Ten years ago, the idea for Tailwind Nutrition was conceived with Jeff Vierling's (co-founder) head buried inside a trash can. He would have preferred to be on the podium after the notoriously difficult Leadville 100 MTB, but the confined space helped to crystallize a void in the sports nutrition world. So, he and Jenny (wife & co-founder) set out to create an endurance fuel that was easy on the stomach and also provided calories, electrolytes, and hydration. From day one, Tailwind has been committed helping people achieve their goals, big or small.
Tailwind Nutrition is located in Durango, Colorado and they produce all their products there. It's unusual to see products made in locations such as this, but given the wealth of local Olympians and competitive athletes, Jeff and Jenny wouldn't have it any other way. Tailwind has three primary product categories that include products in a variety of flavors and sizes: Endurance Fuel, Recovery Mix, and Active Hydration.
Endurance Fuel with complete energy + electrolytes + hydration
Tailwind Endurance Fuel provides what your gut is designed to absorb. Thus, your body is able to quickly absorb nutrients without taxing your digestive tract. The combination of glucose and sucrose (both sugars) is used to ensure the nutrient absorption process in the body is efficient. The combination of calories, electrolytes, and water is highly synergistic, and the primary benefit is that your body can absorb more of each rapidly. Once in your bloodstream, the glucose will fuel your muscles directly, allowing you to sustain a higher level of intensity for longer.
With Endurance Fuel, you won't need to worry about sugar spikes, sticky sweetness, or hard-to-digest molecules causing stomach issues. When exercising and drinking, try taking small sips on a consistent basis to closely align your energy intake and output. Given Endurance Fuel has both electrolytes and calories, you can rely less on bars, chews, and gels during your activities.
Tailwind Recovery Mix with water, or your choice of milk / milk-alternative, is an ideal post-workout recovery drink. This complete protein is made by combining organic rice protein with the nine essential amino acids. You also get electrolytes, healthy fats from coconut milk, and the optimal amount of carbohydrates. And if you're managing dietary preferences, the Recovery Mix is gluten free, vegan, soy free, and dairy free.
After exercising, it's important to replenish glycogen stores, and ideally you can do so during the “golden hour” after exercise when your body can replenish glycogen stores more efficiently due to insulin sensitivity. This mix uses simple sugars (dextrose and sucrose) that are easy to digest and go straight to your bloodstream.
Only complete protein is used to rebuild muscle. If you're consuming incomplete protein it will be burned as energy or filtered by the kidneys. Tailwind Recovery Mix contains 3x more complete protein per gram than most whey protein isolate products, this means that Tailwind is better at rebuilding muscle and alleviating the filtration load on your kidneys.
Say goodbye to sugar spikes & hard-to-digest molecules that cause stomach issues when you're having fun (Type 1 or Type 2).
Admittedly, there are hundreds of hydration and protein options available online and in stores these days. So, that begs the question, what products can I trust and what will work best for my body? Here at Gelvio, we scrutinize every product we offer to ensure that it meets Our Standards so that you can shop (and fuel) with confidence. But, the only way to truly test out a product for yourself is by trying it.
Another interesting reference point is what products are used by professional athletes. Nowadays, many pros will simply work with the highest paying sponsors, but there are exceptions to this. As a small company, Tailwind has been able to build an impressive list of professional athletes because their products simply work!
Atop the list of Tailwind Athletes is Courtney Dauwalter, an American ultrarunning icon who is constantly shattering records at the most prestigious ultramarathons and endurance events in the world. You can easily recognize her on the trail by her baggy Salomon shorts, vibrant smile, and Tailwind water bottle in hand. Over the years, she has won races such as UTMB, Hardrock 100, and The Barkley Marathons. Her sustained success has helped spark conversation around the innate advantages women have in endurance sports. Any nutrition brand in the world would jump at the opportunity to fuel Courtney, but Tailwind is her personal choice.. and when you're running 50 miles, 100 miles, or god forbid 200 miles during a single event, your personal choice is what matters.
Tailwind Athlete Courtney Dauwalter - the woman who outruns the men 50 miles at a time.
We caught up with Jeff and Jenny from their brand spanking new office & manufacturing facility in Durango, CO to bring you the inside scoop.
You started Tailwind by putting on a mad scientist hat and developing products at home. When did you first realize that other athletes wanted Tailwind in their bottles?
Jeff: So, I started by experimenting with various iterations of Endurance Fuel and played with the ingredient ratios until I arrived at the optimal drink mix. Once this occurred, I started sharing the drink mix with other Leadville riders in Colorado and rounded up feedback. The resounding sentiment was, make me more of this AND stop packaging it in a clear zip lock bag.. my riding friends think I'm on performance enhancers ha!
After the notion of launching Tailwind started to become more real, I received a rousing message from a woman I had shared our drink mix with a few months prior. Lisa did not finish (DNF) seven consecutive endurance mountain biking races because of stomach issues. She started drinking our mix and finally reached her longtime goal – she finished the Shenandoah Mountain 100! What changed? She was drinking Tailwind this time around. At the finish line, her accomplishment brought her to tears as she had finally overcome her crippling stomach issues.
My riding friends think I'm on performance enhancers!
What is your proudest moment as a co-founder?
Jenny: During the early days of COVID, we were determined to support the heroic healthcare professionals that were risking their lives to help others. In the summer of 2020, we launched the Hospital Support Program which served to provide front-line workers with Tailwind hydration products. Doctors, nurses, and staff were draped in Personal Protective Equipment which made it hard to eat & drink during long shifts. And on top of that, they were sweating profusely as the PPE created a body sauna. So, these selfless professionals were experiencing a caloric deficit because they were not consuming enough calories and they were in dire need of electrolyte replenishment.
Enter Tailwind Endurance Fuel. We were able to mobilize and donate over 60,000 servings to 130 hospitals across the US. For a small company like us, this was a very meaningful donation and we're really proud that our team could make it happen.
Do you consider yourself a trailblazer?
Jeff: I think the real trailblazers are Tailwind customers that make their community a better place, uplift their fellow athlete, and strive to be the best they can. We're just happy to fuel trailblazers as they leave their mark.