A brief admin note before today’s post: You have one more day to enter 2 contests: one for the 13.1 Marathon Los Angeles and the other for a tub of GU Roctane drink mix. Head over to this post to enter both contests, but be forewarned: the competition for the GU mix is pretty formidable.
And that’s exactly what happened: everyone who entered that contest was sent a few samples of Orbana to try, on the condition that they would send feedback for this review post. Unfortunately, I didn’t get 100% return on user feedback – on a related note, if you received samples and never sent me your review, shame and bad contest karma on you – but I still collected a fairly significant sample size, whose feedback makes up the remainder of this post. (Yes, it’s a long one).
The ground rules for this were very straightforward: Be honest. I wanted true feedback, good or bad. As you’ll see, the good feedback far outweighs the bad. Some users also posted reviews on their own websites, so in those cases I’ve included an excerpt here and a link to their sites for the full review.
Finally, if you need the original links, here’s my previous Orbana review , and . On with the user reviews
I tested it at a 30-mile trail race on a 10-mile loop at McNaughton Park in Pekin, IL. I started with a 20oz water bottle mixed with Orbana. At the 5 mile mark, I'd be done with the drink and simply fill my bottle with pure water for the next 5 miles. At the start/finish area, I'd refill with water and mix in the Orbana. I used 3 packets for the three 10-mile loops. It would have been nice to have more Orbana at the mid-point aid station so I would be drinking it for the full 30 miles.
I did feel the drink worked better than just water and better than my typical Gatorade. It tasted fine, gave no energy highs/lows, and supplied a modest amount of electrolytes. I think the calories, and extra vitamins and amino acids, helped provide a bit more energy than I've had in recent runs and races. For what it's worth, I did feel better AFTER the race than I typically do.
My main complaint with this drink is that it's rather expensive and bulky to carry. I can find solutions to the bulkiness (loop courses, drop bags, friends/crew, etc). The cost is another issue, but if it really does make a positive difference, it would be worth the price. I'll buy a bigger supply and try it out on some fall and winter long runs (20+ milers). I'm willing to pay extra for a product that would get me through a long ultra marathon. For now, I think it's a good product with high potential for endurance athletes. I'd suggest other runners giving it a try.
See Chris’s full review here on his website .
I used a packet mid race at a 50k trail event this past weekend. My honest opinion is this... the taste is fine. Tangy, citrus like, not too sweet and so much more palatable than Vespa (not to mention more affordable). Dare I say even better tasting than the new Nuun flavor I was also using? Unfortunately, about a mile after filling my handheld bottle I wiped out on the trail, awesome spread eagle, face first type of action, and wasted a bunch my fluid in the process. I decided against putting the newly made puddle of mud in my mouth. However, I really did feel a boost in my energy level for maybe an hour. I had been struggling with fatigue for a few miles before that.
(My reply: obviously Orbana needs to include some balance-enhancing agents for their next formulation.)
Overall I found the Orbana to be very beneficial. I find that the claims made are an accurate representation of what the product is capable of in both usage and performance. I liked it so much that I went ahead and ordered a whole tub to use in my daily fueling activities. I will not
hesitate to recommend Orbana to anyone looking to add a new fueling product or replace an old one. So glad that I got this opportunity to test out this great product.
See Andrew’s full review here on his website .
I am currently training for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January (my second Half), and right now I am running about 25-30 miles per week. I received two packets of the Orbana powder, and I used it in two different scenarios: (1) As a pre-run drink before a 10-mile race; and (2) As a replenishment drink instead of water during a 13-mile long run during training.
I had better experience using the Orbana as a pre-run drink. For the 10-mile race that I used it for, I felt very strong throughout the entire run and was able to keep a pace about 30-40 seconds per mile faster than my goal (this increased speed may have had as much to do with the course, but I feel that the Orbana definitely helped keep me well fueled). Normally for runs of 10 miles or more, I would carry and use an energy gel, and although the race I ran provided Hammer Gel, I felt fine and decided not to use it. I also felt fairly well hydrated throughout the race. Overall, I think the Orbana drink gave a nice boost without making me feel jittery or anxious.
For the 13-mile training run, the Orbana was fine as a replenishment drink, but it wasn't really to my liking. Although the Orbana has a pleasant taste, I still prefer just plain water for rehydration during a run.
