Saturday, July 20, 2013

product review: island boost

<start> disclaimer: i was provided with the products discussed in this post free of charge from island boost. i reached out to island boost and asked for products to sample and review. all opinions, reviews and thoughts are 100% mine and honest based on my experiences with the products. <end> disclaimer


if you've been following along with my blog for awhile you probably know that i've gone through one hell of a time trying to find a running fuel that meets my dietary needs. i had heard about island boost and it met my dietary requirements so i decided to reach out to island boost and ask for some samples to try and review (they were nice enough to say yes)!

a little background information: island boost is a coconut based product designed to deliver glucose to the body quickly so you can get a fast boost of energy. the creator of this product specifically designed it because she (like so many of us) have stomach issues with a lot of the existing products in the market.

how did i use them?
i used one packet on three different types of runs. each time i used them at about the halfway point in the workout. during two runs i took them while running, the other time i stopped my workout and took the product.  

how did i feel?
i did not have any weird side effects from any of the flavors. my stomach didn't get upset which is one of the key benefits that island boost describes. 

did it work?

run #1: this was a 6 miler on a hot, muggy day. i had not adequately fueled for a 6 mile run during the day so the run could've gone either way. i took island boost at the half way point. this was my first time trying the product and i really struggled. compared with the normal gu's i use, this is a liquid, but i treated it like a gu. after ripping the packaging i went to squirt the product in my mouth. liquid squirts a lot faster than gu's do, let me tell you! the liquid hit the back of my mouth too quickly and i started gagging. fun stuff. the liquid was also really hot from being in my pocket, which made the shock of it even more jarring. i slowly drank the rest of the packet. i did not get the immediate energy i was expecting. this mile was the slowest on the run. i do think island boost helped me feel more refreshed during the end of the run, instead of feeling draggy, tired or dehydrated.

run #2: this was a 5 mile interval run with 800 intervals. before the run (about 10 minutes), i put island boost in the freezer as it suggests you can do. again i took island boost at the halfway point of the run. even though i tried to squirt the packet slower this time i still managed to shoot it too quickly into my mouth and the gagging happened again. as you can imagine, this is not a fun experience when you're trying to run. though my packet wasn't cold anymore, it wasn't as hot as the first time and that was nice. my pace slowed down considerably for a bit, but i managed to find energy and do a much faster last mile even though i was really exhausted.

run #3: this was a 6 mile run on one of THE hottest days of the year. it was terrible out. i took island boost at the half way point but this time i stopped completely to take it. i thought for sure i would be able to squirt the liquid into my mouth slowly if i wasn't moving. nope. i still managed to squirt it too quickly, hitting the back of my throat and causing me to gag. it took me awhile to recover but then i was good to go. on this run i noticed that i had much more energy to finish the run, but i didn't notice it until the very last mile or so. i also hydrated pretty well throughout the day, but knowing how much i sweat during a workout, i think i really benefited from the electrolytes in the island boost.

overall, i do think island boost helped me feel a little more refreshed but not instantly as i thought it would. the delivery of the electrolytes seemed to have the largest benefit for me (and the fact that it didn't upset my stomach). however, i don't think this product has enough carbs to provide the fuel i need for longer endurance runs. i might consider this as a chaser to a gu product that has more carbs, though!

its funny but i don't remember any thoughts or experience with the taste of any of these. normally taste resonates really strongly with me, but it didn't with any of the packets. in fact, i can't remember what any of them tasted like! not a bad thing, not a good thing. just something to note if you're considering trying island boost and are afraid of an overwhelming flavor. if you like coconut water, i think you'd be okay.


so, what does it cost?
island boost retails for $2.50 a packet. this is considerably higher than other products in the category (like gu's) that retail on average between $1.25 - $1.50. you can purchase island boost in select retailers or on rei.com


bottom line - would i use it again?
yes, i would use the product again but it would have selected use cases. i like the idea of using this instead of water during a run, but it doesn't have enough carbs for me to consider it as the only source of fuel during a half marathon. if i did use this again it would be as a chaser for a gu, for a quick boost of hydration during a short run or as a mixer for the gnc powder that i currently use.

a lot of people love and swear by island boost, so if you're on the fence about trying it, you have nothing to lose if you give it a shot. everyone else's experiences may be different, so while it is not a one-size-fits all product fit for me, it might be for others!


summary:
(out of 5 dumbbells possible)

overall value: 3.75/5 dumbbells 
taste: 5/5 dumbbells (since i don't really remember the taste, that makes me believe it wasn't bad, so i am ranking it high here) 
effectiveness: 3/5 dumbbells (while it did help me feel more refreshed towards the end of the run i didn't get an instant energy boost) 
side effects: 5/5 dumbbells (no side effects = a happy me!)
cost: 2/5 (i think this is really pricey for a single serving packet compared to other products on the market)

have you tried island boost? i'd love to hear how it works for you!


6 comments:

  1. Yeah. That is a bit pricey for me. I tend to buy my gel's by the case so I save a few bucks. I tend to like the thicker gels, the watery ones don't really make me happy.

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  2. Amy @ Long Drive JourneyJuly 22, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    I really need to start looking into ways to fuel for my upcoming longer runs. I have a really sensitive stomach, so I'm worried that I might have some of the same problems as you do. What has been the best fueling option for you thus far (even if it hasn't been perfect)?

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  3. I'm starting to feel the same about thicker gels... which is something I never thought I'd say! What gels are your favorite?

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  4. Oh giiirlll I could write a novel. LOL Let me email you a list I sent to another friend on the exact same topic. It will give you an idea of where I've been and what I've tried!

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  5. I am a huge GU fan, love the Jet Blackberry (double caffeine), the vanilla is good (caffeine) and the chocolate is okay...decent if I have to have it, but I'll always choose the blackberry. Oh, and the blackberry, doesn't taste like a berry really.
    I have also had HAMMER bars, those are good, too!

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  6. DOUBLE CAFFEINE?!!? I'm going to have to check that one out!!

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