The Hammer Nutrition Fuels: What They Are and How to Use Them

Edition 7, 2005
By Steve Born

Whether your workouts or races last an hour or two, or a week or two, Hammer Nutrition has the fuels your body craves. You can completely and perfectly fulfill your pre, during, and post-workout requirements from our line of fuels. However, with so many choices and combinations of choices, how do know which to choose?

This article describes our fuels in detail and tells you how to best use them. For ease of comparison and for systematically sorting out your needs, we divide our fuels into four categories: Energy Sources, Electrolytes, Protein Powders, and Recovery Drink

Calorie/Energy Sources

We have four products in this category. The first two listed—Hammer Gel and HEED—have carbs only as their energy source. Both are maltodextrin-based and contain no added simple sugars They are your best choices for events lasting up to two hours, especially when the pace is fast and intense (75-85% MHR). The next two on the list—Sustained Energy and Perpetuem—contain protein also and other components for fueling longer exercise sessions.

ALL-CARB FUELS

  1. Hammer Gel is our original fuel. An athletic mainstay for over 15 years, this is our most basic, and therefore our most versatile fuel, ideal for those who desire to carefully monitor and dispense each component of their fueling separately. You can use it as all or part of a pre-race meal, to stanch hunger immediately before an event, to provide all your energy needs for events up to about two hours, to supplement the protein-based fuels in longer events, and as part of your post-workout recovery nutrition. You can use Hammer Gel in your water bottle, in the Hammer Flask, in a one-serving pouch, or to flavor other products and foods. You can keep an extra pouch or flask in your pocket in case your planned fuel outlay in a race or training event comes up a bit short. Don’t leave home without it!
  2. HEED is our newest fuel, designed for those who want an all-in-one energy drink option. It contains a number of extras that offer you convenience when precision is less of an issue. HEED is ideal for those whose fueling needs do not entail the refinements or duration of our other products. Use HEED as your one-source fuel supply for lighter or shorter workouts, to add variety during ultra-long events, and in any situation that favors simplicity over precision and completeness.

COMPARING HAMMER GEL AND HEED

  • Hammer Gel is a concentrated complex carbohydrate gel with the consistency of thick syrup. HEED is a powdered sports drink mix.
  • Hammer Gel contains a small amount of the amino acids l-leucine, l-isoleucine, l-valine (known as the branched chained amino acids, or BCAAs), and l-alanine. BCAAs help prevent the cannibalizing of lean muscle tissue. L-alanine aids in carbohydrate metabolism. HEED does not contain any BCAAs or l-alanine.
  • HEED contains a full spectrum, amino acid-chelated electrolyte profile; two servings equal approximately 1.25 capsules of Endurolytes. Hammer Gel contains very small amounts of sodium chloride and potassium for digestive and preservative purposes.
  • HEED contains ChromeMate™ brand chromium polynicotinate for stabilizing blood glucose levels, and l-carnosine for lactic acid buffering. Hammer Gel does not have these.
  • HEED comes in two subtle citrus flavors: lemon lime and mandarin orange. Hammer Gel comes in eight flavors: orange, banana, chocolate, raspberry, vanilla, espresso, apple-cinnamon, and plain.

CARB/PROTEIN FUELS

  1. Sustained Energy is our time-tested standard fuel for extended exercise. As explained in other articles in this handbook, any exercise beyond about two hours requires a protein component in the fuel. Sustained Energy contains about 87% carbohydrates (almost all from maltodextrin and glucose polymers—no added simple sugars, of course), and about 13 % isolated soy protein (7:1 ratio), the ideal combination to use when rate of exercise is between 70-85% MHR in "sustained" efforts lasting anywhere from 3-12 hours.
  2. Perpetuem, a newer product, takes the concept of long-distance fueling to the max. We designed it primarily for extreme endurance events lasting about six hours to many days. Perpetuem contains 75% carbohydrates (from long-chain maltodextrins—no added simple sugars), 13% fatty acids from a specially made long-chain lyso-lecithin, and nearly 10% soy protein. A small portion of fat seems to cue your body to more liberally release its fatty acids stores, which account for up to 70% of one's energy requirements in long bouts of exercise. A little fat in the fuel also slightly slows the rate of digestion and thus promotes “caloric satisfaction,” another attractive plus during primarily aerobic ultra-long distance events. Perpetuem provides maximal benefits at an aerobic pace (under 70% MHR).

