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review: pure protein bars

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

Our goal is to provide you with convenient and delicious protein products, giving you the strength to achieve your goals!

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.

image

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!)

The winner.

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.

image Protein, ahoy!

Because I think it is important to mention, this is the ingredient list for the Chocolate Salted Caramel bar:

image 
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?

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I received a month’s worth of Pure Protein bars and compensation for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

17

08 2014

thoughts on the swim and bike

One of the things I like about running is how easily I can zone out and just run.  I don’t know if it’s a product of my many years of running or the fact that running really is just putting one foot in front of the other over and over again, but I can often run for miles and not quite realize how much time has passed.  It’s a beautiful thing.  This triathlon training thing, on the other hand, requires sports that demand my attention much more.  In swimming, there’s a constant need to turn around (hello, 20 yard pool).  In biking (or “cycling,” as the legit people like to call it), I’m hyperaware because I’m terrified of getting hit by a car or person or dog.  If you haven’t yet read the “75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out for a Run,” you probably should.  In the meantime, here are some thoughts I’ve had while swimming and biking.

thoughts on the swim

image This is the picture of the pool on Equinox’s website.  This is not even close to what it looks like.  Three lanes in the basement, ha.

  • Oh, there’s a swim class going on…probably should have checked the class schedule before showing up at the gym.
  • Only five more minutes in the class?  Perfect!  I’ll take my (required) pre-swim shower and be all set to go.
  • (Sitting dripping wet after shower, on a cloth chair [the only kind available, this is Equinox, you know]) – Why didn’t I wait to shower until the class was over?
  • Okay, class is over.  Hopefully I can put on my swim cap on the first attempt…
  • Which lane should I get in?  A girl who was in the “slow” lane (that’s how the gym marks the lanes…slow, medium, and fast, I’m not being mean!) moved over to the medium.  That guy looks faster than me and he’s about to get in too…guess I’ll get in the slow lane.
  • Counting laps…1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8……………….wait, was that 8?  Or 6?  Did I finish eight laps, or did I think lap eight was coming up?  Alright, I guess we’re swimming for time today…
  • Let’s try to breathe on the right side today.  (Body sinks and I don’t get a good breath of air) – Alright, hopefully just being able to breathe on the left side will be good enough.
  • I feel great!  Maybe I’ll swim for 40 minutes today – solid long swim day!
  • …maybe I should have eaten a bigger breakfast.  I’m hungry.
  • The guy in the next lane has decided to work on his butterfly.  At least these waves simulation open water?  Or race day?
  • Do people do butterfly anymore?
  • Ugh, I’m tried – okay, maybe we’ll do 30 minutes.
  • How long does it take to swim a mile?  Maybe 32 minutes?  Let’s swim 34 minutes just in case.
  • Alright, that guy looks like he’s going to join my lane.  No worries.
  • Wait…why is that guy swimming breaststroke in the middle of the lane??
  • Please don’t kick me please don’t kick me please don’t kick me.
  • 20 minutes down.  Over halfway there, no worries.
  • I need a wetsuit for race day.  Do you practice in that beforehand?  Should I wear it in a pool?  What if I can’t swim in the wetsuit?
  • He’s still swimming in the middle of the lane.  And I just stopped behind him.  This is annoying.
  • 25 minutes down.  26 minutes down.  27 minutes down.  Is time slowing down? 
  • Just keep swimming just keep swimming just keep swimming.
  • Okay, guy swimming in fast lane left.  Time to get away from middle-of-the-lane-breaststroke dude.
  • 30 minutes – home stretch!
  • Watch your form, Susan – don’t get tired now.
  • 31 minutes…32 minutes…33 minutes…
  • DONE!
  • This goggle-smashed-into-my-face look really isn’t all that attractive…

thoughts on the bike

image What I look like on the bike! Just kidding, it’s the female winner of the NYC Tri. aka not me!

  • i hope i don’t get a flat i hope i don’t get a flat i hope i don’t get a flat.
  • Alright, helmet on, Garmin on bike mode, cadence sensor still doesn’t work.  Let’s go.
  • Right foot clipped in, no traffic coming, to the west side we go!
  • First stoplight half a block from my apartment.  Unclip.
  • Green light!  Clip back in.  Should I go over to 5th Ave?  Let’s try going down Park instead.
  • Traffic is moving well.  Stick to the right…WHAT IS THAT CAR DOING??
  • Let’s cut over on 77th St.  Sounds good.
  • Bump bump bump bump bump bump…these roads are the worst.
  • Into Central Park, excellent.  Time to get across the transverse without getting hit by oncoming bikers or horse carriages.
  • Up the hill to the west side! 
  • More stoplights.  No worries.
  • Down the hill to the Hudson River Path.
  • Please keep the dog on your side of the path please keep the dog on your side of the path please keep the dog on your side of the path.
  • Alright, straight ahead for awhile, let’s ride.
  • Ugh, Citibikers.
  • WEAR A HELMET.
  • It’s such a nice day to ride!  I could do this forever.
  • Bump bump bump bump.
  • ON YOUR LEFT!!!  Okay, apparently my voice isn’t loud.
  • Oh, they’re biking and wearing headphones and not wearing a helmet.  Stop that.
  • Pedestrian stopped in the middle of the path.  Whyyyyyy?
  • Alright, getting way uptown!  This park is so nice.
  • I hope that toddler doesn’t run across the path…
  • Wow, those guys are cycling fast. Nice calves!
  • I really should come up this way more often.
  • Why are people walking four across in the bike lane??
  • Ahhhhhh, the GW!  You’re so pretty.
  • Time to head back south.
  • It’d be so much easier to ride here if I lived on the west side.  Hmmmm….
  • Bump bump bump bump.
  • Okay, it’s more windy going south.  No worries.
  • Is that women really riding in heels??
  • No, really, why don’t people wear helmets?
  • Gotta get up that hill.
  • Oh…someone is walking their dog down the path and a motorized scooter is going  up the path…maybe I’ll just walk my bike.
  • I hope the bike course for the tri isn’t hilly…
  • Alright, back crosstown.  Clip out, clip in.
  • I’m rocking this clip in shoes…why didn’t I get them sooner?
  • That probably means I’m going to fall soon.
  • Alright, back through the park!
  • Bump bump bump bump.
  • Ah, the First Ave bike lane, hooray!
  • These delivery guys are so quick.
  • Construction in the bike lane…fail.
  • Stoplight stoplight stoplight.
  • PERSON IN THE BIKE LANE.
  • Ah, home stretch.
  • That wasn’t so bad.

 

So many thoughts, it makes miss my blackout zone in running.  However, I definitely need to pay attention more while swimming and biking because I’m not in tune with myself yet.  I’m not sure when that will happen or if it will happen, but at least I keep myself entertained in the meantime.

What are your random thoughts on the swim/bike/run?  Anything similar going on in your head?

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13

08 2014