Which energy boosters have the nutritional power to propel you to the finish line?
It’s spring at last—and the warm weather means the beginning of racing season, whether you’re a runner, cyclist or triathlete. When you’re training for or competing in an endurance race, your body needs fuel that’s easy to eat and digest, while still providing the boost you need to make a strong finish. Check out these energy products that offer the nutrients you want and avoid the artificial ingredients you don’t.
GU Chomps, from the maker of one of the first and best-known energy gels, are perfect for those times you need something to sink your teeth into. These gummy chews offer a balance of complex and simple carbohydrates, with an added punch of amino acids and antioxidant vitamins C and E. Available in Blueberry Pomegranate, Cran-Apple, Orange and Strawberry flavors, GU Chomps are like the fruit snacks Mom used to tuck into your lunchbox… minus the crash-causing high fructose corn syrup. $2.20/packet. www.guenergy.com
elete Electrolyte Add-In is an unsweetened, unflavored, concentrated liquid that mixes right in your water bottle or hydration pack to provide you with better hydration than water alone, but without the sugar or fake flavorings found in typical sports drinks. Its balance of critical electrolytes—sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride–helps support healthy cardiovascular condition, prevents cramping and provides energy. With no calories or carbs, elete’s perfect for athletes watching their weight, and it’s light enough to drink all throughout a race. The Pocket Bottle’s cap doubles as a measuring cup to help mix up the perfect ratio of electrolytes to water. $5/bottle.
CLIF Shot Bloks, popular among racers for their easy-to-grab shape and controlled carb balance, now come in a cool new Fastpak that lets you pull a single chew from the package with just a squeeze of your fingers. Each chew contains 33 calories, and three of the eight available flavors include a shot of caffeine for a quick energy boost. For a tropical (but tequila-free) treat, try the Margarita flavor. It includes a sprinkling of natural sea salt to provide three times more sodium than other Shot Bloks varieties to prevent cramping. $1.99/Fastpak. www.clifbar.com
e-Gel Electrolyte Energy Gel provides a blast of carbohydrate energy (150 calories, compared to other gels’ 100 calories). Plus, its high electrolyte content means it’s designed to be consumed with plain water, rather than an electrolyte-enhanced sports drink. Combining sports drinks and energy gels can lead to stomach upset–the last thing you want in the middle of a race. e-Gel’s 220 mg of sodium and 80 mg of potassium per serving help keep your body in balance and properly hydrated. $1.49/pouch. www.cranksports.com
PROBAR, with its real-food ingredient list, is perfect for fueling up before a race or recharging your energy afterwards. Everything that goes into these sweet and savory bars is “whole, organic, raw and 100% vegan”–in practice, that means tongue-tempting combinations like Cocoa Pistachio, Cherry Pretzel and Sesame Goji. For a nutritional bonus, check out the Superfood Slam variety. It blends whole grains, nuts and seeds with powerhouse ingredients like açai berry, flaxseed and wheatgrass. $3.29/bar. www.theprobar.com