"Disclaimer: I received a supply of Now Foods BCAA Blast powder and Effer Energy tablets to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
I have used BCAA’s before – Branch Chain Amino Acids – as part of muscle recovery after a tough strength training workout. I was working with a trainer who knew I would be sore the next day, and she suggested I get some BCAAs. I bought a powdered lemonade formula from another brand and I honestly couldn’t stomach the taste. I was anxious to try the BCAA Blast from Now Foods because I’m still looking for the perfect “pre-workout” formula, and am a believer in BCAAs.
I received a jar of BCAA Blast (raspberry flavor), along with a shaker.
AND 1 tube of Effer-Energy, tropical flavor
So what exactly is a BCAA and why do I need it?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are nine essential amino acids in total, but there's a key trio that helps you maintain muscle: leucine, isoleucine, and valine
In general I knew they were helpful for muscle soreness, but here’s what this product is designed to do specifically: (from nowfoods.com)
Ok, so now time to put it to the test a bit.
I first took it to body pump class. It’s definitely a good test because a) I need extra energy to lift weights for an hour and b) this class leaves me sore, so BCAAs should help with muscle soreness. My thoughts: the raspberry takes a little to get used to, but I can work with it! I noticed the extra sodium right away, but appreciated that. I didn’t feel fatigued during the class, but I didn’t feel a rush of energy, either. I do think I felt a bit less sore than usual, which is great!
Next test was running, obviously! I used it for the Scottsdale Giants 10k that I ran. I carried it with me in that race, as well as the Kiss Me I’m Irish 8k. The added electrolytes kept me going great for both.
This is.comparable to other dissolving electrolyte tablets- but this one has caffeine, yay!
Total Carbohydrate 1 g
Total Sugars<1 g
Niacin (as Nicotinamide) 20 mg
Vitamin B6 (from Pyridoxine HCl) 2 mg
Vitamin B12 (as Cyanocobalamin) 6 mcg
Calcium (from Calcium Carbonate) 13 mg
Magnesium (from Magnesium Carbonate) 25 mg
Sodium (from Sodium Bicarbonate) 360 mg
Potassium (from Potassium Bicarbonate) 100 mg
Green Tea Extract (Leaf) (36 mg of naturally occurring caffeine) 125 mg
I tried this for a cardio class,and body pump class too. I found that it broke up a little easier than other brands to drop into a bottle of water and dissolved quickly. I honestly didn’t love the taste, but I was able to drink it and get the benefits from it. There is also a mixed berry flavor that is another option.
BCAA Blast sells for $31.99 for a canister. Effer Energy sells for $5.19 a tube. You can save 20% off your own container of BCCA Blast, Effer-Energy, or any other supplements with discount code NOWSPORTS20 now through 4/30/20
“Offer valid 2/1/20 through 11:59 PM Central Standard Time 4/30/20. Offer valid only on products found at https://www.nowfoods.com/sports-nutrition/sports-nutrition-all-products. Prices are as shown. Some exclusions apply. Must use coupon code NOWSPORTS20 in the Promotion Code field at checkout. While supplies last at nowfoods.com. This offer does not apply to applicable taxes or shipping and handling. Offer cannot be used on previous purchases. NOW Health Group, Inc. has the right to end any promotion at any time.”
Give it a try and see what you think! If you do try it, let me know your thoughts!
"Disclaimer: I received a full knee compression sleeve from Body Helix to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Those of you who have been following me for awhile probably already know that I have bad knees – osteoarthritis damage – which I discovered before having surgery for a torn meniscus a few years back. I manage it by running significantly less than I used to, taking supplements, etc. – but my new love of body pump weight workouts puts significant stress on my knees too. So, long story short – I was curious to try this compression sleeve out to see if it could help.
I remember when I first went to the surgeon and he explained that the meniscus area really couldn’t heal itself because it gets very little circulation in that area to help. Wearing this brace, theoretically, could help increase circulation in this troubled area of my knee.
I was very careful about measuring to get the size just right – and I did! It really fits beautifully! There’s a trick to putting it on – there are videos on their website, but basically for the knee sleeve, you fold in half to put it on, then pull it up. It’s not uncomfortable – it’s snug but in a secure way. The first time I wore it, I used it in my body pump workout – which in part consists of sets of squats and lunges. It’s my least favorite part of the class because I baby my knees so much. Anyway, I wore it over my tights which I guess wasn’t the most ideal way to wear it. I still thought it was great! Ideally it should be directly on your skin for best results. I could feel warmth in my knee, and it just felt more stable, like I had the confidence to squat just a little lower.
According to their website, Body Helix is made for “stretching, staying put and rebounding” and consists of “Medical-grade compression: scientifically proven to aid in pain-relief.” I’m in!
Ok, time for the real test – a run! I took it out on a 9 mile run. Within a few miles, sweat was literally dripping down the back of my leg, from under the brace. It stayed perfectly in place, it never slipped at all. It was drenched when I took it off.
I was kind of surprised that it could be machine washed and go into the dryer too! It came out as good as new!
The full knee sleeve retails for $49.99. There are more than a dozen different types of sleeves /wraps for virtually any body part that is giving you trouble!
I have a discount to share - Get 15% off site wide with code BH15BR, now through April 1!
This year I was doing the 10k with 2 other friends. Went to packet pickup on Friday afternoon, which was a piece of cake. I’m not even a Giants fan, but I was really tempted to buy some of their swag they were selling. Nice stuff! They get a significant number of SF Giant fans that come from out of state for this race.
I was able to chat with the race director Brian. We received our bib and shirt, which I really like. It’s super soft and performance tech.
Race morning was an early day! The 10k starts at 7am, so we met at my house and were on the road before 6. I was also able to meet up with fellow BibRave member Laura, who was running the 5k.
There are some fun startline festivities for this race. There is a “singing cowboy” with his horse Dusty. The cowboy hangs out with us at the start, then sings the national anthem. Luckily he’s always up for photo opps! Then there are native American hoop dancers – including the reigning national champion – who performed just before the gun went off. Really unique Arizona touches to this race!
We started right on time, with the 5k folks just 15minutes behind us. The course took us through Old Town Scottsdale, then onto the famous greenbelt, which runs alongside the golf course. This is where we would spend the bulk of our race. It was a glorious sunny day and perfect race temps (50’s)! The course was well marked and plenty of aid stations. I brought my own fuel, so I didn’t need to stop for water.
In the last mile, we merged with the 5k participants , which were mostly the walkers by that point. One of the cool things about the race is finshing on the field inside the stadium. So we came in around the back of the stadium, where the singing cowboy and Dusty were there to greet us. He assured us the finish was just to the right…and it was!
I heard my name announced, which is always a nice touch. I squeaked in just under an hour at 59:59. I met up with Laura for some finish pics before finding my friends. Time for free hard seltzer, snacks and more photos! There were an assortment of chips, fruit cups, yogurt and oat bars. The music was fun and there was a good after party vibe. However, there is a spring training game being held there a few hours later, so the staff did seem like they wanted us to not get too comfortable and move along.
All in all, my friends and I had a great time – we all had a good race experience and said we’d come back and do it again next year. Their only complaint was that there weren’t separate medals for 5k and 10k, but you can’t have it all!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!