Why are simple sugars bad?
Simple sugars (glucose, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, etc) need to be mixed in concentrations no higher than 6-8% in order to achieve an acceptable absortion osmolar value of body fluids (280-303 mOsm) and be digested with any efficiency. That's it. The problem is that a 6-8% solution is a pretty weak mix and will only yield about 100 or so calories an hour, which is inadequate for maintaining optimal energy production. Some athletes realize that and try to resolve the problem by making a double or triple strength batch of their simple sugar product. Unfortunately, that solution is now far too concentrated, it's much higher than 6-8% and, unless more water is consumed or added to the mix (at which point the athlete might very well be flirting with over hydration) that concentrated simple sugar solution will not pass the gastric channels. Energy production is compromised and stomach distress is sure to follow. The same problem occurs when an athlete combines a simple sugar fuel with a complex carbohydrate fuel. The beauty of complex carbs is that they will match body fluid osmolality, not at a 6-8% solution, but a more concentrated 15-18% solution. Even at this seemingly too-high concentration complex carbohydrates (such as maltodextrins/glucose polymers) will empty the stomach at the same efficient rate as normal body fluids and provide substantially more calories (up to three times more) than simple sugar mixtures will. However, when simple sugars and complex carbs are consumed together or near each other, it increases the solution concentration beyond what either source can be efficiently digested at. In other words, when you consume simple sugars and complex carbohydrates together or within close proximity of each other you negate the efficient digestibility of either source. Once again, energy production will be compromised and a variety of stomach issues are likely to occur.
What is the difference Between Perpetuem and Sustained Energy?
Choosing between Sustained Energy and Perpetuem is really based on your personal preference. Sustained Energy - This is our time-tested standard fuel for extended exercise. As explained in other articles in this handbook, any exercise beyond about two hours requires a protein component in the fuel. Sustained Energy contains about 87% carbohydrates (almost all from maltodextrin and glucose polymers-no added simple sugars, of course), and about 13 % isolated soy protein (7:1 ratio), the ideal combination to use when rate of exercise is between 70-85% MHR in "sustained" efforts lasting anywhere from 3-12 hours. Perpetuem - This newer product takes the concept of long-distance fueling to the max. We designed it primarily for extreme endurance events lasting about six hours to many days. Perpetuem contains 75% carbohydrates (from long-chain maltodextrins-no added simple sugars), 13% fatty acids from a specially made long-chain lyso-lecithin, and nearly 10% soy protein. A small portion of fat seems to cue your body to more liberally release its fatty acids stores, which account for up to 70% of one's energy requirements in long bouts of exercise. A little fat in the fuel also slightly slows the rate of digestion and thus promotes "caloric satisfaction," another attractive plus during primarily aerobic ultra-long distance events. Perpetuem provides maximal benefits at an aerobic pace (under 70% MHR).
- Sustained Energy is a neutrally flavored powder. Perpetuem has an orange-vanilla "Dreamsicle" flavor.
- Perpetuem contains lyso-lecithin fat, whereas Sustained Energy does not.
- Perpetuem contains tribasic sodium phosphate, which is a tremendous lactic acid buffer. Sustained Energy does not contain this nutrient.
- Both fuels contain l-carnosine (an antioxidant that also buffers lactic acid) l-carnitine (to promote fatty acid utilization), and chromium polynicotinate (to stabilize blood sugar level).
- Perpetuem contains the new "XT" soy protein preparation, which, along with the sodium in tribasic sodium phosphate, provides a more complete mineral profile. The mineral content in a two-scoop serving of Perpetuem may allow you decrease your Endurolytes intake by one capsule per hour. Also, the "XT" soy protein contains higher isoflavone content, believed to have superb cardiovascular health benefits. Sustained Energy has soy protein and an excellent isoflavone content, but the strain used in Perpetuem has even more.
Which is recommended, Endurolyte Caps or Powder?
