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Co-Founder and Sports Nutritionist Huw Stradling has overseen the development of Active Root. His studies produced evidence on the benefits of ginger in reducing gastrointestinal disturbances during exercise. The study at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh has since been peer reviewed and can be viewed here. He also has experience working with top level sports teams across the UK and in the military.
Below Huw discusses WHY, WHEN and HOW you might use Active Root in your training or racing.
At Active Root, our focus is on making natural, delicious & stomach settling sports nutrition. Below you can read about the 3 key components of Balance, Fuel and Hydrate, in Active Root products that will help your performance and explain why you might use Active Root.
How does Active Root ginger make you feel better during exercise?
Ginger contains a compound called gingerol which is a relative of the compounds found in chilli peppers and tumeric. It has been suggested gingerol can contribute to soothing the stomach by relaxing the muscles in the gut, so that stomach contents are released into the small intestine. It may also have a calming effect, so it helps get rid of excess gas, and as a result reduces bloating and stomach discomfort. The ginger that Active Root uses has been specially selected because of its high gingerol ratio.
All Active Root drinks contain 204mg of ginger root extract per serving, equivalent of 4g of raw ginger. Our Gel Mix contain 102mg (2g raw equivalent) per serving. Depending on exertion levels we recommend drinking one 500-750ml bottle of Active Root drink per hour and up to 3 servings of Gel Mix.
Many peer reviewed scientific studies have suggested this range of ginger dosage may help alleviate stomach discomfort and contribute to normal gut function.
Why does ginger help me perform better?
The ginger in Active Root can help contribute towards a settled stomach and prevent bloating. Studies have shown that up to 90% of athletes experience some form of gastric discomfort during exercise, whether it’s pre-race nerves before, feeling sick during the event or bloating afterwards. (De Oliveira & Jeukendrup, 2013).
How much fuel do you need?
The body needs 80-90g of carbohydrate per hour during high intensity exercise. The body’s ability to process depends on the type of carbohydrate and how it is absorbed. For example, the small intestine can only absorb 60g of glucose per hour. So, if your fuel source only contains glucose, you will only process 2/3 of the recommended hourly amount. Sugars such as maltodextrin and glucose also have a high glycemic index and are more likely to cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
How is Active Root Fuel Better?
All Active Root products use high quality unbleached natural cane sugar as the main fuel source. Unbleached cane sugar is a natural dissacharide which is made up of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Because it is a mix of two types of sugars with differing methods of absorption, it is easier for the small intestine to absorb the maximum amount of fuel needed for the body to function.
It has has a lower glycemic index than pure glucose or maltodextrin and is comparable to bananas and dates. This helps deliver steadier fuel delivery with fewer peaks and troughs in your blood sugar levels.
Regular Active Root Sports Drink contains 33g of cane sugar per 500ml drink. Active Root Electrolite contains 9g per 500ml drink and Gel Mix 24g per 37.5ml serving.
How does Active Root help hydration?
When the body is dehydrated, electrolyte levels become unbalanced leading to reduced performance. Becoming dehydrated not only means that you have a greater chance of being hampered by cramping, queasiness and heat stroke. Your physical performance will deteriorate also as the decreased blood volume can lead to reduced cardiac output and muscle contraction. It's actually far more common for performance to become inhibited by dehydration than a lack of fuel.
How does Active Root keep you optimally hydrated?
All Active Root hydration products contain natural sea salt which contributes to rehydration. As Active Root’s sea salt is naturally occurring and unrefined, it retains all the essential natural minerals from the sea including magnesium and potassium. These minerals contribute to re-hydrating the body more efficiently during exercise.
