The Casual Runner

XRCEL Athlete Fuel

XRCEL Athlete Fuel (Product Review): Fueling your Fitness Adventure

This is the latest installment in the Casual Runner Team’s look at products that can help you in your own Casual Running journey. For a look at our other product reviews, just click here

What?

XRCEL Athlete Fuel is an energy fuel supplement to aid in training and competition.  The company uses an electrolyte-based formula for short- and long-term energy boosts.  Although the athlete fuels are glucose-based, the company does not use caffeine or other similar stimulants in its formula.

Steve Pic D

Is this the look of a Casual Runner who fueled properly during his half marathon?

XRCEL offers three different flavors for its athlete fuels: Blackberry, Peach Tea, and Orange.

Why?

You want an endurance fuel that works for all phases of the work-out. XRCEL Athlete Fuel is designed to be used at any point relative to your run (before, during, or after).  The company emphasizes that its formula is designed to release the energy in two different phases: first, immediately, and then again over time throughout the workout.  This allows the runner to use the same product to target his or her specific area of boost.

The other attractive feature of XRCEL Athlete Fuel is its portability.  The bottle is easy to carry and small enough to fit in a runner’s belt.  That, coupled with the fact that the drink is ready to consume as is, is an advantage over other energy fuels that need to be mixed or blended before use.  As a person who procrastinates and waits to the last minute to do everything [Editor’s note: tell me about it!], I am far more likely to routinely use something that doesn’t require as much prep time.

Who?

This product is for all athletes and runners who like to use endurance fuels to supplement their exercises and races.

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Proper fueling can help you get through even the toughest of miles.

Whether you like to drink energy fuel before your run, in the middle of the race, or after finishing as a way to boost recovery, you’ll be able to find a use for XRCEL Athlete Fuel.

Where and When?

Runners can drink XRCEL Athlete Fuel before, during, and after the run, so naturally they are usable wherever a runner may need a quick pick-me-up. XRCEL recommends drinking one full bottle 15 minutes before the start of exercise, as needed during, and/or one bottle immediately after completing the workout.  The product contemplates that it can be used in all three phases, but it comes with a caveat that we here at Casual Runner constantly advise: energy consumption varies by runner, so trust your body and do what works best for you. Keep in mind, this will take some trial and error on your part as you figure out what does and does not work best for you.

How?

Unlike other energy drinks or endurance fuels, XRCEL Athlete Fuel is immediately consumable.  All you need to do is shake the bottle before opening and it is ready to drink.  Pretty self-explanatory.  If taking before or after you run, the entire bottle is designed to be consumed in one sitting.

Handheld

The convenient XRCEL bottles.

XRCEL recommends not storing the athlete fuels at temperatures above 80 degrees, so although that doesn’t suggest that it needs to be refrigerated, it probably shouldn’t be left out in the heat for too long.  Nonetheless, that warning didn’t seem to affect its taste when I tried it out on a humid, summer run.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly?

The first thing to strike me about the XRCEL Athlete Fuels is the viscosity.  On my first sip, I noticed that the XRCEL Athlete Fuels were thicker than what I have come to expect from energy products.  To paint a basic picture, imagine if Gatorade made a bottle of maple syrup of your favorite flavor.  That is kind of what drinking XRCEL is like (but maybe slightly closer to water than syrup; again, this is a rough analogy).

The viscosity isn’t a bad thing, however.  I had the opportunity to taste test all three of XRCEL’s flavors, and although the thicker consistency is apparent, it neither affects the taste nor sits heavily in your stomach (compared to, for example, just drinking water before a run).  Generally speaking, all three flavors are slightly sweet versions of their respective flavor (but I suppose that is to be expected of a sugar-based endurance fuel).

Currently, XRCEL Athlete Fuels only offers three flavors.  Although I liked each that I tried (particularly, Blackberry was my favorite), this actually highlighted the limited selection; if the company could offer three tasty flavors, why couldn’t they offer 2-3 additional flavors?  I will stay tuned as, hopefully, XRCEL will offer additional flavors in the future.

Steve Pic E

The right fuel is crucial in helping you get to the finish line.

As for cost, the website offers three different sizes for ordering: a 3-bottle sampler for $11.99, a 6-pack for $22.99, and 12-pack for $39.99.  If you buy 3 or more 12-packs, the price per pack drops to $35.88.  Even at this cheapest price point, the Casual Runner is still paying just under $3 per serving.  That might make it so that XRCEL Athlete Fuels will be reserved for race days or only bigger runs, as opposed to a more regular supplement, depending on your budget.

In sum, XRCEL Athlete Fuels are tasty, easy to use, on the go endurance fuels.  These athlete fuels really shine due to their convenience of both coming in a single serving and in a bottle that is easy to carry along during a run.  Moreover, the fuel itself comes in good flavors and a unique consistency.  On the other hand, the product comes in a limited number of flavors and might be a little too pricey.  Nonetheless, I’d encourage runners to sample XRCEL Athlete Fuels to see if it works as part of your exercise routine and is worth springing for.

This is the latest installment in the Casual Runner Team’s look at products that can help you in your own Casual Running journey. For a look at our other product reviews, just click here

The Casual Runner Team wants to hear from you. If you have any questions about anything we cover here on Casual Runner, if you have any questions regarding running gear or training for your own Casual Running needs, or if there is anything that you would like us to cover on Casual Runner, please leave a comment or email us using the links below.  To ensure that you do not miss all of the great content from Casual Runner, please be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and add us to your circle on Google+.  See you out on the running trails!  

Neither Steve nor Casual Runner received any compensation for this review.  The products reviewed herein were provided by the manufacturer for purposes of this review and the opinions are solely those of the author.

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