Monday, March 21, 2011

When Bad Workouts Stopped ...

A little over 4 weeks ago I began using a supplement called Optygen HP.  This is a product by First Endurance and as many of you know I have had success with other First Endurance products (EFS Liquid Shots and Ultragen) and decided to give Optygen HP a try.  You will understand why this product peaked my interest after you read what it claims to do:
- Boost Explosive Muscular Strength & Power Output,- Improves Oxygen Utilization,
- Increases Aerobic Threshold & Reduce Lactic Acid.

As an Endurance athlete who would not want to reap the benefits of the above three bullet points?

Seeing as how my legs were trashed from the crazy volume that comes with Ironman training I decided to jump on board the First Endurance train for one more go around.  They have not lead me astray so far.
I figured that I would give it a try for the recommended 30-day cycle and write-up a blog post on what (if any) the results came to bear.  Once again I would be a human guinea pig for the pleasure of my readers!

However, one of my concerns was that I have developed quite a positive bias in regards to First Endurance products over the years and was afraid that I may experience a Placebo Effect when trying out Optygen HP.

BUT, as luck would have it, fellow Endurance Blogger Kovas @ Midwest Multisport Life had started a cycle of Optygen HP on the exact same day as me.  Kovas and I exchanged emails each Monday over the 4-week period and we had very similar things to report. Since our results were close (eliminating the Placebo Effect) I figured I could now share my experience.

The claims by First Endurance that Optygen HP would reduce Lactic Acid and Increase Aerobic Threshold are spot on.   After long runs the legs felt surprisingly good and lacked that normal burn from the lactic acid build up.  This alone was worth the cost of the product because I recovered so much quicker.  As for Aerobic Threshold, I run using Heart Rate zones.  My long runs are done in Zone 2 which prior to use was in the 8:35-8:50ish per mile pace.   This weekend Zone 2 for my long run was between 8:05-8:30 per mile pace.  Now this could all be a result of hard training and gains in fitness and I am positive some of it is because I worked my butt off!  However, I have never had gains in run fitness like this over similar blocks of training. The only difference in what I have been doing is using Optygen HP.

And then there is the bike ...

My Functional Threshold Power (FTP) increased by 8% over the last month.  For those who do not train with power - that is an enormous gain.  Once again I have been working very hard and do not want to give all the credit to Optygen HP but it does claim to increase Muscular Strength and Power Output and this is exactly what happened!

Now do I believe Optygen HP will make us all super-triathletes?   Not really. What I believe is that it does what it claims (even though the claims are a little wishy-washy) and by doing that it has helped me eliminate crappy workouts.  Over the four weeks I felt like I recovered better and since my recovery was better my workouts improved.  Since my workouts improved my fitness improved.  Pretty simple.  Basically, Optygen HP gives you a little extra to help nail your workouts. You still have to take ice baths and use your foam roller but Optygen HP gives you that little extra boost.

My plan is to use Optygen HP through the meat of the Peak Phase of my training program all the way up until race day.  After that I will stop and not use it again until 30 days out from my next "A" race.

How do you try Optygen HP?  Kovas did his review today and is holding a giveaway for his followers.  Go ahead and Click Here to head on over and put your name in the hat for a chance to win!

With Ironman Texas being less than 8 weeks away I have come up with an on-course nutrition plan using only First Endurance.  Which I will detail in the next few weeks.  All the details that come with doing an Ironman can be very overwhelming but the one area where I have supreme confidence now is in the nutrition plan.

Thanks for Reading,



  1. Interesting findings Jeff-being a "retired" lab rat and endocrinology buff, I am interested in reading more about this and how it works.
    Looking forward to reading about your nutrional plan-
    only 8 weeks to go huh? wow, that flew by!!
    Thanks for writing,

  2. look forward to hearing about your nutrition plan.

  3. Nice review! I am interested in giving it a shot!

  4. Very intrigued by that. I agree with everything you said about lactic acid... its EVIL haha.

    May have to try this out come the official start of IM training :)

    keep up the solid numbers man!!!

  5. Wait, I have to take ice baths and use a foam roller? Glad I'm not a real athlete.

  6.'re about the third person I have heard give this good reviews. I'm always a supplement skeptic, but hmmmm...

  7. Might just have to try it out. Thanks Jeff.

  8. 8% in a month, thats a lot for a month

    I am debating whether to add supplements this year for all the pain I am going to be in

  9. I'm glad that this product is working for you. I have been considering taking it myself but haven't taken the plunge. My concern about this type of product is that once I stop taking it (once the cycle ends), I will lose the benefit and somehow regress. Maybe that is not a logical scenario. Do you feel that your gains are permanent or are you experiencing a short-term performance enhancement? I guess I relate it to training at high altitude- you get a benefit doing a race at sea level, but your body adjusts quickly once you leave the high altitude environment.

  10. Thanks for the review. I considered getting this last order, but wanted to wait and get some real life feedback! Hum... guess I should buy some in July then.

  11. Great review. Can't wait to read the nutrition plan. That always piques my interest.

  12. I've got my bottle and waiting for April 22 to roll around.

    Hopefully I can get a free bottle for IM KY (I am working an angle to get free entry.... no not Arnie)

  13. love the review thanks my man!~~
    will def put in play .... now the Q becomes do I give it a test run before hand? hmmmmmm

    love the liquid shots thanks for that


  14. i've always been a supplement skeptic, but i'd still like to learn more.

    thanks for the post.

  15. I have been thinking about adding this too. I have only heard good things, so I think I will give it a shot. That and the pre-race which I am scared of.

  16. If only we could clone ourselves @ start of a test like this, then you and your clone do the same exact thing, except one doesn't take the suppliment.

    Congrats on the improvements regardless of how you got them! Whatever you are doing, keep doing it! Seems to be paying dividends no matter what!

  17. Thanks for posting. I have been thinking of doing this for a while. I haven't decided between First endurance or Carb Pro products yet though

  18. Thanks for posting. I have been thinking of doing this for a while. I haven't decided between First endurance or Carb Pro products yet though

  19. Nice review! I have to bring my bike into the LBS for a quick tuneup and they are First Endurance retailers so I am hoping to find some of the EFS Drink. The grape flavor intrigues me. Once I start training, I may have to check out the supplement too.

  20. Yeah, like I posted on Kovas' blog today, this stuff really works. It's not what you feel, it's what you don't feel. No tired dead legs in the long stages of a race. I would not run an A race without this stuff.

  21. I am a believer!
    I just posted over the weekend about my first experience with their liquid shot. I LOVE it.
    it is the only thing that works for me. I am so happy that I finally have the right fuel for me.

  22. Do you have to cyle on and off the HP or can you use it year around?

  23. Do you have to cyle on and off the HP or can you use it year around?