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Sport Nutrition Can Be Gnarly

Gnarly is a funny word.

It can mean something good or bad, but also used to describe something challenging.

Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate and BCAAs
Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate and BCAAs

When Gnarly Nutrition sent me samples of their product to try, it landed on my doorstep at a challenging time. I just gotten back from my first physical in many years and learned that I had topped the scales at an all-time high. Based on the BMI chart, I was now “overweight.”

Fitness has always been a priority for me, but as life changed, so has my fitness priorities. The COVID-19 presented challenges around my fitness and I fell out of my normal routines, including running (something I have been devoutly fanatical about for 13 years).

The balance between home learning, work, and making time for my wife to have to herself put a lot of my fitness to the side.

And now I showed the evidence of that. Since my first child was born 10 years ago, I had put on 47 pounds. Since COVID, I had put on 20 pounds.

It was a lot and I knew I had to do something different. Something challenging. Something… gnarly.

When these samples arrived, I decided that it was time to kick my own ass.

I started a high-intensity-impact-training program, increased my frequency and mileage running, and started flipping a tractor tire in my garage. Along with that, I started intermittent fasting for 16-18 hours a day and cold showers in the morning to activate my brown fat cells.

These supplements from Gnarly Nutrition have been a welcome addition.

Gnarly Hydrate

Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate
Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate

Thirty-minutes prior to a workout, I’ll down a serving of Gnarly Hydrate.

Typically, I’m working out in the late afternoon and the B-Vitamins are a nice energizing pick-me-up to motivate me out of my office and into my workout space.

Each serving is super-packed with electrolytes to help aid performance and stave off muscle cramps and burnout. 250 mg of sodium, 100 mg of potassium, 90 mg of magnesium, 125 mg of calcium, and 135 mg of chloride.

What I appreciate about this product is that it doesn’t have caffeine. Since I’m working out in the afternoon, I don’t need extra caffeine in my system.

Additionally, this product mixes really well. There’s another brand (that shan’t be named) that I’ve used that is always clumpy and feels heavy in the gut. Gnarly Hydrate mixes well enough that I’ve replaced the Nuun tablets in my Hydropak.

Gnarly BCAAs

Gnarly Nutrition BCAAs
Gnarly Nutrition BCAAs

I’ve never used BCAAs as part of my recovery. If you don’t know, BCAAs stand for Branched Chain Amino Acids.

You have 20 different amino acids in your body and three of those (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are branched chain amino acids.

By supplementing BCAAs, you’re helping your body build back better (sorry, Biden). BCAAs can help with muscle growth, decrease muscle soreness, reduce fatigue, and prevent muscle wasting.

When I’ve gotten on these ass-kicking routines, my ass has gotten kicked and I have fallen off the wagon quickly.

But since supplementing Gnarly BCAAs I’ve found significant improvement in my recovery time.

I’ve been able to hit the same level of intensity the next day after an intense workout.

I’m a week into my journey and I’ve already dropped a couple pounds, which I’ll take as a victory.

Gnarly BCAAs has several flavors to choose from including caffeinated and decaf options. I’m using the caffeinated version, but with only 35 mg of caffeine per serving, it hasn’t negatively impacted my sleep routine.

Gnarly Vegan Protein

Gnarly Nutrition Vegan Protein
Gnarly Nutrition Vegan Protein

Finding the right vegan protein has been hit or miss. Especially when it comes to how well it mixes. There are many out there that are grainy and clumpy.

Thankfully, Gnarly Vegan Protein is one of the best I’ve had. Their protein is a blend of pea protein isolate, cranberry seed protein and chia seed protein.

Since using it, I also haven’t had the gut issues I’ve had before with other proteins. I think it’s in part due to their forms of protein, but the fiber content (7 grams per serving), and the pre and probiotics to support digestion and gut health.

Gnarly Vegan Protein is intended to also be a meal replacement.

When I’ve been breaking my fast, I’ve turned to their vegan protein versus running to the local sandwich or fast food shop. Each serving, when combined with water, is only 200 calories.

Out of the two flavors I samples (vanilla and chocolate), chocolate was my favorite.

Bottom Line

As I’ve gone on this journey of better health and fitness, I couldn’t be more happy to have Gnarly Nutrition in my corner. It’s definitely been a bit gnarly. But gnarly is a good way.

My hope is that I’ll be able to get to a point where I’m able to do ultras again and have Gnarly on all my training runs.

It’s worth noting that Gnarly Nutrition products are NSF certified and the three products above are all soy free, gluten free, and vegan.

Tasc Performance Apparel Review

When I stopped at the Tasc Performance booth at Outdoor Retailer, I knew I had stumbled onto a pretty special and unique brand.

