• Brand Spotlight: Tailwind Nutrition

Written By: Fierce Gear OCR

The Tailwind Story: Sometimes, Vomit CAN Lead To Good Things

"Perhaps an odd place to start, but it was at this point, with my head in a trash can, that I began the company’s journey”

Founder Jeff Vierling

 At the 2002 Leadville 100 Trail Run Jeff Vierling had an epiphany: in the form of projectile vomit. He had finished the grueling 100 mile run through the extreme terrain of the Colorado Rockies, but not unscathed – the race fuel he had ingested led to the gut bomb to end all gut bombs: one that would go down in history for sparking what would become the Tailwind movement.

Jeff decided that there had to be a better way. So he spent the next couple of years researching the sports nutrition supplement market: learning as much as he could about what was out there, how it worked, and what the body uses (and needs) during endurance events. During this research phase he learned a lot about the products currently available and was shocked at what he found: many products contained ingredients that were actually challenging for the body to digest. So while your body is already working hard during an endurance event and you are at a calorie deficit, even more energy was being diverted to use for digestion. 

Jeff set out to develop something better with four main goals:

  1. Easy on the gut: no more GI issues, bloating, or cramping!
  2. Easy to use: one single source for everything an athlete needs, all day
  3. Good taste and texture: something you can consume all day, at multiple events, and still think it’s yummy
  4. And juuuuust enough flavor to give you a taste but not enough to be overpowering

 He started experimenting in his home kitchen, just trying to come up with something that would work better for him personally (at this point he had no dreams of becoming an entrepreneur or building the Tailwind empire – he just wanted to finish the Leadville 100 without puking!) The electrolyte mix was developed, tested, and refined over the next couple of years via endurance athletes in Tailwind’s hometown of Durango, Colorado…and, as they say, the rest is history.

Tailwind Trivia:

The name "Tailwind" comes from a brainstorming session between Jeff and wife Jenny, his co-founder. Says Jeff, "We were actually thinking about that nice push you get when a tailwind hits your back. It’s like you’re going twice as fast with half the effort. That’s the feeling we wanted to capture because solid nutrition can help you feel that way."

What IS Tailwind? How Does It Work? The Basics 

The basic premise of Tailwind is that it’s meant to be the only supplement that the body needs during an endurance event, all day long. Rather than an elaborate combination of gels, chews, bars, and pills, Tailwind claims that it can provide all the calorie, hydration, and electrolyte needs the body has during exercise by replenishing what you are sweating out. The colorless powder mixes in with water and the specific combination of fuel, electrolytes, and water all “tag team” and work together to allow the body to absorb everything more efficiently. Once absorbed, the glucose/sucrose combo fuels the muscles directly which then allows athletes to continue to perform at their best.

While other products can contain ingredients that are more difficult for the body to absorb/digest, sipping Tailwind continuously gives athletes a steady source of fuel that glides right through the digestive tract. This ease of absorption eliminates the threat of common issues athletes have including gut bombs, bloating, and general GI distress. (All of which, let's admit, are pretty gross). It dissolves completely in water and cleans up easily, so you won’t find a goopy, gooey mess after your event when you go to rinse out your hydration pack. It is made with all natural ingredients and organic flavors, and the taste is purposely “light” and “mild” with a mouth feel similar to plain water, so as not to be overpowering or “sickly sweet” like some other products on the market.

Also worth noting: Tailwind’s Endurance Fuel purposely excludes protein. Founder Jeff Vierling’s reasoning is that protein can give endurance athletes some of those stomach issues he is trying to avoid, and his electrolyte mix doesn’t take as much energy as protein does to digest. However, in 2018 Tailwind introduced their Rebuild Recovery product (available in chocolate and vanilla!): an all-natural, vegan, gluten-free recovery drink mix containing 10-11 grams of “complete” protein meant to be consumed in the 30-60 minute window post-exercise to replenish depleted glycogen stores and rebuild muscles. (*Note: we published a recipe a few months back for some killer chocolate chip oatmeal bites using the Tailwind Rebuild Recovery. Check it out here!)

Tailwind Rebuild Recovery chocolate chip oatmeal bites for OCR endurance athletes to replenish glycogen

When Should I Use Tailwind? 
“I created Tailwind for racing the Leadville 100. It’s designed to overcome the nutrition problems faced by endurance athletes in events like 50’s, 100’s, 24-hour, and multi-day epics.”

According to Tailwind science, the body can only physiologically process 200-300 calories per hour. During the event sip it regularly, keeping your hourly calorie target in mind.

When/How To Drink Tailwind:

  • Before The Event: You can sip the Endurance Fuel before the start of your event to ensure your glycogen/electrolyte levels are ready to go, or drink up to a full bottle of the Endurance Fuel before starting if you are worried that drinking during the event will be a challenge
  • During The Event: Sip the Endurance Fuel regularly, keeping your hourly calorie target in mind
  • Post Event: The Rebuild Recovery is an excellent choice to rebuild glycogen stores during critical window for recovery immediately post-exercise

How Much Do I Need? Tailwind’s Recommendations:

  • For workouts less than 2 hours: mix 100-200 calories into 24 ounces of water
  • For workouts 2+ hours: mix 200-300 calories into 24 ounces of water

These recommendations should be used as a general rule of thumb/starting point, and will vary by person depending on your particular needs. The amount needed will also vary based on conditions (e.g., temperature and humidity) and length/intensity of workout. In higher temperatures, maintain the same calories per hour but increase the amount of water.

Tailwind Trivia:

Tailwind includes a handwritten note to their customers, to say thank you and let them know how much they mean to them. How thoughtful of them...sounds like another company we know 😀 

OK I'm Sold! What Tailwind Products Does Fierce Gear OCR Carry? 

We are thrilled that you asked! Check out the info below to see what we have and how to use it. Or just click here to shop Tailwind in our store RIGHT NOW.

Tailwind Endurance Fuel

The Endurance Fuel is meant to be a complete mixture of calories, electrolytes, and hydration to give you everything you need all day long. Made with all natural ingredients, it is tasty with clean and light flavors. Great in hydration packs because it dissolves so well and cleans easily.

Usage: The stick packs carried on Fierce Gear OCR are perfect for fueling on-the-go! Mix the contents of 1 package with 20-24 ounces of water and shake. Sip regularly for steady energy and a killer source of electrolytes and hydration.


Tailwind Rebuild Recovery

The Rebuild Recovery contains just the right types and amounts of carbs and proteins to restore energy after a hard workout. Unlike the Endurance Fuel it also works to rebuild muscles: it is made with a complete protein and is all-natural, vegan, and gluten-free.

Usage: Mix stick pack with 16 ounces of water and shake. Drink within first 30-60 minutes after exercise. For a longer or more intense workout, follow with another packet of Tailwind Rebuild Recovery in the following 30 minutes.

In Their Own Words:
"We still make the product ourselves right here in our community, write the notes and personalize every bag that goes out the door to our customers, and believe in the power of our community to do incredible things. Thanks for making our journey an amazing one!"


Additional Usage Tips From Tailwind Customers:
  • Great for kids sports
  • Works well for a hangover
  • Add it to your Soda Stream
  • Try it HOT when backcountry skiing

Recipes Using Tailwind: A Selection

Have YOU ever used Tailwind? What for? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!




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