As far as the taste of Orbana, it is pleasant and better than most sports drinks. It is considerably less sweet and sugary than other drinks, and doesn't have the "sweaty/salty" taste than some have. It doesn't taste great, but it has a somewhat pleasant citrus flavor that is easy enough to drink. The pre-run formulation was a bit strong and left an aftertaste in my mouth for awhile, but I think that is fairly typical of sports drinks.
I was impressed enough with Orbana that I plan on buying a box of it off Amazon and using it for my remaining long runs and my upcoming race, but only as the pre-run version.
I got it a couple of days before the Lagvitrek 16-mile mountain race, and my plan was to use one sachet before and one sachet after the race. I was really pleasantly surprised by taste. It was much better than other BCAA stuff I used before and on a scale from 1 to 10 I give it a high 8.
Performance wise I didn't had any spikes and/or crashes during the race and my energy level was quite good through the whole race. I recovered only two days after the race so I give it two thumbs up.
I will probably not use it as my training and racing drink cause there are cheaper options available. For a recovery drink the price is on par with other stuff I use but with much better taste (other drinks with BCAA are usually bitter).
I'm not exactly a fast runner, so I was hoping to finish the 10-mile race I did in under 2 hours.
The morning of, I drank a packet at about 6:30, because it was a pretty decent drive to get to the start of the finish line. To me it tastes like the little cans of Dole Pineapple Juice, which is fine except I don't really like pineapple juice. It went down just fine, though, and no GI problems. I was very well hydrated, actually, and just fine in regards to energy for almost the whole race. I finished in 1:51:52, which is (I think) 11 sec/mi faster than McMillan predicted. Was it the Orbana? Who knows.
I'm willing to say that it kept me hydrated at least a little longer than plain water or Gatorade or Nuun would have and that it provided more and more sustained energy than any of the previous. (To be fair, water and Nuun don't have any sugar in them, so it would be disingenuous to expect actual energy from either.) It did take a little more prep time than one of the fizzy tabs, I guess--I ended up stirring it with a butter knife in a pint glass half full of water for probably a full minute. On the other hand, it didn't taste chemical-y at all and there were no strange aftertastes from various kinds of non-standard sugars.
I started with dumping the Orbana mix in a 8-10 oz. glass of water. The mix made this strange looking blob in the water that would float for a bit, and when mixing it took a good while to get all of the product dissolved into the water. If anything that would have to be my biggest issue with the product, and definitely not a big deal.
Taste is awesome! I absolutely loved the citrus flavor of the mix, and had no issues downing the product once dissolved. The overall sensation of drinking it is that the drink is very refreshing. I do not like things overly sweet, and one thing I think Orbana succeeded at here is having an excellent balance of sweetness to citrus sourness.
Both times I used Orbana as directed before my activity. The first time I went out I had come home from work a little tired, and wasn't sure how I would feel on my run. I had planned a 5 mile trail run at a local trail system, and once I got out on the trail I felt a little sluggish. However, I seemed to get more energy as time went on, and by the middle to the end of the run I was feeling great. The second time I used the product I went for an 8 mile road run about a week and a half after getting a sinus infection. Once I started my longer run I again felt a little sluggish to start, but about 3 miles in I got into a groove that carried me to the end of the run. I had no expectations of what my pace might be like going into that longer run, but I maintained a pretty decent pace and felt very good at the end.
I would like to think Orbana helped me through those runs, but in all honesty I have no idea. I just can report that I seemed to have a pick-me-up a couple miles into each run I used the product for. That pick-me-up seemed to last the rest of my runs, and so leaves me wanting to purchase some more Orbana to try.
1. It comes in powder form.
2. Small travel packets are available. Nice for race day.
3. It didn't taste like an energy drink i.e. Gatorade or Powerade
4. I was experiencing some cramping in my calves on some of my long runs during training. I tried Orbana for a long run and did not have cramping. Coincidence or not it made me a happy runner.
1. I know I should know my measurements better, but I don't know my metric very well and had to look it up. This would only be a problem the first time using.
2. I thought it took a lot of stirring and a little more time for the powder to dissolve.
3. The flavor was a little strong for me. I don't drink sodas, and find that sports drinks give me headaches on long runs. It had a reminiscent taste of my childhood i.e. Tang, and although it was reminiscent I don't care for the Tang flavor anymore.
Would I buy Orbana?
