Fitletic (iFitness) 16 oz Hydration Belt Review

First and foremost, Happy THORsday, everyone!

Photo May 08, 7 09 49 PM

I hope you’re all enjoying your week.  We are having some delightful, sunny, warm weather here in the good ole’ 802, and I have been loving it.  My morning and evening rides to and from work have been beautiful.

Now before we get down to the review, I want to remind everyone that Princess Lisa, Kimberly and I are hosting a #Chewsday  healthy eating challenge for the month of June.  We are each other’s Accountabilibuddies, and we’re posting our eats and struggles on Twitter using the hashtag #Chewsday.  If you feel like joining in the fun, come find us at @PrincessRunners, @RaeisaDarlin or @Vixen1267.  Hopefully, we can all help each other out.  I know I personally have been making much better choices already because I know that they’re going to see whatever I post.  Accountability for the win!

And now, the actual post for the day…

As always, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.  I was not asked to review this item and I was not compensated in any way for writing this review.

Hydration Belt

I’ve never tried any other hydration belts, so I don’t have anything to compare to.  I bought this based on Amazon reviews.  I was originally looking at the Ultimate Race belt, but since the race belt by itself was almost $30 and each of the add-on water bottles was another $13, it only made sense to buy something where they all came together.

The Fitletic/iFitness 16 oz hydration belt is what I ended up with, to the tune of about $43.  The belt has 2 built in bottle holsters, with 2, 8 oz, BPA-free, dishwasher safe sport bottles.  There is a neoprene pouch between them that has a little divider to keep keys/credit cards/ID separate from your phone.  There are also toggles that are supposed to hold your race bibs so you don’t have to pin them to your shirt.  I’ve used this on 4 or 5 long runs, and will most likely use it for my half at the end of the month.

Pros:

  • So far, 16 oz of liquid has been plenty for my long runs.  I fill one bottle with Nuun and one with plain water
  • The bottles are easy enough to get out of the holsters, but don’t slip around while running
  • The belt stays in place–no bouncing or jiggling.  Most of the time I forget it’s even there.  I do wear it around my hips rather than on my waist, which may make a difference for some people.
  • I have not had an issue with the bottles leaking.  The sport tops don’t technically have a stopper–they’re open at the top all the time.  I actually took the belt off and tossed it on the floor after my first use, and about 20 minutes later when I came to my senses (8 mile runs turn me into a brainless lump) I ran over expecting a puddle on the floor.  There wasn’t one.  Score!

Cons:

  • The main problem is that the pouch simply isn’t big enough.  It barely fits both phone and fuel.  Cramming both in there makes it impossible to access one without removing the other, and I always have to either stop or slow down when I’m rummaging around in there.  There is an add-on phone pouch available, but that’s another $20, which would bring the total cost for the belt up to $60.  I’m probably just going to buy a separate arm band that I can use by itself on shorter runs, and use with the belt on longer runs.
  • I wish the pouch didn’t open in the middle.  It just seems like a really strange design choice.  Every time I open it, I’m worried that the contents will spill out.  I think it would make more sense for the zipper to be on top of the pouch.
  • I’m not sure that the bib toggles are all that useful.  I wear this belt down around my hips, which means that my bib would end up down in front of my legs.  I suppose if you wore the belt at your natural waist, you wouldn’t have this issue.
  • The pouch is not waterproof.  This isn’t a huge issue, because a ziploc baggie does the trick, but it would be a nice feature.

Overall, I would say I’m satisfied with this hydration belt.  It’s certainly not ideal, but for the price, I’ll continue using it for a while.  If I decided to do more, longer races (which at this point is very likely), I may decide to try something else.  I just hate spending a bunch of money on something and not having it work out, so I’ll probably just make it work for a while.

Do you use a hydration belt on long runs, or do you use a handheld bottle, or another option?

Fuel Review: Sport Beans

Happy Tuesday, all!  In case you missed my first Fuel Review post, I’m planning to do a series on various long run nutrition options I’ve tried leading up to my half marathon.  Eating while racing can be tricky for many runners, and since I’m a beginner, I really wanted to be cautious and make sure that when I cross the starting line in June, I have fuel that will energize me but not cause me to puke.

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Click for Source

This week’s fuel of choice was Jelly Belly Sports Beans.  I chose the “Berry” flavor.

What Are They?

