Little Balls of Go Faster Food – A Review

All comments in this review are mine alone, without any influence from the product supplier/manufacturer.

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Kate’s story, “Back in 2000, Kate radically altered her family’s diet to help her husband, Mark, who was struggling in his training for the New York Marathon. Mark’s performance was totally transformed! Kate didn’t last long playing the dutiful wife to the heroic marathon runner. She decided to run a marathon herself. And the rest is history!”. Not only did she take her nutritional knowledge and apply it to her husband, she subsequently “guinea pig’d” herself and enjoyed personal success; not content with that though, “Her best-selling recipe books and education programme are used by Olympians, Great Run, 220 Triathlon and the GB Youth Winter Olympic Development Squad.” – What better endorsement is there?

With thanks to HelsBels at  “HelBels – Running & Fitness Blog“…. I was given the opportunity to review “Kate Percy’s Go Faster Food“. As with previous nutritional reviews, this too is ‘all natural’; indeed, I am unlikely to review products that aren’t.

So it was with high hopes and expectation that I opened a neatly packaged box of 3 types of “Go Faster Bites” and the book, “Go Faster Food for the Active Family“. I’ve broken up the review below in to the “Bites” and the Book.

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The Bites

Contents. The Go Faster Bites are a cold-pressed fruit product, similar to others on the market, but have been specifically tailored to suit pre / during / post exercise. Not only that but rather innovatively they have been delivered in 3 mini-mouthful-sized balls; you don’t have to eat a whole bar in one go! Gluten-free (key in my house), dairy free, and with no refined sugar. The contents are all natural and are as inflammation-free as I think it’s possible to be.

Boost. Date, Raisins, Coconut, Gluten Free Oats, Coconut Oil. Higher in fruit sugars and starchy oats, these little balls of energy are designed to give you a literal sugar boost right in time for an intense workout, or to kickstart and endurance event.

Refuel. Sultanas, Dates, Apricots, Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds, Linseed, Oats, Honey. Delivering a slower-release carb inject, these are tailor-made for “on the go”, to keep you going throughout endurance events, or in between competitive events such as CrossFit comps, 7s Rugby events, 5-a-side comps, etc.

Repair. Dates, Raisins, Roast Hazelnuts, Dark Chocolate. Some fruity carbs, a dollop of protein, a little chocolate, -ideal to recover from any event.

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Quality. One thing I noticed from the outset was the high quality ‘processing’ of these balls. All too often with similar products, I’ve come across small pieces of pit or a fruit stone; I think you just come to accept it – however, when you dive in to a cold lake for a long-distance swim, only THEN to discover a sharp fragment wedged in your teeth, it really does wind you up! So far, nothing of the sort with these little beauties. Smooooooth throughout. I’ve ‘tested’ 11 so far, that’s 33 balls, and it was one of my key criteria to look out for.

Look & Taste. They taste great. I’d expect nothing less. In this era of advancing health nutrition, taste has to be king. There are so many competing products on the market that to taste poor, regardless of performance, would be to sink your own ship; if it doesn’t taste good, it won’t get eaten. Without any refined sugar (a little honey in the Refuel balls), none of them are overly sweet; for me that is absolutely perfect. I don’t have a sweet tooth, preferring the delicate taste of coconut and hazelnuts to that of a rich, milk chocolate.

Performance. I’ve intentionally left this paragraph to the end, so that you would read all the way down the rest of the post to get here. How do I assess performance in a food? Well, knowing what they were designed for, I decided upon using the fact that I train so early in the morning, and having fasted for 8+ hours, to assist me.

