Thursday, January 19, 2012

@SixNutrition Review for endurance athletes

Usually “pill popping” and triathletes don’t go in the same sentence.  When someone says “pill popper”, you might think of someone addicted to prescription meds or Brett Favre hooked on pain killers.  But, when you stop and think about the true needs of a triathlete body for nutrients, then you can better understand how the triathletes start popping pills.

Elite triathletes to the average age groupers need better nutrients than you can get from today's processed foods.  Jason from CTER takes a look at food content with THIS blog post.  Cellulose as a filler in foods isn’t going to help with muscle recovery and proper metabolism.  Jason is adamant about eating properly, shopping for healthy foods within a budget and creating healthy and tasty dishes in a timely manner.

Most of us are all for it, but these days with both parents working and a full schedule with children, money is tighter and time to cook is in short supply.  We have few options but to work with pre-processed foods and meal kits to get something close to quality meals for our family.  We do the best we can within our budget.  For the most part, we meet the nutrient needs of our family.  The problem arises when we are out training and depleting our bodies more so than our 3 and 1 year old children.  In order to stay healthy and injury free, we need more than what we get from today’s affordable supermarket choices.

Bring on the pills!

Amino acids, fish oil, B12, B2 and the list goes on with all the supplements out there we could and probably need to add to our diet.  Recently my wife, who was a certified nutritionist in a former life, suggested a regimen of supplements that would have resulted in 20 to 30 pills per day depending on the daily training work load.

For the amount of money it would have cost, it would have made more sense to try and buy fresh foods and make our meals from scratch.  Facebook is an amazing took for a triathlete when you’re motivated to save money, if you didn’t already know.  Friends of Man Vs Triathlon, SIX Nutrition, offers an alternative to sucking down 20 pills a day.

Unfortunately for the women out there, SIX is geared for men.  Maybe one day they will open the lid to that Pandora’s box of mystery that is the woman body and how it works.  But, for now, they focus on men.  Let’s face it, we men are pretty simple and easy – pun intended.

Their focus is overall health on six key areas, heart, joints, sex (we are talking about men’s “health”, after all), muscle, mind and energy.  See, the SIX name isn’t just a catchy new age name, it actually has meaning!  When you check out their fact sheet, you can clearly see they have covered the gambit from amino acids to glucosamine for joint health.

Ok, this isn’t a commercial, so here’s the nitty gritty.
  • I’ve done the 20 pill a day regimen for 30 days in the past and I’ve done the 6 pill SIX regimen for 30 days.  Here’s what I take away from the experience.
  • You know that endorphin rush you get during and after a solid workout?  If you are like me getting up at 4:30am to get that workout in and don’t get to bed until 10pm if you are lucky with kids, you crash after an hour post workout.  I eat a healthy snack and drink fluids, but you just can’t burn the candle at both ends unless you have energy.  I hate using 5 hour energy or something to that affect, so with the touch of green tea extract SIX has, I feel a nice level amount of energy that gets me to the end of the work day without a crash or peaks and valleys.
  • I don’t do well with taking pills and working out immediately after unless I have an hour to digest.  That being said, I’m not getting up at 3am to take supplements.  So, I take them post workout.  SIX is easier to work with as they only have 6 pills, but I still need digestion time since it is still pills.
  • When you stretch yourself to 7 or 6 hours of sleep a night during the week, you are pushing the limits of your body’s ability to recover and not break down.  With SIX, I get amino acids to assist in recovery, but I’ve added additional supplements for this aspect.  With 3 to 4 short time and high intensity workouts per week (I’m a follower of the S.H.I.T training plan), I’m pushing it even more.  With less training time, I max my workouts to get the most and I need more amino’ s for recovery.
  • With SIX, you take it in the morning and you are good unless you need additional supplements.  If you take everything individually, some are recommended in the AM, PM, 30 minutes before eating, with food or 1 hour after eating while standing on your head and rubbing your belly.  I don’t have enough grey matter left to commit the 20 pill regimen to memory.  With SIX, one serving in the morning and move on.
  • Supplements are not cheap.  Neither is SIX.  They have a few options for bulk or re-occurring orders, but if you buy just one month, it will run you $60.  Buying supplements individually for a 30 day supply ran me $100 and that was generic (mixture of stores and online).   That was sobering AND a QUICK end to buying that many supplements individually.  So, you should see some savings.
  • The checkout process is smooth and the store is nice.  SIX has put some time and thought into the online experience.  If you have issues or questions, they will respond fast and have answers for you.  It’s not an online bulk supplement store where you get some operator in a phone farm.
  • The packaging is nothing short of slick.  Sharp and edgy are the best adjectives I can come up with.  Hate sorting pills from 10 different pill bottles?  No problem.  SIX took the liberty of breaking down each day’s intake into its own individual serving pouch.  Just tear open, toss the pills in your mouth and swig down with some water.  Maybe one day they can move to biodegradable packaging since we do have 25 packets creating more garbage, but it’s that or plastic pill bottles.
  • SIX is a solid choice for the average age grouper triathlete or endurance enthusiast.  It will provide what your cellulose filled whopper won’t and is very cost effective.  For elite or extreme endurance athletes, you may need to supplement with more amino acids or other nutrition to aid in your adaptation to the increased training load.  The only really glaring shortcoming is nothing for women, yet.

 *Writer’s note, SIX nutrition is a partner of MVT and supplied a free 30 day supply of SIX for product review.  SIX management in no way influenced this product review.
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