If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you might realize that one of the issues I have while racing is the nutrition aspect. I’ve tried gel after gel and spit out gel after gel. When it comes to refueling after a workout, I basically…don’t. I’ll rehydrate just fine, but often times I’m not all that inclined to eat the fuel that I need to properly refuel after a workout. This half Ironman training has certainly thrown me for a loop, as I’m totally out of my element and listening to my body is hard when I don’t exactly know what it is saying. Plus, what exactly is a long bike ride? A long swim? What do I need to eat before? During? After?
So many questions.
Luckily, Runner’s World reached out to me in July and asked if I would be interested in testing and reviewing Pure Protein bars. Here’s their concept:
Power Your Purpose
Pure Protein® makes it easy to fuel your inner athlete with the perfect combination of high protein and great taste! Pure Protein® bars are an excellent choice for pre and post workouts or any time of day for a protein boost. Our high quality protein bars were made to:
· Help Maintain Overall Health
· Support Lean Muscle and Strength
· Help Fuel Your Body
I’m not an expert in nutrition, but I do know that protein is important after long workouts to help repair your muscles. One of the issues that I have after long workouts is that I’m not necessarily interested in eating right away. I thought a protein bar might be a good way to solve this issue, as they tend to pack a lot of protein/calories into a small portion, so I could get myself to eat it even if I’m not all that hungry.
I was sent a month’s worth of bars in the flavors of Chocolate Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate Coconut, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. My favorite flavor was by the Chocolate Salted Coconut, as my slightly dehydrated self probably enjoyed the slightly salty flavor without being overbearing. Second favorite flavor was the Chocolate Peanut Butter because who doesn’t like chocolate and peanut butter? I didn’t really care for the Dark Chocolate Coconut, probably because I don’t like dark chocolate or coconut…problem solved. Outside of the outright flavor, the one thing I have to remind myself of in regards to protein bars is that they are not candy bars so I shouldn’t expect them to taste like one. Protein bars/drinks tend to taste chalky to me, but these bars do a good job of hiding the chalky flavor. They were a bit dense to eat, but as I said above, they pack a lot of protein and calories into a small amount of food, which I like. (Eric tasted them as well, and he said that they were delicious. Please note that the was fueling for a train ride, so they must pass the taste test if not used for recovery purposes!)
As I mentioned above, I’m not a dietitian (although I do have a degree in dietetics!), so please don’t take this as outright advice. I’ve heard that taking in 15-25 grams of protein after a hard (long) workout helps to repair the muscles, and these bars come in at about 19 grams. Excellent.
One issue that some people have with protein bars is the rest of the nutrition profile, mainly having to do with their calories. Some bars are really high in calories, which we don’t necessarily need. I usually have to adjust calorie recommendations when reading about this, as most recommendations are based on a 150 pound man…which I am not. However, a 200 calorie bar combined with some sort of rehydration sounds just about right to me, especially if the other choice is not really eating.
Because I think it is important to mention, this is the ingredient list for the Chocolate Salted Caramel bar:
I don’t necessarily get worked up about a gigantic ingredient list (maybe I should?) because most of the nutrition created for endurance events has lengthy ingredient lists. Processed? Most definitely. I don’t personally get upset about it, but just information for the masses to do what they wish. My general outlook on things like this is “everything in moderation,” and I eat a generally healthy diet so I think I’m doing fine. Someone who is more educated on this could chime in and that would be great, but I enjoyed utilizing the bars to get in some protein and calories after long workouts.
Now for the big question – how did it make me feel?? My long rides leave me feeling pretty tired, which is to be expected. I’ve been eating the bars after my longer bike rides, and although I feel tired, my legs don’t feel trashed. (Do long rides trash my legs? Still not sure on that one!) I did do a mid-distance ride on Thursday followed by a long ride on Friday, immediately followed by a Pure Protein bar. My legs were a bit tired and cranky for my long run on Saturday, but they quickly loosened up once I hit the road. Protein for the win?
Overall, if you’re looking for a something to help with your refueling needs, I recommend checking out the Pure Protein bar – the chocolate salted caramel was delicious, and the dense calories/protein definitely help if you have trouble getting down calories after a workout. I’m still working on my nutrition/fueling issues, and I like how these bars can help.
What do you refuel with after a long workout or race? Do you use protein bars/supplements?
I received a month’s worth of Pure Protein bars and compensation for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.