The capsules are favored because it is a more measurable dose rather than a unknown swig off of a water bottle. Another difficulty when using the powder is that it tends to settle to the bottom of the water bottle or camelback, so you should shake the bottle up before every swig of the fuel.
Why is there a warning label on Hammer products about combining them with simple sugars?
If you look on a container of a Hammer Nutrition fuel you'll find something that you'll probably not see on another energy drink or gel a warning. For example, on a container of HEED you'll find these words: "Do not combine HEED with any product containing simple, refined sugars. Negative side effects may occur." Similarly, you'll find the following on a container of Perpetuem: "WARNING: Do not combine Perpetuem with any product containing simple, refined sugars." Why are we so adamant about not combining simple sugars with complex carbs? Well, the reason for that is simple: we want you to enjoy your workout or race, we want you to achieve your best possible results, and we want you to do that without having stomach issues such as bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and a host of others. However, when you consume a simple sugar fuel at or near the same time as any of the Hammer Nutrition fuels (which contain no added simple sugars) you very much put your workout and race, and your stomach, in jeopardy. Here's the deal: simple sugars (glucose, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, etc) need to be mixed in concentrations no higher than 6-8% in order to achieve an acceptable absorption osmolar value of body fluids (280-303 mOsm) and be digested with any efficiency. That's it. The problem is that a 6-8% solution is a pretty weak mix and will only yield about 100 or so calories an hour, which is inadequate for maintaining optimal energy production. Some athletes realize that and try to resolve the problem by making a double or triple strength batch of their simple sugar product. Unfortunately, that solution is now far too concentrated, it's much higher than 6-8% and, unless more water is consumed or added to the mix (at which point the athlete might very well be flirting with over hydration) that concentrated simple sugar solution will not pass the gastric channels. Energy production is compromised and stomach distress is sure to follow. The same problem occurs when an athlete combines a simple sugar fuel with a complex carbohydrate fuel. The beauty of complex carbs is that they will match body fluid osmolality, not at a 6-8% solution, but a more concentrated 15-18% solution. Even at this seemingly too-high concentration complex carbohydrates (such as maltodextrins/glucose polymers) will empty the stomach at the same efficient rate as normal body fluids and provide substantially more calories (up to three times more) than simple sugar mixtures will. However, when simple sugars and complex carbs are consumed together or near each other, it increases the solution concentration beyond what either source can be efficiently digested at. In other words, when you consume simple sugars and complex carbohydrates together or within close proximity of each other you negate the efficient digestibility of either source. Once again, energy production will be compromised and a variety of stomach issues are likely to occur. SUMMARY:
- If the athlete consumes a simple sugar fuel the body will only permit 6-8% of it in solution into circulating serum for fuel replacement.
- Complex carbohydrate fuels are easily and more-rapidly absorbed in a 15-18% solution. More calories are absorbed faster, and are available for energy production, from complex carbohydrates than simple sugar.
The higher the simple sugar content, the higher the solution osmolality, the less of it is absorbed immediately. The longer the chain of sugars linked together as a complex carbohydrate the more of it is absorbed in higher solution because its osmolality is closer to that of body fluids. Therefore, the ideal carbohydrate source for athletes is long-chain complex carbohydrates, which is what all the Hammer Nutrition fuels are comprised of. BOTTOM LINE: You don't want nor need to consume ANY simple sugars with any of the Hammer fuels. The Hammer fuels will meet all your energy needs and you won't have to worry about any stomach issues that can occur when you consume simple sugars with them.
Should I use Hammer Gel or HEED?