COMPARING SUSTAINED ENERGY AND PERPETUEM

  • Sustained Energy is a neutrally flavored powder. Perpetuem has an orange-vanilla "Dreamsicle" flavor.
  • Perpetuem contains lyso-lecithin fat, whereas Sustained Energy does not.
  • Perpetuem contains tribasic sodium phosphate, which is a tremendous lactic acid buffer. Sustained Energy does not contain this nutrient.
  • Both fuels contain l-carnosine (an antioxidant that also buffers lactic acid) l-carnitine (to promote fatty acid utilization), and chromium polynicotinate (to stabilize blood sugar level).
  • Perpetuem contains the new "XT" soy protein preparation, which, along with the sodium in tribasic sodium phosphate, provides a more complete mineral profile. The mineral content in a two-scoop serving of Perpetuem may allow you decrease your Endurolytes intake by one capsule per hour. Also, the “XT” soy protein contains higher isoflavone content, believed to have superb cardiovascular health benefits. Sustained Energy has soy protein and an excellent isoflavone content, but the strain used in Perpetuem has even more.

FUELING NOTES

  1. The above fuel selection guidelines are just that; they’re guidelines only, and what may be ideal for some athletes under specific conditions may not work for others in identical conditions. For example, though Perpetuem was designed for more aerobic paced, longer distance efforts, we receive positive reports daily from athletes who use Perpetuem in much shorter races.
  2. All Hammer Nutrition fuels are completely compatible with one another, so you can use them interchangeably as desired. This is especially beneficial in ultra-endurance events as it provides a greater variety of quality fuels to choose from. For example, you can use Perpetuem and/or Sustained Energy from start to finish, or you can occasionally switch to HEED and/or Hammer Gel to add variety. However, you should meet at least two-thirds of your fueling requirements from Perpetuem or Sustained Energy.
  3. When you use Hammer Gel and HEED for events longer than two hours, you do not need to start with them and then switch to Sustained Energy or Perpetuem. You can use Hammer Gel and/or HEED at any time during your workout. An extra flask of Hammer Gel in your pocket can save the day if you have already drained your Sustained Energy or Perpetuem mix and you begin to flag with several miles still to go. It will give you a quick pick-up just when you need it, even if it’s many hours into your event.

Electrolytes

Endurolytes: A full-spectrum, rapidly assimilated electrolyte supplement is as important to your fueling as the water you drink and the calories you eat. While the above four fuels provide the calories your body needs to make energy (the body’s “gasoline”), electrolytes can be thought of as the “motor oil” for the body, providing it with the essential minerals it needs to maintain the optimal performance of many important functions, such as muscular contraction.

Far too many athletes forget to replenish electrolytes consistently, or they mistake sodium or salt intake for true electrolyte replenishment. Sodium chloride (salt) is indeed an important component of electrolyte replenishment, but it does not fulfill the entire requirement. A satisfactory electrolyte replenishment product needs to include sodium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, and potassium as all these minerals play key roles in the maintenance of these important body functions. Endurolytes is that product, and you will search in vain to find another like it on the market.

Unlike calorie and fluid absorption and depletion rates, which remain fairly constant from athlete to athlete, electrolyte expenditure (and thus replenishment) varies tremendously. Body weight, level of fitness, weather conditions, acclimatization level, and biological predisposition all greatly affect electrolyte depletion and the need for replenishment. That’s why the hourly Endurolytes dose can range from 1-6 capsules an hour. That being said, a good starting dose to consider is:

  • Lighter weight athletes: 1-2 capsules/hour
  • Medium weight athletes: 2-3 capsules/hour
  • Larger athletes: 4-6 capsules/hour
  • Remember though, these are only suggested starting doses and the amount you need may be different, and may vary from hour to hour.

