Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Fueling Strategy & Mind-Blowing Customer Service: Hammer Nutrition

We've all heard about the "good old days" when customer service was more than just a slogan or a marketing technique.  When business owners cared more about exceeding their customers' expectations than increasing their profits.  Too often in today's world of drive-through service, online one-click purchases and faceless, nameless multi-million dollar corporations, that all gets lost.  I have to say that Hammer Nutrition is one of those few special companies that brings all of these customer service ideals together, and continues to impress me with every encounter.
First - their incredible customer service.  After my first online order with Hammer, I received a free ($25 value) welcome gift with a large assortment of all of Hammer's products for me to try - which way outnumbered the small initial order that I had placed to simply try a few gels on an upcoming long run.  I was blown away - who doesn't love a free surprise in the mail?!  I was even more surprised when after placing my second online order, I received a free water bottle, a book, and a handwritten thank you note in the mail.  Awesome!
Like Christmas morning at my house!
And then the products -  so far, I have started using Hammer's Endurolytes and gels.  I have Crohns disease, so I am VERY picky when it comes to running fuel (or any food in general) to avoid unexpected GI issues.  Hammer gels are all-natural and made with real ingredients that I can recognize and pronounce.  For example, my favorite flavor, Apple Cinnamon, which tastes just like fresh applesauce, is flavored with apple juice concentrate, cinnamon and vanilla.  Go figure!  All of the gels are made with long-chain complex carbohydrates, so I don't get the sugar high spikes and crashes like I have experienced with so many other fake-sugar gels out there.

Remember that squeezable applesauce we loved as kids?  Flashback!
 I also use the Hammer Endurolytes, which have proven to be a lifesaver for me.  I've always been a little skeptical of electrolyte tabs (or anything in pill form, for that matter), but I have to say that I am a believer now!  I used to get horrible cramping and swollen fingers during my long runs, especially in the heat.  I used sports drinks diluted with water to avoid GI distress, and during races tried to alternate water and Gatorade to replenish electrolytes.  Now, with Endurolytes, I can specifically tailor my electrolyte needs to the run distance, temperature and how I am feeling, and haven't cramped up in months!  Also in addition to sodium, which is all that most salt tabs offer, Endurolytes provide supplemental calcium, magnesium and potassium to be able to maintain high performance in tough conditions.
 I am still experimenting with how I take my gels and Endurolytes to get the best effect and to maintain consistent energy on my long runs - but my strategy so far is to take two Endurolytes before I start running, and then a gel at 6 miles, another Endurolyte tab at 9 miles, another gel at 12 miles, an Endurolyte at 15, and so on.   I've found that spacing out my fueling but staying consistent on the timing is key to maintaining consistent energy and avoiding cramping.  Fueling this way has also kept my GI system happy - which is a constant challenge with my Crohns.

Let me be clear - I wasn't paid or encouraged by Hammer Nutrition to write this blog.  I am also not a nutritionist or clinician of any sort.  I do work in healthcare through, and have had more than my share of GI education over the years in learning how to live with Crohns, and am passionate about sharing what works (or hasn't worked) for me.  Finding a realistic and easy fueling strategy is SO important, and using Hammer products for me has truly transformed how I feel during and after my long runs.  

Huge thumbs up for feeling good!
 Questions for you:

What tried and true fueling strategies would you recommend?

Have you tried any of the other Hammer products?  I am kind of hooked, and am thinking of trying the Recoverite drink next - thoughts?

I am linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thursday's Thinking Out LoudIt's almost Friday - thank goodness!!


  1. Hi Michelle,
    First time reader here. I saw Hammer Nutrition and had to see what you had to say! I love Hammer, completely agree about their customer service and products. I've used Recoverite and it is great. The only product of theirs that I cannot use is Heed - it has a complex carbohydrate formula and their electrolyte profile so it sounds great and my husband has used it for years, but it contains Xylitol which is murder on my GI!

  2. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for stopping by! I am looking forward to trying Recoverite. For sports drinks, I use Tailwind - it is one of the mildest from a GI perspective, and I've had good success with it :-)