Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ever wondered what sports fuel Kilian Jornet uses?

From left to right - Ben Abdelnoor, Matt Green, Kilian Jornet, Tom Owens
Have you ever wondered what the little toothpaste tube-like gels are that Kilian Jornet takes when he's training or on a race? These little tubes of rocket fuel are Overstim.s - founded in France in 1982 they wanted to create products for athletes to take before, during and after sports. I first used Overstim.s a couple of years ago when I went to Kilians Classik with the Salomon International Team. Overstim.s are a huge brand in France, Catalonia and Spain as you might imagine! 

Let's cut to the chase shall we, as you might expect Overstim.s produce a large range of nutrition for various different scenarios, I'm just going to take you through a couple of products which I've been using recently.

First up is "Coup De Fouet" which BabelFish reliably tells me is translated to Boost. A boost is what it says and a boost is what you get! It comes in a 25g tube, which is... drum roll please... re-sealable! I know, you're thinking what a great idea... well it would appear the European market actually has quite a few manufacturers using resealable sachets, it's just the UK that seems to uphold the tear-it-open-down-in-one option. Why oh why have SIS, Gü, Torq not caught on, I can only presume it's because of the price point, which on the face of it is a ridiculous principle considering how cheap running is compared to say... cycling! When you open the tube you break off the tip which can be up-turned and put back to re-seal. Simple and effective.

Now let's talk about what's in that clever little tube - the "Boost", I thought you might like to see the ingredients. Unlike other products I've seen and used which have a list of things as long as your arm and as unpronounceable as a latin proverb in zulu, Overstim.s Coup De Fouet ingredients appear like this:

Glucose syrup, water, royal jelly, lemon juice, blackcurrant flavouring, aromatic plant extracts of : ginseng, cola, green cinchona and meadowsweet, vitamins C, B1, B6.

And for those slightly more nerdy about nutrition:

Nutritional Analysis (per 100g / per 25g Tube):

  • Energy kcal/kJ 311 kcal(1323 kJ) / 78 kcal(331 kJ)
  • Proteins < 1 g / < 1 g
  • Carbohydrates 77,8 g 19,4 g
  • Fats < 1 g / < 1 g
  • Vitamin B1 0,6 mg (55%)** / 0,15 mg (14%)**
  • Vitamin B6 0,6 mg (43%)** / 0,15 mg (11%)**
  • Vitamin C 30 mg (38%)** / 7,5 mg (10%)**
  • Sodium 27 mg / 6,8 mg
  • ** = Recommended daily intake

Doesn't look too offensive does it? More importantly they do the job - Overstim.s recommend Coup De Fouet for instant energy when you need an extra kick - perhaps there's a tough section of the course coming up, a tactical push or you're closing on the finish stretch.

Personally I like Coup De Fouet for several reasons - first, I like the taste, I find it's quite a subtle blackcurrant flavour which is palatable even on a dodgy stomach. Being re-sealable is a total winner for me, I love that I can take a bit now and a bit later. Thirdly the energy comes quick so if you've left it a bit late and you're energy is running low it can pick you back up pronto and get those legs spinning double time - more important it tapers off rather than dumping you in another low. I must add though (this goes for all nutrition) - try them first in training before on race day, just because I like the flavour doesn't mean you will too!

Next up is "Red Tonic - Sprint Air". Allow me for a moment to talk about cars - there are two main ways which improve engine performance greatly. First is air intake - most cars come with a pretty pitiful air intake for the engine so let's fit a tube which literally rams air in the engine. Two increase the quality of the fuel, essentially so that there is more energy in it. Let's get back to the topic in hand - Red Tonic basically does those two things to your body. Yes you will become a human F1 car (or Nascar if you're reading this in the US!).

Let me take you through the ingredients and nutritional info and then all should become clear!


Glucose syrup, water, dried guarana extract, concentrated lemon juice, flavourings: mint, pine, eucalyptus and thyme, salt, vitamin C, aromatic plant extracts of: ginseng, angelica, fenugreek and cola, potassium and magnesium chloride, vitamins B1 and B6.

May contain traces of milk, fish, wheat, nuts, celery and gluten.
Nutritional Analysis (per 100g / per 25g Tube):

  • Energy kcal/kJ 310 kcal(1350 kJ) / 78 kcal(331 kJ)
  • Proteins < 1 / < 1 g
  • Carbohydrates 77 g / 19 g
  • Fats < 1 g / < 1 g
  • Vitamin B1 0,60 mg (55%)** / 0,15 mg (14%)**
  • Vitamin B6 0,60 mg (40%)** / 0,15 mg (10%)**
  • Vitamin C 30 mg (38%)** / 7,5 mg (10%)**
  • Sodium 38 mg / 9,50 mg
  • Caffeine 60 mg / 15 mg

** = Recommended daily intake
Mint, pine, eucalyptus and thyme help open up those airways like the intake on a F1 car tearing along a straight while a strong dose of energy and stimulants feed allow your body to crank up a gear.

Personally I get on really well with the flavour (minty&eucalyptusy) but I know people that don't so make sure you get a few to try in training first.

Overstim.s actually recommend for a truly turbo-charged boost you can take Coup De Fouet with Red Tonic... I haven't done this yet, but it sounds like a good thing to know.

If you're in the UK and not come across Overstim.s before, a large range is available from Castleberg Outdoors. (they also deliver to non-UK addresses)

Good luck with your training and racing, don't forget you can follow Everywhere Without Delay by email using the subscription tool on the top right of the page.

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