FSF Challenge – Lory Martin
I am, what some might call, a late bloomer in sports. Before I got into an active lifestyle, I was (or still am) a nerdy bookworm. My gateway sport like for so many was trail running. Thanks to Hong Kong’s great trail running community I was introduced to ultra endurance races. I got to train and race with various sorts of people: dedicated newbies, seasoned runners and incredible outliers. We motivated each other and shared advice or GU gels, whatever was needed. The nerd in me gleefully soaked up new knowledge about training structures, nutrition and anything else which could improve an athlete’s performance. Not much of a big surprise, when I stopped racing and became a strength and conditioning trainer with a focus on functional movement and a Paleo streak.
At the beginning of 2013 I had my own training programme dialled in and was working on my own strength numbers. I compared notes with a friend who also happened to be martial arts instructor in Germany. Friendly banter turned into cheeky trash talk which led to a bold challenge to improve fitness and body composition within 3 months. I should mention that unlike me, my fellow challenger has been into martial arts since he was five and is also genetically blessed with stupendous hypertrophy.
I had to kick it up a notch training-wise. And to put it mildly, I needed all the help I could get. Stumbling over the 30 Day FSF Challenge was a lucky sign. I signed up and FSF’s Mikko and Tero thought that the Endurance Blend would be a good fit. I wholeheartedly agreed. My old training plan was very strength oriented. And the first thing that goes with a strength-heavy training is endurance. While rewriting my training program I realised that I had to get endurance explicitly strength- and power endurance back into the mix.
When I collected the one month supply of Endurance Blend I did not know what my palate was up against. Sure I did the research about the ingredients Schisandra, Roseroot and Siberian Ginseng, and was aware about their common uses and positive effects concerning strength, endurance and recovery. I was only hoping that the taste would not come close to healthy but mean-tasting soups one could get in traditional Chinese medicine pharmacies.
Luckily mixed with water it pleasantly tasted like smooth herbal tea. The FSF page was full of suggestions which foods would go well with the blend. But it turned out that I was more of a purist and was very content with my blend and water. Sometimes I would mix it my BCAA powder as the blend’s natural taste would make the BCAA powder’s fake apple flavour more palatable.
Quite surprisingly the first effect I noticed the Endurance Blend had on me was improved sleep. Usually on double workout days especially if the last workout was during the evening I would be too wired to get to bed right away. On days when I used the blend it was much easier for me to wind down after an evening workout and get to sleep faster.
It would be too early to say which effect the blend had directly on my recovery rate. But the improved sleep certainly boosted recovery. At this point I have been exposed to the blend long enough to verify other effects.
What I can say is that the blend was very agreeable with stomach either taken pre or during workout. Its mild formula makes it easy to use the blend long-term and that’s when positive effects might be more obvious. This only endorses my philosophy concerning training and nutrition: Safe and steady is the way to go. The fitness industry is saturated with quick and easy fixes in form of pills and powders as effective as a rabid jackhammer, often too much for the body system to handle.
Big thanks to Four Sigma Foods for giving me the opportunity to join their challenge and test their Endurance Blend. I hope more athletes and sports enthusiasts will find their favourite blend to enhance their nutrition and with that their performance.