Over the last few weeks there has been a lot of hype and excitement over 32Gi’s latest edition to its product range the new 32Gi Race Pro.
It is a product that I have taken great pride in developing and getting to market. This blog is aimed at to giving you the low down on everything you need to know about it.
First let me explain the history of how this product came about. There is a nice little story as to why we decided to bring it to market. For many years I have been working very closely with many athletes on their sports nutrition. When it comes to the various theories of sports nutrition there are many debates that take place as to what is actually scientifically proven. Often with research we see cases for and against different scenarios and often it boils down to what works for an individual. As a professional sports nutritionist and endurance exercise expert I have been intimately involved with many different athletes at all different levels and each has a unique need and requirement when it comes to nutrition and fuelling strategies.
The last 9 years I have had the fortune of seconding some of the best ultra runners in the world at Comrades Marathon. If anything Comrades is one of the true testers of what an athletes body will go through over time. Duration of effort is huge especially with the temperature variations during the course of the day and the elite athletes are running around the 3:47min/km pace over the 90km course for the coveted title. This is by no means an easy task. The climbs and descents are extensive and the route is undulating and tough. If anything the digestive system undergoes a huge amount of stress especially in light of temperature climb over time and where much of the blood is diverted away from the digestive tracts to the heart, lungs and working muscles for performance as well as the skin for cooling. This leaves the digestive system fairly sensitive over time and proper fuelling and hydration on the day can make or break your efforts on route to the finish line.
I have also worked very closely with triathletes over the years to develop successful fuelling strategies especially during long course events. However the digestive system is much more stable while on the bike. What a triathlete consumes during a long course triathlon will not work the same for an ultra runner. With running the cooling effect is much lower and the high impact of running combined with other various factors leave the digestive system way more sensitive.
With the ultra runners the fuelling methods needed to be more conservative and a focus has to be placed on reducing the risks associated with GI (gastrointestinal) distress as well as hydration.
A few years ago I developed a drip feeding mechanism which meant smaller feeds more frequently over time to help stabilize the energy system and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal complications. The first few years we kept the focus on the carbohydrate feed ensuring the digestive system coped well with the carbohydrate combination and volume of intake over time. It is important to stress that carbohydrates are not created equal and each has varying properties depending on how much is consumed as well as the volume and type of fluid consumed with it.
This ultimately determines the gastric emptying rate and the efficiency of glucose supply as well as fluid absorption to remain hydrated. I have written a previous blog discussing osmolality and the various drink mixture options which can be read about here (Simply Hydrate). Most energy product users don’t actually understand the difference between the different saccharides (sugars) that are available and some are classified as sugars and others are not depending on the type of saccharides or combination of use. Sugar gets a bad wrap as the bad one, but most have no clue how untrue that is because they fail to understand the actual attributes of the carbohydrates used and the composition of them to achieve a specific function.
Once I was satisfied with various carbohydrate fuelling methods we started to introduce protein intake with the carbohydrates in the longer distance events. The purpose was to achieve a reduction in the onset of muscle fatigue and to keep an athlete more stable and satiated on route. After much testing with the triathlon community with 32Gi Recover (click here for more info on 32Gi Recover) during long distance events and the excellent feedback, I began my testing on the ultra runners. The idea was to introduce the protein feed a few hours into the event. The elites would feed around half way and for the back pack athletes earlier to get it between the 3-4hr mark. Fuelling needs to be time not distance based and this is something most athletes get wrong. An athlete covering 45km’s at 3:50 – 4:00min pace will hit that mark under 3hrs while an athlete running around 6-7min pace will only reach the 25-30km mark in that same time. Meaning fuelling is very different and unique for each athlete.
The feedback with the protein intake was phenomenal and the amount of ultra distance runners that incorporated the protein feed into their fuelling strategies were elated at the results. Then came the turn around point and that was the introduction of caffeine into the protein mix in the form of coffee. This not only made the drink more palatable later in the race due to the reduction of sweetness but the caffeine kept the athletes nicely focussed and able to perform.
It’s important to mention that it’s a fact that caffeine is a scientifically proven performance enhancer for endurance sport. The major shift came over the last few years where I was holding up two seconding bottles for the elite athletes to give them a choice on route. One bottle was the pure carbohydrate drink mix and the other the protein / carbohydrate combination. I noticed the demand for the protein shake was increasing. Last year at Comrades the majority of elite runners I was feeding consumed the protein shake on route. I knew the composition was not perfect for the distance but in the timing of the feeds and volumes I gave, certainly did the trick.
Enter project Race Pro. The idea was to develop a world class carbohydrate protein endurance sports drink which was very different to any other product in the market and just did the job better.
