The older I get the more I realize that what I eat affects my overall performance. As a teenager I could eat a Twinkie and chug a Mountain Dew and I would be just fine (or so I thought). I now rarely drink carbonation unless it is really good Root Beer. I ask myself the question what has changed? The answer is a lot.
In the arena of nutrition there are so many different options for consumption. If you are looking for quick and portable packaged bars, gels, etc. there are so many options that the choices can be overwhelming. So naturally we default to what tests best, or what is the best deal.
I have been consuming energy bars of every kind for more than 20 years. I am always excited to try something new. Years ago I did not pay attention to the nutritional content like I do today. I look for high quality ingredients that I know are nutritionally sound and will give me the sustained energy I need.
My favorite energy bar is RAW REVOLUTION. I met the owner of the company 4 years ago at the Outdoor Retailer show where he was sampling bars. I was interested in the bars for snowboarding because they don’t freeze. I have nearly chipped a tooth several times trying to bite certain bars that get hard as a rock when cold. On the other end of the spectrum RAW REV bars don’t melt either. I can put them in my pocket and they will stay warm and soft and because they only have raw natural ingredients they will not melt and become a squishy mess. You can tell how good a bar is when you are eating it as a snack not just for training or an event. I eat these bars all the time. I crave these daily. I have found that I feel so much better when I eat these bars. The reason that I feel so good is the ingredients are about 90% raw, certified organic, vegan, gluten free, certified kosher. This is pretty amazing to find these ingredients with the certifications to back it up. My top 3 favorite flavors are Spirulina, Coconut Agave, Chocolate Coconut. In the new nut free variety I really like the Tropical Banana, it is the best superfood bar I have found.
What about gels? Just 2 letters GU. GU gel original flavors are awesome and they keep introducing new flavors every year. GU also has the ROCTANE formula this is the stuff you want for race day. This is high performance gel. I am not a scientist but I know how I feel while using this and I know when I don’t have it in my system. And I know that the guys at GU are scientists and they have been formulating this stuff for a long time. I have found that it helps with sustained energy and recovery. GU has created several great flavors and has created other products that work well. The GU CHOMPS are a great solid chew that is easy to put down and get Vitamin C, E and much needed Amino acids. GU recently introduced the GU BREW with blueberry pomegranate that has 2 X sodium. This electrolyte formula has great flavor and delivers the electrolytes that are needed in long events. In the BREW lineup there is a BREW recovery powder too. Check out the new GU electrolyte tabs that are a great way to dissolve the electrolytes in a bottle or Camelbak. If you havent tried GU products check out the Energy Performance sampler: https://guenergy.com/store/special-offers/the-sampler.html This is a great way to try some different products in the line up.
For me variety has helped during strenuous long distance events. While training for and running the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim I had Honey Stinger, Stinger Waffles. The Stinger Waffle is shaped like a small thin pancake. The waffle is easy to carry and loads high calories great taste and flavor. My system wants variety and having energy with a different consistency like the Stinger Waffle can do the trick. This type of product is great because it is different than the bars or gels and putting it in the nutrition mix really feels good when you have eaten so many gels. I really like the flavor and they are great as a snack before after or during. This food is so good that I crave it. I am really excited to hear they will be introducing a new flavor.
I also really like the portable almond butter in the squeeze pouches. See the article we posted. http://www.triedge.net/triedge-articles/nutrition/item/49-almond-butter
When you reach for something to help your performance it is essential to know from experience how this flavor or type of energy will help when it really counts. Use gels, bars, and electrolyte products in training to make sure you can handle the flavor and the type of energy nutrition. It is important to train with it before you use it in a specific endurance event. With all these types of nutrition it is important to consume plenty of water to help your system absorb the nutrients efficiently.