Run with a Tailwind!

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Scott & Don


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Ten years ago Jeff Vierling finished his first Leadville 100 mountain bike race despite having terrible GI issues.  That marked the day that he began his quest to find the perfect nutrition & hydration product.  He didn’t find it.  So rather than changing sports to bowling, he decided to learn everything there was to know about nutrition and hydration and “bake” his own.  This was the genesis of Tailwind Nutrition.  We talk to Jeff about what he learned about nutrition and electrolytes and how Tailwind may just be the answer to many of our problems.

But don’t just take our word for it. Take the Tailwind Challenge!

“Like” Tailwind Nutrition on Facebook, and you can redeem a 15% off coupon

Closing Song: Fell on Black Days by Soundgarden
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  • I’m very interested in Tailwind and want to try it out. However, the site is very vague on the actual nutrients and calories provided by the product. I couldn’t find any of that info on their site. Can you guys share a little info about Tailwind with the TRN group? Thanks!!

    • Hi Josh,

      Sorry it took you awhile to find the nutrition information on the website. We need to do a better job on making that information easier to find. With regards to the electrolytes, Tailwind mimics the electrolytes that you sweat out (thus the savory flavor). In each 100 calorie serving, Tailwind contains the following: 303mg sodium, 88mg potassium, 26mg calcium, and 14mg magnesium.

      The composition of sweat varies from person to person (and even day to day), but on average contains sodium at 900mg/L, potassium at 200mg/L, calcium at 15mg/L, and magnesium at 13mg/L, with additional trace elements. Hope this helps!

  • I “liked” the tailwind page but did not see how to redeem the coupon. I did it on my phone, so I don’t know if that messed it up. :/

    • Ian, it took me a bit too. Once you Like their page a coupon button pops up that you have to click. Search their page and you’ll find it.

    • Hi Ian,

      Yes, you can take advantage of the 15% discount on our Facebook page. Just click on “Coupon” on our Facebook page right below the photo, and it will bring up the code to enter when you order Tailwind. If you have any problems, please email us at (Please note: the coupon code does not apply to the Tailwind Challenge since it’s already discounted).

      Thanks…and please let me know if you have any other questions!

  • I rarely have GI issues. However, at the end of long training runs the thought of another sweet gel or electrolyte drink almost makes me nauseous. Look forward to trying the product. I am curious as to why some of the other electrolyte drink companies such as Hammer and GU use long chain carbs. What are the pros and cons of using dextrose or sucrose vs. maltodextrin?

    • Hi Rod,
      Thank you for your question. The short answer is a dextrose (glucose) and sucrose combo is more easily absorbed than Maltodextrin, and the combination of carbohydrate sources optimizes both carbohydrate and water uptake. If you’ll bear with me, I’ll dive into the weeds here and explain.

      Maltodextrin is a chain of dextrose (glucose) molecules of manufactured to a specific length. The length correlates with how long the molecule takes to break down into individual dextrose molecules before being absorbed. The “advantage” of Maltodextrin is to lower the osmolarity of the solution by combining multiple dextrose molecules into one, thus having a smaller number of larger molecules per a given amount of water. In theory, this should make stomach emptying easier.

      However, tests of stomach emptying rates haven’t borne out a clear advantage. In part, this is because the Maltodextrin chains start to break down on contact with saliva, raising the osmolarity of the solution before it gets to the stomach where the chains stop breaking down until it reaches the small intestine. Also, stomach emptying rates vary according to a host of variables, of which osmolarity is only one. One study found that a 10% glucose solution (not Maltodextrin) emptied as fast as plain water during exercise when a need for energy existed. Finally, active transport mechanisms in the small intestine actively move glucose molecules into the bloodstream and take water with them (the transport mechanism requires sodium to be present as well). This mechanism is more efficient than osmosis for hydration – you actually hydrate better with a higher glucose concentration solution than a lower one. The Maltodextrin chains that are still unbroken in the small intestine have to be broken down (digested) before the glucose can be transported. The chains are relatively easy to break, but it stil delays glucose uptake and hydration compared with glucose alone and places a higher demand on your digestive system.

      Tailwind uses dextrose because it requires no digestion to be absorbed from the small intestine, while still emptying from the stomach quickly. This removes the potential for GI issues from slowed digestion of Maltodextrin. Some athletes experience GI problems using Maltodextrin over multiple hours. My feeling, and this is just conjecture based upon personal experience and talking with many athletes, is that the Maltodextrin that was easy to digest in the first couple hours becomes increasingly difficult to digest as our digestive abilities degrade with duration and intensity of exercise. Everyone is different, and certainly many athletes don’t experience problems with Maltodextrin, but then, many others do.

      The Sucrose in Tailwind serves two purposes. It’s a sweetener to make the drink sweet enough to keep you drinking and provides energy and optimized hydration. As a sweetener, it’s easily digested and unlikely to cause GI problems. Some drinks use alternative sweeteners like Stevia, which “fools” the mouth into thinking it’s getting sugar, but in reality, Stevia is an undigestible molecule that isn’t absorbed by the body at all (it eventually passes through). Again, we are optimizing for absorption and avoiding anything that will stay in the gut for a long time.

      The Sucrose also contributes to energy uptake and hydration. Sucrose breaks down into glucose and fructose in the small intestine. The glucose is rapidly absorbed by the glucose transport mechanism. The fructose is absorbed via its own independent transport mechanism that behaves similarly to the glucose transport. Studies have found that having two carbohydrate sources (glucose and fructose) present at once in the small intestine increases carbohydrate and hydration uptake rates. There is a balance here though in that fructose metabolizes in a different way than glucose, going through the liver, while glucose is directly utilizable by muscles once it hits the bloodstream. Also, too much fructose can pass undigested into the large intestine, causing GI issues there. For these reasons, we steered clear of including large quantities of fructose.

      I hope this helps explain why we’ve chosen simple fuels for Tailwind – optimizing energy absorption and hydration while avoiding digestive demands that can cause GI issues.

    • Hi John,

      I think you submitted this question directly to us, but I thought I’d post here as well so the TRN community could benefit.

      Jeff and I use it in a hydration pack all the time. It rinses easily, so all you have to do is rinse with water afterward. As far as concentrations go, I’d start with 250 calories per hour (2.5 scoops) and adjust from there. Some runners go as high as 400 calories per hour, but most are between 200-300. Mix to your expected water consumption per hour, with a minimum of 24 oz per hour (less than that and you’ll likely be dehydrated).

      For instance, if a 70 oz hydration pack lasts you 2.5 hours, then you’d add 2.5 x 2.5 scoops = 6.25 scoops. Give it a shake, and you’re good to go.


    • The only problem I see with using this in a pack is knowing how much you have left without taking the pack off every 30 minutes to check if you are on target for your hydration/calorie goal. Also, filing up at aid stations might be tricky if the pack is not empty, so you might add too much or too little Tailwind to the concentration already in the bladder.

      • Ian, you have a very good point. It is really important that you train with what you are going to use. Just like you wouldn’t change your nutrition on race day, you wouldn’t want to test a new bottle/pack. If you use a hydration pack during training, you can get a feel for how much you’re going through by its weight and by the amount your sipping.

        What we generally do is look at the aid stations on the course ahead of time, and know that we should be through the hydration pack by “x” station and do a complete refill or use our drop bag with another hydration pack ready to go. The same goes for bottles.

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