Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You've "Made It" as a Blogger When... (Hint: GIVEAWAY!) get asked to review things!?

I always wondered how bloggers got items or products to test and review. And then blamo! A couple of opportunities came knocking on my virtual door. Can I consider this my badge to becoming a real blogger?

CSN Stores

If you've been paying any attention to the blog world lately, there's been a lot of talk about the online CSN Stores. CSN Stores is kind of like Amazon, but, in my opinion, a more compartmentalized, organized, and easy-to-navigate-by-department version of Amazon.

CSN sells everything from office furniture to home decor to exercise equipment (probably where I spend the most time browsing!) to kids clothing/toys to shoes to pet supplies to ... well, basically just name anything and they have it. No matter the occasion, no matter what you're looking for, CSN has some version of it.

In the coming weeks I'll be reviewing the ease/use of the site as well as a product from their stores. I'm excited at this opportunity, so stayed tuned for that.

ZYM Electrolyte Tabs

Immediately after I announced my Nuun Ambassadorship (incidentally, right around the same time GU released their GU electrolyte tab to those now-infamous 26 bloggers), I got a strange e-mail that I thought was spam until I did further research. The e-mail was from a company called ZYM, and they were shocked I hadn't heard of their electrolyte tabs. (I mean, come on now. Have you?!)
ZYM's media contact was generous enough to send me some samples of their product to review -- and after weaseling my way around, I was able to get some samples for a giveaway as well! But before we get to the important stuff, let's do the review. Since Nuun is my only basis for comparison ... well, it's my only basis for comparison. Bare with me.

Unlike Nuun, ZYM comes in three flavors: Lemon-Lime (called "Endurance"), Berry (called "Catapult"), and Orange (called "Rival"). Each tab is sugar-free, contains 7 calories, and the the berry flavor has 100mg of caffeine for more intense workouts. The other flavors are caffeine-free. Every tube of ZYM contains 10 tablets and each tablet is to be dissolved in 16 ounces of water. That's a couple gallons of sugar-free electrolyte drink per tube, and the ingredients are gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

ZYM retails at $7.99-$8.99 per tube.

  • I first cracked open the lemon-lime "Endurance" tab and it didn't quite fit in my small-mouth water bottle. Nuun has a perforation down the middle that allows you to split the tablet in half (whether you only want to use half, say, for smaller Fuel Belt bottles, or if you want to put it into a small-mouth container, like the water bottle I used in the picture below). ZYM does not have that perforation; however, it was not difficult to work around.
  • I thought that the flavor was a bit too intense for my liking. Some people prefer stronger flavors when they work out, and ZYM is probably perfect for them! The lemon-lime was strong, the berry flavor lingers a bit, and the orange has some bite. None of the flavors are bad; they were, again, just strong for my preference, I found myself nearly doubling the amount of water they suggested -- maybe that's a good thing?!

  • Sometimes the ZYM tabs needed a little help in the dissolving process. A few of the tabs didn't quite dissolve on their own -- I had to swish it around to get the effervescence going again. It was not really that big of a deal (especially if you're on the run or riding a bike already, you won't even notice this), but for sipping this mid-afternoon, it was a little strange to think I needed to swish my water around before drinking it.
  • I thought that the Lemon-Lime ZYM was definitely the tastiest because it most closely resembled a sports drink. It has a pretty tangy flavor that was enjoyable while working out, and it definitely helped keep me hydrated and gave me more electrolytes than plain water.
  • Like Nuun, the container has a nice little plastic spring under the cap. This additional piece of plastic allows you to carry these tablets around -- whether on a run, bike ride, or just throwing them in a backpack for other activities -- without worrying about if they are breaking apart or turning to dust from all the shaking around.
  • The ZYM tabs actually contain more vitamins than Nuun. It has potassium (50mg) and sodium (250mg), which are good for when you're working up a sweat, as well as magnesium (50mg) and calcium (30mg). In terms of additional vitamins, it has C, B5, B6, and B12. The flavors and colors are natural, and the product is gluten-free and vegan-friendly. And that totally rocks.
Okay, okay. The Giveaway.

ZYM was kind enough to send me a bunch of individual packets of the Catapult (berry) flavor. I'm going to give these away so a couple lucky readers can give it a shot!

I know what you think these look like. This is a running blog, for goodness sake.
Here's what you should do ... please leave a separate comment for each of the criteria you want to do.

1. Follow my blog and let me know that you do. (1 entry)
2. Repost this giveaway on your blog and let me know that you did that. (1 entry)
3. Follow me on twitter (@diaryavgrunner) and let me know that you do. (1 entry)
4. Tweet about this contest. You can say whatever you want about the giveaway, but include my name -- or else I won't know that you did. (i.e., "I want to hydrate better, and @diaryavgrunner is having a ZYM giveaway that will help me do just that!") (1 entry)
5. And, just for fun, leave me a comment about the most ambitious hydrating method you've ever tried while working out. (1 entry)

I'll pick TWO!! random winners two weeks from today, on Wednesday, March 16th. Good luck!

*I received the ZYM products free of charge in exchange for a review.


  1. Congrats on making it! Hydration for me is a nightmare. On marathon long runs I tried a camelback, hydration belt, carrying bottles, stopping along route.. Nothing felt quite right! I guess that's one advantage of being injured and only being able to run for <60mins right now. No hydration headache!

    (ps -- I'll opt out of the giveaway as I'm overseas)

  2. Look who made it to the big league!!!

    Yes, I follow your blog:)

    I would love to be more hydrated for those longer hot and humid summer runs. Do you remember those and how fun they are?:)

    Funny about the packaging...totally looks like Trojan:)

    Take care A! Hugs!

  3. I am totally a follower and impressed with your up and coming Blogger stardom! I have still never used any hydration products so I might as well try this for free right?!?

  4. Look at you all fancy with your giveaways and stuff.

    You know I follow.

  5. i thought you were an official blogger before this. :-)

  6. Wow - congrats on your first giveaway! I follow you. I don't Twitter....or Tweet..I don't know. I haven't tried anything exceptional for hydrating - does drinking gatorade count?

  7. I follow you & would love to try Zym! I'm gluten-free & love trying new products!

  8. I follow. :) I'm a huge fan of Nuun, and I'd love to give Zym a try.

  9. Already an Avid A follower. Not much into Tweety land though.

    As for outrageous hydration, S has been known to carry two bladders on long outings... Yeah, quite a water hound! K - not so much :-)

  10. I follow you! And we are twitter bffs, right?

    As far as ambitious hydration? I once made the mistake of running under a cloudless sky at like...noon in the summer. We don't see the sun often in this hell hole, so I soon realized that was a mistake. I had a bottle belt with some gatorade in one side, but I had to recalculate my route to hit as many waterfountains as possible...which actually resulted in me running in buildings at two separate college campuses in my sports bra. Good times.

  11. Most ambitious hydrating method: when I first started running long distances, I was living in Phoenix, AZ, and of course, it had to be in the dead middle of a 120-degree summertime. Even though I ran before dawn, it was still unbearably hot, so I used to drive the route beforehand & stash water bottles in bushes to pick up along my way :) That, and I made a point to run by golf courses, so I could run thru the early AM sprinklers!