Pros: snob appeal, agrees with system
Cons: cost, funny taste
I got started on Ultima replenisher when my best running buddy (yeh the same one that gave me the camelbak ) mixed me a glass after one of our early Tuesday morning 6-mile runs.
She claimed it made her bounce back faster and feel less tired after a run. I avoided asking her awkward questions such as "just how do you measure that" because she is scientific enough to be embarrassed by such a question.
I thought the Ultima tasted a bit odd, but I have tasted worse. It definitely tastes "good for you," which is to say "odd." I asked her where to get it, and she told me she got it at the local GNC, which happens to be right beside where I usually shop for groceries.
Well it got to be my turn to provide the "big bottle" for pre-caching at the halfway point of our group runs. This particular group is a well-heeled bunch (pun intended), and it wouldn't do to serve them something cheap and sugary like gatorade. So I waltzed into GNC looking for Ultima, and I was in for some sticker shock. I am accustomed to buying powdered gatorade in the big cannister at Costco for about $8, or the small orange cannisters for about $5. Imagine my shock when a cannister smaller than an orange gatorade one cost $20. And don't even ask me about the price of the individual packets. Here's a convenience tip for ya boys and girls: If I need to take a single serving of powdered anything anywhere I measure a scoop from the reagent cannister into a plastic test tube and stopper it, and it's more convenient than a single serving packet because it's easier to open when you need it.
Needless to say, I bit the bullet and got the Ultima. I had an actual job at that time so I felt I could afford it.
What you want to know is does it improve performance. I can't tell you that. I haven't been on any runs serious enough to the point where I would get glycogen depletion lately--my biggest recent run was a 15K which is really just a warmup. Ultima definitely tastes better chilled if you can manage that. It has never disagreed with my stomach, but mine is apparently more tolerant than most. Besides I usually drink it after I'm all done running. I also drink it to rehydrate when I go to Bikrams studio because of the amount of sweating you do, but Bikrams is not really a cardio workout.
A serving of Ultima costs you 25 calories and contains the same vitamins as a multivitamin tablet. It also contains potassium and sodium, as does Gatorade. The bonus is the trace minerals. Do I really need the vitamins? I doubt it. I already take vitamins. And I'm dubious about the body's absorption of minerals. Why I bought another cannister: Mainly because it uses stevia rather than sugar for sweetener. The more I read about sugar (the primary ingredient of gatorade) the more I believe it is just a bad idea--even for skinny people like me who need carbs. We all need carbs, but the complex ones are just better all around than our old cheap standby sucrose.
Will I ever buy Ultima at GNC again? No way! They mark it up way too much. I was robbed. From now I'm buying it online. Even with shipping it will be cheaper that way.
Check out the link below for a good price and to read exactly what's in Ultima. A cannister twice the size of the one I paid $20 for is $26.
Please check out my other sports-related reviews:
Saucony Grid Shadow 1327
How to outfit yourself for running
Adidas Brahma (Trail Shoe)
New Balance 854
Brooks Geckos (Trail Shoe)
New Balance 803 Trail Shoes
Gatorade Energy Bar
Gatorade Sports Drink
GU -- performance fuel for a working body
PowerGel -- Another brand of performance fuel