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Tested: ENERGYbits

energybits

Not much really catches my attention anymore when it comes to energy drinks. You’ve got double or triple caffeine, miracle herbs, superfruit juices, and various extracts from animals and insects.

But what if I told you there was an energy supplement that was basically a bunch of seaweed pellets that you take before a workout. It’s a joke, right?

Nope, not a joke. They are very real, and they’re called ENERGYbits.

And they’re not just real in that they exist, they’re real in that they come from nature. They are made of 100% algae, so they are considered a whole food. No sugar, no caffeine, no weird chemicals.

But somehow they provide improved mental focus and a steady supply of energy all day long.

How did they even come up with this idea?

Well, it’s not a new concept. According to Catharine Arnston, Founder and CEO of ENERGYbits, “Spirulina algae has been used for fifty years by Olympic athletes and is endorsed by both NASA and The United Nations as the nutrition solution of the future.”

Algae as a performance enhancer has been around longer than I have. But it never really hit its stride in the mainstream, probably because it’s misunderstood.

The benefits of algae (yes, for humans).

See, most people think about algae as something they have to clean off their aquarium. That paints it in a negative light, and some people never get past that first impression.

If you instead look at algae from a food perspective, it looks pretty darn good.

Spirulina, a non-toxic blue-green algae, is the most popular choice. It’s 55-70% protein (a vegan source of complete protein containing adequate amounts of all essential amino acids,) and it offers potent anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects thanks to something called phycocyanobilin.

Studies suggest that spirulina can improve lipid and glucose metabolism in humans, which is probably part of the reason is can lead to an energy boost. It’s going to counteract the existing state of your metabolism, which for almost everyone, is going to be pretty screwed up thanks to too much fake food and a sedentary lifestyle (or overtraining.)

The studies showing improved muscular endurance are not definitive, but look promising!

Chlorella is another algae which is surprisingly different than spirulina. It’s structured more like a plant than a simple algae, so it helps to detoxify your body (sort of like how plants detoxify the air we breathe.) It’s a good source of iron and B12, and there’s at least one study that suggests an immune enhancing effect.

So you could take spirulina to improve your performance and chlorella to decrease your chances of getting sick (due to a weakened immune system from all that extra hard training you were able to do.)

Both are nutrient dense, being packed with 40 vitamins and minerals. Algae is claimed to contain more iron than spinach, more beta carotene than carrots, more chlorophyll than wheat grass, and more antioxidants than anything in the world.

I found a review titled “The beneficial effects of spirulina focusing on its immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties” published in Nutrition and Dietary Supplements on July 29, 2010. It mentions research done by NASA that showed that 1 kg of spirulina had the nutritional equivalent of 1000 kg of fruits and vegetables and a 1974 conference where the United Nations hailed spirulina as the possible ‘best food for the future.’

Apparently that didn’t catch on with the general population. It caught on with Olympic athletes, though!

As with most nutritional strategies of Olympic athletes, this was sort of a secret. At least, secret enough that no one talked about it until after they used it win gold. US Olympian Lee Evans, a four-time gold medalist and multiple world record holder in Track & Field, attributed his success to the stuff after winning gold in the 1968 games. According to Evans, “spirulina algae improved my training, gave me speed and improved my endurance all of which resulted in my faster times.”

The timing is particularly interesting because that was one of the first Olympics where they tested for performance enhancing drugs (which were banned the year prior.) If athletes considered algae as the next best thing, that’s a serious endorsement!

(Of course, conspiracy theorists will say that any talk of algae was probably just to fend off rumors of steroid use.)

You can supplement like an Olympian (with ENERGYbits).

ENERGYbits are the first algae supplement aimed at athletes like us.

Claimed benefits include:

  • Increased energy
  • Increased endurance
  • Increased mental alertness
  • Stops hunger/cravings

That’s everything I want! Where do I sign up?!

I absolutely love the idea. See, consuming algae was one of the key lessons I picked up from my high school health teacher, Mr. Rishel. His lessons have guided my life ever since I met him. Pretty much every current trend or findings related to better health is something I picked up from him many, many years ago.

So I’m all in when it comes to algae. The question is, are the ENERGYbits any good?

Nutritionally, they should be. The only processing involved would be to dry out the algae and press it into “bit” form.

So let’s see how they work…

Putting ENERGYbits to the Test

Before taking the bits, I had to figure out how to take them. I mean, pills are something to swallow. And energy chews are something to chew up. But what do you do with “bits?”

