Review by Robert Johnston//@robert_johnston
Although there are times when I feel like anything but an athlete, it is important to remember that we are all partaking in a demanding and intensive sport when we take to the saddle for a day. To perform as best as possible, it is safe to say that a diet consisting primarily of beer and donuts may not serve you as well as some focused supplement products. Italian brand NAMEDSPORT (pronounced “Nam-ed”) is one of the companies who are taking nutrition seriously, with a range of products to cater for the specific needs of athletes before, during and after their chosen sporting activity.
NAMEDSPORT was born in Italy in 2014 when the founder Andrea Rosso formed a partnership with the leading Natural Medicine company in Italy. Their aim was to create products for sportspeople using the best raw materials & formulations available, to offer high performance whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Since then, they have established a huge following in their Italian home market and have begun to expand their reach to athletes around the globe. Their Superfood product range is touted to offer “a complete and balanced diet, a fundamental prerequisite for guaranteeing optimal athletic performance and all the necessary nutrients before, during and after sport, to optimize performance, ensuring a quick energy recovery and to promote well-being with targeted and high-quality products.”, but how would this help the average rider? Read on to find out.
The NAMEDSPORT>Superfood nutrition range is built upon a set of “essential values” that the Italian company considers most key: Passion for sport; Care for health and Respect for nature. Combining their sporting knowledge with science born in Natural Medicine has allowed them to produce their range to fall in line with their values. NAMEDSPORT ensures that all ingredients are sourced from certified and trusted suppliers and is very transparent about the sources on their website if you wish to do your own research. As you may expect from a company who supports some of the world’s fittest athletes, all the products are compliant with the regulations set out by sporting governing bodies, and batch testing is carried out should any issues arise with anti-doping agencies.
NAMEDSPORT’s UK distributors, Raleigh, sent us a selection of the range to put to the test, consisting of the HydraFit hypotonic drink; 4 Fuel Protector; Sport Gel pure energy formula and the 100% Whey Protein Shake. The combination of these 4 products offers nutrition for before, during and after sports, and should promote improved energy during the activity and recovery after.
HYDRAFIT – CITRUS FLAVOR HYPOTONIC AND ELECTROLYTE DRINK
NAMEDSPORT Hydrafit is a powder that you add to your water bottle for before and during a ride, that is designed to replace the mineral salts that the body loses during intensive exercise. One 20g serving dissolves in 500ml of water, offering 15g of fast burning carbohydrates, in addition to a plethora of vitamins and minerals that are designed to rebalance fluid-electrolyte levels. The dissolved solution is hypotonic in nature and claims to offer improved hydration than water alone, with Vitamin C, B6 and Magnesium combining to reduce fatigue and promote energy metabolism. The Magnesium and Potassium content should help to prevent the onset of muscle cramping, reducing the potential for a long day in the saddle being ruined. Hydrafit is only offered in the “Red orange” citrus flavor, in a 400g tub (providing 20 servings) with an RRP of £6.99, equating to £0.35 per serving.
4 FUEL PROTECTOR – ORANGE/CARROT/LEMON
The 4 Fuel Protector is a once-a-day supplement designed to boost the immune system of an athlete during intensive training periods. The supplement consists of a number of extravagant-sounding ingredients such as Astragalus and Echinacea, that have been used for centuries in natural medicine to provide health benefits. Further contributing to the health-boost are L-Glutamine from Kyowa Quality, Arginine and Ketoglutarate from Ornithine Alpha. A subtle orange, carrot and lemon flavoring ensures the 4 Fuel Protector sachets are easy to stomach. Each sachet contains a single portion to be mixed with 200ml of water, with a 14-sachet box retailing for £15 (£1.08 per serving).
100% WHEY PROTEIN SHAKE – MILK CHOCOLATE
As its name suggests, the NAMEDSPORT 100% Whey Protein Shake is a powder that offers 23g of protein per portion from highly filtered Whey protein. The 23g of protein (5g of BCAA’s) is accompanied by just 2g of carbohydrates in the 30g serving size, which is designed to be dissolved in 200ml of your chosen liquid and drank before and after training, up to three portions per day. The Protein and BCAA content should contribute to the repair of muscle tissue post-workout or activity, leading to improved recovery. The 100% Whey protein shake is available in 4 sweet flavors, including the Milk chocolate tested, and retails at £29.99 for the 900g pack (30 servings, £1 each).
