Last Updated on March 4, 2015 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP
This review is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of About Time. I was compensated for my time in providing this review, however all opinions, editorial comments, and suggestions are my own.
Not a gym shift goes by without a member asking me advice about supplements. It’s a tricky topic, I won’t lie. In school we were taught that athletes and health seekers alike should strive to obtain ALL of their daily vitamins and nutrients from food, not supplements. Further, the nearly impossible to pronounce ingredients in most of these supplements are not only questionable, but are not regulated by any governing body. But the reality is there are a number of reasons why obtaining everything you may want or need from whole foods alone can be a difficult, if not inconvenient task. Supplements are necessary in my training regimen; the difficult task is finding those that are as minimally processed as possible, and consist of as much “real” food as possible. I’m happy to be able to provide reviews to readers (and gym members & clients alike) of products I have had the opportunity to test out, and I’ve found a new “getting much closer to real/whole foods” supplement line that I’d like to talk about today: About Time.
The About Time story goes like this: In 2008, fitness professional Sean Marszalek and food science expert Devenee Schumacher looked around at the growing number of protein supplement products, and didn’t like what they saw. Too many artificial ingredients, artificial sweeteners, inferior protein concentrates, and very few options for people with certain dietary restrictions such as diabetes. Frankly, Sean couldn’t find anything in the market that he could recommend to his health-conscious clients. So Sean and Devenee formed SDC Nutrition and launched the About Time brand of high quality whey protein isolate products. The line has expanded to include a number of products that go beyond simply protein powder, including pre workout, protein bars, and more (you can check out the full line here)
I was sent a handful of different About Time products to test and implement into my day to day life. As I have mentioned no short of a thousand times on this blog, I love bars. They are a HUGE player in my always on the go lifestyle, as well as part of my race day nutrition. But I’m always skeptical when I try a new bar, of taste but also ingredients. About Time offers a fruit, nuts, and protein bar in three flavors: chocolate brownie, island coconut and pecan pie. Of course I grab the chocolate brownie first, because, well…chocolate. What stood out to me first? Six natural ingredients. SIX. That’s it. All of which I could pronounce. The bars are naturally sweetened with dates, giving them a very interesting, subtle taste: not artificially sweet or overwhelming “this tastes like desert” flavor.
Other highlights for me included the fact that it has 11 grams of egg white protein. Many bars often cram as much protein in them as they possibly can. This may be fine for a 250 lb body builder who just left the weight room, but I’m a 135 lb endurance athlete; ingesting 20+ grams of protein in one sitting, especially while on the run, often leads to gastrointestinal stress…and I will spare you the details that come along with that. It should also be noted that the bars are paleo and gluten free; I know that is of a concern for many of you.
Speaking of protein, as a “no-meat athlete” I am overly aware of my protein intake throughout the day. Now, don’t get me started on the whole “you’re a vegetarian? How do you get enough protein” nonsense. It’s not as hard as you think. BUT, when I find a way to add extra protein into my meals, I will take advantage of it. I’ve seen the trend of protein pancakes floating around the internet for some time now, but haven’t taken the initiative to try one of the many recipes. I’m not a creative nor stellar cook. So imagine my surprise when I unpacked my About Time goodies to find protein pancake mix. Best part? All you do is add water.
The gluten free mix contains 21 g protein and 6g fiber per serving (each serving is 2 six inch pancakes) and contains 10 servings per container. Two flavors are available: chocolate chip and cinnamon spice. I tested the chocolate chip and while it certainly wasn’t the melt in your mouth buttermilk pancakes I’m used to (hey, I live in Vermont, land of maple syrup), they weren’t bad. And as mentioned above, they were incredibly easy to make, as all you do is add water. And they cooked really well; for me to not have pancakes falling apart in pieces is a feat in and of itself. Again, I can pronounce all of the ingredients (and obviously know what they are), and there are no additives or preservatives in the mix.
The last product I want to talk about, and one I was most excited to try, is the About Time AUX, a preworkout formula. AUX is stimulant free, and instead contains 90 MG of naturally occurring caffeine from Guarana, green tea and yerbe mate. Zero sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners, and zero artificial flavors are used in this product. For those of you unfamiliar, the concept behind preworkouts is to not only give you energy, but also typically stimulate vasodilation, causing faster oxygen flow to the muscles.
I do not recommend preworkout supplements to ANYONE without encouraging them to do their own research first. They are certainly one of those products that are a personal preference; some people naturally have enough energy on their own, or find that something like green tea or even the natural sugars of a banana can give them the boost they need before a tough workout. Personally, I enjoy the boost a preworkout gives me during my training. AUX had a mild, enjoyable taste (I tested the Passion Fruit formula, though a Watermelon option is also available), and gave me a burst of energy without any jitters or dizziness that typically accompanies a preworkout (important note: reactions to caffeinated products vary by personal tolerance.)
To sum up this review, I was pleasantly surprised with the entire About Time line. The price points are on par with other widely recognized supplement brands, except with About Time you are getting ingredient transparency, something that in my eyes is priceless. If you are looking for supplements that are nutritionally superior to other options without resorting to artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners, I would highly suggest giving About Time a try.
For more information on About Time, please check out their social media channels:
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of About Time.