Into the Jungle of NAPALM and TRiPWIRE
- 9 Feb 2017
The Evolution of INFINIT's Concentrated Fuel Shot
This is my world. I get to come up with new ideas on how to solve issues for endurance athletes. I did this after a 15-year banking career. Yes, I am lucky to do what I do.
I will take you back 8 years ago...
As an Ironman and Marathon guy dating back to the '80s, I had ample experience with gels. I used gels on about every kind of race from 5K’s and Crit racing right up to 50 or so marathons and Kona. For the under 2-hour stuff, gels are fine. Really. People complicate things way too much. They are a little sweet, but wash them down with water and rock on.
Over 3-hour races - that is where my issues start with gels.
They are way too sweet and cloy in the back of the throat. When the day gets really long (at about the 6-8 hour mark), gels are an issue just to get down. It’s a texture and taste thing. Even the unflavored gels are virtually impossible to get down easily late in the day. Long into a training day or race I am looking for salty stuff. Chips, pretzels, or the chicken soup. SALT is what drives me late in a race. I am not dreaming of cupcakes or candy, I want pepperoni pizza and cheddar cheese Combos! At the old Ironman Canada Penticton, I remember literally pushing a pile of pretzels to the side and grabbed a handful of kosher salt and threw it happily in my mouth…and it was delicious.
Fueling Systems for Running
In the '90s, fuel and hydration belts weren’t really all that refined. There was a company out of Denmark (I forget the name so some fellow “old timers” let me know) that were the first to take a stab at letting an athlete carry everything they needed for a 3 hour run. It basically was four 8-ounce bottles full of goop bouncing along, hung from a thin elastic that resembled something more like a garter belt with canteens than something you would run with.
Then in 2002, I met Vinu, the new owner of Fuelbelt, while we both were in Kona. He was a professional athlete and he “got it.” He gave me some samples of his new design.It was fantastic, and they continued to be the lead innovator in hydration designs for years.
Nowadays, the choices of how to carry your nutrition are vast and almost endless. We really like the crew over at Orange Mud and their equipment is awesome. There are new belts, backpacks, waistpacks and handheld designs that are efficient, made well and are comfortable to wear even for the ultra-distance races. We as endurance athletes and racers are blessed to have such amazing ways to keep nutrition simple by racing on your own fuel with zero guesswork.
However, the issue is not in the design of the hydration systems, it is the delivery of the fuel that goes inside them. We have talked about some badass hydration systems, yet nobody is making a real race fuel custom made for that specific purpose. Trying to squeeze huge tubs of messy gels into your brand new really cool backpack did not make any sense. Wouldn’t this be easier if it was a powder? Then you could fill ANY size container, flask, or handheld, then add water and have the perfect consistency? Wouldn’t preparation be easier? Wouldn’t cleanup of bladders and bite-valves be a breeze?
So that’s what we set out to do with our first concentrated fuel product:
· Because gels are too sweet, we created a much lower flavor product that tastes good for hours.
· Because our bodies crave salt, we created a formula that meets the demands of endurance athletes.
· Because there is no product made specifically for the new hydration systems, we created a concentrated powdered sports fuel that fits any of the new hydration fuel systems.
When we brought the product to testing, the reaction I got from my pro teams (Garmin and Hincapie at the time) was, as they described it, “powdered Rocket Fuel.” That’s where the name NAPALM came from - explosive energy. We caught some crap for the name, but not all that much.
NAPALM was a favorite of our elite athletes and professionals. They love the fact that it gave them a huge slug of salt and 4 carbs with no thickeners all while being 100% all-natural.
NAPALM was not cake frosting or pudding. It’s not made for my wonderful mother who is running a 5k. NAPLAM was formulated to be a serious-ass fuel that is a replacement for all the gels and salt pills. It was the real deal. We always get asked by customers, what should I be using for my run? NAPALM was our answer.
TRiPWIRE: NAPALM Reborn
At INFINIT, we work hard to keep up with the latest in sports nutrition research and technology. So about a year ago, when I was reading a study espousing the latest theory behind athletic-induced muscle cramping, we jumped on the opportunity to incorporate this ground breaking research into what we do.
The theory behind the new research states that chemical stimulation of the TRP ion channel (located in the back of your throat) could be a mechanism to control muscle cramping.The TRP nerve is essentially a highway for electrical signals from your brain to your muscles and back to the brain. They found that sometimes opposing muscles misfire because they electrically get out of sync and can start working in opposition against each other, hence cramping.
The research also found that certain chemicals in everyday flavors and foods can affect the electrical flow in the TRP nerve, causing a neurological reset, thus preventing and stopping your muscles from cramping. A very exciting concept considering we really have had little understanding on why peoples' muscles cramp.
So, we knew we had this great proven powdered race fuel that was not sweet and definitely had salt behind it for the long stuff, AND we had this really interesting scientific study about flavors affecting the TRP nerve to stop and prevent cramps. The question was how to marry these two concepts into one system to create the very best fuel on the market, using all natural flavors to prevent and stop any cramping issues.
Enter TRiPWIRE, a powdered fuel designed for today’s badass new fueling systems.
First and foremost, TRiPWIRE is a super-premium race fuel that contains a blend of 4 different carbohydrates for maximum absorption, along with a ton of electrolytes. Well, not literally a “ton,” but way more than what’s currently available with gels. This is a real deal, all-day (and sometimes all-night) concentrated sports fuel made for serious events.
Functional Flavor Technology™
TRiPWIRE’s Functional Flavor Technology™ also uses 100% all-natural flavors to activate the TRP nerve in the back of the athlete's throat to stop and prevent cramping during exercise all while delivering the perfect race fuel.
We tested several flavors that have proved to be effective activating the neurological reset. These flavors contain specific chemical compounds that work to activate the TRP ion channel such as:
- Cinnamon (cinnemonaldehyde)
- Hot and spicy flavors (capsaicin)
- Vinegar (acetic acid)
- Sour flavors (citric acid)
There is one flavor I knew we HAD to do…Pickle. Yup, we know, it’s awesome. Pickled powered fuel - what’s not to love? Vinegar (acetic acid) is the active ingredient.
Next up is our old sour-grape flavor from NAPALM that contains citric acid as the active ingredient.
Like NAPALM, TRiPWIRE Grape comes in both non-caffeinated and caffeinated with 60mg of caffeine per 100 calorie serving.
So there it is, the evolution of a new idea. Only took about 6 years and 27 twists and turns through the jungle of NAPALM and TRiPWIRE.
The INFINIT Team is dedicated to staying on top the the latest sports nutrition research and evidence-based practices. Since we do all our product development and manufacturing right out of our HQ in Cincinnati, we also have the unique ability to adapt quickly to new research as it comes out. We aim to always stay ahead of the curve, and to provide the very best products science can offer, and evolve with the latest research available.
We hope you enjoy the next generation of NAPALM - the new and improved TRiPWIRE.