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Product review: Orbana

August 13, 2011

The Orbana logoHaving missed a weekend’s worth of running  – and a few weekday runs too – as a result of the London riots, I decided to cram a few training runs into my commuting schedule. This could only mean one thing: doubling up. Fortunately, the nice folks at Orbana had sent me a few samples of their energy drink to try…

First things first, doubling up is where you have one run in the morning and another run later on in the day. It’s a real test of motivation and recovery as your legs don’t have the usual overnight rest to fully recover. So, Wednesday’s run consisted of a 6-miler to work and a 10-miler home. Just for good measure, I ran into work on Thursday morning too. (Fortunately, by that stage the only thing burning in London was my quads.)

Both mornings, alongside tea and toast, I mixed up some Orbana. You mix a surprisingly large amount of powder into 250ml of water and end up with an orange energy drink. It tastes something like a flat Berocca.

The powder includes a mix of glucose, vitamins, amino acids and electrolytes. I regularly use a recovery powder drink from Lucozade (which does a different job) and checked the ingredients to see how the two compare. The revovery drink seems to largely consist of sugar, whey protein and citric acid. The tropical flavour is an, ahem, acquired taste.

Anyway, the Wednesday morning run felt good. I’d run home the previous day, so although my legs weren’t fully fresh, I made it into work at a good clip. As a mark of a scientific test, I had a few ginger nuts before running home. I was a little bit stiff, but soon loosened off after a mile or so.

The next morning I woke up feeling the previous day’s runs in my legs. Hobbling downstairs I made another Orbana pick-me-up alongside my tea and toast and forced myself to man up and get out of the house. Although my legs felt stale, I managed a fairly decent pace (until I got to central London and traffic lights and pedestrians conspired to make me wait endlessly).

I quite liked Orbana – it tastes a lot better than some energy drinks, particularly a  malty chocolate-flavoured powder I tried after a race once, gah! If you want to give it a go, you can get it direct from the manufacturer here.

(Oh, and if you happen to work for a biscuit manufacturer, I’ll happily give your wares a tryout as sports nutrition.)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Eric permalink
    August 16, 2011 10:21 am

    Thanks for trying Orbana Healthy Energy and also for your honest feedback. I think the ‘taste’ that you experienced is most likely to be the taste of the Amino Acids in Orbana – one of our key ingredients. Many people find that energy drinks that contain Amino Acids typically don’t taste great but they are often prepared to drink them anyway because of the benefits that Amino Acids provide; endurance energy and improved recovery. Most of the feedback we get on taste is very positive – but especially so from athletes who have experienced the not so great taste of many competitor products that contain Amino Acids and try and mask the taste with artificial sweeteners (of which there are none in Orbana).

    All the best in your future training and hope you give Orbana another go at some stage.

    Also, don’t forget to upload a photo of your favorite piece of training gear in our contests section for a chance to win a seasons supply of Orbana Healthy Energy worth £250!


    Orbana Team

  2. August 17, 2011 9:45 am

    Hi Lewis, do you have any advice for ‘fluid management’ on training runs?

    Specifically, I’m wondering how you transport the necessary water or energy drink on longer runs? I feel that carrying a water bottle would unbalance me (slightly) and that a hydra-pack/camel back might be a better alternative. I’d prefer to run completely un-encumbered but drinking from roadside taps and fountains probably offers more risk than reward!

    Be interested to read your thoughts.

    Tom (ex-Pearson colleague).

    • August 17, 2011 4:31 pm

      Hi Tom – hope you’re well and that life in Brighton is good!

      On longer runs I tend to use a Camelbak for fluid – it carried 1.5 litres and sits close to your spine, so doesn’t result in lop-sided running. It does, however, mean that your running posture changes slightly because you’re carrying extra weight. I’ve seen other people running with either one or two runners’ bottles (shaped like a handle), or with the Batman utility belt-style holster belts.

      In terms of energy, I tend to go for carb gels. I picked up a belt at the Paris Marathon Expo that has loops just tight enough to hold six carb gels. You need to take them with water, though, so it’s not an alternative to running with water. (Unless, of course, you have a route with lots of water available on the way.)

      I guess the only other option is to find a tap or fountain and plan routes around it (i.e. something that loops past the same spot every few miles). However, I can imagine that getting tedious pretty quickly….


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