5 nutritional supplements I keep in my trail running bag

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Some of our readers may remember a piece I wrote in May titled “5 simple ways I’ve gotten healthier in a world with COVID-19.” One item that I mentioned was the practice of setting a physical fitness goal. My goal was related to running, which has evolved into trail running in recent months.

As I’ve gained a little bit more running experience, I’ve noticed that the use of a few nutritional and supplemental products seems to help. Here are a few products that I keep in my running bag.

Author’s Note: I’m no doctor, nor do I have any medical experience. This piece is based solely on my personal experience while running. Please consult a medical professional before altering your diet or using any supplement. Also, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body can react to supplements in different ways. Consult a medical professional to determine the best fit for you.

1. Liquid IV

Dubbed a ‘hydration multiplier’, Liquid IV makes a line of products meant to enhance the body’s rapid absorption of water and other key ingredients. They also have a version that is designed to give customers an energy boost. Read more about Liquid IV here.

When I use this: This tends to be my go-to before a mid-distance run.

2. Nuun Sport Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Another product meant to help with hydration, Nuun Sport tablets can be dropped into a water bottle to provide key electrolytes. With no artificial flavorings or sweeteners, the company considers their product “guilt-free hydration.” They also offer caffeinated varieties and a line of relaxation-focused options. Read more about Nuun here.

When I use this: This tends to be my go-to before shorter runs or during runs in a pre-mixed bottle.

3. Tailwind Nutrition Rebuild Recovery Coffee Drink

This plant-based recovery option includes a blend of protein, carbs, and electrolytes, as well as caffeine. Plus, it actually tastes like coffee with cream and sugar. It’s not a surprise  that it was named one of the “Best Recovery Tools for 2020” by Outside Magazine. Read more here. Plus, the company is based out of Durango, Colorado. Read their story here.

When I use this: This is something I look forward to after runs to start the recovery process.

4. GU Energy Gels

Designed to fill the need for “easily digestible carbohydrates to fuel your muscles,” GU Energy Gels come jam-packed with a mix of simple and complex carbs. The company offers many flavor options including the beer-inspired “Hoppy Trails” and the delectable “Caramel Macchiato.” Some options also have varying levels of caffeine. Read more here.

When I use this: These are super packable, so I’ll bring them with my on long runs as an energy source. The product instructs users to consume one every 45 minutes of exercise, though my consumption is a bit less frequent than that.

5. Orgain Organic Protein

Another plant-based protein, Orgain Organic Protein comes in a number of flavors and varieties and can be found online or in Walmart or Walgreens. Their “Superfoods” chocolate fudge variety has 21 grams of protein per serving. Read more here.

When I use this: I’ll take this after longer runs thanks to a higher per-serving protein amount compared to my other options.

Author’s Note: I’m no doctor, nor do I have any medical experience. This piece is based solely on my personal experience while running. Please consult a medical professional before altering your diet or using any supplement. Also, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body can react to supplements in different ways. Consult a medical professional to determine the best fit for you.

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