Whole Fuel: Energy For Endurance Athletes

What's your preferred fuel source before and during a workout? Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Table of Contents

Cliff: Kits Organic Fruit & Nut Bar 4 Flavors $1.75 1.62oz Rating 3/5

Taste: What you see is what you get, 3-4 whole food ingredients in each bar with date base. Some testers felt the bars were a little bland while others liked their wholesomeness. A couple bars were a little ‘datey’ tasting but overall were well-balanced with natural sweetness. Gluten, Soy, & Dairy Free. Favorite: Chocolate Almond Coconut

Output: From the company that makes CliffBars our testers did not feel “fueled” from a training and racing perspective, especially under high intensity. With a carbohydrate to protein ration that reached 9:1 (cashew) there was some experience of GI distress. Even on longer distances one needed to be extra vigilant about anything extra consumed and drinking the requisite amount of water.

Best Use: These are certainly a whole food option to be used for ultra distances, hiking, or as a mini-meal 3hrs before training. Cliff has some other products (gels, bars, chews) that are better fueling options.

Honey Stinger: Organic Gels 3 Flavors $1.25 1.3oz Rating 3/5

Taste: You gotta like honey to enjoy these gels. Some testers found them to be too sweet while others really liked the honey-ness of this product. The flavors were balanced well, but it really all comes down to honey.

Output: “Liquid fuel” as one tester referred to them as the quick jolt of energy received. Looking for an end of training / racing pick me up, these gave most testers a good boost. Multiple servings over increased mileage turned some testers palates off.

Best Use: Short distance with high intensity. Even those who enjoyed the honey sweetness had much better tolerance under high intensity then longer distances well below lactate threshold. Although not quite a whole foods option but still with quality ingredients their Waffles were well liked for longer distances and lower intensities. Easy to take on the run.

RELATED: Nutrition Lessons Learned On A Run

Body Symphony: Raw SuperFood Mix 10 Flavors / 5 Protein Bases $36.99 1.9lbs Rating 3/5 Favorite: Pumpkin Seed

Taste: This was the only thing that brought their rating down. Some testers did not like the stevia sweetness or just how whole and raw this product is. Not for the ice cream and pizza eater this product is as whole foods as it gets. However, with nine flavors to choose from and five different protein bases, all of which can be added to by the user, anyone on a whole foods diet should find this tasty.

Output: Under high intensity and short distances some testers found this product to be a bit dense as a fuel on the go. Although none reported any GI distress they did not feel quite charged. Under lower intensities and longer distances testers reported feeling their energy levels sustained.

Best Use: It took some creativity by our testers to find out how to use this product best to their advantage. Testers liked that aspect of having to really connect with the product and see how it best suited their needs. The higher protein content lent itself to post training recovery, especially for strength and weight training workouts. The flavors with higher carbohydrates were used best as a pre-training tool for smoothies or on yoghurt as morning intake. A little challenging to figure out how to carry it with you.

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