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July 29, 2014 Comments (9) Featured, Gear Reviews, Nutrition

Gear Review- Tailwind Nutrition

Here’s a bit of nutrition that’s gotten A LOT of praise over the last year or so. Starting from a grassroots effort, with no elite athletes as ambassadors, Tailwind Endurance Fuel has really taken off in the endurance athletics world. It really is a product that was developed out of a passion for the sport and a desire to increase one’s ability to compete at the highest level.

After suffering through endurance races and never feeling like he could find the right nutrition plan, founder Jeff Vierling decided to concoct a secret weapon formula that he was able to keep down no matter how long into a race and would be an all in one hydration, calories and electrolyte supplement. Through a couple months of intense educational studying regarding the composition of human sweat, energy needs of the body during endurance events, and a handful of product revisions, Tailwind was born and became Jeff’s secret weapon. That is, until all his friends tried it and started begging for more. A few months later and Tailwind was the first completely rounded product on the market.

“All you need, all day. Really” is the products motto. Based off the composition of human sweat for electrolytes, glucose and sucrose for energy with a subtle flavor, this all natural and organic powder mix is combined with water to cover all your needs throughout the day. I consider myself a pretty big minimalist when it comes to nutrition. I like water, gels and electrolyte pills. No burritos. No special homemade gels/toxic sludge. Maybe a PopTart or two throughout 100 miles, but generally I like it easy and simple. But I have to admit that I was pretty skeptical about this “all in one” product. It seemed a little TOO good to be true, which I generally don’t trust. But here I stand, with a little crow in my mouth… that I happen to be washing down with some Tailwind.

But don’t trust me on all this. We had 4 of our ultra runners give this product a full on, all out, 50-100 mile runs type of review to really get a test on this. The scores were great and apparently I wasn’t the only one impressed by this emerging nutritional dominance on the trails.

Tailwind packaging

TASTE- 4.25

“I thought the taste was very subtle, something I like, especially late in a run or race. There were times when I added an extra scoop for the calories and still never felt like it was too strong.”

The taste seems to be subtle yet present. It has a great taste without being too sweet, which really makes it bearable all day long in a race. I attribute this to the natural flavors and ingredients. As a couple of our testers discovered, you can even double the dose and still not get an over powering flavor when in need. All of the flavors (Mandrin, Raspberry, Naked, Lemon and Berry) tasted just as you would expect them to taste like and had a pleasant natural taste, as oppose to the artificial tastes that some nutrition supplements can have. It was all around one of the best tasting supplements we’ve tried here at TAUR.


“It did exactly what it said it would do and I really didn’t need anything else all day. My energy, electrolytes and hydration were steady and constant which no signs of tummy issues or bonking.”

Another great score. Not surprising, considering this is where Jeff put most of his time and energy into the product. It did exactly what it said it was gonna do. It was designed to replace human sweat and calories along with your hydration so it kinda hits that trifecta of key points that we all try to keep under control. None of the testers felt that there was any lack in energy or electrolytes. It really could be everything you need, all day, without any foreseeable problems.


“I think as a supplement to other nutrition it is a great tool. I can’t imagine drinking a full 20oz bottle every hour just to get my 200 calories though. However, it is that nice bridge between 200 – 300 calories per hour without getting an upset tummy.”

This score really reflected two things; one being the convenience of the products nutritional value and method of delivery and the second part being the how easily stored and carried Tailwind was out on the trails and in races.

Tailwind’s nutritional value and the fact that it’s just right there in your hydration make it super convenient. To think that I wouldn’t have to do ANYTHING all day except for drink water as usual made it super exciting for me and the other testers to give this one a try. And it worked. One of our testers ran the 50 mile Zion’s Traverse in 13 hours with nothing but Tailwind and couple nutritional bars to satiate the hunger pangs. He never got sick of it and it gave him everything he needed throughout the day.

The other side to this category is the fact that this is a powder, which really is a personal preference on how convenient that is. On one hand, all you have to do is drop about 800 calories of powder into your bladder, fill it with water and you’re good to go. If you’re carrying a hydration vest, then you have the room to store it no problems. However, for a handheld water bottle carrying minimal dude such as myself, this is not an easy task. Tailwind has made it easy and offers single serving packs that can be ripped open and dropped in a bottle on the go, but I don’t have the space in my pockets to be able to keep 4 single serve packets on me between aid stations. Not to mention, where am I going to get the water to mix it with? I could definitely see using this to bridge the gap between gels in order to reach my 300 calories an hour, but using just handhelds as opposed to a large bladder would make it tricky to store, mix and go all day.

