Playing in volleyball tournaments is extremely exhausting. Here's a rundown of how the day works, and this is pretty consistent whether you're playing in a juniors tournament or an adult tournament:
6-7 a.m. (aka THE BUTTCRACK OF DAWN): Wake up.
7-7:30 am.: Head out for tournament. (If you're lucky, there's a tournament located within 30 minutes of your home.)
8-8:30 a.m.: Arrive at tournament.
8:30 a.m.- ???? p.m.: If you don't make it to playoffs, you spend about 3-4 hours playing volleyball on a Saturday or Sunday. There are usually about 45 minutes to an hour between each of your matches. During these "in between" games, you are either refereeing the game, or you are resting/strategizing with your team. So let's say, assuming you don't make playoffs, you finish the day around 4 or 5 p.m. If you make the playoffs, and let's say you make it to the semi-finals, you're looking at a finish between 6-8 p.m.
The Boyfriend once asked me, "why can't they start at, like, noon?" Well, if that happened, you wouldn't finish until MIDNIGHT. Ain't nobody got energy fo dat!
With volleyball tournaments, you really have to be prepared for the long haul. A smart player will make sure they're conditioning throughout the week, and eating healthy prior to and during a tournament. Junk food and greasy/fatty foods are a bad idea before a tournament. They make you super sluggish, causing you to play worse. I never really had an issue with eating unhealthy during tournaments, since I had a healthy philosophy ingrained at a young age, but you'd really be surprised. I've seen people eat Chipotle during the tournament, and you can really see how it effects their play as the day progresses. It's actually really interesting to see the types of healthy snacks people bring to tournaments. At the last tournament, one of my teammates made these paleo brownies, while another was eating little cups of guacamole, and another was chugging Diet Coke. It's pretty fascinating. Juniors tournaments are a little different, as many teams choose the potluck approach. But I digress...as usual.
Since there is very little time in between matches to refuel, you definitely can't get a full meal in (though I've seen some people try), so you're stuck with snacking and grazing. For me, it is incredibly hard to even snack during tournaments. It was a little easier when I was a kid, but it's become more challenging the older I get. I tried to trick myself into eating snacks that I never ended up finishing, I tried downing more Gatorade and coconut water, I tried drinking tons of coffee, but nothing seemed to provide me with an energy
When I'd all but given up on trying anything new, that's when I was contacted by ENERGYbits, a Boston-based company that sells these little tablets (or "bits," as they're called) that are low calorie, algae based, and packed with protein. They provided me with two free servings of ENERGYbits to test out and review.
I tested the first one out during a tournament a few weeks ago. That tournament was brutal. About halfway through, I was so exhausted and frustrated, and my energy was getting low. I ate a banana and drank some Vita Coco (pineapple, my favorite), and even drank one of those little bottled Starbucks drinks. I couldn't eat because I wasn't hungry, and I was downing so much water and other fluids. BUT IT STILL DIDN'T WORK!
That's when I pulled out my ENERGYbits and got to work. Now, here's the thing. You don't just take a couple of these when you need that extra boost of energy. You have to take 30 of them! They say that you can chew them, but I'd advise against them, since they'll turn your teeth green temporarily (unless you're into that sort of thing...), and they're not very delicious. If you're brave enough to chew them, have at it. Some people like to mix them up in smoothies, but since I was in the gym, I didn't have that luxury. Instead, I took about five or six at a time, and gulped them down with water. Having had frequent sinus infections as a kid (and even still as an adult), I'm pretty used to taking horse pills, so this wasn't too challenging. What you do is take them about ten minutes before your activity, and then ZING! They kick in.
When I took them at that first tournament, I didn't feel a huge difference, but I did notice a change. I had taken it in the middle of the tournament, right before we were getting ready to face the toughest two teams back to back. I had more energy by the end of the tournament than I'd felt by the end of past tournaments, but I didn't feel a massive surge of energy like I do with caffeine products.
The second tournament was different altogether. I was jacked UP towards the end of the second one. We got our butts handed to us game after game, and not only was I super pissed off (I hate losing), but I was exhausted. Like, seriously exhausted. I was so tired, I was getting ready to lie down and take a nap, when I remembered that I still had another sample of ENERGYbits in my bag. I counted out my 30 bits, and then tried to take a nap. Well, needless to say, my attempt at napping was unsuccessful. Over the next five to ten minutes after taking the bits, I felt my energy level increase tremendously. Honestly. Before taking them, I was feeling weak and shaky, and I could not wait to curl up in the corner in my blanket; over those five plus minutes, I transformed from an angry, shaky monster to a chatterbox with insane amounts of energy. I could not sit still! 45 minutes later, I was kicking butt on the court. I felt like I could sprint to any ball, and I was diving all over the place. It was awesome! That was the day I was sold on ENERGYbits. Those little green suckers are no joke. They work, AND they are only 30 calories (1 calorie per bit)!
Cost: I'm not going to lie; ENERGYbits are not cheap. For a refillable foil bag with 1,000 tablets, they sell for $115. That breaks down to just over 30 servings of ENERGYbits, at just under $3.50/serving. (Below, you can check out a comparison chart from ENERGYbits about the cost of their product vs the cost of others.)
Availability: ENERGYbits are only available at ENERGYbits.com, and Jonathan (their Brand Manager) has shared with me that he'd be happy to connect anyone with a current ambassador to share a discount on a bag of bits - you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know I'm going to take advantage of this discount!
Presentation: ENERGYbits come in a cute little tin, sort of like Altoids. The tin rode around in my massive purse over the course of a couple of weeks, but they never fell out or anything. That tin is sturdy! The bits are green, and yes, they smell like fish food. (They're algae tablets. What do you expect?) When my teammates saw me taking them the first time, one of them actually asked, "Are those weed pills?" Seriously. Welcome to my life. Granted, they inexplicably have the letter "W" on them, so that didn't help. But no, they are not "weed pills." (Do those even exist?)
Fun Facts about ENERGYbits:
- The main ingredient in ENERGYbits are spirulina and chlorella - two types of algae. I like that because I don't really like putting weird ingredients in my body, especially since my stomach is sensitive to some of the freakier ingredients.
- Tons of professional athletes use this product, including many Olympians.
- They have a weekly twitter chat, #poweredbybits, where they talk about a variety of health/fitness-related topics. They are usually on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST.
TL; DR: After testing them out, I can say, without a doubt, that I am planning to purchase some ENERGYbits in the future. I've never had anything work as quickly or efficiently. I didn't like having to take so many at a time, but it was definitely worth it. Enter the giveaway below to win your own free sample.
Now, on to the giveaway! Enter to win your very own free sample tin of ENERGYbits!
You must be a resident of the United States to enter this giveaway! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I was provided free samples of ENERGYbits to sample and review. All opinions in this post are entirely my own.