Thursday, April 12, 2018

Run Gum Review and Q&A with Olympian Nick Symmonds

I have been using pre-workout drinks before runs and cross training for almost a decade now.  They are usually filled with artificial flavors and ingredients that sometimes don’t agree with your body.  One of the first products that I was using was called Superpump250, but we used to call it “Superdump” because it was almost guaranteed that within 15 minutes, you would end up in the bathroom.  I believe it is because of the high levels of magnesium, but I could be wrong.  I’m sorry for putting that image in your head, but I promise there is a reason for sharing that with you.

There are a lot of supplements out there, some are all natural, some are not.  I recently ran the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run.  It was my first real trail ultra of that distance and because of my Plantar Fasciitis, I had to reduce my training before the race.  I went into the race undertrained and the weather did not help the situation.  My energy level was great until I reached mile 25 where it started to dip.  The reality is that caffeine could have helped me, so a few aid stations later I drank half of a Red Bull.  While I did get a boost of energy that really helped me, the extra ingredients and liquid made for a little sloshing in my stomach.    Later in the race, I popped some Run Gum into my mouth around mile 41 and got a boost of energy without all of the extra junk that they throw into energy drinks.  It was great to have the energy without the sloshing stomach.

Run Gum was developed by Nick Symmonds and his Coach, Sam Lapray.  Nick won 7 Division III NCAA Titles and 6 USATF Outdoor National Titles while he was studding at Willamette University in Oregon.  Nick also made the Beijing (2008) and London (2012) Olympic teams.   Nick studied Biochemistry in college and used this background and experience in training to figure out what chemicals the human body needed to perform at its best. 

What Nick and Sam found out is that most methods of delivering stimulants to the body required drinking large quantities of liquids.  In order to achieve optimal performance, they needed to eliminate water, acid, and slow down absorption.  During a track workout, they came up with the idea of using gum as a delivery vehicle for the caffeine. 

Run Gum has caffeine, b-vitamins, and taurine.  With Run Gum, the stimulants absorb 5 times faster than if you were taking in a liquid form.  It will give you energy fast, without bloating that can often happen with drinking energy drinks. 

Run Gum is sugar-free and has zero calories.  Each pack of Run Gum contains two pieces of gum.  Each piece of gum consists of 50mg of caffeine (roughly half a cup of coffee).  It is recommended that you take one piece for moderate energy or two pieces for maximum energy.  I consume caffeine on a regular basis and had no issues with taking two pieces of the gum.  If you are sensitive to caffeine, you could always take half of a piece of gum at first.  Run Gum comes in Cinnamon, Fruit, and Mint flavors.  They even have a Kickstarter for an Extra Strength Run Gum that has double the amount of caffeine.  Check it out if you have a chance.

I have tested Run Gum during runs and even during the day when I am exhausted.  Most of my long training runs are at 3:30AM, meaning I am waking up at 3:00AM.  I usually get really tired around 6:00PM and Run Gum has really helped me stay awake to spend time with my wife after the kids go to bed.  It is the one time of the day that we get some peace and quiet, so giving up that quality time with her is not an option.  I will say that it does have little different consistency than regular gum.  It really isn’t too much different, but just something to know.   The taste is good with all three varieties, but the fruit is my favorite.

I had a chance to do a Q&A with Nick.  Here it is:

Q: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment both in your running career as well as outside of running and why?
A: My biggest accomplishment in running, in my opinion, was running a personal best at the 2012 Olympic Finals. I didn't win a medal there (finished 5th), but I was able to perform my best at the highest level of competition. That's all you can really ask of yourself as an athlete.

Off the track, I am extremely proud of Run Gum. It takes a lot to bring a new product to market and Sam Lapray (my coach and business partner) and I were able to do so during the peak of my pro running career. That was back in 2014. Since then we have been able to fuel and inspire millions of people!  

Q: What was your primary reason for developing Run Gum?
A: I used to drink a lot of energy drinks. I loved the way they made me feel from an energy standpoint, but they really hurt my stomach. All that carbonated water, sugar, calories, etc. I didn't want any of it, I just wanted the stimulants. So, I dehydrated an energy drink, took the stimulants out of it and infused them into a piece of chewing gum. The chewing gum delivers the stimulants to the lining of the mouth which offers much faster absorption times. Try it for yourself, if really wakes you up quickly! 

