Monday, February 1, 2016

High 5 sports nutrition

In this modern world of sport, there's an increasing number of sports nutrition brands on the market, the right choice can be hard to do. While there is no end-all-be-all option, some are definitely better than others for a variety of reasons. Taking your pick in the overwhelming choice comes down to a single aspect or a combination of: price, effectiveness, health factor, personal taste, marketing, your peers and/or accessibility.

Personally, I have used a very wide range of products from North America, Europe and Asia. I have been lucky enough to have sponsorships from some company's that allowed me to take in copious amounts of a particular product. In those situations, I experienced the highs and lows, with my performances and my overall well being. Up to a certain extent, nothing in extreme is healthy and using various products will allow you to taste and/or feel the difference from one thing to another!

Bellow, is a blog about the English brand High 5 sports nutrition which in my experience, has been the all-around finest I product I have used as an athlete & coach.


The key aspect is that they have very wide range of products, from pre-activity, in-activity and post-activity. There's normal and high caffeine dosages. High carb, 4:1 carb to protein ratio and high protein powders/bars. Then with flavors that vary from sweet, sour, fruity, and neutral. And lastly, normal or high sodium content.

The best tip I have received from top coaches and given to my most successful athletes (who listened) is to mix up the flavors and textures in your race nutrition. Taking in the same thing for an extended period at your best aerobic intensity over the given duration can make you “sick of it” and deter you from fueling regularly or make you incapable of upping your caloric intake in the middle of competition. No matter how much you love this product or flavor on a day-to-day basis - we have a limit!

The gels:

The High 5 gels have a light viscosity and low osmotic concentration, of which makes them easy to take down and quick to metabolize. They come in 2 types: the energy gels which is more dense in nutritents and then the Isogels which is less dense and can be taken withtout water. This makes it ideal to take-in between aid stations. It also makes them much easier on the stomach and prevents the “sloshy” race belly, all the while being less sticky on the fingers than other mainstream gels because there's less artificial sugars.


The powders:
The High 5 energy powder comes in 4 versions: the regular energy source, the isotonic (high electrolyte) source, the 4:1 whey protein isolate and the protein recovery. Now, why would anybody want a low-ish electrolyte blend? Pretty simple, most humans take in too much sodium day-to-day in their regular diet, which can instigate various health problems such as high blood pressure, kidney stones, ect. This makes it ideal for those who train or race in cooler weather.

Then of course, the isotonic is best for hot weather, where the taste variation is barely noticeable. The 4:1 carb to protein is best for longer duration events or multi day training/racing, of which will allow you go longer without real food or facilitate overall recovery by delaying your overall depletion. And then of course, the high protein for recovery or as a meal replacement.



The bars:

The High 5 bars, like the powders, comes in 4 types: the energy bar, the sports bar, the 4:1 bar and the protein bar. The energy and sports bar are almost fundamentally the same, where the energy bar is simpler and easier to take in at high intensity. The energy bar contains more fruit and the sports bar may come with chocolate or yogurt coating, of which is best for lower intensity or pre workouts. Then the 4:1 carb to protein would be best for longer duration efforts or for recovery. And then the protein bar for recovery or meal replacement.



The electrolyte tablets:

A few years ago, there used to be a limited amount of “electrolyte tablets” but now there is a wide variety of brands. The difference is, the ingredients used for stabilizers and/or preservatives, of which can give athletes a stomach ache or bloating when taken in large quantities. Like the rest of the products, the Zero tablets are made from better ingredients and are very easy on the stomach. They also come in the largest tubes (20) I have seen for any electrolyte tablet brands!
If you need extra sodium for a very hot race, a tip is to add the neutral flavor to what every energy powder or drink you are taking.

Caffeine products:

Caffeine might be the most potent legal supplement and performance enhancer for athletes. It increases alertness, assertiveness and helps to burn fatty acids. While it does increase sweat rates and anxiety, for regularly users, those side effects are limited and can be managed with controlled and timely dosage.
The unique beauty with High 5 caffeine products, is that you have 2 options for the powders: regular caffeine and high caffeine, aka the X'TREME. This allows athletes to build into their caffeine intake during a race and save that “extra kick” for the end!


Race Nutrition execution:

The day prior to the event, sip on the non-caffeine electrolyte tablets to top up your electrolyte stores. Race morning should be what-ever you eat before workouts or what you traditionally eat before a race. Since there's often a gap (a few hours) from your breakfast to your first feed in the race, best would be to sip on the isotonic drink, to maintain your blood glucose and electrolyte levels just before the event. Especially if it's going to be a hot day.

The first quarter of your event, should be focused on sipping on an electrolyte drink and to take in a few gels to keep all your levels up. The 2nd and 3rd quarter or middle half is the best time to take in solids like the sports bar or a bit of protein since at this point, it will be a long period since your breakfast. Then introduce caffeine to give you an extra “kick” as fatigue creeps in. In the final quarter, best is to sip on the carbohydrate drink to avoid or limit GI distress to try and maintain your glucose levels above "bonking levels", which at this point, is very challenging's. Then if you have trained for it, take in high caffeine to be extra aggressive and !

Time Period
What Product?
What Reason?
Isotonic drink - no caffeine
Top up electrolyte stores & maintain blood glucose levels
1st Quarter
Zero Tablets & energy gels - all no caffeine
Delay electrolyte and glycogen debt
Middle half
Energy/sports bar or real food with isogels and introduce normal caffeine
Allows time for digestion and should be the main fueling period as the pressure builds
4th Quarter
Energy source with high caffeine or coca cola
Simple, easy on stomach and quick absorbing with a kick to help finish
Fruits, or protein powder and eventually the protein bar.
Protect your immune system and speed up recovery on the go

***This is a around about plan best for events ranging from 5 hours to all day***
Additional tips:
Take in sweet tasting flavors at the start, and then move to salty or bitter type of flavors in the 2nd half, especially on a hot day. When de-hydration sets it, it’s only normal for something sweet to taste TOO SWEET and to crave salty foods. Also, try to avoid extra water intake, as it will take space in your stomach and contains no electrolyte or caloric content. It’s simply best to wash down food, wash your hands if sticky and/or too cool off your head!


Race nutrition is best done on a case by case basis, with quantity and the type. Where of course, the user is the one who will have the last say - it's important to be accountable. It doesn’t matter if you have the best nutrition plan, advice or products, if you cannot follow or fail to adjust and in some cases, communicate a problematic situation, it's your fault!

High 5 products are on the healthy side, of which makes them easy on your body. It’s clear, that when a product makes you feel un-comfortable, it might not be all that good form you. Especially some that will change the color of your bowels or damage your teeth.

A major bonus with this brand, especially for new athletes, is that you can find everything you need under one roof and simplify your nutrition, with extra electrolyte and caffeine in one bottle!

Anyway, if you are interested in High 5 products in the Philippines, check out the convenience store at The Union Jack Tavern at Festival Mall in Alabang, as well to other multisport stores such as The Brick in Taguig BGC and The Multisport Hub in Nuvali to try it for yourself. Remember to practice it to a T in training!

For what's its worth, my personal favorite taste are the berry isogels with caffeine, the summer fruits Isotonic powder no caffeine, the pink grapefruit zero tablets with caffeine and the caramel sports bar!

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