For the most part when running I enjoy just plain old water. But living in the hot Texas summers and running longer periods of time I know I need more. But I don't feel that my liquid intake needs to deceive me with overly sweetness to get me to drink. Just give me something that is mainly water with a few extra nutrients and I'm happy and my body's happy. I would probably not buy Orbana for this reason. If they could provide a product that would be less sweet and maybe provide a different flavor than yes. I appreciate their intention to provide the most nutritional sports drink out there on the market. And I wish them all the best.
The first packet I drank before going to my cardio kickboxing class. It was a little clumpy, but that was my fault, as I don't think I mixed it well enough. Taste was good...subtle. I liked it.
Here's the kicker. I actually did notice something different after my kickboxing class. Every class before that one and every class since that one, I've always had to get a drink of water whenever the instructor gives us 45 seconds in between routines to relax. This was the only class that I didn't feel the need to stop and get water. It wasn't until after class that I was thinking about Orbana that I realized "Hey, I didn't have to drink any water during class".
The next packet I drank before going out on a mini brick (bike + run). To be honest, I didn't really notice anything special about the workout. It was a good workout and I wasn't extra thirsty or anything, but I still felt like I needed the same amount of fluids.
However, the experience I had with Orbana during my cardio kickboxing class makes me think that this is indeed a good product.
As for flavor, the first time I had it, I loved the taste. I have basically been drinking Gatorade and recently switched to HEED, so Orbana was a nice break from the ordinary flavors. The second time I had it, the flavor was not nearly as tasty as I remembered, but it was not bad.
As for performance, the first time I had it, I had a good training run and no issues, but I did not notice anything especially wonderful or amazing and the recovery seemed normal also. On Thursday, I went out and PR'd a 10K, at a pace that was my second best among all races. I felt incredible during the run; I was pushing pretty hard and overall, it was probably the best feeling run I have ever had. Also, I was not especially sore considering the effort I put forth to make this happen. I am not sure that its the Orbana, but that was basically the only thing that was different.
I would get some more, but I would definitely need a sale or discount because, in the words of Cosmo Kramer, "retail is for suckers" unless I am supporting a local store or company I really like. All that to say, I liked it and would get more and use it regularly, depending on the cost.
I was very interested to try Orbana because, on the recommendation of my nutritionist, I have been mixing a “home brew” BCAA drink that I use for muscle recovery after exercise. Honestly, my home brew tastes like crap. I was very curious about how Orbana would be able to mask the distinctive bitter taste of the BCAAs.
Orbana tastes predominately like citrus, with a distinctive pineapple flavor. I used two dilutions, and swished both around in my mouth and consciously searched for the bitter BCAA flavor. It just wasn’t there. Orbana has successfully masked the flavor of the BCAAs. However, my home brew has more than twice the amount of BCAAs as Orbana, and Orbana also has a lot more calories than my home brew.
I like Orbana a lot. I like that it is all natural, with no artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, or synthetic gunk. Orbana has succeeded beyond my expectations in masking the flavor of BCAAs. This energy drink was formulated for the hard-core endurance athlete, and I think Orbana’s status as a great-tasting natural drink can gain a footing in the endurance product market.
See Lisa’s full review here on her Facebook page .
The drink itself is quite palatable and does not give the sickly sugary feeling when the water is not cold. Somehow the taste and smell were vaguely reminiscent of the McDonald’s orange juice I so liked in ages past. The citrus-pineapple taste is free from the usual acidic feeling from citric acid - although the taste is subtle, it was a bit much for me since I’m not a pineapple fan.
I am not a big sports drink fan since I usually have problem digesting them and experience gastric weirdness on long runs from the caffeine and truck load of sugar, but Orbana mix is pretty easy to digest, no burps and no upset stomach … sweet “nada”.
Thanks to the nice mix of amino-acid and electrolytes, it is also a good hang-over remedy: drink one glass of water mixed with Orbana before going to bed after a big party, and the morrow is less painful by far …
Bottom line is, Orbana offers a great product. If they were to offer a different flavour (like one that does not taste like pineapple) I would definitely buy a box.
So there you have it: perhaps the most exhaustive, comprehensive review on any single product in the history of this blog. Obviously, I owe a very big thanks to the Orbana company for providing so many samples for review. You can .
Get updates as soon as they're posted! Click here to subscribe to Running and Rambling.
Check out the Running Life book for a collection of our most popular columns.