliff) without any stomach issues. And on especially hot days, he also would sip on water when he felt like he needed additional hydration, but not additional calories. This was one of the best things about Tailwind – you can easily adjust it based on your calorie needs that day, or the length/intensity of your workouts.
Tailwind comes in a variety of flavors in both caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions. As we mentioned earlier, we were partial to Raspberry Buzz, but we also enjoyed Green Tea Buzz and Mandarin Orange. You can pick up a stick pack (7 single-serve packs) bundle for just $17.50, individual large bags (non-caffeinated) for $35.99, and the caffeinated bag will set you back $38.99. We loved the single-serve stick packs for stowing in our jersey pockets while on the road. A pack or two also made their way into our special needs bag for IM Florida. The single-servings are 200 calories each. Ready to give it a try yourself? Head on over to Tailwind’s online shop.
As far as nutrition success stories go, we’re pretty sure Mike’s experience with Tailwind was picture perfect. He never experienced a single GI issue during the testing process. What’s more, we’re now stocking a few bags of Raspberry Buzz here at AG headquarters permanently.
Still not convinced? Tailwind even offers a Tailwind Challenge where you can order four large bags in a bundle for 10% off. If it doesn’t work for you, mail Tailwind your race entry fee receipt for a refund. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us!