Hammer Nutrition Review

Founded 30 years ago, Hammer Nutrition provides endurance fuels and supplements for athletes—specifically endurance athletes, marathon and triathlon competitors—or for anyone physically active who wants to stay charged throughout the day. They sell supplements, endurance fuels and recovery products (like those gel packs you see the bicycle-marathoners suck down during the Olympics), plus clothing, gear, and mid-ride/run products. But they do sell a couple of products earmarked for weight loss— Chromemate, and Race Caps, containing Ubiquinone (Co Q10)—and it’s those we’ll look at today.

Hammer says it “provides superlative products, proprietary knowledge, and 5-star service to health conscious athletes all over the world.” And while the majority of its products are geared toward endurance athletes, some of the supplements are earmarked for weight loss, or at least to assist in fat reduction. [1]

Again, they’re focused on athletes who presumably don’t have the kind of weight issues say someone like me, a 59-year-old woman, has. But let’s see.

Hammer Nutrition has no profile on the Better Business Bureau website. Headquartered in Whitefish, Montana, their Customer Contact number is (800) 336-1977.

Hammer Nutrition Claims

The company’s longtime (now retired) director of research and development, Dr. William Misner, gives plenty of advice on the website about weight loss, including some solid tips including what happens with severe calorie restriction:

When calories are restricted metabolism drops, and both dramatically inhibit performance. Add to that, a body is living off its own fat does not perform either efficiently or enduringly. Weight loss is better accomplished outside of training for races in the off-season. [2]

Appetite must be controlled if body weight is to be lost safely, gradually, and permanently. Studies show that dietary fruit satiates appetite demands better than any other food sources or combinations, plus it is stingy with calories adding very few per serving. The Diamond’s diet of fruit only in the A.M., a large lunch, and a small dinner eaten before 6:00 P.M. is the most successful safe weight-loss plan. [2]

Almost never should anyone attempt to lose weight on less than 1000 calories per day. [2]

Weight-Loss Metabolism is stimulated by exercise, eating small meals, over-chewing food, thermogenics such as cayenne, hot peppers, and large amounts of water (distilled). Stimulants such as ephedra, caffeine, Ma Huang, and DHEA have serious side effects which may not be beneficial to health or endurance performance with prolonged use. [2]

If only we could all stick to that! But again, we’re talking about marketing and education geared specifically toward endurance athletes, who aren’t really worried about big weight losses—we might be talking ten pounds to gain a slight advantage over the competition in a race. And Dr. Misner even goes so far as to say weight loss should be undertaken during the off-season rather than while you’re competing. But since losing weight can be difficult under any circumstances, Hammer recommends Chromemate and Race Caps.

Chromemate, it claims, can assist in weight control, lean muscle mass sparing, or body fat weight loss. According to Hammer,

The use of Chromemate (Chromium Polynicotinate-GTF) has been shown in a study documented in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION-(Tremblay 1989) to assist in weight control, lean muscle mass sparing, or body fat weight loss. Animals fed in one study with Chromium-GTF attained less body fat and more lean muscle mass than animals who were denied its dietary inclusion. [2]

The trace mineral chromium has profound effects on both general health and athletic performance. … Considered by many experts to be the “master nutrient” for controlling blood sugar, chromium is an important nutrient for everyone, especially diabetic athletes, athletes with hypoglycemia, and for anyone wishing to maintain optimal weight. Taking a Chromemate capsule with meals can help you maintain consistent energy throughout your day and eliminate the dreaded mid-afternoon fade. [3]

Race Caps’ ingredient, Ubiquinone Q-10, has a similar attention-getting claim:

Coenzyme Q-10 taken in Race Caps will contribute to diet for weight loss purposes. Lowering meat, cheese, and dairy products while cutting carbohydrate intake by 50% will cause you to gravitate bodyweight toward your personal, minimal BMI. Regular strength lifting tests or timed distance efforts should be performed to insure lean muscle strength preservation during weight loss attempts.

If all athletes choosing to diet will give 3 weeks to the above suggestions, with the goal of losing 1-2 lbs. body-fat during the initial 3 weeks, whatever they lose after will stay lost for good, along with the time lost at the finish line… in their endurance event! [2]

Again, keep in mind these supplements are geared directly toward endurance athletes—not so much for those of us who consider a marathon as a walk from the far end of a mall parking lot.

