July 17, 2017

Review : Enduroforce

  • Type : Nutrition / hydration
  • Use : Running fuel / tonic
  • Price : 2,29$ ea. / 22.99$ box

Introduction
When you’re an endurance athlete, it’s really hard to carry your healthy eating habits into your running fuel and hydration needs. A vast majority of foods, drinks and supplements use highly-refined sugars, such as maltodextrin or glucose-fructose, to trick your body into high gear. For health-conscious endurance enthusiasts, this is less than optimal, to say the least.

Thankfully, there are a growing number of endurance fuels which use only natural ingredients, starting of course with Mas Korima, a collaborative enterprise I’m very proud to be a part of. There are also other new and innovative products out there, and Enduroforce is definitely one of them.

Enduroforce uses maple syrup and spirulina, mixed with sea buckthorn and ginseng. That’s it. Four natural ingredients, nothing else. I like that a lot and, after sampling the product, got enthusiastic about its effects, too.

Testing
The idea behind Enduroforce is to be a tonic, a natural stimulant that forgoes the use of caffeine and taurine and that helps maximize endurance. The ingredient mix is rich in antioxydants, vitamins and minerals, comes in a tiny dose of 15ml and still packs 40 calories and a gram of protein.

Upon trying it the first time, I was expecting a boost comparable to the use of a gel, or maybe like a shot of espresso. This is not at all the effect of the product. It didn’t change much in my intensity; what it did is to increase my awareness and focus, and mostly to rid me of the impression of fatigue while I’m running. It’s a subtle effect, but an important one when going on multiple-hour endurance runs.

Compared to a straight shot of maple syrup (which is what I now use as a gel replacement as well as the sweetener for my pinole mix), Enduroforce doesn’t pack a big punch, and I don’t think it’s its intended purpose either. As a tonic, it brings a balanced shot of stimulation, nutrition and supplementation that really starts to shine in the long run.

Taken 45 minutes before effort, then subsequently about every 2 hours, Enduroforce maintains my energy and focus and decreases my perceived effort without playing yo-yo with my sugar levels.

Analysis
Taste-wise, Enduroforce takes a bit of getting used to. Personally, I don’t mind an “exotic” taste, as long as it’s not too strong or pungent. I won’t go as far as saying Enduroforce tastes good, but I got used to it pretty quickly and the fact that it’s fully natural weights a lot in my personal balance.

My biggest qualm about it is the strange little package it comes in. It’s a small plastic tube with a break-off tip which isn’t easy to manipulate at first. Furthermore, when you’ve used the tubes, they often drip into running vest’s pockets and leave a sticky little mess. Lastly, I’m not a big fan of single-use plastic and would love an option of a large container and reusable screw-top type “shots” to save on trash and skip the mess all at once.

Conclusion
In my opinion, Enduroforce is a good element in an endurance nutrition mix for the health-conscious athlete who wants to steer clear from the chemicals and highly-processed compounds that make up most fuels out there. Used side-by-side with your liquid and solid nutrition of choice (Andale! pinole and Korimalitas energy bites in my case), it can help you perform well without a nagging feeling of constant effort.

High points
  • Fully natural
  • 4 ingredients. Period.
  • A tonic that keeps you going
  • Mitigates fatigue and perceived effort

Low points
  • Break-tip containers are finicky
  • Empty tubes are messy
  • Single-use plastic





The material for this personal review was supplied by Leo Desilets / Enduroforce free of charge. Disclosure: I am part of Enduroforce’s ambassador team.





June 28, 2017

Jim Walmsley is a Champion

Canyon de Chelly, last fall. I had just finished setting up my little dirtbag camp (sleeping in the back of a rental Ford Escape with The Dragonfly) in beautiful Navajo country when a car pulled in our spot. It was pitch dark, and some guy stuck his face out the driver’s window and asked “Is it OK if I park it here?”.

“Sure.”

Two guys stepped out and we shook hands. “Hey, I’m Jim.” “Hi, I’m Myke.” And that was pretty much it. They got set up in the back of their car, just like us, cooked a little bit of dinner, and came to sit down at the Miller’s Casitalita. And you know what was really special about it all? Absolutely nothing.

We all took a seat and started chatting among ourselves. I found out that “Myke” was a photographer, that he traveled quite a bit, and that he documented Jim’s runs. My friend Nico was there too, and it was cool to spend a little time and have a beer before the grand day tomorrow, one of the most amazing runs an ultra runner could wish for. Everyone shared stories and like every eve before an epic ultra, it was relaxed and fun.

Walking back to our car, Julie told me “Wow, that guy I was talking with, Jim, turns out he’s just ran a world-record Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim just a couple days ago.” I had actually sort of met him before, running Mesquite Canyon in Arizona. He flew down a trail at an impressive speed, and I thought he really looked like Scott Jurek with his curly hair and his long legs. Julie was impressed. “He’s just this super casual dude”, she said, “He didn’t mention anything about his feat until I started asking questions.” Champions tend to do that, I thought to myself.