There are three different type of Active Root product - Sports Drinks, Gel Mix & ElectroLite that all deliver stomach settling ginger, but vary in the amounts of fuel and hydration they provide. So when should you use these and how might you create a training or racing nutrition plan using just Active Root products? Below you'll find the details of what each of our product ranges contain as well as information on how you might create a race or training nutrition strategy using Active Root products.
|32g||400mg||204mg||500-750ml bottle or 150 soft flask|
|24g||80mg||204mg||150ml soft flask|
The best place to start is the actual functionality of each product i.e. what it's going to do to help you perform and keep you going. The functionality of sports nutrition is usually divided into 'Fuel' and 'Hydration' and with Active Root we also have 'Balance' i.e. how much is the product going to settle your stomach.
Let's start with the ingredient most pertinent to Active Root as it's the easiest to digest... It's simple, all our products contain 204mg of ginger per serving, the proven optimal amount to keep your stomach settled and help prevent nausea and bloating.
When working at a steady intensity, you need about 60g of carbohydrate per hour to keep fuelled. Both our Sports Drink and Gel Mix contain about 50% of this per serving, whereas Active Root ElectroLite only contains about 1/8. A lot of athletes work backwards from the 60g of carbs p/hour mark to work out what they should be taking in. In the case of Active Root that would mean: 1) 1x Gel Mix serving & 1x Sports Drink serving; 2) 2x Gel Mix servings and 1x ElectroLite serving or 3) 2x Sports Drinks servings, to get you to the 60g p/hour mark.
Hydration is probably the most difficult element to measure as there's very little evidence as to 'how much' you need per hour. Both our Sports Drink and ElectroLite have 400mg of sea salt p/serving, in line with industry standard for rehydration products. Without any reliable evidence it's hard to be exact, but we'd provide two bits of advice. Even if it's not hot, you're going to sweat so make sure some form of hydration is part of your plan (take more than you expect to need), especially if you're going to be out for a long time. And, like fueling, try to drink little and often.
After working out what you need, the next thing is to think about how and whether it's going to be possible to take it with you. For instance, if you're running the London Marathon in April, you aren't going to be able to rely upon 6x 500ml Active Root bottles. You'd probably think about taking one bottle and a couple of 150ml gel soft flasks. If you're riding a tour however, you'll probably have 2x bottle cages and a couple of pockets for soft flask in your cycle jersey as well as plenty of space on the handle bars.
The golden rule when it comes to nutrition is 'try before race day', multiple times if you can. The last thing you want is to hate the taste of the fuel that you're going to be using for the next 3 hours, or not be able to get your soft flask out of your waist belt without stopping and taking it off! We hope this goes some way in explaining how you could create an Active Root nutrition plan. We've attached some recent examples from our own racing/training below as well as a guide to using Before/During or After on the right. As always, if you have any questions please get in touch here at email@example.com
- 3x Gel Mix servings in 150ml soft flask
- 1x ElectroLite serving in 350ml soft flast
- (Post Run) 1x bottle of Sports Drink (Green Tea)
- 2x 500ml bottles of Sports Drink (Original and Peppermint)
- 6x Gel Mix servings in 2x 150ml soft flasks
- 1x 500ml bottle of Sports Drink (Original)
- (Post session) 1x bottle of ElectroLite
I love this stuff, and no longer use any other energy drink product. I use it on my long training runs and during ultra-marathon races. It tastes great and I have never had any stomach problems when using it. Can't ask for more.
I have been using this product for 18 months, and I find it fantastic. I use it on sportives and triathlons and it is much easier to drink on the bike than other brands. I will continue to use this product through my training to do my first Ironman in Wales in September.
Great product, mixes easily. Easy on the stomach and tastes great. Will be buying again.
As an ultra runner, I have been on a mission to find sustenance that I can tolerate for hours at a time. I used Active Root at a recent British 100 km Championship and I never got fed up of the taste, I never bonked, I felt there was a steady stream of energy throughout the race.
Robert - Ultra Runner
While using Active Root I have never felt the weakness set in when using just water, or nausea that can come from overly sweet sports drinks.
Riding long distances can be really testing for the digestive system. I have found that Active Root really calms my stomach helping me to maintain an appetite. The spice makes it great on the palette too and a refreshing change from the sweet drinks and snacks so often consumed when exercising. It has now become a integral part of my routine.