The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind Hammer Nutrition

A 1984 study is the cornerstone of the research backing up the claims about Coenzyme Q10, which is the signature ingredient in Hammer’s Race Caps. Hammer says Co Q10 is “crucial” for the efficient production of energy from food and oxygen intake since activity, especially rigorous exercise, depletes nutrients. They claim Race Caps are like “fresh spark plugs in your body.” And contribute to weight loss. [4]

The Mayo Clinic doesn’t disagree, but isn’t 100 percent on board. “Co Q10 may help promote weight loss in obese people. Levels of Co Q10 may be lower in people with a higher body mass index (BMI). More high-quality research is needed to confirm these findings.” [5]

Chromium, however, is well studied, and there’s some evidence that when combined with a resistance-training exercise program it may help you lose weight and body fat while increasing lean body mass. The evidence is there, but it’s not conclusive. Like so many supplements, the research to determine its legitimate effectiveness is incomplete. Often studies like these are actually paid for by manufactures in order to provide evidence. Unless the evidence disproves the claims, of course.

That said, Hammer’s claim for chromium effectiveness comes from the 1989 study “Impact of Dietary Fat Content and Fat Oxidation on Energy Intake in Humans,” published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. [6]

The science mostly backs up Hammer’s claims, and that’s great for athletes. But the mom who needs to lose twenty pounds of post-pregnancy baby fat? This is just not the product for her.

Word on the Street About Hammer Nutrition

Interestingly, Hammer Nutrition’s Chromemate was sold on Amazon but on one particular listing, where Hammer claims its supplement “Helps Curb Sugar Cravings—Diet Optimization” is no longer available. [7] It’s the same product, so it’s unclear if it just was pulled from Amazon, or if that claim—which Hammer doesn’t appear to make any longer—is bogus. One reviewer (there were only two) on the now unavailable-on-Amazon supplement said it “did not work.” Then again, the claim was it would optimize your diet by curbing sugar cravings. Which does sound like bunk.

Still, Hammer Nutrition is wildly popular, if its own website is any indication. Plus, they’ve been in the business for more than three decades, so there’s that.

Chromemate reviewer “Pwrlnmen” says, “Maintains blood sugar levels perfectly! No more early morning blood sugar crashes, and no more after meal crashes, and no more after workout bonks. If there is anybody out there that is having trouble maintaining blood sugar levels, whether working out or not. This is the product!!” [3]

“RunGirl” agrees: “Taking Chromemate daily with meals has stabilized my blood sugar levels so that I no longer have that mid-afternoon crash…My energy levels remain constant before and after my training runs as well…I’m a fan!” [3]

And as far as Race Caps go, these are absolutely designed for endurance athletes, no doubt about it. Forget the science, read the reviews nearly all from runners and other endurance athletes—who love it, by the way.

As reviewer Wolf says, “Used these products for years, best product for anyone that lives to train and race.” [8]

“Highway” adds, “I’m a 56 year old guy that still loves to grind it out riding my fatbike on the trails and roads here in Colorado. My pre-ride routine includes 2 to 3 RCS caps along with Hammer’s AntiFatigue Caps and Endurance Aminos. They always seem to make me feel a little stronger, especially on the hills, and as a result I have more confidence in my ability to push through and ride like a kid again.” [8]

And “RobB” rounds out the praise:

I have been using Race Caps Supreme for several years. As a competitive Triathlete and Runner this product gives me the energy I need to sustain my exercise routine! I am also a Level 3 Certified Spinning Instructor, teaching 4 classes a week as well as a Professional Triathlon Coach! I take Race Caps Supreme every morning prior to my daily routine and have found that it helps my endurance and recovery as well! This is a product you don’t want to miss in your daily arsenal of weapons against fatigue and recovery! Give yourself a gift this New Year. Make it Hammer Products! Happy Training! [8]

The Bottom Line: Is Hammer Nutrition Worth a Try?

Depends. Hammer Nutrition sounds great—if you are an endurance athlete or aspire to be one. But it’s not for those of us just trying to get off the couch for thirty minutes a day. The two weight-loss-related supplements we found don’t make a trip to the site worth it for the regular Jane and Joe looking to drop belly fat. These products are fuel for endurance athletes. Not for us—well for me, anyway.

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