The next day started before sunrise as we made our way down to the sacred fire and shared the Dag’ha ceremonies, where elders and tribe members help prepare the runners for the long day ahead. I asked Nico where Jim was. “Oh, he’s just here for the experience”, he replied. “He’s not running today.”

I wished him good luck on what would turn out to be a pretty fantastic day for him (Nico flew like the wind and won the 2016 run) and set out on my own adventure with Julie, who was experiencing her very first ultra. It was an amazing day for us, too.

At the midpoint, atop the magnificent canyon after a tough climb, I got into the aid station with 1,000 things on my mind. Two hands eagerly extended at me. “Dude, do you have any trash I can take care of?” I lifted my eyes and there he was. “Are you eating well? Have you got enough to drink?”. Jim Walmsley was helping runners out at the aid station, and he wanted to take my trash to the garbage can. He was happy and excited and dedicated and he made me so proud of my sport.

“When was the last time you saw a sports superstar take care of some random guy’s trail trash and make sure he’s doing OK?”, I remember telling Julie, on the way back. A real champion will do that, I again reflected.

I never told this story until today, because I’m convinced Jim didn’t do this to get publicity or gratification. I’m convinced he did it out of his love for running and to share a special moment with the people who, he knows, “get it”.

So when some of these running people started speaking negatively of him after the Western States last weekend, it really bugged me. They accuse him of being brash. They find weaknesses in his strategy. They say all sorts of things, from the comfort of their little certainties, like they’ve had a front-row seat to Jim’s career all along.


The same people who would have written the exact opposite, should Jim have made it and won the race and smashed a course record. They would have lauded his boldness, they would have talked about every little bit that he’d done right. And that, too, is pissing me off.

I’ll be first to say, I don’t know Jim Walmsley that well. But I’m the kind of person for whom actions speak louder than words. And after seeing how he behaves and the respect he’s garnered from many ultra runners in the community I know and love, I’m taking his defense and I’m standing with him.

He went out there and he gave Western States his absolute best shot. He was convinced he could win, and he was unafraid to say it. And maybe some people didn’t notice, but he’s also unafraid to talk about despair and depression, of failing and mistakes, even of wanting to die. And then finding a way. Champions tend to do that, too.

I salute Jim for his bold attempt last weekend, as I salute every single one of us out there who builds up the passion and the determination to tackle ridiculously long distances in difficult environments with no certainty of success, yet who goes at it nonetheless. There will always be some naysaying bystanders to hit someone when they’re down. Often, they will also be the flip-floppers who will turn around and sing the praises of the same person when they actually succeed. I hope their words are as meaningless and inconsequential either way, to the people subjected to them.

After so many hours of training and sacrifice and dedication, ALL Western States runners, from Cat Bradley to Jim to that last person to cross the finish line to those who didn’t even make it to the start but tried, deserve a well-earned congratulations, a recognition of their hard work and some words of encouragement to keep going, to keep pushing the limits and to keep living this life to the fullest.

The bystanders are all the same to me. And I don’t care what they think.

Jim Walmsley’s a champion.



Photo credit : Myke Hermsmeyer




*** EDIT ***


I very rarely come back and edit a post, but I feel like this is important. Myke Hermsmeyer actually sent me a photo (that I didn't know existed!) of the exact moment depicted in my article. 

So here it is, Jim being a trail angel to my absolute nobody self, atop Canyon de Chelly :)

















May 9, 2017

A New Partnership

http://www.enduroforce.ca/en.htmlYou all know that I’m involved in Mas Korima, as a means to support our Raramuri friends in facing the advance of the modern world onto their remote wilderness home, but also with the aim of bettering my endurance nutrition using natural ingredients.

I’ve been extensively using Korimalitas as my running fuel of choice, and I make liquid nutrition out of Andale! pinole powder and maple syrup. So when my friend Jack introduced me to a new type of endurance tonic based on maple syrup, using only natural ingredients and free from caffeine and taurine, it was an instant natural fit.

I started using Enduroforce last year, and quickly became a fan of its energy-boosting effects. It only uses 4 ingredients; ginseng, maple syrup, sea buckthorn and spirulina. No head rush, no buzz, no crash. Just a nice cocktail of superfoods I start my long days with and use about every 4-5 hours along the way.

Well, it seems Enduroforce liked me back and has offered to make me a brand ambassador :)

So whenever you meet me in running events and on the trails, don’t hesitate to snatch a vial or two from me and to give Enduroforce a try. I think it’s an excellent, natural endurance supplement well worth checking out!




I’ll be writing some more in-depth analysis of the product itself and its ingredients as I keep using it this season. In the meantime, you can access full product info right here.