Apparently it’s up to you. You can swallow them or chew them, at your discretion.

OK, so how many? 30.

No, that’s not a typo. A dose is 30 bits. Thirty of them!

See this tin?

energybits

That’s not a month supply. It’s like two or three servings!

Since I am terrible at swallowing pills and don’t mind the taste of other greens products, I chewed a couple bits to see how they taste.

And it was awful!

They smell like the alfalfa cubes I used to get for my pet rabbits, so I figured they’d taste like grass (which isn’t bad, just bland.) I was wrong. The taste is terrible!

For me, someone who enjoys Greens+, to severely dislike the flavor, means they are pretty bad.

Far worse, though, is how they stick to your teeth. I chewed up two bits, and I’m pretty sure that all they did was coat my teeth with a gritty green slime. I don’t know if any of the algae actually made it down my throat.

You can’t just take a bite and swallow. Once you bite into them, that teeth-engulfing green slime is unleashed, and you have no hope.

You can’t let them melt in your mouth either, because once the coating wears off, you’re again confronted with that nasty powdery consistency which sticks to your teeth and turns your tongue green.

It’s going to be much better to swallow them. Trust me!

For me, it’s actually not much better. Since I have so much trouble swallowing pills, it look me an entire container of apple sauce, plus time and distractions to get the 30 pills down.

But if you have no trouble swallowing pills, you can probably get them all down with a few gulps of water.

The energy boost is the best I’ve ever felt!

The first day I took 30 bits, since they say to take at least 30 per day.

For reference, here is a handful of 30 bits:

handful of energybits

Getting all those into my stomach without gagging was an adventure. But it pales in comparison to the day I had!

I sat back and waited patiently, thankful that the dose was complete. It was about an hour later I felt it kick in. And once it did, I had some serious energy!

Not in a bad way like caffeine jitters, but so powerful I couldn’t sit still! I had to get up and do some calisthenics immediately. That helped some, but I had to get a big bowl of oatmeal to calm me down to a manageable level (even though I wasn’t particularly hungry.)

Despite a stressful day of work and ever-changing plans for the evening, everything seemed manageable. My body was so energized, there was no room for stress!

4pm rolled around and it was time to exercise! I hit the trails on my xc skis and covered 10.25 miles over 2.5 hours. And I felt damn good doing it! I was so happy during my workout, I was singing out loud to whatever song was on my mp3 player!

The empty trail and perfect weather conditions surely played a role, but I bet a lot of that was attributed to the bits. I can’t recall the last time I felt that good for that long!

Even my favorite energy supplements – Ginsana, Wilderness Athlete, and BioTerra Boing – don’t work that well. And beet juice doesn’t last anywhere near as long.

The adventure wasn’t over, though. I still felt great at 7pm when I got home, and I used that energy to refuel and rehydrate! Then I crashed! I was asleep before 10pm!

But then I woke up at 1am… and was wide awake! What did I do? Wrote articles for CoachLevi.com, of course!

Apparently with the bits, you do everything hard. So I worked out hard, then slept hard. It was such good sleep that my body said 3-4 hours was plenty!

After that, I reduced the dose to 10 bits.

As someone who can get the jitters from half a cup of decaf coffee, I thought it may be wise to lower my dose. It was a good idea, and I could feel the energy boost slightly, but 10 bits was not enough.

So, maybe 20 bits is the sweet spot for me?

The day I took 20 bits started out much like the day I took 30. It was a semi-miserable challenge getting the 20 bits down, but an hour later, I felt amazing!

My brain was sharp, and I was happy and productive.

When lunch time rolled around, I wasn’t even hungry, but I did eat since it was my only chance for a real meal that day. My afternoon and evening were going to be filled with a rock climbing extravaganza!

It was the best day I’ve had in a long time! My performance was on point, and my muscular endurance was noticeably improved. And I never got tired!!

I did get hungry, but otherwise, it was a great day! No, an excellent day!

I hate to say it but I’m sold on these bits!! Without a doubt, the best energy boost I’ve ever felt.

And they will even suppress your appetite.

I wouldn’t say they eliminate hunger instantly (that sounded too good to be true,) but they definitely suppress your appetite. And it’s almost instant.

But you won’t survive all day without food. Rather than a meal replacement, you’d pop a few bits between meals to deal with junk food cravings.

recoverybits in tin

Worn out? Don’t forget RECOVERYbits.

The only downside of having so much energy is that you might overdo it with your workouts, without devoting enough time to proper rest and recovery. And when you do that, you impair your immune system and risk overtraining.