32Gi Recover uses a 1:3 ratio of protein to carbohydrates which is excellent for recovery. However for Race Pro I wanted approximately a 1:7 ratio making it much more of a carbohydrate endurance drink with the ability to completely stabilize the energy system and assist in delaying the onset of muscle fatigue. I wanted it to be highly palatable over time and I wanted the drink to have an excellent gastric emptying rate to provide immediate energy and stability as well as reduced risk of gastrointestinal distress.
We decided to use a HBCD (Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin) as the main carbohydrate due to its incredibly high gastric emptying rate and ability to provide immediate energy in the form of much needed glucose to the working muscles. We then added some stage releasing carbohydrates to stagger the release providing some stability and we topped this off with a high quality plant based protein. The structure of the drink went through a few modifications during the testing phase to ensure the key criteria of the drink were met.
- Immediate and Stable Energy
- Digestive Comfort
- Reduction in Muscle Fatigue
Eventually we reached the correct formulation and now all that was left was to properly flavour it and run intense testing.
At 32Gi we do not use unnatural flavours or colours and this is a strict criteria the brand adheres to. Each product needs to be clean and meet the food category classification. At the onset of the testing phase I used a fruit flavour but then realised it was not suitable for this product. We then turned back the clock to how the athletes had raved about the chocolate and coffee mix they were fed on Comrades route and we decided to test this blend. Real cocoa and a high quality coffee to ensure a nice flavour as well as decent caffeine content. When the testing started I was thinking this is too good to be true. Session after session I was absolutely loving the drink. I then used it over a 12 week period where every single weekend was 4.5hr – 6hr training sessions in hot temperatures to see how the product faired over time. I was extremely happy with the outcome. I have a very sensitive stomach and I found the product to be easy on the digestive system but more importantly it kept my energy levels stable and completely comfortable throughout every single session.
I then tested the product in a stage racing simulation which included multiple long distance intense efforts on consecutive training days. It was very apparent that Race Pro enabled a quicker recovery between sessions by ensuring stability during the session and the much needed MPS (muscle protein synthesis) post exercise with the addition of the protein into the feed. I did comparisons on pure carbohydrate feeds against the Race Pro over distance and the Race Pro just gave me a much better sense of stability, spot on energy and reduced hunger post exercise.
So let me explain a little deeper as to why 32Gi Race Pro is going to be such a successful endurance sports drink.
It utilizes one of the most advanced carbohydrates in the world which is exceptional at emptying the digestive system and providing immediate energy while keeping the digestive system very comfortable. A carbohydrate of this nature is expensive and of high quality. Another philosophy of 32Gi is we don’t compromise on quality and we we will make sure the best ingredients we can get our hands on will be available to the masses. If this means reducing margin to ensure the customer can afford the product then we will do our utmost to ensure the consumer can get their hands on it at the correct price. I launched a video a few months ago explaining how instead of using an unhealthy synthetic blue colour in our blueberry and lime flavour products (lime is blue + orange to get to green) we use a very expensive blue spirulina extract (click here to watch video). We place a priority on the health of our consumers and do not compromise.
Race Pro has the much needed property of providing stability with other unique carbohydrates and this with the protein content is guaranteed to leave any athlete feeling topped up, energetic and comfortable through any endurance training or racing session. What makes the product even more attractive is that it can be a single feed bottle by making a concentrate according to calorie requirements. In other words no other fuel needed. Toss all the other carry along’s go with simplicity to focus on a convenient and nourishing feed which is guaranteed to keep you stable over time. The only other need is hydration and this can come in the form of water or preferably 32Gi Hydrate to ensure optimal fluid absorption.
A final but noteworthy attribute is the simple fact that both flavours just taste so good over time and there is the addition of caffeine in the product for those that want it during their session.
In conclusion I have always stated there are no silver bullets when it comes to sports nutrition and performance. I think I might need to eat those words as it’s highly possible the silver bullet has arrived in the form of 32Gi Race Pro. Don’t take my word for it, go and give it a try for yourself.
all the best
Mark Wolff is a certified exercise & sports nutritionist, endurance nutrition and physiology expert with over 20 years experience. An endurance multi-sport athlete with a running, triathlon, mountain biking and weight lifting background, he works extensively with professional and amateur athletes in a variety of sports disciplines as well as those just wanting to change their lifestyles. He firmly believes that a person can only reach their full potential when their health and nutrition is given the proper focus. Mark’s focus on nutrition and physiology is not just on training and racing, but he places major emphasis on recovery, immune system health, emotional stability, stress management and performance. Mark is co-founder of 32Gi, a sports nutrition company, focused mainly on health and endurance nutrition. He is also co-founder of Rapid Recover focussed on pneumatic compression equipment to improve circulation for recovery and health.