Tasc Performance clothes are made from a bamboo fiber blend, which is great for any type of activity due to its moisture-wicking, anti-odor, and wrinkle-resistant properties.

At Outdoor Retailer, it was immediately noticeable how lightweight and comfortable their clothing was. The bamboo fiber blend made it extremely soft and I knew I had to try them out on the trail.

Field Testing

Tasc sent me a handful of products to review. In this post, we’ll break down two products: the Carrolton Tee and the Recess Short.

The Recess Short

Tasc Performance Recess Short

With the Tasc Performance Recess Short, the softness of the bamboo fiber blend was immediately apparent. It might TMI, but I have been have some chafing issues in the nether region. During the field test I took them out on a mountain hike and several runs and I never experienced any redness or soreness down there. I also through in a handful of home workouts and yoga sessions.

When comparing them to my other go-to running shorts, they also weighed in 2 grams lighter.

The shorts have several pockets for storage. I was able to easily hold a few gels and a flexible water bottle in the side pockets, and my keys in a zippered side pocket. On the bamboo liner, it has a cell phone pocket that easily held my iPhone 12 Pro.

The pockets kept things secure enough so that there wasn’t too much bouncing, but ideally on longer runs, I would store a majority of those things in my running pack.

Not getting chafed by itself made these shorts a winner. But I’ve also just lounged around the house in them. The liner isn’t too tight or constrictive. It kept everything in it’s place while giving me room to stretch out.

I also found that they are suitable to nearly every workout activity I could think of. While doing jump squats or downward-facing dog, I never felt that the shorts were slipping in a way that would expose my butt crack. But I also didn’t find myself constantly adjusting the liner.

The Carrolton Tee

Tasc Performance Carrolton Tee

To say that the Tasc Performance Carrolton Tee is as smooth and as soft as butter may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. I wish all my shirts were this soft.

While on my mountain hike, I had my go-to running back slung over it, and what I noticed was that I really liked the collar.

The collar sits a bit higher than my other running shirts. And what’s great about it is that I didn’t experience the normal chaffing I would get around my neck from my running pack. It’s the little things that make a difference.

The bamboo fiber also lays a bit different than a normal running shirt. It is heavier and because of that, I didn’t experience the typical riding-up I normally would have during yoga or HITT workouts.

The Bottom Line

Truth be told: I’m a big fan of Tasc Performance.

Not only were they really comfortable during my activities, but I put them through the ringer to test out the other bamboo proprieties: moisture-wicking and anti-odor.

I spent around 15 hours of heavy activity in them and they passed the smell test. I mean, it was a little funky towards the end, but it didn’t have the normal funk of my workout and running clothes.

If you’re looking to upgrade your running apparel or needing something that you just want to be comfortable in, look no further than Tasc Performance.

Showers Pass Elements Jacket Gear Review

Showers Pass Elements Jacket
Showers Pass Elements Jacket

A year ago I thought I had discovered the be-all end-all of cycling jackets: their Hi-Vis Torch Jacket. And until this moment, it had been my go-to commuter jacket. Showers Pass has exceeded my expectations with the release of the Elements Jacket.

What sets the Elements Jacket apart from the Hi-Vis Torch or other Showers Pass jackets is it’s design and functionality. Since receiving their product to test, I’ve had the opportunity to wear it on my bike commutes to work, but also on the trail rides. However, since temperatures have been gradually getting colder, I’ve found myself grabbing it even when I wasn’t cycling. It has become a go-to wardrobe element for walks in the cool mornings or playtime at the park at dusk. 

The Elements Jacket is lightweight and extremely packable. There’s been many commutes where it has warmed up considerably by the time that I have to bike home and it easily stashes in my Backpack Pannier.

Showers Pass Elements Jacket
Showers Pass Elements Jacket

Like all Showers Pass products, the Elements Jacket was made for wet conditions with a fully seam-taped, waterproof-breathable performance fabric. The interior is made with a carbon-print lining that provides natural odor-resistance. With these fabrics the jacket is still flexible allowing for free movement. I never felt like the jacket was sticking or pulling on my skin, but I also never felt like I was constrained in my movements.

If you’ve followed our blogs, you know by now that I like to highlight products that have a sustainable or eco-friendly feature. The Elements Jacket does this by using eco-friendly dyes in it’s manufacturing process.

The jacket comes loaded with features: a removable hood, front pockets, reinforced shoulders, and ventilation around the midsection. While it doesn’t have all of the same reflectivity features as the Hi-Vis Torch Jacket, while the days are longer this hasn’t been an issue during my commutes.