That’s where RECOVERYbits come into play. These bits are made of 100% chlorella algae, so they detoxify your body and support your immune system.

What’s really cool is that these ones taste good! They have a dry, nutty taste. It’s like you’re eating a bag of dry roasted soy nuts.

They don’t stick to your teeth, either! So they are a viable option to snack on throughout the day. The only problem is, I would eat too many! (They’re not cheap.)

I could see myself using these. I’d replace all other vitamins and greens products with them, which would simplify my routine (even if the overall price went up.)

You don’t have to worry about confusing the bits.

Notice that the RECOVERYbits are a brighter green and have a “W” marked on them.

energybits and recoverybits in tin

So it’s no problem mixing them in the same tin with ENERGYbits.

OK, how much do they cost?

Brace yourself. It’s going to cost you $115 for a month supply of bits.

To be clear, that’s $115 for a bag of ENERGYbits. It will be another $115 if you’re going to take RECOVERYbits too.

That gets you a re-sealable foil bag of 1,000 tabs and matching travel tin. Each bag provides 33 servings of 30 tabs and will last a month at an average cost of $2.80 per serving.

I guess $2.80 per serving isn’t bad. I used to pay around $3 for that FRS Healthy Energy drink (which provided a good boost but didn’t offer all these health benefits.)

Still, that’s way more expensive than coffee, and roughly double the cost of a pre-workout drink. And $115 up front sounds intimidating. How do you justify the price?

Simple. You use the bits to replace other products. If you add up the cost of your multivitamins, greens powders, and energy drinks, you might realize you’re already spending close to $100/month on supplements!

You might be able to find a discount code, too! 😉

The problems with the bits.

For me, there are two big problems here that keep holding me back.

1. Swallowing 30 freaking bits each day.

I bet it’s a pain to swallow 30 of these for a regular person. I hate swallowing pills, so it’s extra problematic for me. And chewing them is absolutely awful.

That pushes me away. Spirulina powder makes more sense for me because I can blend it up in a smoothie or just a glass of water and actually swallow it, no chewing required (so, less chance of it sticking to my teeth.)

2. That price tag.

No matter how you justify it, the price is scary. Only a select group of athletes will be able to afford it.

Personally, yeah, I think nutrition deserves a good portion of your budget. But it typically loses out to shiny new bike parts.

The bits are irresistible.

Like I said, I love the idea. I share the same philosophy. These are 100x better than green coffee beans or whatever junk like that you’re seeing on the Dr. Oz show.

I’m all about using nutrition to improve your athletic performance, and these give me incredible energy. It’s a perfect feeling.

So, even though they are not right for me, there’s a third problem… I’m addicted!

I’m hooked. Once I hit that sweet spot with 20 pills per day, I came to the conclusion that the results are worth the hassle!!!

I know they’re not right for me but I can’t resist them!

energybits and recoverybits color difference

My final verdict is…

Do I recommend this as a supplement? Absolutely! They are way better than energy drinks, and even better than some of my all-time favorite energy supplements. At the same time, eating a healthy diet rich in local produce (fruits and veggies) will do lot for you, and it will be tastier than some algae tablets. And probably save some money.

But if you can fit these in your budget, and don’t mind swallowing 20-30 pills per day, give it a shot! You’ll love the feeling! This is one of those rare supplements where you can already have a healthy diet and this will give you a boost above and beyond that!

Official website: www.ENERGYbits.com

*Use code SPEED to get 30% off your order.

Product Review Details
Company: ENERGYbits
Product: ENERGYbits
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Date last updated: 2015-03-10
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

Click here if you would like to get your product reviewed on CoachLevi.com.


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6 Comments
  1. When you say the Recovery bits taste “good”…

    Are you sure? Or is that only to your overly healthy palate? 😛

    • @Shelly

      Haha, not everyone is going to like them! 🙂

      They’re certainly not worth buying for the taste! And they’re not so delicious that I’d eat them if they had the same nutritional profile as potato chips!

  2. Hello, do you take all 20-30 at once or take them gradually throughout the morning? Really thinking about buying some!

    • @Max

      Usually all at once to get it over with.

      But that doesn’t mean you can’t space it out. That might work for you!

  3. Spirulina very good. $120 for basically what amounts to 250 grams of spirulina is totally outrageous. 30 freakin pills per day? I buy true organic powder, 150grams for $20 Canadian! 1 small scoop In a glass of water first thing in the morning and done! I wish the owner luck but this price is just crazy.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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