This post and give-away has been sponsored by Aspire.
I was recently contacted by the lovely folk at Aspire to see if I’d be interested in trying their natural energy cranberry flavoured soft drink. At first, I was a little sceptical and wasn’t sure what to expect when I tried it for the first time, only that I would probably suffer my way through a can and need to brush my teeth afterwards. Well, I was happy to be proven wrong on both assumptions!
Apart from sports drinks, drinks that claim to give you energy, burn calories and fire up the metabolism have never really appealed to me. But now that I’m working for myself, and working to constant deadlines, I’ve admittedly become a bit of a workaholic and energy has been at the forefront of my mind – both how to make the most of it, and how to top it up. Well, if you are organised and plan ahead that should be easy, I hear you say. But to be honest, it hasn’t been. It’s all been a huge learning curve and certainly not been as easy as I thought it would be. I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder in my life! I certainly haven’t spent all day in my pyjamas drinking sangria and watching Sex and the City, as I used to think I might in my dream life! A life where you work and live in the same place is not as easy as it sounds.
Time management and learning how to switch off are things I have had to work on in this new life of mine. I’ve also found my energy levels are a bit different now too. I aim to get my energy through the food I eat, so I try to start the day with some protein (eggs, or beans on toast) and get enough veggies and fruit in through the day, which I think I’ve always done ok with. I don’t drink as much water as I used to but that’s also something I’ve done something about (coming in a future post!). Exercise and fresh air are also great for my energy, so I try to get out at least once a day. But I have not always succeeded in this, especially this last week!
And food wise I thought I would be far more structured and organised in this new working life, and maybe even be able to have my main meal at lunch time rather than in the evenings now that I have access to my own kitchen during the working day. Ah, no. One day I smeared some peanut butter on apple slices at midday, and then the next time I looked at the clock it was 5pm, the sun was starting to go down and my Blackberry was starting to look rather appetising.
On the plus side, I am getting stuff done. I feel incredibly productive and motivated. So, that is good. Very good indeed. On the other hand, my energy has been all over the place. Finally allowed free reign and no longer needing to be on top form between 9am and 5pm, it explodes spectacularly at odd hours of the day and then sinks down again. I’m finding I need to not only manage my time, but also my energy. I’m learning about when my most productive times are, and what helps me when I need a boost with a deadline looming.
A natural night owl, I’ve never had a problem being alert in the evenings – I might feel a bit tired around 9pm, but I usually get a second wind. I find I need a refreshing energy boost either mid morning or with lunch or my afternoon snack to give me a kick to get through the afternoon. I don’t always want coffee or tea at those times and I kicked Diet Coke and its various cousins and love children to the curb some time ago. What to do?
Like I said in the introduction, I was very pleasantly surprised by Aspire. First of all, unlike most natural energy drinks I’ve tried, Aspire tastes really nice. There’s no nasty aftertaste, for a start! It’s one of those flavours that really grows on you. It has a natural cranberry flavour (with an Apple flavour being launched soon) and contains green tea, guarana and ginger, as well as vitamins C and B6 and B12. With the natural caffeine in green tea, a can of Aspire contains the same amount of caffeine as you would get in a regular cup of coffee. I’ve found that having one on a day where I want a bit of extra energy to push me through to a deadline has been really beneficial. If I have an Aspire with my veggie burger and salad at lunch, the 3pm slump just doesn’t happen! It’s brilliant!
If you’re addicted to Diet Coke or Red Bull, try swapping one of them for a can of Aspire and see what you think. I feel far more refreshed and energised after an Aspire than I ever did with one of those. And no residue on the teeth either – a huge bonus! I haven’t had a hangover for a while (they have got worse since I’ve got older, I have to say!) but I can imagine that an Aspire would work really well in place of a Bloody Mary. I also wish I’d had a few around when we were jetlagged at the end of January. I’ve even managed to turn my dear husband into an Aspire fan, who refuses to buy anything concentrated and his preferred sources of caffeine are coffee and tea. He’s raved about it even more than I have, which was a huge surprise! I don’t recommend having one in the evening though, unless of course you’re on a hen do or an all night rampage ;) It really does perk you up!
Let’s face it, we all have energy slumps and often they are at inconvenient times when you might not have the wherewithal for a green smoothie or the time to go for a run, and in those situations I think a can of Aspire is a fantastic alternative.
One of the interesting and unique things about Aspire is that it is a calorie burning drink as well. They developed the product to be a high energy drink that stimulates the metabolism. The combination of green tea, ginger and guarana apparently creates a thermogenic reaction which boosts the body’s potential to burn calories. They’ve even done research with Leeds Metropolitan University to show that, on average, drinking a can of Aspire will burn 200 calories over a three hour period. Hence, a lot of the feedback I’ve read from Aspire fans is that it’s great to have just before going to the gym to give you energy but also to maximise your workout effort.
I can see why this would be an appealing feature of the drink, but to be honest it isn’t really a selling point for me because fuelling for endurance rather than calorie burning is what I need to focus on as a long distance runner. What does appeal to me about Aspire is that it’s a more natural alternative to the other energy drinks you can get out there, it gives me a great natural boost which makes me more productive, and it tastes really nice. Calorie burning is a nice bonus!
I get a lot of offers to write about products for SLSB and not all of them are a good fit for where I am right now. I’m interested in products or services that can complement or enhance my life as it is at the moment; a life that I think is very healthy and mindfully lived, where occasionally I need a boost or a bit of variety and if that is the case I prefer it to be as natural as possible. And that’s why I was really impressed with Aspire. Once I’d tried it and dug below the surface to find out what other benefits it had, I think there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. I also really like how the company as a whole really promotes a healthy and balanced lifestyle – they are involved with FitnessFirst, Zest magazine and lots of other initiatives that focus on wellness and being fit and active and I really think that is fantastic. I like how Aspire is honest with their customers too, presenting the product as something to enhance your healthy lifestyle, rather than it being a magic potion with all the answers. But in some ways it is magic – because anything that can give me a boost without making me feel utterly drained an hour later or coating my teeth with sugar is a miracle!
In a marketplace that is saturated with sugary drinks that claim to give you energy, it is a rare thing in my experience to find one that actually delivers. If it means I can also burn 200 calories while frantically typing up my latest column for Running Fitness, well, so much the better!
If you want to try it for yourself, you can find Aspire at Holland and Barrett stores all over the UK, at GNC stores, Selfridges and at Waitrose supermarkets. In addition, Aspire can be bought online at www.aspiredrinks.com and www.winnaturally.com
Or, would you like to win a case? I thought you might :)
One SLSB reader can win a whole case of Aspire Cranberry this week. To be in the draw, please leave a comment telling me why you would like to try it. The more creative the better! The winner will not be drawn at random, I will be picking the most creative answer! :)
You can leave a comment on this post, or you can also enter via the SLSB Facebook Page. You can also follow me (@philippa_moore) and Aspire (@AspireDrinks) on Twitter and tweet us your entry (you’ll only get 140 characters though!)
If you do not have a blog or Twitter account, please leave an email address so I can contact you if you are the lucky winner.
Everyone is welcome to enter, wherever you are around the globe!
You’ve got until 5pm UK time on Sunday, March 11th 2012. I’ll announce the winner on Monday!
Until then, hope you have a fabulous week and get through it on a natural high :)