After posting my last blog I got to thinking about how I would personally like it if Hammer Nutrition made a gel that had protein in it since I really like their products and really like gels. Shortly thereafter I took it upon myself to email their customer support department to ask whether they had ever considered making something like that. I have trouble using Perpetuem or any powder that mixes with water because I need to carry water in my water bottle and find running with two water bottles to be just a little too much weight relative to my size. I’ve tried solid forms of protein and they’re great unless I’m racing and trying to go fast for something like a 50K.
But enough about my troubles, here’s the important part; their fabulous customer support person, Katey, emailed me back the very next day. Not a form email either, but a personal and very helpful email. She explained to me that there is no way to make a protein/carb mix into a gel and have any kind of shelf-life without adding a bunch of preservative. Hammer Nutrition does not believe preservatives provide any athletic benefit. I’m inclined to agree, especially with new research showing that some preservatives that have been thought of as safe are actually carcinogenic. Hammer gel may come in cool colors and flavors but none of them are artificial.
Katey went on to offer a solution to my difficulty and here it is; mix 3.5 scoops of Perpetuem with 1-2 ounces of water, mixing until it is about gel consistency. Put it into a 5 ounce flask (Hammer makes those for gel, I use one and it fits into my fuel belt) and it should last 4.5-5 hours. She shared that she is a 130 lb cyclist and that’s about how long it lasts for her. Since Perpetuem includes carbs, proteins and healthy fats, total caloric needs should be a little lower as compared to gel only. She also suggests freezing the a bottle overnight if the next day will be hot and you plan to put it in a drop bag or simply not start to use it until you’ve been going for a couple hours. If you were inclined to use aid station gels or food for some of your calories then this would get you through a 25K-50 mile race given a drop bag for the 50 miler.
I don’t usually endorse or promote particular products on my blog since that’s not my purpose in writing it but I do try to talk about my own experiences and research. This was some very good and friendly customer service and also some very good information. She’s right about the whole protein/carb/fat mixture too. Chia seeds help because of the healthy fats they contain. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at aid stations are a similar idea. For some of us, variety is more important and for others of us, a simple and easy to transport source of calories that will do it all is ideal. I hope all of you out there find this helpful. After I beg or buy some Perpetuem I will test this out on a couple long runs and update everyone again.