Anyone who exercises regularly knows that nutrition before, during and after your workout is extremely important. There is nothing worse than getting halfway through an tough run or ride only to hit the wall because you lack calories to see you through to the end.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to try out a number of new energy bars, gels and other nutritional items and I have to say I’ve come away impressed. Not only have these options improved dramatically in taste and variety, they’ve also become far more sophisticated and effective as well. As a result, outdoor athletes now have a large variety of goodies to help power them through their workout routines. Here are a few suggestions for items that I’ve been using of late.
Back at Outdoor Retailer earlier this month I dropped by the Honey Stinger booth to check out the different nutritional items they had on display. The generous staff manning the booth sent me along my way with an excellent sampling of their various energy gels, chews and bars. For a few days I carried that bag around with me, almost forgetting that I had it with me. But when I got home I was delighted to re-discover it amongst all the other stuff I was lugging home from the show. A few days later I started sampling the goodies and it wasn’t long before I was hooked.
As you can probably tell from the name, honey is a key component in all of the company’s products. As a natural sweetener it brings a nice, but not over powering, taste to the Honey Stinger product line. I found that their energy chews in particular were tasty without being overly sweet which I appreciated before setting off on a long run. It doesn’t hurt that they are also organic and don’t include any GMO ingredients either. They also happened to be smaller and a bit easier to chew from some of the other chews on the market. It wasn’t long before I found myself grabbing a bag here and there for a snack even when I wasn’t working out.
After nearly the entire line of Honey Stinger products I found that I really liked everything in their line-up. Their organic energy shots were tasty without being too thick and their protein bars were tasty as well. Especially the Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond. But hands down my favorite treat is their Honey Stinger Waffles. These thin and tasty wafers simply must be tried by anyone looking for a new nutrition option to add to their repertoire. They’re so good, they’re actually addictive and they come in classic flavors like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. You won’t believe that they are actually all natural and completely organic. Definitely a must try!
When it comes to energy bars, Cliff Bars have been my go-to choice for years. The company has done a good job of continuing to refine its line-up and make tastier bars in a variety of flavors. They’ve even created bars for specific athletes, including their famous Luna bars that are designed for women and the Z-bar for kids.
Recently the company has introduced a item to its line-up called the Builder ‘s bar. These bars contain 20g of protein that not only provides plenty of post-workout fuel but also helps to build muscle as well. That’s all well and good of course, as there are plenty of similar bars on the market. What sets this one apart however, is that it just might be the best tasting energy bar I’ve ever eaten.
Some of the great flavors available include Chocolate, Crunch Peanut Butter and Cookies n’ Cream. All of those are good but my favorites are S’Mores and Chocolate Mint. They taste so good you actually can’t wait to have one after a workout as opposed to some bars I’ve had in the past which were almost a chore to eat. These were definitely a pleasant surprise the first time I tried them.
Gu Energy is another company that has been making nutritional products for some time and have continued to refine their options over the years. I’ve used a number of their products for some time and I find that I like most of their line-up as well. For instance, I’m a fan of the Roctane energy drink mixes and their Electrolyte Brew tablets are a convenient option that I carry with me regularly as well. Of course, the Gu Energy Gel is pretty much the industry standards in terms of energy shots and they remain an excellent option.
Recently I’ve been enjoying the Gu Recovery Brew drink which I mix with a little milk and ice to make a fantastic smoothy. The chocolate flavored one in particular tastes more like a shake from your favore fast food joint rather than a nutritional drink designed to help facilitate recovery and build muscle after an intense workout. Each Recovery Brew includes plenty of protein, amino acids, antioxidants and carbs to help the body get stronger, but when drinking one it is hard to imagine that it actually good for you.
These are just a few of the tasty items I’ve been enjoying lately. If you’re tired of your energy bars and gels, then you may want to consider adding one of these options to your pantry. Each of them are packed with tasty and healthy ingredients and they are also proof that just because its good for you doesn’t mean that it can’t taste amazing too.
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