Racing triathlon is a complicated endeavor. We spend months agonizing over which helmet to wear, tire pressures for both front and rear, should we run the 11-23 cassette or the 11-27, planning our nutrition intake down to the minute… the list is seemingly endless. Simplifying our training and our racing, even a little, is an enormous task that lifts weight off our minds, allowing us to focus on what really matters—racing faster. Infinit Nutrition believes they can help by doing away with the gels, chews, and the bottle concentrations, combining all our requirements into a simple formula. Mix your bottles, drop them onto the bike, and go. Can nutrition really be that simple?
It turns out, the answer depends on how much work you’re willing to put into it at the beginning. Infinit doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition, even their pre-made formulations are available in specific blends for road racers, endurance athletes, women, and junior racers. There is even a specific high-octane offering for those finish-line fanatics who need every ounce of energy their body can muster to throw a bike across the tape. They offer a pre- and post-workout drink mix as well as a gel mix, too, making an adaptable, full-service nutrition system. The stock formulations are all excellent and can take you through any race you care to name. However, if you put just a little more time in and opt for a custom blend, tailored to your specific needs as an athlete, the difference can be transformative.
Asking The Experts
Infinit offers two options for determining what formulation is right for you – a short questionnaire or a free phone call with one of their nutritionists. When Devon spoke with the founder, Mike Folan, at Interbike about his nutritional woes, he didn’t shove a bottle into his hands and tell him that it would solve his problems. Instead, he said, simply, “We can fix this. Schedule a consultation with our guys and let’s get this sorted.” A consultation? Isn’t that the kind of thing you get from a doctor? It turns out, that’s exactly what it was. Our phone consult was with Dr. Ryan Proudoff, and he spent time with Devon listening, asking questions, and providing detailed explanations. We never felt rushed, never felt like we were being pushed in a direction Devon didn’t want to go, and the big issues that were presented to Ryan—namely the “quads of lead” feeling on long-distance rides and the desire to stop relying on gels for calories—were discussed at length. After Devon had been riding the mix for a few weeks, he even followed up with us to see how it was going and offered tweaks to the setup to fine-tune everything for him.
To compare the survey formula to the phone consult, we took the survey before the consultation, and here are the two, side by side:
Right away, we can see some fairly major differences between the two formulations. The survey puts Devon low on calories (273 cal vs 321) and is lower in electrolytes and amino acids when compared with the consult, though higher in caffeine. In truth, both should work well enough. Although having a qualified medical professional to help you through the process eliminates a lot of the guesswork, helping you to zero in on your perfect nutrition solution in a much shorter timeframe. If you already know about the differences between the various types of carbs, what your caloric requirements are, sweat rate, salt requirements, and protein demands, then you can probably get away with going through their survey and get it right the first time. For everyone else, schedule a consultation; everyone we have spoken to at Infinit was exceptionally knowledgeable and genuinely wanted to help make sure that nutrition isn’t a problem you have to deal with anymore.
From The Pouch To The Bottle
Infinit ships their custom blends in large pouches that will last you for 25 “servings” worth of nutrition. Their idea of a serving is a minor relief, as well, because a “serving” is simply a bottle on the bike, that’s it. No need to calculate scoops-to-bottle or figure out calorie targets. A serving, according to Infinit, is two scoops per bottle, for 25 bottles—done. Devon was utilizing a 21-ounce bottle, but the mix isn’t dependent on bottle capacity in this case. Infinit’s straightforward approach is a breath of fresh air. Two scoops into the bottle gets you what the nutrition facts on the pouch read; no more guesswork. We are big fans of this.
One of the other things you will notice is that Infinit is clear when mixed. No colors, no dyes, nothing that you can’t pronounce. The only thing, visually, that sets it apart from water is the slight haze from protein in the mixture, if you include it (we have). The flavors are natural. There are no sweeteners (besides the dextrose and maltose that are providing you carbs). And yes, Infinit is also Gluten-free.
Further, compared to other products, Infinit isn’t nearly as sticky or sweet as you would expect. Mike Folan, Infint’s CEO, says that the true test of a drink is if it tastes good at hour four of your ride, warming in the sun and you’ve been sucking it down since you got on the bike that morning. And while we can’t speak for their other flavors, Fruit Punch passes this test with flying colors. Some drink mixes with protein taste like chalk, others with high calorie content are like drinking liquid pixie sticks or have strange aftertastes, but our custom mix tastes about as close to juice as you can get. We also didn’t have any trouble drinking it for extended rides.
Devon’s largest issue was the fact that no combination of gels, pills, mixes, or even solid food seemed to take away the “quads of lead” feeling around the 70 mile mark. In speaking with Ryan, it was suggested that Devon try about 4g of protein per bottle, or about 12g, by the time the Garmin read “70.0mi,” in order to combat catabolizing muscle fibers on long rides. It seems to have worked, though in subsequent emails, it was dialed back by about half a gram per bottle to tone down the feeling of “fullness” from the protein sitting in the stomach while still preserving the benefits from having it in the bottle on rides. We will keep tabs on this for the next pouch of mix and see how this works out for him.
With 321 calories per bottle, we can finally leave the gels, bars, and associated “stuff” at home and just focus on riding. No more need to watch the mileage counter or keep tabs on timing for our caloric intake. We can simply ride and drink, about a bottle an hour, and get everything we need to perform at our best. This simplification is a huge win. It’s one less thing to worry about when training and racing. Long years of packing gels and bars is a habit that will be difficult to drop, but if Infinit can manage to put all of this in a bottle, we’ll happily swap over.
Sufficiently Advanced Technology
What Infinit’s custom blend system offers is a way to take care of all the little details of nutrition off the bike. Sort your drink mix out with a consultant and forget about anything but the bike (or the run) when you’re out on course – that’s an attractive proposition. How well it works will be interesting to see, and what modifications need to be made to get that perfect nutrition system should make for some good reading for the home-chemists among you. Sure, you could figure out all the different ratios yourself, and source all the ingredients, and do your own mixes, but that’s just shifting the complexity of nutrition from the schedule taped on the top tube to a home lab. What Infinit proposes is to eliminate all of that, and so far, so good. Let’s see what a thousand miles brings, and if we can find that perfect mix for us.