Hi Carb H2O Beating Runner’s Gut

Go halves with a buddy, order it from here, and punch in the discount code ROGER2011 for 25% off. That works out around $52 for 1200g, which is the equivalent carb content of 50 gels or 30 highly portable cans of Coke. I’m madly keen on this product because it would have totally saved my last 100km race, and here’s why…

In ultrarunning, this stuff is a game-changer for me. Tried it out a few times now with the longest test being as a main carb source alongside gels over a 70km trail run approaching 8 hours where the last 20km was at solid effort and gradual but constant uphill as part of an effort to train for faster ultra paces under fatigue. I still want to check how unrefined maltodextrins work but this particular one essentially kicks ass. My understanding at this point is that significantly cheaper and unrefined maltodextrins produce more roughage as they’re digested, leading potentially to gastric irritation, especially over duration or under exertion.

So, as a carb source, what is Fly? It’s at the highest end of products in the eLoad line of sports nutrition. It’s a line recently brought into Australia by EnduranceStore.com.au. The main appeal of the brand, as opposed to this specific product, is that as well as working for the most part quite effectively, the product philosophy is gluten free, all natural, no artificial colours or other surprises. The science seems to work well under pressure and there seems an over-arching expectation that the athlete using these products has at least half a clue what they’re doing.

This stuff, the eFly, is 100% carbohydrate. Highly refined from non-GMO corn starches, the bonds within its molecular chain between the dextrins that end up fuelling activity are quite weak, making for rapid uptake with no by-products. The very fine powder dissolves really quickly in water at ratios under 10%. Recommended concentration is about 6%. Mixing at 16%, roughly 50g powder to 300mL H2O also goes into the body just fine, but merits an extra 15 seconds of stirring/shaking. eLoad’s own science on the Fly is here and worth a look when you have 10-15 minute.

Sounds great but does it work?

There’s no effect of bloating or overloading in the belly, and the energy uptake while runningseems smooth and effective. No bloat or gurgle would be good enough, but there is also no flavour, so you can drink it with water or mix it with lo-carb or no-carb electrolyte tabs or powders, depending on whether you prefer flavoured or plain water. The only hint you’ve had water with anything in it is a brief after-tang in front of the centre of your tongue that’s about the same spot that a weak sweet cup of tea hits.

Why is that awesome? Ever throw up in a race because you had so many goddamn flavours throughout the day, or the same one over and over? Didn’t want to taste another lemon cordial or mutant berry sports drink, but you needed carbs to avoid bonking completely? Here it is – hi carb rapid-digesting no-flavour refreshing plain water, thanks to eFly. That’s frickin’ gold as far as I’m concerned. In the battle between exertion, nausea, insulin and low blood sugars, eFly means I can eliminate the nausea and keep the exertion, which is all I really need from sports nutrition anyway. Stoked.

Mixing it with colas doesn’t seem to work so tidily, and the one drawback of sustained use is that you might well crave flavour but not have any with you. For that I’d recommend carrying either sachets of sports drink or flavoured electrolyte tabs, like Nuun. There are eLoad sports discs which do have a place in the scheme of things but maybe as more of a multi-day adventure race type nibble.

This stuff does cost a bit but it’s the endurance athlete’s nutritional holy grail. If you’ve got any doubts about what you’re working with nutritionally going into Ultra-season, do try this stuff out. There is no need for me to say that. I’m absolutely free to say that it’s shit-ordinary, pointless, disgusting, or ass-flavoured. But it’s awesome.

Go halves with a buddy, order it from here, and punch in the discount code ROGER2011 for 25% off. That works out around $52 for 1200g, which is the equivalent carb content of 50 gels or 30 highly portable cans of Coke.

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