In case you haven't heard about the (latest?) craze to hit the postal service everywhere, here's a little background.
You can get fill-in-the-blank boxes delivered to your door monthly, full of samples, testers, goodies, and surprises related to whatever fills in your blank.
Last month I joined StrideBox to check out what they have to offer. Here's the skinny on StrideBox:
"StrideBox is a fun and exciting way to discover running products and accessories. Each month, as a member, you will receive a curated box of gear, accessories, and nutrition products to fuel your training sessions, workouts, and races."
I was impressed with how quickly my first box arrived (within a week!) and with the contents as well. I'm the first to admit that I'm a "mini sized thing" hoarder - I love sample size perfumes, shampoos, you name it. So this is right up my alley.
My first box included: a PowerBar Simple Fruit Energy Gel, a Clif Organic Energy Food (Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal), a Health Warrior Honey Almond Superfood Protein bar, Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel in Mandarin Orange, Velo Vitamins Energy in Citrus, a Mission Enduracool Instant Cooling Bandana, and a sweet sticker reminding me to Run Fast and Dream Big. They also include a "Stride Guide" to tell you more about what's in your box. For the $15 monthly fee, I feel like I've gotten my money's worth.
I took a couple of weeks to test all the products. Here's what I think:
- PowerBar Simple Fruit Energy Gel - I give PowerBar props for starting to change their formulas towards being all natural ingredients. The only ingredients in this gel were apple juice concentrate, apple puree concentrate, apples, maltodextrin, dextrose, blackberries, red raspberries, sea salt, and vitamin C. That being said, this gel is still far too sweet for my liking (blame the dextrose). With 17g of sugar it would be a lot for my system to handle while running. PowerBar, you're improving - but I still have other favorite mid run fueling options (I'll write a blog post on that later).
- Clif Organic Energy Food Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal - once again, it's nice to see a large company moving towards more natural ingredients. I liked that this portable pouch of oatmeal was organic and non-GMO. I also liked that it had an element of fiber (2g) and protein (3g) in the 140 calorie pouch. The flavor was surprisingly good! It tasted like cold apple cinnamon oatmeal, as promised. They recommend it to be consumed 2-3 hours before activity. I could see using something portable and handy like this on an ultra distance race or for a long hike or bike ride, as it satisfied that craving for "real food" versus something like an energy bar.
- Health Warrior Honey Almond Superfood Protein bar - I'll start out by saying that I'm totally biased here. I love Health Warrior as a brand. I've met quite a few of their employees, and they are that small, tight-knit, type of brand that truly loves what they make. And they make fantastic non-GMO, gluten free, chia seed based products. The Superfood Protein line also incorporates pea protein for a whopping 10g of protein per bar. That being said, this isn't my favorite flavor. I'll keep my other favorites for the time being. But keep rocking on Health Warrior.
- Tailwind Endurance Fuel in Mandarin Orange - I first heard of Tailwind a few months ago through some friends in the ultra/trail running world. And I get why they love it: it's high calorie (200 per pouch), high in sodium (606mg), and high in sugar (50g). E.g. it's great for long distance fueling. And as they say on the package "Complete Fuel, No Gut Bombs." I like the sound of that. It tastes like you'd imagine it would: sweet and salty (the sea salt they use comes through very strongly). For my average weekly runs, it's too much. But it would have been great for ultra training. I'll keep that in mind, you know in case I decide to do one of those again.
- Velo Vitamins Energy in Citrus - okay, this was the only one of the bunch I really didn't like. I mixed it with the correct amount of water and was immediately turned off by the neon color. I like neon, just not in what I drink. The taste was overwhelmingly of vitamin and stevia - neither of which I'm a huge fan of. There are plenty of other ways for me to get my vitamins, this won't be one of them
- Mission Enduracool Instant Cooling Bandana - YES! I love Mission products, and this is one of the cooler (pun intended) ones. You soak this guy in cold water, throw it on your head or around your neck, and it truly keeps you cool. This will come in SO handy this summer.
On the whole, I'm super happy with my first StrideBox experience. From an easy to navigate website, to fast delivery, to an assortment of quality items to try out, to the non wasteful packaging, I'm in. Can't wait to see what the next one has in store!