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Photo credit: James Eacott.

33Shake Endurance Nutrition Review

09-May-17

Last updated: 02-Aug-18

By James Eacott

I’ll be honest: despite being an endurance athlete for 10 years now, and having tried most nutrition products available, I hadn’t heard about 33Shake Endurance Nutrition until they started sponsoring the monthly Race Review competitions on RunUltra, and so it’s with impartial eyes and an unbiased palate that I reviewed a couple of their products.

33Shake was established in 2012 and their raison d’être, in their own words, is “all the sports nutrition we used made us feel crap and failed to deliver results”. They believe the foundation of performance nutrition comes from clean, whole nutrition with minimal processed ingredients. It’s easy to see what they mean - there’s a lot of “crap” out there.

An interesting fact (though I can’t vouch personally for the evidence of these numbers!) on their website states “The average energy gel contains less than 1p's worth of ingredients yet retails for as much as £2.30. If we applied that insane mark-up to our products at 33Shake, our Chia Energy Gels would cost almost £70 each, and our Shakes would be over £300 each. Instead, our gels start at just £1.89 while the Shakes start at just £5.99. All come with free UK delivery and a 100% money-back guarantee”.

This all has me very intrigued and it was with great anticipation that I received a few samples to try out. So, let’s move onto the reviews.

33Shake Chia Energy Gel

I must admit, I was a little confused about what I was supposed to do with this ‘gel’. It wasn’t a gel. Sure, it looked like one, but the transparent packaging showed seeds and a whole heap of ‘bits’ in the pack. How was I supposed to get a bunch of seeds down my throat?

RUNULTRA_33Shake-gel-review_gel-without-water

Being a man, I failed to read the instructions (who knew the consumption of a gel required instructions?) but they quickly set me straight: I had to add a little water to the contents, put the screw cap back on, shake and leave for 10 minutes before I then consumed within the next 24 hours (useful to know if you’re preparing your nutrition for an ultra). It sounds like a faff, but I actually like this little prep needed – it makes me feel like I’m actually making something that’s good for me, not just ingesting another sugary gloop.

RUNULTRA_33Shake-gel-review_gel-with-water

RUNULTRA_33Shake-gel-review_-gelwith-water

I thought the taste would be rather watery and bitty, but the chia seeds soak up much of the liquid and there is a natural, vanilla flavour, so overall the taste and texture is spot on. Most gels need an awful lot of water to rinse down, not only to dilute the sweetness but also to rid your mouth of the stickiness, but that’s not the case at all with 33Shake.

When it comes to performance, like all these things, I believe our bodies respond differently to different stimulus. For some, increased protein works better than for others, and the same is true with energy products. For me they work just as well as normal gels, but without the sticky mess and impossible-to-pronounce ingredients, so they’re a winner for me. They don’t quite have the energy kick that some brands do, particularly those with extra caffeine, but I find it so rare that I ever need such a massive hoof that only pure glucose and caffeine will do! I stick as much as possible to real food when training and save gels for hard sessions, and these have replaced my stash of long-lasting, preservative-packed gels.

All I can do is encourage you to spend £20 and get a tester pack from 33Shake – I think most of you will be pleasantly surprised.

33Shake Pre and Post Workout Shake

The workout shakes are a more substantial affair. They come in Original, Cacao and Mocha flavour and mix best with milk. In my opinion, you do need to add a scoop of protein, particularly if you’re consuming post-training, as they only offer 6g per sachet which isn’t going to do much muscle rebuilding.

RUNULTRA_33Shake-shake-review_sachet

Like the gels, there’s a lot of goodness in each sachet, such as:

  • Quality fats from sources like hemp seeds and flaxseeds to optimise fat-burning abilities
  • Natural proteins such as spirulina and hemp for recovery
  • Natural alkalysers including barley grass and chlorella
  • Potent natural antioxidants like goji berries and Incan berries
  • All-natural anti-inflammatories such as turmeric and green coffee
  • 100% low-GI natural sugars for stable energy

They taste great too and the ingredients list is impressive:

RUNULTRA_33Shake-shake-review_ingredients

They give your shake a real wholesome feel and it genuinely makes you feel like you’re feeding your body premium ingredients when you drink it. It makes a milkshake thick and creamy with loads of nutrition--bombs in.

What’s not so great

Both products are expensive, but I think the cost of the gels is just about justifiable. However, as far as the shakes go, I think the cost is prohibitive for 95% of ultra runners (see the Conclusion).

Conclusion

Despite the super ingredients, and the earlier statement about how they should cost considerably more, they’re still quite an investment. At about £2 per gel, they’re at the pricier end of the spectrum, but I do think they’re worth it. If you’re going to train hard and aim to get the best from yourself, you need to put in the best nutrition and when it comes to energy gels, look no further.

The shakes are also pricey at £6.99 per shake. I must admit I’ll struggle to bring myself to buy these. I love shakes, and I know the value in them, but when you consume them fairly frequently (the packaging recommends one per day – that’s a whopping £2,200 per year if you buy in bulk!), you’d need a part-time job to fund shakes from 33Shake. There’s no denying there’s an awful lot of goodness, as you can see from the ingredients list, but they’re just too expensive. Rather like buying a £12,000 bike – for sure it will be quicker than a £3,000 bike, but who really has the money to spend on a £12k bike? The same goes with a £7 per shake (or £6 if you buy in bulk). For me, when it comes to the shakes, I’ll stick to my DIY version…buy ingredients in bulk and throw them together myself.

In summary, I really like the brand. I love what they’re trying to do and fully support the progression towards real, healthy, wholesome performance nutrition. Multiple Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington clearly does too - I know she doesn’t put her name to any old product so that relationship is a key sign of the product quality you’re getting with 33Shake. The only – rather major - downside is the cost, which I think will be prohibitive for most.

Have you used the 33Shakes? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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All images James Eacott.

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Review 33Shake Endurance Nutrition Review

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