0600 hrs Training – BOOST. 3-4 mornings a week, I conduct specific olympic lifting training, aiming to increase strength. I need sugar in my body to generate the power necessary to through 115kg in to the air. Typically, I’ve downed an apple or banana, plus a mug of coffee, but it’s either not enough or doesn’t digest quick enough to deliver and I find tired legs dominating about halfway through the session. For 4 mornings in a row, changing nothing else, I switched out the apple/banana for the “Boost” balls. Of course, this is hardly scientific and may well suffer from a placebo effect, but it’s as good as I can do with only 4 packs. However, I can honestly say that for those 4 mornings, I felt a genuine difference. Eating them 30 mins before the active portion of the work, there was a significant difference in the fatigue in my legs compared to a regular morning. I was able to do more, for longer. This should come as no surprise, and you might say “well eat more before a workout then” but at that time of the morning, I just can’t. These suited me down to the ground.

1030 hrs mid-Morning – REFUEL. After a workout, I typically have 80g of Huel for my breakfast. This keeps me going until about 1100 when I start to look at my watch and wonder why the morning is taking so long; I’ll usually eat about 10-15g of mixed nuts but am unhappy with the amount of fat that goes with it. For the same 4 days, I ate the Refuel balls instead and staved off the cravings quite happily for another few hours, no insulin-slump occurring either.

1930 hrs Evening Workout – RECOVER. I’m not sure I can really measure any tangible effect of these little bad boys other than to say that I had these immediately after 1830 CrossFit workouts; the increased protein is required for muscle repair, while the chocolate carbohydrate hit refuels tired body and mind – these are also my favourite tasting, by far. Typically, I head straight back to my cave for dinner about 45-60 mins later, these are a lovely filler in between that.

Recommendation. OF COURSE I RECOMMEND IT! Didn’t you read above?!

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The Book

The book was an eye-opener. Unlike other recipe books that I’ve looked over, this one is very targeted. As per the balls, the first target is to those conducting sporting events; the second target is to families, more specifically, active families. Immediately, this appeals to me. With my 4 warrior princesses, 3 of them at the start of their active journeys, I take this stuff super, uber seriously. 

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Contents. The book is well-structured, beginning with the bit most recipe books neglect, “Why”. Why nutrition is important, why we need to tailor it to our needs, why childrens’ nutrition is different and increasingly important, especially to keep them active and adventurous. It breaks “why” down in to “easy science”, logically taking you from one step to another, covering macro and micronutrients, the need for balance, and the ills of processed foods  the bit I love the most is the emphasis on preparing and eating together too; it’s something that Mrs Nomad and I absolutely believe in. I’ve been coaching CrossFit and associated basic nutrition for 6 years, learning a vast wealth of knowledge over that period. However, this book just gave me the tools to be able to articulate it to a whole new audience; I don’t mean just kids, either. I also mean adults for whom typical approaches haven’t worked.

Recipes. This is the bit that saddens me the most; I’ve not been able to get stuck in to nearly enough recipes!! Because I spend the majority of my time holed up in a cave, away from my action princesses, I haven’t had the resources or time to make the beautiful range on offer. Instead, I’ve had to stare longingly at the photos. However, having been through the ingredients and nutritional values in each meal, you can logically deduce who they’re focused on, and for what aspect of training/recovery/daily life. The recipes are simple to make. There’s nothing complicated in there at all, making this entire ‘programme’ 100% accessible for all.

Utility. Given the obvious target of this book, it has immense utility in planning and supporting both an active lifestyle and sports training. I am sure that there must be similar products on the market but this is the first I’ve had an opportunity to review. While I do live like a hermit for much of the week, with nothing but a microwave, kettle and fridge/freezer, I am going to attempt to adapt some of these recipes to suit my twice-a-day training regime. It’s the run up to Christmas now, and so any attempts to regulate or control my diet will likely crash down in the excitement and over-indulgence of the season, but when I return to strict training in January this book will underpin all that I do.

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Examples. Again, I’ve left the best part of the review for last. For me, the absolutely best parts of the book are the specific “active kids” examples; rugby players, runners, swimmers…there’re multiple interviews with children right at the top of their game, Olympians and Champions of the future. I read these articles and come away feeling intensely motivated for my own children. Thanks Kate!

Recommendation: Of course. It wasn’t going to be anything else, this is an excellent product in its own right.

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