To this end, the score doesn’t accurately show how this is a super convenient all in one product for most people and especially for those who carry a bladder, but you might want to give a test run yourself if you’re more of a handheld type of runner or don’t quite like to carry powders for mixing. They really are two different kinds of conveniences.


There are a variety of ways to buy and use Tailwind, from the 50 serving bag, down to the 2 serving stick pack.

Packaging- 4.5

“The bulk bags are definitely your best deal but force you to pack your own individual servings. Although this worked out best for me so that I could plan my own runs and races down to what I needed rather than carrying a bunch of double serving sticks or guessing with the 400 calorie bags.”

This is exactly what you would expect with a powder mix. Tailwind does a great job at making packaging options that work for everyone. There are Large (50 servings), Medium (30 servings), Small (4 servings) and double serving stick packs. You can certainly find what works best for you with all the packaging offerings we’ve seen. We really liked that the bags all came with zip-lock tops so that we could reuse them in drop bags. Once you figure out a system that works for you though, the large bulk bags are the way to go since using traditional sandwich bags work great and can store plenty of Tailwind in them. We also found that by mixing our own bags, we could tailor our nutritional needs a little more personally rather than fusing with an all or nothing type of packaging.

200 Calorie "Stick Packs" perfect for racing.

200 Calorie “Stick Packs” perfect for racing.

VALUE- 4.75

“Honestly, the least amount I’ve ever had to spend on nutrition for running. The fact that it replaces my gels AND electrolytes really made it the cheapest nutrition I’ve ever had to buy.”


So we did a little something for this particular study. We added up the price of nutrition to see what the real value of this product was. We were blown away. Here’s what we found:



24 Pack of GU – $30 ($1.25/serving)

24 Pack of GU Roctane – $50 ($2.09/serving)

24 Pack of Clif Shots – $26 ($1.08/serving)

24 Pack of Hammer Gel – $30 ($1.25/serving)


32 Servings of Perpetuem – $50 ($0.64/serving)

35 Servings of GU BREW – $25 ($0.72/serving)

Vitargo s2 (1.7 lbs. per label 10 servings per container) – $30 ($3.00/serving)


GU Brew Electrolyte Tube (12) – $ 6.60 ($0.55/serving)

Hammer Endurolytes Fizz (13) – $ 5 ($0.34/serving)


S-Caps (100) – $18 ($0.18/serving)

Hammer Endurolytes (120) – $20 ($0.17/serving)

Saltstick (100) – $20 ($0.20/serving)


50 servings of Tailwind Nutrition – $ 35 ($0.70/serving)


Now take ANY gel or powder and combine it with ANY electrolyte or pill to get the same composition as Tailwind Nutrition and you can’t find anything under their price. We all know that the amount of money we spend on entry fees, gear, running trips and the like really make this sport a little expensive at times. Wherever we can save money, we are all for it. But what really makes this product a great value is the fact that it actually works and can replace both gels and electrolytes. This has got to be the least expensive nutritional option that we’ve tested to date.

Using Tailwind on the 50 mile Zion Traverse.

One reviewer using Tailwind on the 50 mile Zion Traverse.


“I couldn’t be more excited about a nutritional product! It works great, doesn’t upset my stomach, easy to carry/mix, and it’s the cheapest option out there. I’ve taken it 50 miles without any problems and look forward to testing through Wasatch Front 100.”

Such a great score and very deserved. Tailwind Nutrition really does stand up to its claims and makes a solid new product for our growing sport. It’s only a matter of time until someone copies this product but you’ll still never get the same personal touch that you get with Jeff’s crew. We were happy to test out this relatively new product and share it with the rest of you. We really think we found something great for you guys and girls out on the trails to try out and help boost your performance out there. Whether you’ve tried it or not, let us know what you think by commenting below!

Running the scorching hot Skyline 50 on Tailwind only.

Running the scorching hot Skyline 50 on Tailwind only.

9 Responses to Gear Review- Tailwind Nutrition

  1. Kenneth Posner says:

    Quantity of salt in sweat i) depends on diet and ii) temperature. If you eat a typical western diet high in salt, you’ll sweat a lot of salt. In a really hot climate, like Death Valley, your body will quickly adapt and the quantity of salt excreted in sweat (and urine) will drop by 90%+. There it doesn’t seem likely to me that this product (or any other) has the “right” amount of electrolytes.