Either, it's your preference. Hammer Gel - Our original fuel, an athletic mainstay for over 15 years, this is our most basic, and therefore our most versatile fuel, ideal for those who desire to carefully monitor and dispense each component of their fueling separately. You can use it as all or part of a pre-race meal, to stanch hunger immediately before an event, to provide all your energy needs for events up to about two hours, to supplement the protein-based fuels in longer events, and as part of your post-workout recovery nutrition. You can use Hammer Gel in your water bottle, in the Hammer Flask, in a one-serving pouch, or to flavor other products and foods. You can keep an extra pouch or flask in your pocket in case your planned fuel outlay in a race or training event comes up a bit short. Don't leave home without it! HEED - HEED is our newest fuel, designed for those who want an all-in-one energy drink option. It contains a number of extras that offer you convenience when precision is less of an issue. HEED is ideal for those whose fueling needs do not entail the refinements or duration of our other products. Use HEED as your one-source fuel supply for lighter or shorter workouts, to add variety during ultra-long events, and in any situation that favors simplicity over precision and completeness. Comparing Hammer Gel and HEED
- Hammer Gel is a concentrated complex carbohydrate gel with the consistency of thick syrup. HEED is a powdered sports drink mix.
- Hammer Gel contains a small amount of the amino acids l-leucine, l-isoleucine, l-valine (known as the branched chained amino acids, or BCAAs), and l-alanine. BCAAs help prevent the cannibalizing of lean muscle tissue. L-alanine aids in carbohydrate metabolism. HEED does not contain any BCAAs or l-alanine.
- HEED contains a full spectrum, amino acid-chelated electrolyte profile; two servings equal approximately 1.25 capsules of Endurolytes. Hammer Gel contains very small amounts of sodium chloride and potassium for digestive and preservative purposes.
- HEED contains ChromeMateTM brand chromium polynicotinate for stabilizing blood glucose levels, and l-carnosine for lactic acid buffering. Hammer Gel does not have these.
- HEED comes in two subtle citrus flavors: lemon lime and mandarin orange.
- Hammer Gel comes in eight flavors: orange, banana, chocolate, raspberry, vanilla, espresso, apple-cinnamon, and plain.
Why do I need a recovery drink?
Athletic performance improvement depends on a program of exercise to stimulate muscular and cardiovascular adaptation followed by a recovery period in which the body rebuilds itself slightly more fit than before. Thus, the real gain of exercise occurs during recovery, but only in the presence of adequate rest and optimal nutritional support. That's where RECOVERITE comes in, providing unsurpassed nutritional support to ensure you obtain the maximum value from your workouts and complete recovery after each training session and race.
Can I mix your products together?
Absolutely! All Hammer Nutrition fuels are completely compatible with one another, so you can use them interchangeably as desired. This is especially beneficial in ultra-endurance events as it provides a greater variety of quality fuels to choose from. For example, you can use Perpetuem and/or Sustained Energy from start to finish, or you can occasionally switch to HEED and/or Hammer Gel to add variety. However, you should meet at least two-thirds of your fueling requirements from Perpetuem or Sustained Energy. When you use Hammer Gel and HEED for events longer than two hours, you do not need to start with them and then switch to Sustained Energy or Perpetuem. You can use Hammer Gel and/or HEED at any time during your workout. An extra flask of Hammer Gel in your pocket can save the day if you have already drained your Sustained Energy or Perpetuem mix and you begin to flag with several miles still to go. It will give you a quick pick-up just when you need it, even if it's many hours into your event.
There are so many products. Where do I start and do you have a prioritized list as I want to add more products to meet my needs?
We have a lot of information published to help you decide where to begin with fueling and supplementation. Please see the section titled "Getting Started" on the left hand side of the page. In particular, read "The Daily Essentials" which is an article that goes over our 3 main supplements. Then you can move into the articles titled "Beyond the Basics" for more specific supplmentation. For fueling- we recommend you read "The Hammer Fuels", also found in the "Getting Started" section. We have taken the guesswork out of fueling by putting our products into categories based upon hours of exertion. Remember, all our fuels can be combined and you don't have to stick to only one fuel per race- you can mix and match and still have fantastic results.
Why is my urine bright yellow?
