Halloween is the only day of the year when it is
completely acceptable if not expected that kids take candy from
strangers. It is a holiday that is pretty scary. From the kids’
costumes to the pumpkin decorations, to the paranormal activity
that occurs, this holiday is all about scares and spooks, but want
to know what is even more frightening?
Look down at that pre or post workout bar and/or drink, now flip it over and see how much sugar it has in it. Chances are that it is well over 15g — about the same if not more than the amount that candy the kids are consuming. Moreover if you look at the ingredient list, you will see a list of chemicals that would make even Dr. Frakenstien shudder. You could practically hand these bars and drinks out to the trick or treaters.
The honest truth is that most if not all commercial protein, workout, and recovery bars are just glorified candy bars and you do not need them. These bars, although advertised as a way to improve performance and recovery, do the exact opposite. All that sugar does give you energy but only a short burst, so you have to continue to consume, and consume, and consume to maintain that high.
The health costs though outweigh any energy benefits though. The chemicals, glycogen response, and processed fats cause a bodily nightmare of inflammation, digestive destruction, and even psychological impairments. Especially if you are doing mostly zone 2 through 4 efforts, all this sugar is not needed.
But what am I supposed to eat if these bars do not work? Here are my top alternatives for pre workout snacks or during workouts longer than 2 hours:
- Nut butters or coconut butter: You can get these in individual packets which are the perfect size to ward off hunger and just enough energy to get you through your workout.
- UCAN superstarch: I really like to drink this on the bike. While it does take some time to adapt to, it is definitely a clean burning fuel that can power you through long rides, runs, and swims that are over 90 minutes.
- Amrita bars: If you like solid foods or have GI issues, these are my go to bars. They have the cleanest ingredient list on the market and a nice balance between fat and carbohydrates. I like to have them before intense swims and for long brick runs.