Protein Powders

You will not use these two products during your workouts, but as part of your pre-workout meals and post-workout recovery refueling. Hammer Nutrition offers two choices, each with its own set of benefits. Both products come in pure protein form; they are made from the finest quality preparations and have no added artificial flavorings or sweeteners.

  1. Hammer Soy is a great all-purpose, all-vegetable protein that has many health benefits. Believe it or not, most endurance athletes have woefully inadequate protein intakes from their daily diet. Soy protein, in addition to the health benefits it provides, is a concentrated protein source, which helps athletes to fulfill their daily protein requirements. Each scoop of Hammer Soy contains 25 grams of isolated soy protein and absolutely no GMO (genetically modified organism) soy protein.

    Note: Soy is the preferred protein for use during exercise, as it minimizes ammonia build-up. Sustained Energy and Perpeteum contain an adequate amount of soy protein for your needs during prolonged exercise. Hammer Soy is formulated for meal supplementation; it is far too concentrated for use during exercise.

  2. Hammer Whey is the standard for promoting rapid recovery. For the rebuilding of lean muscle tissue and optimal immune system functioning between workouts and races, whey protein has no peer. It is the most bioavailable form of protein with the highest amount of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) of any protein source. One scoop of Hammer Whey provides 18 grams of whey protein isolate. Each scoop also contains a huge six grams of glutamine, providing even more muscle rebuilding and immune system enhancing benefits.

COMPARING HAMMER WHEY AND HAMMER SOY

  • We believe you'll not find a better protein for recovery and immune system boosting than whey protein (Hammer Whey), and for cardiovascular/general health benefits it's hard to top soy protein (Hammer Soy). That doesn't mean using Hammer Soy for recovery purposes would be "wrong" or in any way harmful, or that Hammer Whey must be used solely for recovery (but we don’t recommend using it in the three hours prior to workouts or races).
  • Whey protein is arguably the most rapidly absorbed protein source. After exercise, you want the protein to get into your system immediately so your body can receive the amino acid support it urgently needs. Rapid assimilation is but one area where whey protein shines.
  • Whey protein has the highest BV (Biological Value, a rating system that ranks bioavailability) of any protein source.
  • Whey protein's amino acid profile (particularly the high amounts of BCAAs) is superb for preventing catabolism (lean muscle tissue breakdown) and thus reducing post-workout muscular soreness. The amino acids cysteine, methionine, and glutamine, also found in abundance in whey, increase endogenous levels of glutathione, which is arguably the strongest endogenous antioxidant and provides both immune system and liver support.
  • Soy protein is a purely vegan source that has an amino acid profile as complete as any animal protein.
  • Scientific research has established many connections between soy consumption and lower rates of certain cancers, notably breast, prostate, stomach, lung and colon.
  • Soy has more phenylalanine than whey. This may aid in maintaining alertness during extreme ultra-distance races.
  • Soy has higher amounts of histidine (half of the dipeptide carnosine), which provides both antioxidant and acid buffering benefits.
  • Soy protein has higher levels of aspartic acid, which plays an important role in energy production via the Krebs cycle.
  • Soy protein's isoflavone component may impart exceptional cardiovascular benefits.

Recovery Drink

Recoverite: The delicious all-in-one recovery drink with each serving (two scoops) providing 30 grams of complex carbohydrates, 10 grams of whey protein isolate, and three grams of glutamine. While the standard 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is certainly acceptable for recovery, a 3:1 ratio may be even more beneficial for hard training athletes. Also, while some companies may use monosaccharides and disaccharides (“simple sugars”) such as glucose, sucrose, or dextrose in their recovery drinks, due to their high glycemic index (GI) (and thus fast elevation of blood sugar), we use only complex carbohydrates (maltodextrin). Maltodextrin has a GI on a par with simple sugars (except fructose), so it too elevates blood sugar levels rapidly, with the added benefit of providing up to three times more calories compared to products containing simple sugars. This is vital for preventing stomach distress and also ensuring that your body quickly and efficiently obtains the full amount of calories it needs.

