While various sports performance bars are interchangeably termed protein, energy or sports bars, generally they serve two purposes:
As the name suggests these bars are full of muscle building protein. These bars are primarily used by the bodybuilding crowd as an alternative to a post-workout protein shake, and increasingly these bars are almost identical in their macro and micro nutrients. Protein bars, of course, are useful for any post-workout recovery, providing it was a heavy one. You don’t need a protein bar after a light swim or jog.
If protein bars are protein shakes in bar form, energy bars are the bar form of energy drinks. More so than protein bars, these are very specifically for high endurance athletes. Some protein bars could step in as a meal replacement here and there. Energy bars on the other hand are best left on the shelf unless you’re regularly hitting the roads, the bikes, the pool, or all three.
What to look for:
So, you’re an endurance athlete, or on your journey to becoming one? How do you take energy bars effectively to maximise your performance? Here’s our advice:
Ultimately, there are always natural, whole food options from which you can get needed energy boost before, during or after workouts. But, protein and energy bars can provide tasty and quality nutrients, providing you are putting the work in. If you start to chomp down on these as snacks, you’re probably going to find your tipping the calorie scales in the wrong direction.