As a hard-charging triathlete, I must train to race a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon. My training weeks can sometime peak at 20-ish hours (not quite the hours that a pro puts in, but then again, I'm no pro). The three disciplines take up a significant amount of time, energy, money, and emotional investment, and it takes months, and sometime years to properly prepare for an Ironman.
Many athletes (or people) know that there are three sports in a triathlon. Few understand that there's a fourth discipline: Nutrition.
Only endurance athletes can truly understand the importance of a nutrition and recovery plan, and unfortunately we often learn it the hard way: by screwing up. My simply changing my diet and recovery plan over the course of a year and a half, I have completely transformed the way I perform, feel during a long workout or race, and recover.
As a picky, "real food" eater that dropped all use of gels and sugary sports drinks, I looked high and low an easy, quality food source to replace what I was losing in training and racing. One fateful day, I found, bought, and tried the Amazing Grass ORAC Antioxidant powder and the Lemon Lime Energy powder for my bike water bottle. A year and a half later, I have still never even considered switching. Here are 10 reasons I LOVE Amazing Grass greens powders for endurance sports:
1. They contain digestive enzymes
Digestive enzymes help digestion. Shocking, right? But oftentimes, cruciferous veggies can cause bloating, especially if you are working out in heat. The beauty of the Amazing Grass powders is that it offers the health benefits of the green veggies we all need, but also provides the digestive enzymes to help break them down and utilize them. I am now able to use the powders during endurance workouts without GI (Gastrointestinal issues). Yeay!
2. They are packaged in convenient little pouches
I ride bikes. Alot. I also run. Alot. This means I am out for hours at a time and can't exactly carry a snack bar with me. Behold, the AG packets! They come in energy greens, which I use before or during a workout, or the greens with added protein. Both are easy to carry and dump in a water bottle on the move.
3. I know where they come from
A family farm in Kansas. Enough said.
4. They truly care about supporting their ambassadors, causes, & communities
When I started working with AG, they sent me a wonderful gift pack of SuperFoods and a very sweet note welcoming me to the team. Since then, I have spoken and worked with many people in the company and can honestly say they almost feel like family. Everyone at the company is enthusiastic, helpful, passionate, and they aren't just out for a sale. They get involved in athletic events, support the Whole Planet movement (https://www.wholeplanetfoundation.org/), and want to be involved in what their ambassadors do in their communities. A good example of this is when AG sponsored the Race Across America film that I shot. They provided nutritional support for riders and crew and we were happy to make it well-known that they rocked and kept us going 24/7 on this grueling project. This is part of what makes them so awesome!
5. They taste awesome!
There is something for everyone here. I personally don't like chocolate anything, which can make it annoying when I want a protein powder or supplement and 99% of the time they're chocolate or have so much added crap in the "vanilla" that I won't eat it. Voila! AG has a plethora of amazing vanilla chai, berry, lemon lime, acai, tangerine, original, pineapple lemongrass, Holiday cookie, and SO many more. You know how many recipes you can whip up with these flavors? There's NO EXCUSE not to get these in your diet ASAP! NOTE: Baking or heating AG may kill or reduce all the health benefits you wanted it for in the first place. Heat isn't great for vitamins, minerals, probiotics, antioxidants, etc.
6. They speed up recovery...ALOT
There are many antioxidant blends available that I use before and a few hours after a hard or long workout. In order to not destroy the adaptations my body makes to my hard workout, I wait a couple hours and then thoroughly enjoy some ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity) acai or goji berry blends in water, coconut milk, or a green smoothie. I may still be a little sore or tired the next day, but I feel SO much better after feeding my muscles and guts (lovely, right?) the healthiest, cleanest forms of antioxidants, vitamin, and minerals that I lose in tremendous amounts during a training session or race.
7. They are a neat little package of vitamins and minerals that I lose faster than I can eat
In endurance sports, you sweat, you tear your muscles, you put immense strain on your gut and gut bacteria, you pound your joints, and you lose mental capacity after hours and hours on the road. Depending on what my workout is that day, I may choose an AG Superfood that contains a bit more of those vitamins and minerals, but I can pretty much count on all of them containing a good enough amount to make up for alot of what I lose. They contain good amounts of iron, iodine, selenium, and manganese...all things we need for mental and thyroid strength that can be hard to come by in food sources and harder to keep proper amounts in, especially in female athletes. GREAT alternative or supplement (if you're careful) to a multivitamin.
8. They are low carb
This sounds like a small thing, but as a low-carb, high-fat endurance athlete, I know that I can count on and use these, even in a pinch without looking at all the nutrition facts, when I really need something to help me finish a bike ride or run. I know ahead of time that I can throw any powder in a bottle and it won't hinder my fat-burning workout. My body will still utilize the (very) minimal amount of carbs it contains, but those are also necessary to aid in fat burning. I can use the powders anytime, anywhere, without counting calories or carbs. Yeay!
Yes, they contain fiber (varying amounts, depending on which one you use), which also helps slow the digestion of the powders and anything else you've eaten) and aids in gut-cleaning. Fiber is a really essentially part of our diets as many of you know already, but we eat a surprisingly little amount as a population. Even when you juice, you are stripping away the fiber content of the fruit and veggies when you remove skins and put it through a juicer or peel it. AG maintains fiber contents so even if you threw it in a smoothie or just water, you are still getting that awesome fiber!
10. From harvest to delivery, the SuperFoods are as damn-near perfect as they could possibly be
This means that from the time they harvest the grasses and SuperFoods, they are VERY meticulously cared for. They are dehydrated, frozen, and kept under careful watch for quality control, making sure that they nutrients that are advertised are ACTUALLY THERE. This is HUGE. Most of the products you see in health food stores will not actually contain what is advertised. Companies can get away with this because they did originally package the nutrients in advertised amounts, but things like fish oils and probiotics and antioxidants die and degrade very quickly. AG takes extreme measures to make sure they maintain the integrity of their product. AG is transparent about their process (https://www.amazinggrass.com/explore/blog/amazing-grass-difference/). I trust that they do everything in their power to give us a rockin' Superfood!
When WE look good, THEY look good! I love and support AG and they have been equally good to me both in product quality and service. Want to perform and feel better? This is one EASY way to do it!