It’s important to fuel your body correctly no matter what you do in a day. But when you’re getting into heavy exercise or athletic training, getting the right kind of energy is absolutely critical. Just because something is labelled “energy bar,” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right fit for you. Make sure you’re giving your body exactly what it needs by following this simple guide.
Pre- and post-workout
An hour before and immediately following your workout you will want a bar that has some carbohydrates but is heavy in protein. This will help strengthen your muscles as they go into exercise and assist them in healing once you are done. For example, Luna’s line of protein bars have the calories of a light snack, so they won’t weigh you down before or after your workout, but are loaded with 12 grams of protein, which helps your muscles regroup.
If you are looking for an energy source to keep you going strong through your workout, you will want a bar that is heavy in carboyhdrates rather than protein. During training, your body is using all available energy to keep your muscles working at their best. So it doesn’t have time to go through the lengthy process of breaking down proteins. Carbs are easy to break down and can therefore be immediately used as an energy source to keep your body going. Clif bars are packed with over 40 grams of carbohydrates, which make them perfect for consumption during a lengthy workout. For easy eating, consider chopping a bar up into bite-sized pieces and keeping the sections in a bag, so you can just grab one when the time comes and keep going.
For sensitive stomachs
If you find chowing down on protein bars during a workout makes you feel heavy or queasy, there are some alternatives you may want to consider. Gel packs provide you with a quick calorie and carbohydrate fix and they go down smoothly. The taste might not be ideal, but if you consume a pack with some water it should sit relatively easily in your system. For a genuinely delicious energy source, consider chewy jellies or candies such as PowerBar’s Energy Blasts. They look and taste just like candy, but they provide the body with the sodium and carbs it so desperately needs during exercise. So, no more letting the length or intensity of your workout be determined by your tummy!
The natural approach
Always remember that store-bought brands don’t have to be the answer. Creating healthy and delicious bars at home is far easier than you think. And you can tailor them perfectly to your particular needs. Practical Hacks offers a great basic homemade energy bar recipe that you can later build to your tastes. And this way, you get to avoid all the additives and preservatives that can come in some energy bars.
With all the energy options out there, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to go strong all workout long!