Q: Where do you see Run Gum going in the next year, 5 years, and beyond?
A: We are growing so fast it's hard to say. We just launched nationwide with Vitamin Shoppe and will be announcing another major retailer this summer. Run Gum competes directly with energy drinks and energy shots, so really we fit in almost any grocery or convenience store. In the near future you will see Run Gum at every checkout stand in America.

Q: What is your next big goals, both in sports and in your personal life?
A: I think most of my athletic goals for the next few years will be more mountain focused. In terms of my personal life I'd like to continue growing Run Gum and one day start a family. 

Q: What things do you do that make you the happiest (where do you find your happy place)?
A: Being active outdoors! I honestly love anything that gets me outside: hunting, fishing, surfing, hiking, fishing, running, biking, you name it. 

Q: Who is the most inspiring person (dead or alive) to you and why?
A: My business partner (and former coach) Sam Lapray inspires me. He works so hard and deserves all the success that has come his way. I've known him for nearly two decades and during that time he has been coach, business partner, mentor, and best friend to me.

Q: If you could give a new runner one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Don't take everything so darn seriously! Runners are some of the most neurotic people I have ever met. I say that having been one myself. I started running best when I didn't worry about everything so much. It's ok to have a cheeseburger, its ok to have dessert every day, its ok to drink a beer. 

Q: What do you think the key to running longevity is?
A: Having fun! Running should be something you look forward to each day. My morning run is one of my favorite parts of each day.

Q: Do you have any pieces of running gear that make a huge difference in your running (favorite shoes, clothes, watch, etc.)?
A: To be honest, no. One of the things I love most about running is that it requires very little gear. I do start every workout with a pack of Run Gum!

2 pieces = one energy drink or cup of coffee
Caffeine, taurine, an B-vitamins without excess fluids
Convenient packs that you can take in your pocket
Can use during activity or throughout the day
Shouldn’t make you jittery (caffeine sensitivity people excluded)
Stimulant effect happens extremely fast

Run Gum’s Social Media Links:

The thing I really love about Run Gum is the simplicity of it.  You can just take it before your workout or throw it in your pocket for a mid-activity pick-me-up.  The amount of caffeine is perfect for most people and you can pick your serving sizes with one piece or two.  You can get Run Gum in 12-packs for $22.49 on their website or at a location near you (click here for locations) including REI, The Vitamin Shoppe, and local run stores.  Nick is working on making Run Gum available elsewhere as well.  It is a great product and has helped me out, both during my activities and during my daily life.  Have you tried Run Gum yet?  I would love to hear what you think.  I am thrilled to have a chance to work with Nick Symmonds on the Q&A and hope you like it.  He is a really cool guy and I loved learning more about him.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Friday, April 6, 2018

AltRed Betalains Review

I will start out by saying that I am not a nutritionist, doctor, or health care professional.  My experience with AltRed is strictly based on my personal opinion and experience as a middle of the pack runner.  Please take this supplement at your own risk and if you have any concerns, please consult a physician.

AltRed is a supplement that contains Beetroot Extract, but is produced/extracted using different techniques than other brands of beet juice or beet juice powder that you will find out there.  Sur is a small company, founded by Jeff Van Drunen.  His family has been discovering, researching, and developing ingredients sourced from nature to improve health for decades.  Coming from a family of farmers (7 generations of farmers to be exact) it has always been a passion of Jeff’s family to share natural products with the community.  Jeff has been farming since the early 80’s and later on started researching phytonutrients, or natural chemicals found in plants.  As an avid hiker and cyclist, he wanted to find natural supplements that would help him recover stronger and perform better.

Jeff started Sur to look at the physiological benefits from plant-based supplements, because the benefits are potentially huge and has been untapped for the most part.  Part of what Sur strives for is to celebrate athletes and really focus on clean performance, which is awesome.  Sur states, “Our products are based on ingredients sourced from nature, are certified for use in sport, and are supported by real world science published for all to see.”

The fact that Sur achieves the highest level of clean certifications meaning that you can use it knowing that you are not using bad chemicals.  The NFS Certified for Sport ™ certification ensures that AltRed meets the NSF’s stringent independent certification process guidelines for supplements intended for use by athletes.  That means that there are no undeclared ingredients and everything is manufactured according to what AltRed claims.  (For more info, visit

The Informed-Choice certification also checks for banned substances and undergoes rigorous testing to provide assurance that they are safer for athletes to use (For more info, visit

So where do I begin…  I have been taking beet juice powder for the past year and can say that while I understood the benefits, I never really felt a huge difference in my endurance or recovery.  I would add it to my smoothies, and still do.  A few months back I started testing AltRed.  I honestly wasn’t expecting much, but the reviews and claims were promising.

