Choosing Energy Bars

Energy bars certainly have their place, but with so many choices these days, where do you begin? It boils down to 3 types of bars, energy bars for pre-workout or during a long training day, recovery bars for post workouts and meal replacement bars for when you do not have the time for a proper meal. All the rest are fancy packaged candy bars with a sugar rush will have you crashing fast. I will not promote any bar, although, I do have my favorites, but a lot of it is a preference of taste and performance testing.

First some rules:

  • Please read the labels! Just because some NFL star has his picture on the box does not mean this is the right product for you. Keep an eye on caloric and sugar content.
  • Some really good nutritious bars are meant for endurance athletes and are packed with needed calories, so don't use them for snacking.
  • Decide how you are using the bars. You should not be eating a high carb energy bar before you are going to sleep because you missed dinner. A low calorie meal replacement bar should do the trick.

    What to look for: First and foremost, do not buy a box of 24 bars because they are on sale until you taste one. Some of these things look great on the label, but getting them down can sometimes be torture. Also, please pay attention to calorie content if you are watching your calorie intake.

    Energy bars--> Specially formulated to deliver a big hit of carbs (about 40 grams—70 percent—of the bar's calories). This will provide a steady stream of carbohydrates(fuel) during your workout so you don't bonk. After your workout, such bars can replenish the glycogen that you've spent. Your best choice is one that contains B vitamins, which are needed in combination with carbs for optimal performance.

    Recovery Bars--> High in muscle-building protein. The protein is used to repair muscle tissue that was broken down during a workout. Best if consumed within 30 minutes of your training or workout. These bars help get carbs back into your muscles after a workout and provide amino acids to rebuild your muscles. Look for quality protein in the form of whey, milk and/or soy.

    Meal replacement bars--> Natural ingredients. Bars made from grains and fruits with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals eaten instead of dealing with the nuances of a meal. Some bars are gender specific and offer certain vitamins and minerals that are particular to the needs of men or women. try not to rely heavily on these bars, and only use them when preparation of a healthy balanced meal is not available.

    Coach Briody

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