Showers Pass Elements Jacket
Showers Pass Elements Jacket

The Elements Jacket comes in both Mens and Womens sizes. I’m 5’11” and 180 lbs and I wear a Medium.

Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2 Product Review

Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2
Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2

I live close enough to my office, that bike commuting has become more of a have to instead of continuous mental debate of “Should I?” I have comfortable enough commuting backpacks, but in the heat of summer there were days where I’d show up to work and my back would be a hot sticky mess.

Avoiding a good back sweat is only one reason to buy a pannier. There’s also the convenience of not having that extra weight on your back. Even though my commute to work is around 15 minutes, the route I take back home takes me 25, but given all the trails around me, it also provides the option of going for a longer ride. And lets be honest, if you’re commuting more than 15 minutes, having the weight of a computer, lunch, clothes, etc is not the best way to start your day.

Po Campo popped up on my radar mostly because of their mission. Besides creating some really awesomely designed bags, they partner with World Bike Relief and for every 50 bags sold, they fund a bike to mobilize students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs in parts of the world where distance is a barrier.

They recently sent me the Irving Backpack Pannier 2 to test. This is the first pannier I’ve owned. It was easy to transition my work things from a larger backpack into the smaller, compact Irving Backpack Pannier.

On my work commutes, I can easily carry my 13-inch Macbook Pro, a change of clothes for a lunch run, food, and toss my protein shake shaker in a side pocket. 

Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2
Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2

It functions as a backpack, as well. To attach it to my rack, I flip the backpack straps to the front, clip the sternum strap so they stay in place, and use their patented Fidlock® magnetic clips to attach it to the rack. The straps, once reversed, are a bright reflective green that really stands out in the wee hours of the morning before the sun has fully come up over the horizon. 

My ride to and from work is a bit bumpy on gravel trails, so I also utilize their hook at the bottom of the bag to connect to the bottom of the rack.

Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2
Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2

The bag itself is waterproof with water-protected zippers. Hidden away in the bottom of the bag is a built-in raincover. It’s made from a bright green, waterproof vegan fabric. I had the ability to utilize this a couple weeks ago when Colorado got their earliest snowfall in decades. When I got to work the raincover was splattered, but it was easy enough to wipe away the mud before stashing it back away in it’s hidden pocket.

If your bike has a rack that can equip a pannier, I highly suggest the Irving Backpack Pannier 2. Since using it for the first time, I haven’t gone back to my standard backpack. It is a great companion for my work commute and I’m looking forward to finding the right opportunity to take it on longer and larger adventures.

Gear Review: Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket
Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

I bike to work several days a week, and even though most of my commute happens on trails, visibility is key. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started the bike ride home from the office and had my taillight die or rode by another cyclist in a similar situation. On the road, it’s even more important to reduce the possibility of risk.

So when Showers Pass sent me their Hi-Vis Torch Jacket to test, it immediately caught my eye. With its reflective fabric, it’s hard to miss during the day or night, but so is its unique design. They imprinted the jackets with the maps of 11 international cities known for cycling with their silver MapREflect Fabric. As headlights approach, the streets on the fabric light up.

Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

Down the sides of the jacket is a blinding neon green eliteTM fabric providing day-time visibility. Additionally, the jacket comes with four LED Beacon Lights that can be inserted into specific areas of the jacket and activated at night for greater visibility.

Showers Pass sent me a jacket to test out and review, and I can attest the Hi-Vis Torch Jacket is a great addition to any cycling gear closet.

The jacket is 100% waterproof, but it’s still permeable, so that heat and sweat generated can escape. When combined with other waterproof gear, including the Showers Pass Crosspoint Flip-Mitt and their Waterproof Crosspoint Socks, you’re basically invincible to the elements. I even stood under the steady downpour of our shower to see just how waterproof this jacket was and while a little bit of water had seeped in through the neck, my shirt underneath was dry.

Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

There’s also three ventilation areas on the jacket (one on each side and another in the back) that can be opened or closed to allow cool air in. It also performs well in colder temperatures. Cycling with a base layer underneath the jacket in temperatures hovering just above 20ºF I was comfortable during moderate aerobic effort.

Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

For storage, the jacket has chest and rear pockets. Both are sized well. I was able to easily slide in and out my iPhone 7 Plus into the front pocket. In the back I could fit in a CO2 inflation kit, my keys, multi tool, and a snack bar.

Conclusion

I’ve been impressed by the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket. It does everything a cycling jacket in this category should do and does it exceptionally well. It’s a great jacket that’s a regular part of my commute and weekend rides.

Please note that Showers Pass is an affiliate to Huck Adventures, and at no additional cost to you, Huck earns a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the links above. We appreciate your support!