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(Mountain) Fuel that delivers performance across all activities

by Paul Hayward
Thursday 10th December 2015
Tags  Paul Hayward   |   Mountain Fuel   |   OCR

Product review: Run247's Obstacle racing columnist Paul Hayward tries out Mountain Fuel's fuel system

As you find yourself entering more and more Obstacle Course Races (“OCR”), nutrition seems to become more and more important. Be it “carb loading” in the build up to a race or your food choice pre and post race; people are becoming more and more educated and/or conscious with what they are eating before taking on an event and what strategy they use to recover.

I have noticed the difference myself over the last two years where I have gone from toast with apricot jam before a race and a beer at the end to porridge with chia seeds and a banana plus a recovery shake. If you would have told me that OCR would change not only my fitness but the way that I think about my diet, I do not think I would have believed you. However it would appear it is becoming more and more important with a host of options out there.

Over the last year we have seen a number of OCR athletes talking about the benefits of the “total sports nutrition” option that is Mountain Fuel. In essence Mountain Fuel does what other sports based supplements or products fail to do, which is to offer an 'all in one' solution. They seek to cut out extra gels, electrolytes and protein by offering “sustained energy and recovery” whilst feeding your body the vitamins, amino acids and minerals to allow it to perform at its best.

Mountain Fuel

Mountain Fuel attempt to achieve this through their fuel system for a race or event, consisting of “Night Fuel” for the evening before, “Morning Fuel” to be taken pre race and “Ultimate Recovery Fuel” for post race. On reading their literature and claims from other athletes, I was impressed and decided that I would change my tried and tested nutrition routine and pitch it against a “normal” OCR, Men's Health Survival of the Fittest London to see how I got on.

Night Fuel - the directions state that you mix the Night Fuel with a cup of warm or cold milk and sip the “fuel” that evening and through the night. The mixture of Whey protein and Cocoa powder is designed to allow your body to prepare and get up in the morning knowing that “it has been treated to a night of recovery”.

On mixing some cold milk with the Night Fuel, the smell was amazing. I was instantly thinking that “if this tastes half as nice as the smell then it will be a winner”. Fortunately it tasted just like a cold Starbucks chocolate based drink and was very easy on the stomach and the taste buds. So much so that I began to feel that it was wrong to be drinking this pre-event as it was really tasty.

In the morning I woke up and if I am honest, I did not instantly feel that I had been treated to a night of recovery. This being said I was not hungry and certainly did not have an urge to make some food as soon as I could, which is unusual for me.

This could only be a good thing and proof that the system was fueling my body for the race ahead.

Morning fuel - the fuel directions stated that you mix the fuel with a cup of warm milk or warm water and enjoy one hour before racing. Sadly warm milk was not an option and I went for water; the texture seemed a little strange (although it did give you the option of adding additional oats) as it was a little “runny”.

This being said, it reminded me of porridge with a hint of golden syrup and was also easy on the stomach. Being a mix of oats, Whey powder concentrate and flax seeds - the promise was a “high fibre source product”. Had I been concerned that it would have repeated on me or made me feel sick then these concerns would have been misplaced. Facing the start line I felt fueled and ready, I did not feel bloated or sick which I could only think was a really good thing. .

The boxes seemed to be ticked but would it hold through the race? The answer was yes. On finishing Mens Health Survival of the Fittest 10k in just over an hour, I was shocked by how my stomach had reacted. I had not suffered from any pangs of hunger and I had not reached for any supplements, if anything I could have kept going quite happily as I felt energised.

The proof of this was “in the pudding”; faced with a goodie bag containing chocolate, crisps and other snacks, I just walked to the changing rooms and my bag, not even attempting to eat any of the goodies for finishing!

Recovery Fuel - I must admit, I am pretty bad with recovery shakes and I often find my body craving them at the end of a race. For some reason I look forward to the finish far more than I should due to these and I find them pivotal in staving off the hunger for a while to allow me to have something decent when I do eat.

I was really looking forward to the recovery shake to be honest. Weirdly, as said above, I was not craving the recovery fuel at this point. However, knowing what my body was like I decided to have the pre mix chocolate, combined with amino acids and Whey protein, with water. I think I missed the trick to be honest, it tasted nice but it did not have the feel that I am used to that comes with the milk based products and I should have opted for this mixture.

This being said the taste was fine and it went down smoothly and easily. Importantly it staved off the hunger and I did not have cravings or a need for something sweet straight away and my body was getting the supplements it needed.

Mountain Fuel

Overall - If I am honest I was a little dubious to begin with, I had heard the hype and the glowing reports but remained sceptical whether an “all in one fuel system” could really do the job of several different sources and products? In short yes - the system was easy on the stomach, tasty and most importantly delivered.

I have never finished a race before where I was not hungry or had a desire to eat everything in sight. Mountain Fuel had excelled my expectations and if anything had really pushed my boundaries of what effective fueling is and made me rethink my nutrition strategy for racing.

More information on Mountain Fuel can be found at: www.mountainfuel.co.uk


About The Author

Paul Hayward

I am 33 years old and spend the majority of my life within an office environment. Whilst I played football, I never really took an interest in sport let alone athletics. In 2011 I joined a gym as I was slightly concerned about my weight. However I was, like an awful lot of my colleagues, coasting and I considered spinning three times a week a workout.
This changed when I took up a circuits class and found myself entering Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London in November 2011. I was assured by my friends that this was a good idea and would be a “challenge”.
I had never entered any form of competitive event before and training for this run changed me. I listened to my personal trainer, who assured me that if I quit drink I could be dangerous, and sorted out my diet, stopped drinking so much and focussed my training. I completed the race in just over an hour and I was instantly bitten by the racing bug, I loved the challenge the event offered. 
Nearly two years on I have completed a half marathon in 1hour 49 minutes, came 6th in the Rat Race Horseplay 5k event and usually come within the top 30% at Obstacle Course races. I am also a part time triathlete and I am lucky to find myself in a running club where we have a great coach and the focus is on members. If I am honest - I came to running through these events and I am not alone.
My aim through Run 247 is to promote, discuss and publicise Obstacle Course racing. It is becoming huge and over the coming months we will cover all of the major races and the new competitors entering the scene. 

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