Usage Suggestions

HAMMER GEL

Suggested Doses by Body Weight*:

  • Up to 120 pounds: 2 servings/hour
  • 120-155 pounds: 2.5 servings/hour
  • 155-190 pounds: 3 servings/hour
  • 190+ pounds: 3 to 3.5 servings/hour

Usage Suggestions and Notes:

  • Hammer Gel may be used as your sole energy source during workouts and races up to two hours. When training sessions or races go longer than that select either Perpetuem or Sustained Energy as your primary fuel.
  • Hammer Gel is perfectly compatible with all Hammer Nutrition fuels, so during ultra distance events, while Hammer Gel cannot be your sole source of calories, you can use it occasionally to provide a little variety.
  • To make a super high quality, easily digested, and great tasting recovery drink, mix 2-3 servings of Hammer Gel with 1-1.5 scoops of Hammer Whey in 6-8 ounces of cold water.

HEED

Suggested Doses by Body Weight*:

  • Up to 120 pounds: 1 to 1.5 scoops/hour
  • 120-155 pounds: 2 to 2.5 scoops/hour
  • 155-190 pounds: 2.5 to 2.75 scoops/hour
  • 190+ pounds: 3 scoops/hour

Usage Suggestions and Notes:

  • HEED may be used as the sole source of calories during workouts and races up to two hours. When training sessions or races go longer than that, select either Perpetuem or Sustained Energy as your primary fuel source.
  • HEED is perfectly compatible with all Hammer Nutrition fuels, so during ultra distance events, while it cannot be your sole source of calories, you can use it occasionally to provide a little variety.
  • Two scoops of HEED contain electrolytes equivalent to approximately 1.25 Endurolytes capsules. For many athletes, one or two scoops of HEED will completely fulfill electrolyte requirements; others may need to consume additional Endurolytes during training sessions and races.
  • To make a super high quality, easily digested, and great tasting recovery drink, mix 2-3 scoops of HEED with 1-1.5 scoops of Hammer Whey in 12-16 ounces of cold water.

SUSTAINED ENERGY

Suggested Doses by Body Weight*:

  • Up to 120 pounds: 1.5 scoops/hour
  • 120-155 pounds: 1.75 - 2 scoops/hour
  • 155-190 pounds: 2.25 - 2.5 scoops/hour
  • 190+ pounds: 2.5 – 3 scoops/hour

NOTE: See mixing options below

PERPETUEM

Suggested Doses by Body Weight*:

  • Up to 120 pounds: 1 scoop/hour
  • 120-155 pounds: 1 – 1.5 scoops/hour
  • 155-190 pounds: 2 scoops/hour
  • 190+ pounds: 2.25 – 2.5 scoops/hour

NOTE: See mixing options below

Sustained Energy/Perpetuem Mixing Options

You can mix and consume Sustained Energy or Perpetuem three different ways depending on individual preference and logistical concerns. Please experiment with the following options to determine which works best for you.

