I’m long overdue a blog post; especially an update on the half. That’s coming, I promise! In the meantime, I have been busy on my training runs trying out various energy bars, gels and protein to find out what works.
One problem I’ve faced time and time again is choosing a gel or bar that is right for me. Sometimes you get that ‘proteiny’ taste, or it’s too chewy, or makes your tummy hurt, or the flavour is just really not what you’re after.
While I’ve currently struck the right balance with some MyProtein berry energy bars (yum! – more on these in another post), there are some things I would definitely recommend doing before choosing as the right bars should be seen as a good investment – you don’t want to waste your cash.
1. The taste test
Does the company in question do samples of the bars? Sometimes companies push samples out through LatestFreeStuff.co.uk, but if you’re in a bit of a rush why not write to them and ask?
Failing that, it’s only £1 – 3 max for a good energy bar, so if you have the funds, bite the bullet and buy one bar of each type that you want to try! Do this in a store such as Holland and Barrett where you can pick up the loyalty points and put them toward future bars. Win!
2. Take the energy bar generator
All you have to do is pick what fruit you like, whether you’re gluten free or a chocolate lover, what sport and level of intensity it is and it’ll come up with a really simple recipe to suit your specific needs.
Bear in mind these are bars you make yourself rather than ones you buy in the shop – so if you have the time and inclination, then it’s probably a good option (and a bit of craic).
That brings me on to my next point… do it yourself! Baking or making your own energy bars really isn’t that difficult and means you can dictate what you want in (or out) of them.
All you need is a hand whisk or food processor, an oven or fridge, a bowl to mix everything about in and some weighing scales. Use the generator above to score a recipe, et viola, you’re in business.
While you can taste and make energy bars until the cows come home, there is just one key test to determine what they are really like, and that’s how you perform with them.
Before heading out for a run, make sure you eat your energy bar at least half an hour prior. See how it affects you on your run – does it make you noticeably faster? Do you get a sugar crash midway through? Does it make your tummy hurt?
All of these are signs that you need to change something about it – an ingredient for example, or a brand.
There are runs, especially longer runs, where you will need at least a bar if not a gel (unless you’re superman/woman in which case, hats off to you!) so getting to grips with which is right for you as early as you can is definitely a good decision.
Any favourite recipes or brands? Comment below! 🙂