BY STEVE BORN
In 1995, Brian Frank, the owner of Hammer Nutrition (then known as E-CAPS), sent me some sealed pouches in the mail (I was living in Idaho at the time). In his letter, he said he was developing a new fuel more concentrated than a sports drink and wanted me to try it in my training. “Put it to the test,” Brian said, “and get back to me with feedback ASAP.”
At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of the white pouches. No lettering, no logo, no product name, not even a flavor was listed. They were just sealed heavy-duty foil pouches with some sort of liquid inside. But since Brian had already earned my trust long ago—first with his initial supplement offerings, Race Caps and Enduro Caps, and then with his awesome long-distance fuel, Sustained Energy (known by a different name back then)—I knew that whatever was in the pouches was going to be something worth trying and, as Brian had requested, putting to the test.
I started my workout and tore open one of the pouches. “Hmmm. This kind of looks like pancake batter,” I told myself, “only not quite as thick.” Because there was no flavor shown on the white pouch, I didn’t know what I was getting until I tasted it. It turned out to be vanilla, an exceptionally delicious vanilla.
“Holy cow! This tastes great!” I unselfconsciously said out loud, as I proceeded with my workout, consuming another three pouches over the next two hours. (Brian had also included what I discovered to be a spot-on-delicious chocolate flavor). They gave me long-lasting energy and no stomach issues whatsoever.
As soon as the workout was done, I called Brian to tell him all about it. “This stuff is amazing, it tastes awesome, and I had a fantastic workout! Can I get more? I want to use this all the time!” Brian, of course, agreed to send more of the prototypes. “It’s a new energy gel, Steve, and your feedback confirms to me that endurance athletes will really benefit from them,” he said.
A couple of months later, Hammer Gel became available. And ever since its introduction, countless numbers of endurance athletes have made it their fueling “staple,” and for good reason!
Hammer Gel might look similar to many of the energy gels on the market, but it's what's inside that counts! Other energy gels are often made with a lot of added refined sugars, copious amounts of citric acid, thickening agents like xanthan gum and gellan gum (what? why?), and artificial flavors and colors—all inferior ingredients that predictably result in poor energy, a variety of stomach issues, and unplanned trips to the porta potty.
Hammer Gel is different! It contains a complex carbohydrate, maltodextrin, which provides the following benefits:
- Fast-acting energy. The Glycemic Index (GI) of maltodextrin is 100, the same as pure glucose, so it elevates blood sugar levels and energy rapidly. During exercise and immediately after, a high-GI carbohydrate is EXACTLY what you want.
- Longer-lasting energy. Most refined sugars such as glucose and sucrose do provide fast-acting energy. Unfortunately, it's very short-lived energy that's followed by a dramatic plummet in energy levels. Commonly referred to as “flash and crash,” it's a most-unpleasant way to get through your workout or race. That is, if you are, in fact, able to get through it. Conversely, the maltodextrin used in Hammer Gel not only boosts energy quickly, but it also sustains it for a longer period of time before a g-r-a-d-u-a-l decline.
- More calories for energy. The body can efficiently digest a greater volume of calories from maltodextrin than it can from refined sugars. Having more calories available for energy production is an obvious advantage, especially when they're easily digested, which complex carbs are. If you try to match the number of calories that maltodextrin supplies with refined sugars, the only thing you'll get for your trouble is a host of very unpleasant stomach issues that could completely ruin your workout or race.
These are the reasons most flavors of Hammer Gel don’t contain ANY added sugars. Those that do—primarily the nut-containing flavors—have only about a gram or two of tapioca syrup to help balance the pH of the product. The same is true with citric acid; only a couple of flavors include it, and those that do have only trace amounts. None of the flavors of Hammer Gel contain any artificial sweeteners or thickening agents, never have, never will.
For nearly two-and-a-half decades, Hammer Gel has set the pace for providing athletes with quality carbohydrate energy in a convenient, concentrated form. In today's flooded market of sugar-loaded energy products, Hammer Gel remains uniquely formulated to ensure peak athletic performance—every time!