Have you ever taken a multivitamin every day for months and thought to yourself, “Is this even doing anything?” It’s easy to think that just because you don’t grow super human strength, X-ray vision and the ability to leap buildings in a single bound, that taking the time to slug down half a dozen pills in the morning just isn’t making that much of a difference. Add to that the conflicting studies about whether or not taking multivitamins and other minerals is even good for you, and it’s enough to make your head spin as you reach for a donut instead.
As multisport athletes, we really put our bodies through the ringer. Heavy exercise, combined with often inadequate amounts of sleep, questionable fueling and the daily demands of work and family stress can add up to not only nutritional deficiencies, but hormonal imbalances as well. While a simple daily multivitamin might work for your neighbor who goes to the gym twice a week, chances are your own nutritional needs are far different and going on a nutritional supplement plan (particularly while training for an Ironman or even half Ironman event) might be a good idea.
The Klean Athlete line of nutritional supplements is geared toward athletes’ unique nutritional needs, as well as ensuring that nothing they put inside them contains a banned substance. There have been a few high-profile cases in the triathlon world of a pro athlete consuming a product and then testing positive because it had something in it not listed on the label that was in fact a WADA-banned substance. In order to meet the tough standards of the NSF Certified for Sport label, which is recognized by the NFL, MLB, NHL and PGA among other major sports organizations, Klean Athlete products undergo meticulous testing to ensure each ingredient is up to snuff.
I used the product’s entire line of seven supplements for six weeks while in the lead up to the Wildflower Long Course. While I have yet to pick a car up over my head or see through a steel door, after using the products for a few weeks I had noticeably more energy, less muscle soreness, and even some positive side effects like thicker hair and clearer skin. I used the Klean Electrolytes and Klean Endurance chews all through race day on a hotter-than-average year, and had very positive results. Here’s a rundown of each product and their intended use:
Klean Multivitamin ($36 for 60 capsules): Designed to contain everything you need but not to an excessive degree (for example, no more than 50 percent RDA of iron, calcium or other minerals that you are most likely getting through whole foods), this multivitamin is a good way to cover your nutritional daily bases. As an added bonus, the Klean multivitamin is formulated without any common allergens: wheat, dairy, nuts, soy and corn.
Klean Probiotic ($36.60 for 60 capsules): It wasn’t so long ago, that aside from yogurt, most people paid very little attention to probiotics, especially as performance enhancers. But luckily now we know better. Probiotics not only balance out the bacteria in your gut and bloodstream, but they also help your body better absorb nutrients and battle the slight immune-system suppression that comes from intense, frequent training.
Klean Endurance ($39 for 90 chewable tablets): Have you ever headed off for a lunchtime workout and just needed a little extra “kick”? Well, the Klean Endurance chewables are for you. Each orange-flavored chew (reminiscent of Flintstone’s chewable vitamins), is full of all-natural D-ribose, which has been clinically proven to help restore energy, improve cardiac function and decrease post-workout muscle soreness. I popped one of these before my early morning Masters workouts, as well as before the start of my race and each time could feel that little extra bit of energy working in my favor.
Klean Electrolytes ($22 for 120 capsules): Even on a mild hot race day, excessive sweating and inadequate fluid intake can turn even the most well-prepared athlete into a cramping, fatigued mess on the course. One of the best ways to combat this is to start taking electrolyte capsules before the race even starts, and then remembering to take them at least every hour. The Klean electrolyte formula includes potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin B-6 as well as sodium. All of these minerals together combat muscle fatigue, dehydration and the risk of hypotranemia as well.
Klean Cognitive ($46 for 90 capsules): One of the more unique and impressive among the Klean supplement line, the cognitive supplement increases mental focus, clarity and even long-term memory. The “Vitaberry” fruit blend in the capsule contains grape seed, blueberry, wild bilberry, strawberry and raspberry extracts. Another key ingredient is lutein, which has recently been shown in studies to help cardiovascular as well as cognitive health.
Klean Antioxidant ($39 for 90 capsules): Yes, as triathletes we are fit and strong. But with every track workout, trainer interval and pool sprint, we are also breaking our bodies down. It’s necessary in a way, because we only get stronger through the stress, but we’re also generating free radicals that can lead to oxidative stress, fatigue and extreme muscle soreness. Formulated with amino acids like Acetyl L-Carnitine and Alpha-Lipoic Acid, as well as the super-fruit Maqui Berry and the caratenoid Astaxanthin, which together act like brooms to flush out the free radicals and repair damage on the cellular level.
Klean Isolate ($56 for 444g tub): The Klean whey protein powder is protein in its purest form. No sweeteners, no flavorings, and the protein powder is also free of gluten, starch, soy, corn or colorings of any kind. So yeah, it doesn’t taste like chocolate. It doesn’t taste like anything, actually. But if you want an extra dose of protein (20 grams per scoop) in your yogurt, cereal, baked goods, smoothies or juice, this is a great option.