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First Endurance has come on like a firestorm over the last 3 years, and they've upended the energy supplement market with the magic of Optygen. You've likely seen their ads all over the place featuring Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador. If you've never heard the two of them talk about Optygen in magazine interviews, etc, let us assure you it's pretty interesting to hear them mention how much they love it. They're hardly being sponsor shills, it's obvious they really believe it works.

What is Optygen? Fundamentally speaking, it performs three main functions: 1) It improves the body's ability to adapt to high levels of physical stress. 2) It helps you utilize oxygen more efficiently. 3) It increases your anaerobic threshold and reduces lactic acid. As First Endurance says, "Optygen is a revolutionary endurance formula that's designed to help you optimize performance, maximize oxygen utilization and achieve greatness." We like the last part the best. We might only measure our greatness in humble ways, but thanks to our handy dandy SRM we measure, measure, measure all of the time and we'll take greatness in whatever small pieces we can get it! By they way, First Endurance emphasizes again and again that Optygen is legal, safe, and stimulant-free.

For those of you interested in the nuts and bolts behind supplements, here are the details on what Optygen offers:

Efficient Glucose Metabolism:The first part of the Optygen formula utilizes chromium for its ability to break down fuel. Chromium is an essential trace mineral that aids in glucose metabolism, regulation of insulin levels, and maintenance of healthy blood levels of cholesterol and other lipids. Chromium forms part of a compound in the body known as glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which is involved in regulating the actions of insulin in maintaining blood sugar levels and, possibly, in helping to control appetite. It is critical that any drink, bar or pre-race meal consumed prior to a race or exercise gets broken down efficiently in order to maximize your fuel delivery. Insulin spikes or lack of insulin response can cause the nutrients to either be rushed into your bloodstream too quickly or not quickly enough. Chromium regulates this nutrient breakdown so you have equal and sustained nutrient delivery to the working muscles.

Efficient Oxygen Transfer:The second part of the Optygen formula uses adaptogenic herbs to improve oxygen effeciency. Originally, these two adaptogenic herbs were gathered by Tibetan Sherpas for use in their tea. The Sherpas used these herbs to give them energy to climb Everest, which they did without the use of supplemental oxygen. One of the adaptogenic applications of Rhodiola that has received considerable research attention recently is for aiding in adaptation to high altitude, thus, as a preventive treatment for hypoxia or mountain sickness. In June 2002, Dr Rulin Xiu was awarded a patent for her work showing Rhodiola's ability to oxygenate blood. Clinical studies on Cordyceps have proven its ability to increase endurance through more efficient enzyme activity, mobilization of free fatty acids and beta-oxidation. In a 1998 study, Dr. Edmond Burke observed that Cordyceps has the ability to improve lactate energy metabolism within the cell. All these mechanisms clearly show how these two adaptogenic herbs improve the efficiency of oxygen transfer in the cell leading to improvements in oxygen uptake and VO2max.

ATP Production: The final step of the Optygen formulation puts all the necessary components together to assure efficient Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) production. Clinical research has shown that endurance athletes diminish their ATP stores in exhaustive exercise, which can lead to a reduction in aerobic metabolism and endurance. Optygen's proprietary ATPro™ matrix of five key nutrients is designed to assure ATP production. Since ATP is the final step in aerobic energy production, it is critical that the nutrients feeding the ATP cycle are readily available. Calcium pyruvate, sodium phosphate, potassium phosphate, adenosine and d-ribose all play critical roles in glycolysis and the citric acid cycle, leading to efficient ATP production. Endurance athlete's VO2max is directly proportional to their ability to efficiently produce ATP.

A synergistic formula:The combination of the three components of Optygen create a synergy with the sole purpose of improving race performance through increased VO2max, reduced lactic acid and increased endurance. Though Cordyceps and Rhodiola taken by themselves would offer enhanced performance, the combination including Chromium Chelate and the ATPro™ matrix complete the formulation. It is this synergistic combination of key ingredients that make Optygen such a powerful and complete endurance formula.

  • 30 servings
  • Three capsules per serving

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Avg. ride time: 11h 59m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Extra Edge

    Package states you have to give it about a month to feel the effects, and while I didn't notice any major difference a week or two weeks in, the 3rd week is where I really started to reap the benefits. I'm no exercise physiologist, but I am a bike rider and using this product after a month has made me a better bike rider. Improvements in threshold power, more efficient recovery blocks and better times on all the local climbs are evident that along with structured training, rest, and diet Optygen is just that extra edge.

    It is no doubt expensive, but it could be that extra boost you need going into your main event for the year.

    Great stuff

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    When you're doing everything possible to get the most out your performace, you find the little things that make the difference. This alone won't win any races but Optygen added to your training regimen will give you the extra boost you need to perform.

    Avg. ride time: 13m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    I have used it every riding season...

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I have used it every riding season for the last 4-5 years. While I can't give you any scientific details of how or if it works I can give you my impressions when I use it and when I'm not. I suspect it helps with recovery more than anything else. I don't feel like I'm riding stronger but after hard efforts I can get back on the bike with more energy. I did try the HP version but got some side effects. Went back to the regular version.