fcProduct name: Fully Charged

Manufacturer: Hammer Nutrition

Purpose: Fully Charged is a new product from Hammer that came out this fall. It is a “pre-exercise igniter” that helps increase energy, endurance, mental alertness and focus, while reducing fatigue and muscle soreness. AKA magic. (But actually science.)

Fully Charged is different than other pre-exercise formulas on the market — it DOES NOT rely on caffeine or other central nervous system stimulants. Instead, natural ingredients give you the pre-workout boost you’re looking for while providing a wide range of health benefits. Plus, no overly-wired feeling that you get from other products (important if you’re caffeine-free like me!).

Visit Hammer’s site for the ingredient list and the benefit of each.

Why you should buy it: I was completely skeptical of this product when it came out. I’ve seen other pre-workout formulas on the market and they seem to be mostly energy drinks. As someone who is sensitive to caffeine (in large part because I stopped drinking it some 6 years or so ago), caffeine makes me jittery, irritable and just unhappy.

Then I found out Fully Charged doesn’t have much caffeine in it at all — 10-20 mg per serving, whereas a cup of coffee is 50 mg. I decided to give it a try based on a recommendation from Steve Born, fueling expert at Hammer, while making my fueling plan for the Monumental Marathon.

I started using Fully Charged before speed work, long runs and races. And I used it multiple times in multiple scenarios before I concluded that it works.

It really works.

More than anything I notice I am more mentally focused throughout a workout. Physically, I feel like I can run faster for longer — I’m able to push the line a little more.

Obviously it’s hard for me to say that I ran xx seconds faster per 800 using Fully Charged, because that wouldn’t be fair. But I did test it on morning workout and afternoon workouts; on workouts of varying distances (shorter repeats to long tempo runs); and on days I felt great and days I didn’t want to run a step. Those days when I didn’t want to run — days when I might’ve considered modifying or skipping a workout — Fully Charged seemed to really give me the pick-me-up I needed.

I also PR’d in the half marathon twice and by 10 minutes in the marathon using Fully Charged this fall. Of course, Fully Charged wasn’t the only difference, but it definitely didn’t hurt.

Fully Charged is priced at $35 for 30 servings. It’s a small scoop that you drink with 4-6 oz of water 15-30 minutes before a workout. It can also be taken during prolonged exercise — I would wager it would be great during ultras.

P.S. Through Dec. 16, Fully Charged is on sale for $28!