Thursday, November 23, 2017

Elivar - Prepare, Endure & Recover

If there’s one thing there’s no shortage of, it’s sports nutrition.  Everywhere you look there’s everything on offer from protein powders to (legal) performance enhancing (or so they claim!) supplements.  But what I hadn’t seen until recently was a sports nutrition range aimed purely at the MAMIL (well, actually the MAFIL as well, but that spoils the line…).

Elivar is a new name on the sports nutrition market, but it is making a niche for itself by targeting the ’35 plus’ market, where the Elivar founders believe that the nutritional needs are markedly different from athletes in their teens and twenties.

Elivar RecoverElivar was founded by Len Dunne and Donal Hanrahan, both international rowers in previous lives, now both enjoying endurance sports at an amateur level.  They felt that currently-available nutritional products did not reflect the needs of athletes in their mid-thirties and beyond.   Put simply, the Elivar products contain more of some things than you might find in other products (such as vitamins) and less of others (Elivar believes a 1:1 carb:protein ratio is more appropriate for ‘older’ athletes than the traditional 4:1 ratio).  It’s marketed as ‘tailored sports nutrition for the over 35s’.

As I’m coming up to finishing my first year as a ‘vet’ (I turned 40 in September, I know, I look great for my age…!), I was interested to see what all the fuss was about.  So I put Elivar’s three current products (more are in the pipeline, apparently) to the test.

Elivar Prepare

As the name suggests, Prepare is a pre-workout nutritional shake. But there’s a difference. It’s not so much a pre-exercise primer (you know the type that often has BCAAs, creatine, maybe caffeine) so much as a pre-exercise meal.  The guys at Elivar have realised that most of us aged 35+ aren’t full-time athletes and spend more time chained to the desk than we do taking care of our nutritional needs.  As such, Prepare is protein shake that’s essentially a meal replacement designed to ensure that you go into workouts ready to perform – think about that after-work run or cycle; when was the last time you took on board some good calories? If you’re anything like me, probably not since lunch…

So Prepare isn’t the type of product you take 15-20 minutes before a workout. Better I think to take it 45-90 minutes before.  In practice, the chocolate flavour tastes great (much less ‘artificial’ tasting than many protein shakes) and mixes well to give a fairly thick shake.  Taken at least 45 minutes before exercise, I had no issues with it repeating on me or causing GI distress even during harder sessions. It certainly seems to do the job in terms of getting you through sessions with enough in the tank.

Elivar prepare deliver 27g each of carbs and protein (per 65g serving) as well as a good dose of vitamins and minerals (inc Riboflavin) and finally a decent BCAA profile.

If you struggle to eat properly ahead of certain training sessions, Prepare could be a good product for you.

Elivar Endure

Elivar Endure is the in-training drink, with a decent 32g of carbs per 45g serving – a mix of fast and slow acting sugars.  The Endure product features a similar number of minerals, vitamins and BCAAs to the Prepare product (the profile is tailored to the product, however).  The biggest difference to most carb drinks is the inclusion of a small amount of protein (8g per 45g serving) – something Elivar believes will benefit us older athletes (some other endurance products from other manufacturers also contain protein, which is said to be beneficial in longer endurance events).

In practice, the Orange & Mango flavour mixes well and tastes pretty good – not too sweet but quite refreshing in the middle of a hard session. Don’t be surprised that the liquid isn’t totally clear, it has a slightly milky appearance (similar other products containing protein).  For fuelling longer sessions it works well, and also does a good job of staving off hunger pangs.

Elivar Recover

Recovery shakes are nothing new.  Most use a 4:1 or 3:1 carb to protein ratio, long thought of as the optimum ratio for athletic recovery.  Elivar disagrees and believes older athletes benefit from a 1:1 ratio, as the body needs more protein to assist the recovery process.  The protein comes from both whey and casein sources, providing both fast and slow-release proteins to help continued recovery following harder workouts.

And if you didn’t already stock up on vitamins and minerals with either the Prepare or Endure products, don’t worry. The Recover product also contains a pretty generous amount of these and BCAAs as well.

Taste-wise it’s the same story as the Prepare product, good taste and easy to mix – a treat at the end of a long run or hard bike, rather than a chore.

Having used Elivar Recover after some particularly hard sessions, I can honestly report that it does its job well. Despite lacking some of the more ‘fashionable’ ingredients of other recovery shakes (no Ribose or L-Glutamine for example), it does a good job of reducing muscle soreness and helped me feel ready for a morning session after a hard evening.

Summary

For some, the taste of Elivar products alone will be enough.  For others, the fact they actually work is a great bonus!  There are a few things I’d like to discuss with their product development guys (I still think they could maybe introduce an exercise-primer, for example) but for a new-to-market product I’m really impressed. 

And for an added bonus to a frequent flyer like me, you can get their products in sachets – ideal for luggage!  Elivar has become part of my ‘essentials’ kit for weekly business trips, I literally don’t leave home without it. 

At the time of writing, Elivar is offering UK residents a free trial sachet. Get yours here!