Kit review: Up Raw sports fuel
Energy for sports comes in all shapes, sizes and packets. Most of it, in my experience, is sweet and sickly and can only be tolerated in small amounts. I favour Hi-Five gels (the version that doesn’t require too much water to be taken on board at the same time) and I find that Honey Stinger jelly sweets are fine in small amounts. Recovery aids are usually an odd-tasting milkshake, which, again, is fine in small quantities. So it was refreshing to be sent a totally different kind of energy supplement. Up Raw is a protein-rich food that claims to be “revolutionising sport”.
Up Raw has been created by Sol Fernandez, a climber, boxer and ultra runner. He wanted a product that used fresh ingredients but still gave him a long-lasting supply of energy for his sports. He appears to have chosen all the ingredients known for energy and long-lasting fuel then mixed them all together into an energy product that “leaves you satisfied, not bloated”. There is nothing added to the natural ingredients, which include walnuts, whey protein, honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, desiccated coconut, cocoa powder and sea salt.
Up Raw also claims to be “great tasting”.
My thoughts on Up Raw
I have been training hard these last six or seven months for a series of World Age Group Triathlon qualifier events. The training has given me a bigger appetite than usual. I need good quality foods that can keep me feeling full and offer great energy prior to each training session. If I eat too close to training I end up with a sore stomach but I don’t always get the timing right. Until Up Raw I would eat a small quantity of chocolate or take an energy gel before heading out for a run or bike ride. But I’d still need to re-fuel after about an hour of training. Instead I found that Up Raw was a great “filler”.
Eating just half an Up Raw about an hour before exercise gave me enough of a full and energy-filled feeling to do a good training session. In fact, I’d end up feeling full for a few hours afterwards.
The taste starts really well. Up Raw tastes much better than any of the sweet gels and sweets but after about two of three mouthfuls – and you really do need to chew this product to swallow it – the pleasant taste wanes a bit. The taste is hard to identify. It’s mostly cocoa powder and coconut, which I like, but it has a thick kind of mouth-fill taste that is very difficult to identify. It’s not unpleasant but it is very different. Maybe like chewing gum, I think. Don’t be put off though because it is a more palatable product than most others I’ve tried.
And I found that eating an Up Raw – or half of one for shorter training sessions – did supply me with more than enough sustainable energy. On a three-hour bike ride recently I was fuelled entirely by an Up Raw and a half-way ice cream. This is very unusual for me because I normally run out of energy about 1.5 hours into a hard bike ride.
The nutritional info on the Up Raw makes for good reading, especially if you’re looking for a long-lasting fuel for longer distance events:
Per 50g Up Raw:
of which sugars 4.7
Up Raw can be used as a snack between high active sessions, just before longer training sessions or while competing in linger distant events. I would use this again for long bike rides, when I sometimes find it hard to take on the right amount of food to keep me feeling energetic.
Because the ingredients are fresh, Up Raw has a 10-day refrigerated or four-day ambient shelf life.
A single Up Raw is £2.50, a 5-pack is £12.50 while a 20-pack is £40. Buy from www.up-raw.com