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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.

Saving the Earth with Hemp: Hemp Black Activewear

It’s no secret, I’m a big fan of CBD.

One of the larger benefits of CBD is how good the hemp plant is for the environment. Hemp’s rapid growth makes it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available, more efficient than agro- forestry.

But with the rapid growth of the CBD industry, a by-product of the large consumption of hemp oil is the biomass waste it produces.

Ananda Hemp is solving that issue with the creation of their activewear line, Hemp Black. They sent me some products to try out.

Hemp as a Fabric

Using Hemp as a fabric isn’t new. Leading brands have been using it for years, but it’s only been recently that Hemp has gained popularity over traditional cotton and polyester.

What makes Hemp Black different is that along with the hemp-blended fabrics, their activewear is infused with antimicrobial copper embedded fibers and odor eliminating hemp infused fibers with full-spectrum hemp extract to reduce odor.

Less odor = less stink = less washing. This makes Hemp Black one of the most sustainably-focused activewear companies in the world.

It’s also worth noting that a majority of hemp clothing is made overseas, whereas Hemp Black is made in the U.S.

Additionally, no chemical treatment or finishes were applied to the outer shell or main fabrications.

Fairmont Full Zip Jacket

Hemp Black Fairmont Full Zip Jacket
Hemp Black Fairmont Full Zip Jacket

The Fairmont Full Zip Jacket has a lot of really cool features.

The copper and hemp blend is throughout the interior of the jacket.

It has a lined hood that stayed fresh and clean during longer, sweat-filled runs.

There are two lined pockets for storage. One includes a cellphone pocket that is large enough for my iPhone 12 Pro. Now, the crazy thing about their copper and hemp blend, is that it will sanitize your phone. It reduces a broad spectrum of viruses, bacteria, and fungi on surfaces it comes in contact with and keep items clean.

Hemp Black Fairmont Full Zip Jacket Glove Liner
Hemp Black Fairmont Full Zip Jacket Glove Liner

The sleeves also extend to cover my hands, with thumb-holes. The intention of this was to allow for safer, cleaner contact when coming into contact with things, like doors, touching buttons, etc. But I have these hand covers to be great while out for early morning cooler runs to keep my fingers comfortable.

All this makes the Fairmont Full Zip Jacket a super sleek and comfortable jacket.

I’ve taken it out on several runs and impressed by how it doesn’t stink.

It’s also really light and breathable. Even as my body heated up, I never felt like I was overheating.

Sunn Pant

Hemp Black Sunn Pants
Hemp Black Sunn Pants

Combined with the Jacket, I also was sent a pair of the Sunn Pant to try out.

One of my pet peeves with any pant or short I wear during outdoor activities is making sure they stay in place. The Sunn Pant’s waistband is designed to do just that. During heavy-movement (running, cycling), they stayed in place without riding up or down.

The Sunn Pant is lined with the same copper and hemp blend in strategic areas to keep things fresh. The pocket includes a cell phone holder that also has the same antimicrobial elements.

Hemp Black Sunn Pants
Hemp Black Sunn Pants

I also found that these pants are great anytime pants. They are much cooler and sleeker than your typical sweatpants and I have worn them on a few work Zoom calls.

With running, they pair really well with Saxx Kinetic HD underwear. Even under heavy activity, I didn’t experience any chafing with the pants or uncomfortability in the ankles or calfs where the pants taper.

Bottom Line

I’m excited to see how Hemp Black line expands.

Beyond these two products, they have a line of t-shirts, face masks, and bags for men.

They also have a full line of women’s products, including leggings, bras, and tanks.

Pricing ranges from $40-200. While the jackets and pants are on the pricier side, their technology is intended to last the lifecycle of their products. Because the copper and hemp fabric reduces odor, you don’t have to wash it as much and the products will last longer.

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.