  1. The One-Hour Bottle: This method works best in training or racing situations where you have a support crew and vehicle. They can keep your mixed bottles chilled and prepare fresh bottles of fuel along the way. If you’re without a support crew but still want to use this option for mixing, keep in mind that it’s obviously less convenient, as you’ll have to stop more frequently to mix your fuel drink. Also, because you are trying to fulfill both hydration and caloric requirements from one source, you have limited ability to adjust one without affecting the other. Either way, with or without a support crew, to make the one-hour bottle, mix the suggested number of scoops of Sustained Energy or Perpetuem for your bodyweight in a small (20 ounces) or large (24-28 ounces) water bottle. Consume one bottle hourly.
  2. The Multi-Hour Bottle: This is by far the most convenient method of fueling because it allows you to be self-contained for many hours, requiring only additional plain water along the way. The only limitation is how many scoops you can fit into a bottle. Determine your proper hourly intake in scoops by experimenting with the numbers from the dosage chart above. Let’s say you’ve determined through testing that 2 scoops of Perpetuem per hour is your ideal caloric intake. You need a 4-hour fuel supply. Mix eight scoops (2 scoops x 4 hours) in a large bottle with as much water as will fit in. You may need to add a few scoops at a time to get it all to mix well. You then “nurse” this bottle, taking small sips every 15-20 minutes. In this concentration, the water in the mixed bottle does not contribute more than a couple of ounces to your hourly fluid intake needs. To meet your fluid requirements, you carry a second and possibly even a third bottle of plain water, or use a hydration system, or know where you can refill along your route. Drink according to the temperature/humidity and your exertion level so that you consume in the range of 20-25 ounces of plain water per hour. This way, as long as you can obtain water along the way, you’re set for hours of hard training.
  3. Gel or Paste: If you want to carry the highest volume of calories in the least amount of space, this is your best option. Sustained Energy or Perpetuem can be made into a super-concentrated, near paste-like consistency and dispensed from a Hammer Gel flask. Using a blender or bowl and spoon, mix scoops of powder with a small amount of water, gradually adding water as necessary to create the consistency desired. Remember that the heavier and more concentrated Perpetuem is mixed, the sweeter and stronger the flavor will become. Depending on how many scoops per hour you have determined you require, and based on how concentrated the mix is, each flask of Sustained Energy or Perpetuem can supply you with 2-4 hours of fuel. As with the multi-hour bottle, you must carry additional bottles of plain water or use a hydration system to meet your fluid requirements. Drink from them according to the temperature so that you are consuming amounts in the range of 20-25 ounces of plain water per hour, depending on the severity of the heat. As long as you have a water supply, you can go, go, go.

Post-Workout Fueling

Recovery begins as soon as the workout ends. The sooner you refill the tank, the quicker your recovery and the better prepped your body will be for the next workout. In other words, how well you recover today greatly determines how well you perform tomorrow. To put the finishing touches on your workouts, and to get the full value out of every sweaty minute of your training, make sure you consume adequate amounts of high quality and easily digested carbohydrates and protein as soon as possible after each of your training sessions. For more detailed information on the importance of post-workout fueling, please refer to the ÒSuperior RecoveryÓ article.individual preference and logistical concerns. Please experiment with the following options to determine which works best for you.

SUGGESTED RECOVERY FORMULAS**:

  1. 1 to 3 servings (2-6 scoops) Recoverite in 8-16 ounces (or more, if desired) of cold water is the most convenient way to refuel, providing 30-90 grams of complex carbohydrates, 10-30 grams of whey protein isolate, plus ample amounts of glutamine.
  2. 1 to 1.5 scoops Hammer Whey plus 3-4 servings of your favorite flavor of Hammer Gel in 6-8 ounces of cold water. You can, of course, use more water than the 6-8 ounces suggested. However, both the Hammer Whey and Hammer Gel components will all mix quite easily in very little water, which may be desirable if you donÕt want to eat or drink much after a hard workout.
  3. 1 to 1.5 scoops Hammer Whey and 2-3 scoops of Sustained Energy in 12-24 ounces orange juice.

*These are estimated doses. Each athlete should determine in training, under a variety of conditions, their personal optimum.

**Body size and length and intensity of the workout determine the amount you need. Obviously, a 110-pound athlete requires far less after an easy two-hour run than a 180-pounder who just crunched an Ironman-length event. You will need to find the right combinations and amounts to best service your own body.


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Steve Born is a technical advisor for Hammer Nutrition with over a decade of involvement in the health food industry. He has worked with hundreds of athletes—ranging from the recreational athlete to world-class professional athlete—regarding their supplement/fueling program. Steve is a three-time Race Across America finisher, the 1994 Furnace Creek 508 Champion, 1999 runner-up, the only cyclist in history to complete a Double Furnace Creek 508, and is the holder of two Ultra Marathon Cycling records. In February 2004 Steve was inducted into the Ultra Marathon Cycling Hall of Fame.

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