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Endurance sports call for endurance foods, quick energy; especially when racking up the miles. From long-distance cycling to competing in an Ironman, one racing commonality is finding a reliable source to keep their bodies fueled. Some athletes carry packets of honey, and others scarf down sugar-filled gel packets to provide a quick boost in energy.
However, not all endurance supplements are created equal, at least according to Adam Melonas, chef, multi-podium Ironman winner, and founder and CEO of the Boston-based food innovation lab Chew. While training for an Ironman, Melonas noticed a disturbing trend in the sports nutrition marketplace. One, he says, forces athletes to consume artificial ingredients. This leads to their larger food values and dietary restrictions becoming compromised.
This discovery led Melonas down the path of creating a cutting-edge, endurance supplement line and endurance foods. The goal: using real ingredients designed to support the health and performance of endurance athletes of all levels worldwide.
Melonas, a casual cycler of 20 years, during the COVID-19 pandemic decided to improve his fitness by training for an Ironman. From there, he hired a coach and elevated his training to around 20 hours a week.
During this time, he learned many lessons about both life and the endurance supplements that flooded the market.
“Racing has provided me with some of the sharpest and most meaningful lessons,” says Melonas. “The first of which is the idea of “one foot in front of the other.”
When you are in your darkest moments, Melonas says oftentimes the solution is in front of you. “By placing one foot in front of the other, you will eventually make it to the finish line,” Melonas says. With that, the same lesson was applied to creating Fastfood. Eventually, Melonas and his team succeeded in bringing to life what he feels is missing in the endurance supplement world.
As a longtime food industry veteran, owning restaurants in London, Shanghai, Dubai (two restaurants), and Madrid, Melonas says he knows a lot—perhaps too much—about what goes into food and how it affects your body and overall health. “I decided to start working my way through the flooded market of sports nutrition,” he says. Most of the time I’d leave super irritated that they were mostly all filled with artificial ingredients, failed performance, and broken promises.”
From there he tasked his innovation team with the challenge of creating the highest-performance sports fuel possible. Made with nothing but real food.
So how is Fastfood the solution to endurance foods? “We are building Fastfood on the simple premise of “science fact, not science-fiction,” says Melonas. “We have created a blend of carbohydrates that metabolically makes the most sense for both fast-acting fuels, as well as longer-acting fuel that reduces the spike and crash cycle typically experienced with sports fuels.”
The testing started first with himself and then the extended Fastfood/Chew team. Then over the last 12 to 18 months the team have been testing and co-creating with some of the top athletes in the world. “We have heard from others and feel ourselves the massive difference when we fuel with Fastfood products and when we fuel with others,” says Melonas.
At Chew, the team has created more than 4,500 consumer products that eliminate all artificial ingredients. But beyond what they eliminate, “we work hard to pack them full of the most nutritious value we can,” Melonas explains. With Fastfood, the rules were the same. But in this case, Melonas explains it was an unwavering obsession toward the highest possible performance.
“Right now, athletes are faced with a choice between a fuel that powers your efforts, and maintaining robust food values,” he says. “Many of the leading products contain ingredients that require sacrifice, and the ‘natural’ products require you to sacrifice performance.”
And what athletes everywhere need is real real ingredients to help fuel them to be the best they can be.
Melonas and his team have started performance fuels to be used when you are exerting yourself. For the last six months they’ve also been piloting real whole foods that can be consumed at all times. “As we believe races and competitions are not only won or lost by how you fuel while performing,” he says. “But the bulk of the impact, both positive and negative, is created by those hundreds of other choices you make day to day.”
Fastfood’s mission is to create a platform for helping people live more vibrant and energetic lives. Through nutrition, they can be the best versions of themselves, increasing health-span, in a tastier way.