What exactly is in AltRed?  The single active ingredient is a phytonutrient called betalain, which comes from beets.  The bright red color and benefits of beets, including the ability to reduce inflammation that comes from exercise, comes from betalains. AltRed is produced through a patented process, which isolates and concentrates the betalains, “unleashing” its ability to improve your athletic performance.  

There are two clinical studies on the AltRed website.  The first study was done in my backyard (not literally, but is about 25 minutes away from me).  It was at UD Davis, where a double-blind study, crossover study on distance runners was performed.  It showed that runners performed an average of 42 seconds faster (3% faster) in a 5k time trial when they used AltRed (click here for the study).

The second study, also from UD Davis, focused on recovery.  It was a double-blind, crossover study that was conducted on triathletes.  It showed that the athletes performed an average of 45 seconds better (3% faster) in a 5k “recovery” time trial performed twenty-four hours after completing a 10k time trial when they used AltRed. They also completed the initial 10k time trial 54 seconds faster when taking AltRed (click here for the study).

Other impacts on endurance and recovery when taking AltRed may include producing more power, increasing efficiency, reduction in muscle damage during activity, and stronger recovery (including a reduction in lactic acid).  There are quite a few claims there.  So how did my testing go and did I see or feel some of these things?

First of all, the directions say to take one capsule, 2 hours before you start an activity. For activities lasting more than 2 hours, you take another pill every 2 hours including at the start of your activity.    

So what exactly did I experience?  I had been training hard for quite a while, going from one training block to the next with little downtime.  I had the California International Marathon in December and only had a few weeks off before I started training for Way Too Cool 50k.  My mileage was fairly steady.  When I started to take AltRed, I was running at about a 65-70% Max Heart Rate (HR), which was around an 11:00-12:00 pace.  I started to notice a difference after only a few days.  I felt more energy and could perform better day after day (better recovery).  My 65-70% Max HR was now dropping to about a 10:00-10:30 pace, which was quite a change.  I did not change anything else in my training, so I was really surprised by the results. 

I also watched my VO2 Max (The amount of oxygen my body is able to burn) go from 47 in January to 50 in February, to 51 in March.  This is all with being about 10 pounds over my ideal race weight.  I have not had numbers like this since I was at my peak as a runner (lowest weight, very lean, and injury-free).  This reading was taken off of my Garmin Forerunner 935, so I know it is not a true reading of my VO2 Max, but it does shoe an increasing in my overall endurance and energy output.

As I said earlier, I was a skeptic going into my testing of AltRed.  I can’t tell you how many product I have tried that make big promises and most of them fall short.  I am not discounting other products by any means, which is why I still take beet juice powder.  I do have to say that these are results that I experienced and I have read that not everybody will experience supplements the same way, so my results may be different than what you encounter. 

I loved AltRed so much that I became a Brand Ambassador, also known as a #phytorebel.  It basically means that I am committed to train with plant based supplements and am an advocate for clean sport.  It is a great product that I enthusiastically endorse because I have seen the results. 

So let’s look at the details.  AltRed comes in a bottle of 30 capsules.  The capsules are small and easy to swallow.  The retail price is $50 per bottle, but if you are interested in testing it out, please feel free to use my coupon code (company approved).  It will help me out and save you money.  Just use the code “BGOLDMAN-ALTRED” at checkout and you will get 15% off each and every bottle (if you click any of the links on this post, it should automatically apply the discount).  Please feel free to share this code with your friends or on social media.

All-natural, plant based supplement
Backed by two clinical studies
Informed-Choice and NSF Certification
Increases Endurance/Performance
Recover Stronger
Great results
Great Introductory Offer (50% off using my code)

AltRed’s Social Media Links:

Every individual will see and feel different results when they take supplements, mainly because each of our bodies have differences (level of fitness, diet, genetics, etc.).  For every story or review you read saying a product is awesome, there is probably one saying the opposite.  My personal experience with AltRed changed me from being a skeptic to being a believer.  I am not promoting AltRed for any other reason than I feel that it is an amazing product that may help you in your fitness endeavors.  Please give it a try if it sparks your curiosity, but be sure to use the discount code “BGOLDMAN-ALTRED” at checkout to get 15% off your order.  There is no reason to pay full price.  I would love for you to share your experience in the comments below, no matter if it is good or bad. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.