Basically, they’re jelly beans.  They look like jelly beans, and taste like jelly beans.  But they also contain carbohydrates, electrolytes, and vitamins B and C.

From the Sport Beans website:

  • Carbohydrates to fuel your body during intense activity
  • Electrolytes (sodium and potassium) vital for maintaining fluid balance
  • Vitamins B1, B2, & B3 to help burn carbohydrates and fat
  • Vitamin C to protect muscles and cells against oxidative damage

The directions say you should fuel up with Sport Beans 30 minutes prior to exercise, and then as needed during exercise.  I ate half the package at about 4 miles into my 9 mile run, and the rest at about 6 miles in.  Once again, I was at locations in my run where I was close to various bathroom options in case I had GI issues.

Pros:

  • The Berry flavor tastes awesome
  • They gave me a noticeable energy boost, though not as good as the GU (which contained caffeine)
  • Resealable, easy-to-open package
  • No noticeable GI side-effects

Cons:

  • Holding onto a handful of jelly beans while trying to eat them and run is hard
  • Pretty difficult to chew and swallow while running

I would definitely use Sport Beans again.  It’s awesome that they didn’t mess with my stomach at all, and the excellent flavor is a huge bonus, although I do wish they had a little caffeine in them for an extra boost.

Have you ever tried Sport Beans?  What flavor is your favorite?

 

Fuel Review: GU

Photo Apr 25, 5 13 21 PMLast week while I was out our local “outdoor” store, Outdoor Gear Exchange, I picked up a few different items to help power me through the longer mileage I’ve got coming up.  I grabbed some Nuun, Clif Shot Bloks, Sport Beans and GU (not pictured because I totally forgot I bought it!).  They were actually having a buy 5 get 10% off deal, hence the 2 different flavors of Blocks.  I intend to give a brief review of each as I use them, and I decided to start with GU.  Stayed tuned for upcoming Fuel Review posts.

What is It?

According to the company’s website, GU contains Carbohydrates, Electrolytes, Amino Acids and Caffeine, to provide optimal nutrition for athletes, allowing them to go longer and faster.  Directions for usage are to consume 15 minutes before a workout, and every 45 minutes during the workout.

I have actually used (that is to say, eaten) GU before.  My friend Krissy and I used to roller-blade from her house in South Burlington all the way to North beach in the North End of Burlington.  I just measured it today using Map My Run, and it was actually about 7.5 miles!  We would always stop at the Ski Rack downtown to ogle the fancy new roller blades and buy chocolate flavored GUs, cause they were kind of like chocolate fudge.  We didn’t really use them for “fuel,” although knowing now that our route was almost 8 miles, it’s actually probably good that we ate them!  I haven’t had any since about, oh, 10th grade, but I’ve always had a soft spot for GU.

My long run on Sunday was 8 miles, the longest distance I’ve ever attempted.  I ate my GU at approximately the halfway mark, which was about 45 minutes into what was an hour and a half long run.  I also chose this point in my run because I was strategically near grocery stores with public restrooms, my office, and my friends’ apartment, in case something went terribly wrong in the GI department.

I ate it somewhat slowly, over the course of about 1/4 mile, and sipped lots of water along with it.  I think it helped that as I was finishing, I got stopped at a long light waiting to cross a busy intersection, so I had a minute to drink some water and get it all down.

Pros:

  • The package was extremely easy to open, even when my hands were wet from the rain.  The GU also dispensed really easily
  • Easy to eat; no chewing required
  • The Vanilla Bean flavor was OK.  Certainly not stellar, but it didn’t make me gag
  • About 10 minutes after I finished eating it, I noticed a definite “second wind.”  My legs didn’t feel as heavy, and my breathing, which had been pretty ragged, evened out a lot

Cons:

  • For the first couple of minutes after I finished the GU, I kept feeling like I had to burp, but if I tried to burp it felt like I might throw up.  The feeling passed pretty quickly, but it was still unsettling

I might consider using GU again, but I’m definitely going to wait and try all of the various options I purchased before buying more GU.  Hopefully I can find something that doesn’t give me any pukey feelings.  I also used Nuun on this run, but it’s hard to say how effective it was.  I intend to use it a few more times before reviewing.

Have you ever tried GU?

What’s your favorite long run fuel?

*As with all of my reviews, all opinions expressed are my own.  I was not asked to write this review and I was not compensated in any way for reviewing this product.*