The riboflavin (vitamin B2) component naturally alters the pigmentation of urine to a bright yellow color. This is usually the main reason why people notice their urine being bright yellow at some point after taking Premium Insurance Caps (PIC's) and it is completely harmless. Some people believe they are "peeing out all their vitamins" when they see their urine turning yellow but this is not really the case; it's primarily due to the riboflavin that is contained in any product, ours or anyone else's. Yes, the body will excrete certain amounts of specific nutrients when they’re in excess. However, here’s something to consider: it is only when excess amounts are excreted in the urine that one can know for sure that they’re obtaining the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals. In other words, if certain amounts of vitamins and/or minerals are excreted in urine, that’s a clear indication that you have obtained maximum amounts. In addition, urinary tract health can be promoted when these nutrients are available "in transit" through this particular body system. Lastly, among other things, exercise demand increases the need for more B-Complex vitamins, proportionate to duration/intensity, which is why we put ODI (Optimal Daily Intake) amounts in PICs.
How soon after I make Sustained Energy or Perpetuem do I have to drink it?
Ideally, it should be within 3-5 hours, with up to perhaps 6-8 hours (depending on the temperature) being the longest we recommend. Dr. Bill Misner explains:
“Energy drink powders containing no preservatives are predisposed to change once set in solution mixtures. Time, temperature, humidity, environmental airborne or endogenous microbes, oxidation factors may cause fatty acids to turn rancid or proteins to “sour” in the presence of long chain or short chain carbohydrates. A prime example is found in pasteurized milk. Milk typically sours in stages as one type of bacteria is replaced by another. Bacilli convert protein into ammonia products, and the pH rises. The odor or taste of spoiled milk is apparent once this has happened. We have observed this phenomenon in our soy-based products, Sustained Energy and Perpetuem if the product is mixed prior to an event then not kept cold or consumed within 3-5 hours.
Athletes should be encouraged to keep pre-mixed protein-enhanced or lipid-containing carbohydrate drinks under 59° F or ideally at a cooler 40-45° F in order to keep fermentation of environmental bacteria from proliferating in the drink mixture. Freezing the drink the night before an event may result in keeping the macronutrient contents in tact an inhibiting bacterial growth potential. Once the drink is soured to taste or has become noxious to olfactory sensed odor, then it is advised that the drink not be consumed.”
How can I mix Sustained Energy and/or Perpetuem to be convenient and taste good?
All Hammer fuels are compatible with one another. Thicker mixtures taste best. Use HEED or Hammer Gel for flavoring if desired. You can mix and consume Sustained Energy or Perpetuem three different ways depending on individual preference and logistical concerns. Please experiment with the following options to determine which works best for you. 1. Gel or Paste: If you want to carry the highest volume of calories in the least amount of space, this is your best option. Sustained Energy or Perpetuem can be made into a super-concentrated, near paste-like consistency and dispensed from a Hammer Gel flask. Using a blender or bowl and spoon, mix scoops of powder with a small amount of water, gradually adding water as necessary to create the consistency desired. Remember that the heavier and more concentrated Perpetuem is mixed, the sweeter and stronger the flavor will become. Depending on how many scoops per hour you have determined you require, and based on how concentrated the mix is, each flask of Sustained Energy or Perpetuem can supply you with 2-4 hours of fuel. As with the multi-hour bottle, you must carry additional bottles of plain water or use a hydration system to meet your fluid requirements. Drink from them according to the temperature so that you are consuming amounts in the range of 20-25 ounces of plain water per hour, depending on the severity of the heat. As long as you have a water supply, you can go, go, go. 2. The One-Hour Bottle: This method works best in training or racing situations where you have a support crew and vehicle. They can keep your mixed bottles chilled and prepare fresh bottles of fuel along the way. If you're without a support crew but still want to use this option for mixing, keep in mind that it's obviously less convenient, as you'll have to stop more frequently to mix your fuel drink. Also, because you are trying to fulfill both hydration and caloric requirements from one source, you have limited ability to adjust one without affecting the other. Either way, with or without a support crew, to make the one-hour bottle, mix the suggested number of scoops of Sustained Energy or Perpetuem for your bodyweight in a small (20 ounces) or large (24-28 ounces) water bottle. Consume one bottle hourly. 