SPORT GEL PURE ENERGY FORMULA – ORANGE
The Pure Energy Formula Sport Gel sachets contain a single serving of “multi-stage energy”, provided using multiple forms of carbohydrate that amount to 17g in total in an isotonic formulation. The use of multiple types of carbohydrate means the energy is delivered at different rates, giving a constant supply of fuel to the athlete without a “spike”, ideal for endurance-based sports. The gel is easy to consume with an inbuilt straw in the sachet and can be taken before or during exercise when additional energy is required. The Sport gels are offered in a variety of additional formulas and flavors to this Orange Pure Energy option, including with caffeine, and retail at £18.75 for a 15-pack (£1.25 per serving).
Although I am not at the pinnacle of fitness, I do tend to eat well and be quite aware of how my diet affects me both on and off the bike. This said, supplements do not tend to feature in my day-to-day life, aside from the occasional scoop of protein powder for the most active and punishing weeks for my body.
The NAMEDSPORT Superfood range is all packaged nicely, with a good resealable bag for the 100% Whey Protein and tub for the Hydrafit, and neat sachets/pouches for the 4 Fuel Protector and Sport Gel. Across the range, flavors are palatable and non-offensive, with a special praise to be given to the Sport Gel which ranks amongst the easiest-to-stomach that I have tried. Even when pocket-warmed on a hot first ride testing the gel – which really had me fearing the worst with my general dislike for typical energy gels – I was pleasantly surprised to consume the entirety of the gel in quick time. Unlike other gel packaging that can create quite the sticky mess, the inbuilt straw of the NAMEDSPORT gel leads to easy and mess-free consumption. The Hydrafit and 4 Fuel Protectors citrus flavors are neither too sweet nor bitter; are refreshing; and avoid any dry-mouth feeling after drinking – simply put they are pleasant to drink. The 100% Whey Protein is not too sickly-sweet, which had me surprised with its “Milk Chocolate” flavor moniker. It is still an artificial chocolate flavor, but not a thick and syrupy version of it, perfect for a sensitive stomach after a hard effort on the bike. The powders all dissolve well in their recommended ratios of powder and water, with only the 4 Fuel Protector requiring more than a gentle stir or shake to disperse properly.
I will refrain from talking about how well the 4 Fuel Protector does its job in terms of immune boosting during intense periods of training, since my regime is not quite at the levels that would strain an immune system. So, I can only speculate that, based on their claims, it could be a good addition to the morning routine of a serious athlete.
The Hydrafit powder joined me in my water bottle for numerous rides of varying lengths. When the supplement ran out mid-ride and I was left with water only, I was always sad not to be sipping on the Red Orange flavored drink anymore. By volume, there is a definite feeling of extra hydration being provided by the NAMEDSPORT drink when compared to straight water, which may be somewhat influenced by the feeling left in the mouth after drinking. Recently I have been almost entirely cramp free without thinking too much about consuming specific minerals and salts, so it is no surprise that through the testing period of the Hydrafit there was no cramping to be seen.
I have never been a fan of energy gels when out on the trail, with a preference for something that will keep my growling stomach at bay. However, in the name of testing, I gave the NAMEDSPORT Sport Gels a fair chance, and was surprised with the results. Where other gels I had tried in the past had left my stomach feeling less than happy, these gels were better, more akin to the feeling after taking a sip of juice. The energy boost provided was more immediate than a cereal bar, but thankfully did not feel like a last-ditch spike of energy that turned into an energy “crash” soon after.
For the 100% Whey Protein, I struggle to deduce the performance difference compared with other protein powders, as there are so many other factors to influence muscle growth and repair. The morning after a big ride, my legs were still sore, and I still do not look like Arnie. But given the ingredients and the ease of dissolving, I must assume it would do the job as good as any.
Pricing on the range of products is very much in line with the sports nutrition market, which can lead to a seemingly high price-tag on a ride for the average rider but could be a small price to pay for the support of hard training efforts that lead to improved performance, especially for a competitive athlete looking to gain an edge.
When a product is developed by a leading Natural Medicine company, you would always expect it to perform as advertised, and surely enough it would appear like this is the case. The NAMEDSPORT>Superfood range of products taste acceptably good for an energy product and dissolve and settle well in the stomach, which is about all you can ask for.