Review: Secret Training STEALTH Hydration Mix & Gels

Last year, I reviewed the Secret Training Race Day Care Kit, and I was taken by how much time and consideration had gone into the design and contents of the compact little bag. Since then, I've used the kit for almost every race that I've attended; and it's clear that Dr. Tim Lawson, the designer of the product and founder of Secret Training, knows exactly what is needed for a day on a bike in variable UK conditions.

Dr. Tim Lawson was one of the founders of Science in Sport, and has been a nutrition coach to many professional riders to date. Having left SiS several years ago, it was only a matter of time before he again utilised his high-end scientific skills in nutrition to launch some new products. It's because of this great scientific footing, that I've been very interested to try the STEALTH range from Secret Training, ever since it was released earlier in the year.

Here's what I thought of it…



Secret Training STEALTH Hydration Drink Mix

I've become quite particular about my drink choice, when I'm riding. In part, I think it's because I've had the opportunity to test a lot of different flavours and choices. But mainly, I think it’s because when I've been doing Endurance Riding events, I've very quickly discovered (sometimes to my detriment) which energy drinks agree with my stomach when used for up to 24 hours straight.

Osmo Nutrition's Active Hydration Drink Mix is one of the products which is super gentle on your stomach, yet delivers all the vital electrolytes you require to keep muscle cramps at bay. It has become my go-to for most long events; with the only downside being that it is only available in two flavours, so you can quickly become a bit bored. Secret Training's new STEALTH hydration drink range, uses a similar thought process to Osmo: focussing on electrolytes, without the sugar overdose. It's also available in lots of flavours; so, I was looking forward to a bit of variety!

The STEALTH drink mix uses a blend of electrolytes, carbohydrate from maltodextrin and fructose, and a small amount of stevia natural sweetener, to encourage you to drink more often.

Each serving contains just 10 grams of carbohydrate in total, with the thinking (similar to Osmo), being that if you suffer from stomach discomfort when using energy drinks, you should be hydrating through your fluid intake (replacing electrolytes is a key part of this process), but most of your energy should come from solid food (avoiding "stomach sloshing"). I'm a big convert to this approach of fuelling, especially on longer training rides and events. It makes it easier to gauge how much you have eaten, and your sugar intake isn't affected by how hot it is and therefore how much you drink of your drink mix.

The Secret Training STEALTH Hydration mix comes in four flavours, and all of them are quite unique compared to other products I've tried. The Passion Fruit is one of my favourites, and has a really interesting refreshing flavour. There should be something to suit all palates within the range, and you can buy a mixed box too, so you don’t have to be stuck with one flavour... bonus!

So it tastes good, it's got good science behind it, but how does it work out on the bike?

I took a box of STEALTH Drink Mixes to Mallorca with me last week. I thought that climbing mountains for 10 hours in Mediterranean temperatures, was probably the best test I could give them, to see if they warded off muscle cramps. They worked faultlessly. I didn't once get muscle cramps, either during or (normally more frequent for me) after any of my rides. The flavours kept me drinking, and I really enjoyed using the mixes. I think I've found another go-to hydration product!



Secret Training STEALTH Energy Gels

I don't want to think about the number of energy gels I've eaten over the last few weeks. I'm sure it can't be good for you. That said, some energy gels are significantly more interesting and more effective than others.

The STEALTH Energy Gels use a mixture of energy substrates, including sticky rice starch, to provide a gentle and optimal supply of energy. They are naturally flavoured and sweetened, and they contain key isotonic salts to help you rehydrate and absorb energy, too. They come in a wide variety of flavours, including tropical and banana! So, there should be no excuse for a numb palate!

The gels taste quite unique (much like the hydration mix), and their texture is also quite different from most fruit juice based energy gels on the market; it's far smoother and less watery than some, due most probably to the rice starch content. I've become quite fond of that smoother texture though, and they’re still plenty easy enough to take on board.

Do they work? They've given me a great kick when I've needed it most, and they seem to be gentle enough on the stomach that you can use them for many hours on end, so as energy gels go, yes they work a treat.

Clearly Dr. Tim Lawson's expertise in making great energy products has carried over and been built upon with Secret Training. Both the drink mix and energy gels from STEALTH are highly effective, pleasant to use, and provide an interesting new approach to the fuelling and hydration thinking. These are well worth a look, especially if you find sugary energy drinks and gels a little difficult to stomach!

Shop the Secret Training range at secret-training.cc (Link)

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