A review by the Cyborg
Shotz Sports Nutrition
It’s a slippery slope, you know. First they give you a voucher for a free gel in the event show bag; then they pass on a water bottle with a tab in it, just to try.... Next thing you know you’re ordering Shotz nutrition by the boxful over the internet (which arrives in a very timely manner, quite often with an extra gift!) It’s true: my name is Cyborg, and I am a Shotzaholic... The mild-tasting, effervescent drink was gone in no time at all, and I found myself walking away, the proud owner of a pack of tabs... As with all gateway drugs, I have moved from the tabs into the heavier gear: first it was the gels - so many in a race, that I was putting them into a squeeze bottle. After just a year, at the 2011 Husky, I moved onto the protein bars.
It all started with the tabs; so that’s where I’ll start. The “tabs” are electrolyte tablets, with a mild flavour and effervescence, so somehow the water seems to feel lighter as you drink it. I can drink a whole (small) bottle quickly, and not get that terrible leaden-belly feeling, which is fantastic. What’s more, the mild flavour means I don’t get sick of it, as I do with some of the more flavoured, or sweeter products. Speaking of which: the tabs are electrolytes only, they don’t contain any sugars or carbohydrates which, while it’s good for your figure, is even better for your bladders and bottles - that is, it’s not such a big deal if you should forget to clean it after a race (and there’s no lingering after taste!)
The tabs are small, and come in sturdy little tubes (think Berocca), so they’re easy to carry during a race or event (or even just out on a ride). So, all you have to do is top up whatever water container you’re using, and drop in another tab or two to get you through.
I generally use a tab
But man cannot race on hydration alone! And I’ve spent far too many years working on my paunch for it to fall away during an event. Fortunately, Shotz gels come to the rescue. Now, I could probably go into all the nutritional information; but (a) I’m not a nutritionist - so I have no idea what it means anyway and (b) while it’s kind of important, I tend to think the taste and consistency are probably just as important. After all, if you’re in a race, you’ll probably be throwing one down every 45 minutes or so, so you don’t want a sticky, sweet concoction that sticks to your throat with a lingering after taste.
Once again, the subtle flavours of Shotz makes all the difference. It’s still sweet, but not sickly sweet. And the consistency is quite smooth. I put my gels into a flask, with a bit of water, to make them easier to consume during a race (as well as ensuring I’m not dropping packets all over the course!) I find about four gels with a bit of water in a gel flask is just right - that gets me through a 50km ride (with a steak-sandwich chaser!)
Now I’m onto the heavy stuff. Protein bars. I read somewhere that having some good protein within 30 minutes of a workout aids greatly in recovery. And I’ve experimented with this, and it does seem to be the case. I seem to feel less sore in the days after I have a protein bar as I warm down from a workout. Naturally, this is all anecdotal, and I haven’t actually measured it, but I really do reckon it works. And you can trust me, I’m some guy writing on the internet! Perhaps more importantly: there’s no messy shake, it’s not hard to eat, and it tastes great - almost so good that I look forward to a decent workout so I can have one!
They’re also easy to carry. I keep one in the hip pocket of my hydration pack during my morning runs to work; that way I can eat it as I warm down walking the final leg into work, rather than waiting the half an hour or so it takes me to shower, change, and head up to my desk; and I haven’t been sore since starting that practice (well, apart from the days the zombies really chase me down!)
Where to get it
There are a few shops around which stock Shotz, and you can see a list of stockists on their website. Though, in my limited experience (contrary to the Immoral Support Crew’s belief, I don’t actually spend all my spare time hanging out in bike/outdoors shops!) they’ll generally just carry the gels and tabs - which is good if you just want to try them out. I do all of my ordering through their site now; it’s quick and easy and generally arrives within a week (no guarantee though!)