This is the 1st in a 4-part Supplement Series where I will explore the often confusing world of sports supplements. This week, I will talk about commercial food supplements. Come back weeks 2-4 to learn how to evaluate ergogenic aids (pills & powders), explore 5 commonly used ergogenic aids, and finally be warned of 5 ergogenic aids to avoid at all costs. This is a series you don't want to miss!
Endurance and anaerobic athletes alike often wonder which supplements are "the best". Which ones will give them the speed, power, energy they want as quickly as possible? When it comes to commercial supplements, should they choose sports drinks, gu's, gels, or bars? Here I provide available products from each of 5 categories of what I call these Commercial Sport Food Supplements. Which work best for you comes down to your sport, taste preferences and GI tolerance, so start training with these now to determine your best bets. Note that there are MANY products out there, so this list is not all-inclusive, nor am I recommending you use a specific one - or any. To determine your best nutrition training plan, set up a consult with me today. Together we can discover which, when, and in what amount you should be using these in your training and competition.
Category 1: Sports Drinks
These are typically not necessary until training extends beyond one hour.
Products with sodium & other electrolytes (for those practicing for over 1 hour): Gatorade, Powerade, CytoMax, etc.
Products with extra sodium (for those prone to cramping or planning to exercise in hot, humid weather for over 2 hours): Gatorade Endurance, Powerbar Endurance, Clif Shot Electrolyte Drink, GU Brew Electrolyte, Powerbar Ironman Perform
All natural products (i.e. without dye or food coloring): Carb BOOM! Electrolyte Drink, First Endurance EFS, HEED, Clif Quench
Added protein (may reduce post-exercise muscle soreness, but may cause GI discomfort during exercise): Perpetuem, Accelerade, UCAN
Low-calorie sports drinks (for dieters): G2, Powerade Zero, Propel, Nuun
Real food alternative: Try 100% fruit juice diluted with water; add a pinch of salt = homemade sports drink!
Category 2: Gels
Always take gels with water to avoid GI discomfort. Experimenting with different brands and flavors is very important for this category!
General gels: Gu, Carb-BOOM!, Clif Shot, Honey Stinger
Extra sodium: Powerbar Gel, EFS Liquid Shot, Gu Roctane
Added caffeine: GU (most), Rocktane (most), Clif Shot Gel (some flavors), Powerbar Gel (some flavors), HoneyStinger (Ginsting & Strawberry)
Real food alternative: Try honey, which can be found in easy to carry straws.
Category 3: Sports Snacks
There are so many of these, but a few include Jelly Belly Sport Beans, Gu Chomps, Clif Shot Blocks, and Sharkies
Real food alternative: Try dried fruit such as raisins or gummi bears/Lifesavers
Category 4: Energy Bars
These are often used either during endurance exercise (such as long-distance cycling) or as snacks between meals. Note: these should NEVER replace a meal!
All natural (typically means they have no added vitamins/minerals; some are organic): Clif Mojo, Odwalla Bars, PowerBar Nut Naturals, KIND Bars, Zing Bars, Kashi Bars, and Raw Revolution Bars.
Dairy-free: Clif nectar, Pure, Gnu Bar, Fit, Perfect 10, Larabar, and AllerEnergy Bar
Gluten-Free: Larabar, Hammer Bar, Zing Bar, and Extend Bar Delight
Vegan: Larabar, Clif Builder's Bar, Pro Bar, Vega Whole Food Raw Energy Bar
Grocery Store Bars: Natural Valley Granola Bars, Fig Newtons
Real food alternatives: How about real fruit, such as bananas & apples, or PBJs!
Category 5: Recovery Drinks
These all contain carbohydrate plus some protein. A few include EAS Endurathon, PowerBar Recovery Drinks, Endurox R4, Gatorade Nutrition Shake, Clif Shot Recovery Drink, and Gatorade Series 3
Real food alternative: Good old low-fat chocolate milk!
Blog resource: Clark, Nancy. "Commercial Sport foods: A Source of Confusion?".