3. The Multi-Hour Bottle: This is by far the most convenient method of fueling because it allows you to be self-contained for many hours, requiring only additional plain water along the way. The only limitation is how many scoops you can fit into a bottle. Determine your proper hourly intake in scoops by experimenting with the numbers from the dosage chart below. Let's say you've determined through testing that 2 scoops of Perpetuem per hour is your ideal caloric intake. You need a 4-hour fuel supply. Mix eight scoops (2 scoops x 4 hours) in a large bottle with as much water as will fit in. You may need to add a few scoops at a time to get it all to mix well. You then "nurse" this bottle, taking small sips every 15-20 minutes. In this concentration, the water in the mixed bottle does not contribute more than a couple of ounces to your hourly fluid intake needs. To meet your fluid requirements, you carry a second and possibly even a third bottle of plain water, or use a hydration system, or know where you can refill along your route. Drink according to the temperature/humidity and your exertion level so that you consume in the range of 20-25 ounces of plain water per hour. This way, as long as you can obtain water along the way, you're set for hours of hard training. Perpetuem - Suggested Doses by Body Weight*: Up to 120 pounds: up to 1 scoop/hour 120-155 pounds: up to 1.5 scoops/hour 155-190 pounds: up to 2 scoops/hour 190+ pounds: up to 2.5 scoops/hour Sustained Energy - Suggested Doses by Body Weight*: Up to 120 pounds: up to 1.5 scoops/hour 120-155 pounds: up to 2 scoops/hour 155-190 pounds: up to 2.5 scoops/hour 190+ pounds: up to 3 scoops/hour
I’m doing a full iron-distance triathlon, and the weather is going to be hot. I want to use Perpetuem for the bike portion. How do you suggest I mix it so that it doesn’t get warm and unpalatable?
Let’s say that the bike portion will take you six hours. You can make all six hours of fuel in two bottles. For example, if you have found (through testing in training) that two scoops of Perpetuem will provide an hour’s fuel, put six scoops in and make a 3-hour bottle, fulfilling your hydration requirements with plain water (approx 20-28 fluid ounces/600-830 milliliters per hour) from another bottle or hydration system. Make two 6-scoop bottles and you’ve got your six hours worth of fuel taken care of. Mix the bottles the night before the race and freeze them. That will keep them cold and palatable as they thaw during the bike portion of the race. If, however, the weather on race day is going to be very hot, or you don’t have a way to keep the bottles cold until the bike leg, then try this method: mix and freeze one bottle as above, but in the other put only the six scoops of Perpetuem, and add no water.When you finish your first 3-hour bottle you will need to stop and take a few moments to add cold water to this second. It just takes a few seconds, but now you have a fresh, cold bottle of fuel for the second half of the bike ride. Using insulated bottles also helps, if you don’t mind the slight extra weight. One athlete who completed a hot-weather Ironman Australia used this method and wrote us saying, “I did as you recommended – had the second bottle of dry Perpetuem powder in my bike Special Needs bag, and just added cool water. It only took 30 seconds or so and I was underway with a bidon of cold Perpetuem for the second half of the bike. Great suggestion, it works like a treat!”
If I mix Perpetuem or Sustained Energy and keep it in the refrigerator for a day or two, will it break down any of the desired properties due to sitting for a while and not being used right away?
The effectual benefits ("desired properties") are not lost, but the l-carnitine in both products may deteriorate somewhat, forming crystals within the mix since it is very hygroscopic (has an affinity for water). The deterioration, if any, is minimal in 48 hours post-mix, refrigerated. However, for best results we recommend using Sustained Energy or Perpetuem as soon as possible after mixing.