Friday, September 20, 2013

Fuelin' Up Friday: Island Boost

In one of my recent wanderings around the REI fuel section, I came across Island Boost.  I had never heard of it before, but both the flavors and the liquidy consistency were very interesting to me.  On top of that, it's made with coconut water, fruit juice, and nothing artificial, so I bought all 3 flavors.
When I got home, I visited the Island Boost website to learn a little more about the philosophy and science behind the product.  Here is what I learned:
This felt like my personal bio, minus all the savvy, entrepreneurial stuff. Source.

Island Boost contains only simple sugars (monosaccharides) which require little processing (i.e. digestion) by the body before it is able to use them.  Other fueling options use more complex sugars (polysaccharides) which require the body to digest them before they can be used, slowing down the absorption time.  The digestion process can be the source of GI problems for athletes.  Basically, blood pulled away from the digestive track during exercise limits digestion of fuel for many athletes.  In short, fuel that requires digestion can lead to GI issues like nausea, diarrhea, and my favorite, vomiting. For those of you who don't know me personally, I am a huge science nerd.  I was super pumped to find not only a clear and concise explanation of sugar types (including chemical formulas) and biochemical processing, but a company that was willing to discuss them.

Taste: It is sweet.  In fact it kind of caught me off guard at first it is so sweet.  I wasn't expecting it.  I like sweet things, so this isn't a big problem for me.  Just be ready when you try it.  It's sweet like a melted Popsicle kind of sweet.  I have tried the passion fruit, Blueberry-pomegranate, and strawberry-orange flavors.  I liked all of them, but I probably liked the passion fruit one a little more than the others, but that's very little.

Consistency: Very liquidy making it very easy to take down.  I'm not good at chewing while on the run and the longer my fuel sits in my mouth, the less I want to swallow it. The more liquid-like, the better in my opinion! Can be taken with no water, which is great if you are like me and don't want to have to wait for a water stop to fuel up.

During Run: Easy. Not something you hear me say about fueling very often.  As someone who has barfed in multiple states while running (there is a stat to make my mother proud), I was very relieved to find my stomach had no reaction. I have tried Island Boost on three separate runs now (one long run, in my recent Heroes Half Marathon, and a tempo run this week), and all three times I had no trouble opening or consuming it. I just took it in stride and kept on moving.  Giving my fueling history, I kept waiting for something to happen, but nothing did and I mean that in a good way.  No nausea, no tummy ache, and most happily, no barfing. I will say that the packets felt kind of big, so heads up, you may need to squirt-swallow-squirt-swallow to get it all down.

Post Run: No ill after affects.  I was able to eat and hydrate without any nausea.

Cost: $2.50 each.  Find it at REI or online

Summary:  Those of you who are regular readers know that fueling is by far my Achilles heel.  I've tried many different products, some of which I have really liked, but don't work for me while running.  I am excited to say that I think I may have found one that does and it is a huge relief.  Every time I have used Island Boost on the run, it has been effortless.  It feels good to be fueled!

Have you tried Island Boost? Do you find that the composition of your fuel challenge your digestive track?


  1. I've enjoyed IB as well. I love that I don't have to take it with water, as I typically drink very little during races. I had 1 before and 2 during my recent half marathon, and that was it. The taste is a bit strong at first, but it's a good flavor.

    1. I agree, not needing to take it with water is really handy! Hope your half went well!

  2. I haven't tried Island Boost but I have been very curious so thanks for the review, I don't do good with liquidy or very sweet so that answers those questions for me!

    1. Hope you find an option that works well for you! I find fueling to be such an individual thing, but luckily there are lots of options.

  3. This sounds like something I might have to try! Thanks for being the guinea pig!

    1. No problem! Definitely give it a shot. I'd love to hear if it works for you too!


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