When I was at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in Boulder, Colorado back in June one item that I learned that really piqued my interest was to host a meetup of friends, family and other athletes from the area to test products out and try to put together a review for the companies. Of course, in order to make this happen you have to check the schedule of those you want to invite, check your schedule for training, and make sure that your wife is ok with having strangers come over (but not necessarily in that order.)
After getting approval from Karen I emailed a few of the companies that I have had direct contact with along with two PR firms (Jen and Julia of Fresh Ideas Group and Scott of Outside PR) to see if they had companies that were willing to send me products to hand out and have people comment on. Every company was more than happy to send me items and from the moment I got my final response the UPS / FedEx guy and I became pals. Almost daily another package showed up at my doorstep and it was amazing. I never imagined this many boxes in my house where I wasn’t moving (still haven’t sold house by the way) or trying to pack away Christmas decorations.
I am going to do my best to recap everything for you, but let me just say that it was a great time hanging out with like minded folks who took a real interest in all the products and items that were on the table for them to test and take home.
The lineup of products included the following:
GU Energy gels and electrolyte tabs
- Hyrdrpak Gel Bots, Flasks and water bottles
- Ryders Eyewear
- Road ID jerseys
- Salba Seeds, Tortilla Chips and Salsas
- Recharge Juice Drinks
- Marathon Bars
- Herbalife Shakes and Protein Bars
- Bondi Bands
- Tri-Clips transition mat, clip set, tyvek seat cover
- My Fit Foods turkey and rice with asparagus lunch
Here is the crazy thing about Salba and the products we received: The salsas were better than the tortilla chips and each salsa was better than the last. We were able to sample Mild, Medium and Hot. I love my food spicy but wanted to see what they thought was mild. I tested it out and it was bland for my taste buds but it was good. There were chunks of tomato in there and this time you could actually taste the salba seeds. The medium seemed to reflect the same taste as the mild with no discernible difference. Then I got to the hot and while it did not make my eyes water or nose run it was the best of the three. I would say the hot is more of a medium salsa but the flavors all melded together nicely.
I cannot wait to make a jar of overnight oats and put salba seeds instead of chia seeds to see if there is any difference in taste and texture. After that we will be putting salba seeds on my daily nut butter and jelly sandwich to get that little bit of extra texture.
Recharge: This is an all natural and organic juice drink made by the R.W. Knudsen Family Company. Let me just say that they are generous as I received 5 boxes of their product. I was able to handout all of their flavors which include: grape, green apple, lemon, mixed berry, orange, organic lemon, tropical while sampling the grape and orange. Karen has been drinking the tropical.
My first action was to look at the nutrition facts because it is labeled as hydration for all out performance. To me that means that it has all the calories and electrolytes I need to get me through a bike stage in a Half-Ironman or Ironman race. This product falls short there as there are only 70 calories, 18g of Carbohydrates and 25mg of Sodium in the drink, but where it does excel is in the flavor department and all natural ingredients.
I was immediately taken back to my childhood when I tasted the grape and orange. The flavors were in fact that of a juice drink and the ingredients prove it: Ingredients: Filtered Water, White Grape and Apple Juice Concentrates, Herbal Tea (Water, Hibiscus Tea), Natural Flavors, Natural Orange Extract, Sea Salt.
I would not use this product to replace the Prolong or EFS Liquid Shot but if you are a Gatorade G2 drinker then I would drink Recharge instead as it has the same calorie count and similar carbs but this is natural where G2 is not.
My Fit Foods: I cannot make any claims to the taste of the food but I can tell you that my kitchen smelled as if I just cooked (laugh with me here!) In all honesty the food was consumed by the bowl full and after every time somebody put a fork in their mouth they exclaimed how tasty it was. I have been to My Fit Foods before I became a vegetarian and I can say that there food is excellent. It is prepared that day in a designated kitchen and in a container that you just pick out of the refrigerated container and heat up when you get home.
There are a couple of items sold at My Fit Foods that had the pleasure of sampling while at the CapTexTri Expo. The products were the Perfect Fit Cookie and the Boundless Nutrition Energy Bars. You can find more information on both [HERE] but I can say that the cookies never stood a chance and the bars are moist and tasty.
I still have not had the chance to try the HydraPak gear as of yet, but will do a review of the product line as I use each item. I don’t think you need a review of HoneyMilk from me as my love of the product is evident in my tweets, posts on Facebook and pictures and words on this blog. There was almost a riot over the Road ID jerseys and Ryders eyewear but I think everybody came away unscathed. There were two varieties of the sunglasses and both looked really cool and Karen looks great in one of the pair that we delivered to us. The GU Energy gels and electrolyte tabs do not need a review but the flavor of the chocolate raspberry was outstanding as a new flavor for me. The ladies loved the Bondi Bands and if I had hair I probably would too. As for Tri-Clips I had a hard time giving their items away but I already own the clips, the seat cover and have a transition mat so I painfully let them go and each person that received one of the items was very happy.
The Marathon bars that we had to share were very good and reminded me quite a bit of the PowerBar Harvest Bars I had been using. If you use PowerBar then try to switch it up and use the Marathon bars and determine for yourself which you like better. As for Herbalife, you all know my feelings about their products.
I would like to thank all the companies that mailed me products to test out along with sending thanks to all those that attended. I had a great time, hope you did to and I look forward to hosting another event in the near future.