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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TOTAL SCORE- 4.3
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!