Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review Crew: Gu Brew

Gu Brew comes in two delightful little varieties. Electrolyte: products_electrolyte And Recovery:

products_recoveryLet me not beat around the bush here guys. I’m totally sold on both of these products. And the funny thing is, I did not even know either of them existed until Scott, from Outside PR, sent some to me to try, despite the fact that my own sister had already recently purchased some for herself.

Let me talk Gu Electrolyte Brew first. Some of you will recall from my Roctane Review and Sweaty Sweaty Me story, that I’m a particularly heavy salty sweater which makes me prone to a dangerous condition called hyponatremia on my long runs. I’ve got to be very careful to drink enough fluids with enough sodium or my electrolytes quickly get out of wack which makes me nauseous (this, in my case, is the first sign of trouble), if not resolved, this will quickly turn into headaches, blurred vision, and at the worst it’s ever been, just this side of passing out.

A lot of reading, followed by a lot of trying various products, led me to Gatorade Endurance (now G2 Series Pro) which I’ve been using faithfully for about a year now. The higher sodium content (as opposed to the regular Gatorade or Powerade I was using before) made a huge huge difference in my running.

So when I received the Gu Brew, honestly, I was not excited to try it and almost pawned it off on somebody else. Why mess when you’ve got a good thing going right? But then, something caught my eye. On the Blueberry Pomegranate Flavor, it read “2X Sodium.” And all I could think was, “oh yeah, baby. Come to mamma.” So a little comparison between G2 and Gu Brew for ya (based on an 8oz serving of each, neither of which unfortunately comes packaged that way, so please don’t hold me accountable if my math is wrong. I am absolutely terrible at math even WITH a calculator. My brain just doesn’t work that way. I am, what I believe one might consider, entirely absent of my left brain. So you’d do well to add an ish to all these numbers. Oh and technically, G2’s serving size was like 8.4 oz, but you better believe I was not gonna try to turn Gu’s 24oz serving into 8.4oz. 8oz will just have to do):

G2 Pro SeriesGu Brew

Right off the bat, I liked the higher sodium content and that less of the carbs were coming from sugars. And when you read a little bit more about the Brew on Gu’s website, you’ll see they’re proud to keep it simple and keep out the additives which sounds pretty good to me too. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the how the lower potassium content would effect me and how this formula would sit on my oh so sensitive stomach.

I didn’t end up taking it out on a long run (actually I tried, but that run was a bust by no fault of Gu), but did I use it on a couple of shorter, but more intense 8ish mile runs. It worked great, no signs of nausea which would have meant that there was a little something lacking in the electrolyte department. And even better, I was thrilled to discover the flavor is very light. If you’re like me and you can’t stomach seriously intense flavors, especially sweet on long runs, this will work great for you. I definitely get sick of the strong taste of G2 by the end of a long run. I don’t think I’ll have that problem with this one which will thus make me more inclined to drink and that, my friends, is a good thing.

Now, I also tried the lemon lime flavor at the regular sodium content on a much much shorter run. If you’re not a heavy or particularly salty sweater or you’re running an hour or less, this will work great for you. The sodium content in an 8oz serving is 125 mg. And compared to the G2 lemon lime (or regular Gatorade or Powerade), the flavor is more like water with a hint of lemon and lime. Whereas, G2 is much much more intense.


For starters, I was thrilled to try this drink as I had been virtually floating around recovery drink land since they reformulated the Slimfast meal replacement drinks to be less recovery drink and more diet friendly (which I suppose was the original intent anyway eh?) and the whole consumer report on Myoplex containing arsenic and cadmium (FYI: Myoplex’s response to that is here. You can draw your own conclusion). I tried a bunch of drinks and had unhappily settled on Gatorade’s G3 Pro Series. Unhappily mostly because those suckers are nearly $5 a drink. Um…I run a lot.

Can I just say, I totally love love love this Gu Recovery Brew. All I know about this stuff is it tastes TERRIFIC, compared to the other recovery drinks on the market I’ve tried AND I was not sore the day after a hard speed workout or the day after a 15 mile long run (although in all fairness, I did take an ice bath after the 15 mile run). I don’t know how it works and quite frankly, I don’t care. I’m just totally thrilled that it does and I don’t have to force myself to gag it down. I love it. (Did I say that already?) I tried both orange pineapple and strawberry watermelon and let’s just say I’ve already ordered a canister of each (and a canister of blueberry pomegranate electrolyte brew too btw).

Now, the Spazz is not exactly in agreement with me on this one, so let me make sure to give you the other side of the coin too.

marie The Spazz says:

Flavor Strawberry Watermelon
”Recovery Brew is a powdered drink with sugar, protein, and electrolytes to help replenish what was lost after a long run. The directions say to mix with 16 oz of water. I am not a big fan of large sugary drinks after a run. One serving contains 17g of sugar and only 8g of protein. I prefer more protein (like 16g) and lower sugar (like 3g or 4g) in a post work out drink. No use adding a bunch of calories back into your system after you just tried to burn them off.”


Now, I hear her argument and it’s a valid point. I’ve done a little more perusing and I can find some recovery drinks with less sugar and more protein. But I suppose I’m of the opposite school of thought, I’ve just worked my tail off and gosh darn it I deserve a recovery drink that doesn’t taste like chalk or garbage or chalky garbage for that matter

However, it should also be noted that the serving size for Gu’s recovery drink is about twice the size of some of the other ones on the market which might account for some of the difference in sugar. And I was shocked to see that the G3 Pro Series I’d been using has 46 g of sugar in a comparable serving. (So yeah, if you’re concerned about sugar, might want to forgo Gatorade’s recovery drink).

For more in depth information on Gu Recovery Brew and how it works, you can find the skinny here.

But that’s pretty much it for my Gu product reviews. If you missed any, you can click the Review button at the top of the page, I’m archiving them for future reference there.

I suppose all that’s left is for us to do now is a little Gu giveaway right? Hmmm…What will it be? What will it be? You’ll have to stick around a little bit longer to find out.

'Til next time...

P.S. My sister had a little bit of trouble getting her Gu Brew to mix up and I’ve read the same on a couple of other reviews. To avoid that problem, fill your water bottle only half way with room temperature water (not cold) and add the Brew. Shake it up until it dissolves, then finish adding the appropriate amount of water cold water. Shake again and VOILA! No chunks.


RunMom said...

Alright so major error on my part & of course my internet is down now and I can't fix it. (This is being written on my phone but will have to do for now). Correction: calorie count for an 8oz serving of gu electrolyte brew is 53.3 not 160. Sorry about that.

WannabeRunner said...

I just tried Gu Rocktane on my last long run because of your review and I love love loved it! For once something made for us salty and heavy sweaters! I'm a convert. Thanks for the great tip :D

Sin said...

Hi RunMom,
Like you, I'm comparing GU Brew with the current mix I'm using (Gatorade G Powder instead), which also has a serving size of 8oz. I happen upon your blog (while googling for the serving size of GU Brew), and find that your comparison has some error. If GU Brew has a serving size of 24oz, shouldn't you just divide the Nutrition amount by 3 to get it down to the same serving size as Gatorade? In which case, figures for Blueberry Pomegranate should read:
Calories: 33.333
Sodium: 163mg
Potassium: 13.333
What you seem to have done is divide the figures by 2, which will mean GU Brew has a serving size of 16oz.
So do you mix 2 scoops to 24oz or 16oz?

Sin said...

Hi RunMom,
Nevermind my earlier post now.
After search high and low, finally found the mix instruction at GU's UK site:
Your calculation is correct as I was basing figures on per serving size of 16oz. The new US site doesn't say much: