Saturday, May 9, 2015

APX Review

Many of you have heard me go on and on about the products, services and companies that have made real differences in my triathlon life, especially those provided by TCSD Sponsors.  For most products and services, the benefit was obvious to me rather quickly, sometimes in minutes, but more often in a few weeks or a month.

My search for nutritional products has taken quite a bit longer.  First I had to find the right base diet, to fit both my metabolism and my activity.  I made some major (but simple) changes 18 months ago that got me almost everything I was looking for.  Only then did it make sense for me to settle on the nutritional products I'd want to use with training and races.

TCSD members get to sample just about every sports nutritional product on the market, sometimes even before they go on sale to the public.  I have a box of samples at home that must contain 40 different products.  But for me, samples only tell me what doesn't work or feel right at first taste, not what will work long-term combined with hard training.

My most difficult situation concerns liquid products.  My primary need is for a water-based product that not only provides rehydration, but also restores electrolytes and provides some easily-absorbed calories.  I want to meet as many of my needs as possible with a light liquid before I resort to heavier products, such as gels, chews or bars.

Many liquid products pass the first-taste test, but fail for me when consumed during exertion.  For example, I love Gatorade just about anytime, but it causes me major problems ("gastric distress") if I drink it during or just after a race or hard workout.  I repeated this process with several other products, only to be disappointed each time.

Until, that is, I tried APX.  Having been upset by so many prior products, I kept testing APX, waiting for it to fail.  For one year.  Then for another.  Only recently did I finally decide I had finally found the right product, one I could trust under all circumstances.

TCSD's own Jay Weber was our APX rep, and each time I told him APX was still working for me, he'd ask "When are you going to write a review?"  Jay has since moved on to Xterra Wetsuits (yes, it's been that long).

Well Jay, here's that review!

First, some basic facts about APX:
- APX is a local San Diego company that's been around for about a decade.
- APX is a proud TCSD Sponsor.

Next, the ingredient list:  Dextrose, Fructose, Natural Fruit Flavor, Citric Acid, Salt, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Citrate, and Ascorbic Acid

8 ingredients.  That's all.  That's a much shorter and simpler list than just about anything else out there.

A note about powders versus pre-made liquids:  Pre-made liquids tend to contain emulsifiers and stabilizers to keep the contents mixed and stable between the time the product is bottled and the time it is consumed, which can be many months, and involve storage and transport in a wide range of temperatures.  Powders will not contain such things because the ingredients are naturally more stable as powders, and are generally consumed within a day of being mixed.  For me, this is a case where "less is more".

Getting back to the ingredients:  There is one odd thing here, where I am concerned:  All prior products I had tried that contained only simple sugars had caused me problems.  Only those that also included more complex carbohydrates seemed to stay down.  APX is the first drink containing only simple sugars that has caused me no problems whatsoever.  I'm not sure why, but I suspect it must have something to do with either the electrolyte balance or the flavor.

APX comes in three flavors: Pomegranate, Tangerine, and Ruby Red Grapefruit.  I've tasted them all, and they each have a light taste, just enough to cover the taste of the other ingredients.

I've been using only the Grapefruit flavor with my workouts, mainly because it's the one I've done all my testing with.  I'm almost afraid to try the other flavors "for real", as if I'll make the Grapefruit flavor mad at me or something.  And who said athletes aren't superstitious?

As for my testing, my most recent tests were on the bike and run.  I had taken APX with me on a 3-hour bike ride with a fair amount of time hammering in aero, but no hills.  It was my only liquid on the bike, and I felt great at the end of the ride.  For those of you who know me, I usually bonk toward the end of the 2-hour TCSD Saturday ride, so this was a real improvement.

My other recent test was a 2 hour run without hydration, where a bottle of APX was my first recovery drink.  For me, this is a worst-case test, since my stomach is most sensitive when I'm exhausted and dehydrated.  For this bottle, since I knew I would be following it with more water, I had gone well above the recommended mixing ratio of one scoop per 20 ounces: I had put 3 scoops in 24 ounces of water.  So it was "worse" than my worst case: If anything was going to trigger my stomach, this was it.

Nothing happened, other than I had one of my fastest recoveries ever: I was ready for a strength training workout after 20 minutes and another bottle of water.  And that workout also went well, showing that the APX was quickly absorbed.

Now, I don't recommend doing a 2-hour run without hydration or nutrition!  This run was designed to test my joints and metabolism (as well as APX), and was run along the Mission Bay path, where there are about 2 water fountains every mile.

After well over a year with APX as my only calorie + electrolyte drink, I can only give it my highest recommendation.  It has made a real difference in how I train and recover.  More importantly, I no longer fear pushing to the point where taking nutrition used to become my worst problem.

APX is available just about everywhere locally, including at the following TCSD Sponsors (where your TCSD Member Discount applies): Moment Bicycles, Hi-Tech Bikes, Pulse Endurance Sports, and The Triathlete Store.

APX is available in single-serving packets and in 26-serving resealable bags (scoop included).  After the TCSD discount, APX costs about $0.77 per scoop (130 calories), making it a good value compared to the alternatives.

And one last detail:  All APX profits go to charity.  The company was created as part of a sponsorship effort (much like Rudy), and has never stopped.

For more information. please visit the APX site:

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