    Furthermore, there’s no real science behind why you would need electrolytes while running. What science there is suggests the body has weeks worth of salt stored inside it, in the unlikely event you were sweating profusely every day and could find no salt to eat.

    Before you can express any thoughtful opinion about electrolytes, you should read Tim Noakes’ book, Waterlogged.

  2. Jason says:

    Any comment on Kenneth’s question / comment Zac? I’ve read Waterlogged (as well as Lore of Running) and I lean toward agreeing with Kenneth.

    What are your thoughts Zac? Is this just a sponsored advertising post?

    • Matt Williams says:

      Great question. I had similar thoughts myself. I think people often read Waterlogged and get the idea that we don’t need any of that (even water…). There are plenty of other peer reviewed books & studies that question Noakes claims as well. I know I will often run for 2 hours running with zero water, food or electrolytes and be just fine. In different conditions you can become severely dehydrated in a much shorter period. Anna Frost was recently hospitalized for near kidney failure due to dehydration. What I took from Waterlogged is basically this – if you’re thirsty, drink. If it’s super hot, you might want to drink a little more, but still, drink.
      The verdict is still out on why electrolytes/salt actually work, but most studies show that they do work, even if it’s not on a physiological level. Weird, I know.
      As one of the primary testers of the product for this review, I was actually quite skeptical and had resisted giving into all of the hype that people had about Tailwind. I spent a good deal of time experimenting with different types of hydration & nutrition before trying TW out for the review. While under review (aside from countless training runs) I ran the Zion Traverse (50 miles with 10K ft vert – photo above) almost completely on Tailwind (I had part of a burrito at mile 40), the Skyline 50 – an 11K foot vert mid-July scorching hot race – completely on Tailwind, with the exception of soda at aid stations (I like coke!). I then ran the Wasatch 100 with Tailwind in a bit of a more practical manner – with it as my primary fuel/water source, but also eating aid station food to supplement (eat whatever looked good!). For hotter days, I would also add an SCap when I feel it was needed. Virtually no stomach problems or hydration issues in some pretty brutal conditions.
      Whether it’s the “right amount” of electrolytes (Tailwinds claim) will obviously vary based on conditions, but our review process was quite in depth and more than a “go on one run and see how it works” and our testers were extremely impressed (myself included) with how it worked.

      In the end, like all hydration and nutrition choices, you have to find what works for you. For me, I seem to do gels for about 4 hours before my stomach completely rebels, so I was quite surprised (and happy) to still be able to drink Tailwind after 28 hours. Tailwind won’t work for everyone, but I can say, for me, that I haven’t found anything that’s been able to give me the energy and convenience while keeping my stomach happy for hours on end. If we didn’t like it, we’d say so – or at the very least there wouldn’t be a review to read!

      • Joe says:

        What ratio of tailwind to water do you use? I tried using 2 scoops to a 20 oz water bottle and I feel like that is WAY too much in terms of salt for me even though I am a fairly heavy sweater. For example, for a ~20mile trail run I was consuming approximately 1 – 20oz bottle. After consuming about 3 bottles at that rate, I felt an overall feeling of “puffiness”which I’ve never gotten before. Any thoughts on this? I’m thinking it’s the amount of salt intake. If you follow the instructions on the bag, that is like consuming 2 salt pills an hour which for most people is a lot.

  3. natalie paterson says:

    my 14 year old son has been suffering from leg cramps when playing football for a while now would any of these drinks help him.

  4. Brooklyn says:

    I live in South Louisiana where sometimes the temperatures get up to 100 with 80-90% humidity. I suffered heat sickness one day while running with nothing but water and GUs in the woods. I started adding electrolyte formula to my pack and have never experienced this again. In my opinion, they work. 🙂

    • Sean D. says:

      I’ve tried tailwind for the first time yesterday on an almost 40 mile bike yesterday. For the past year, I’ve been using UCAN. UCAN gave me a window of energy to work with and that’s pretty much it. Using tailwind gave me better consistent energy and it seemed more convenient to use other than UCAN. I’ll continue to put tailwind to the test and I’ll also continue to use UCAN (with protein) as a recovery. Sounds like a good combination. So far, I’m very impressed with tailwind and I would like to suggest this to my son who is currently serving in the US Marine Corps. Ooh-Rah!

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