The Power Bar natural energy cereal is one of the samples I had through being a Power Bar product tester.
I have been really impressed with the products I have tasted and this is no exception!
During my 3 hour training ride I used this as an energy snack. The session was mid to high intensity and I found I had to slow down to eat this bar. However the taste was brilliant a mixture of wholegrain oats, fruit pieces, pumpkin seeds and peanuts. It was the right balance of flavours and the mix sweet and savoury.
The texture was like a normal cereal bar and it was easy to chew when riding at a steady pace.
I found later during my ride that my energy levels had been maintained and I did not get a sugar rush or a low which was great. On long rides you want your fuelling to maintain your energy levels for the duration of your workout without major changes in your energy levels.
||per bar (40 g)
|Energy kJ (kcal)
|of which saturates
|of which sugars
I would recommend this bar for a pre-training snack and on long steady training rides its great to have as a crunchy snack.
This week a new session was added to my training plan Mark my coach added a ‘no hanging around’ ride a 3 hour fast ride, his comments said ‘no hanging around ride’ which I found this amusing I wasn’t aware that I did much hanging around on training rides!
Thursday was the day for my ‘no hanging around’ training, it was also the day I decided commuting to work on my bike would be fun!
It was a damp but warm morning as I peddled from my house towards work. I had not fully appreciated the amount of climbing in this 31km ride so trying to take it easy wasn’t always possible, by the time I got to work I was slightly pinker than I would have liked! I felt great for arriving under my own steam.
I ate all the normal things that day and felt fine. At 5:15 I got back on my bike for my ‘no hanging around’ training ride. The first hour I did as instructed I pushed hard letting my body recover on the flat, averaging around 25kph which is good for a mountain bike on the road.
I had a torq energy gel at 45 mins in which gave me a super charge of energy, I felt like someone had added an extra fuel cell to my battery. Sadly this feeling was short lived and by 1 hour 30mins in I had a bout of ‘shaky leg syndrome’ so I stuffed in some salted peanuts for good measure knowing this would be slower to take effect I waited 10 more minutes and had another gel I had another zing of energy (slightly shorter this time) and then another lull by wonder peanuts didn’t seem to be kicking in at all and I was starting to realise it was too little too late.
I finished my training early deciding to listen to my body instead of be frustrated by my lack of pace for the rest of the session. I still managed 60km in 2 hours 37 minutes which is good going and my fastest 60km to date showing that with the correct furling I could achieve more.
The moral to this story is that of you are only as good as the fuel you put in and the timing of that fuel is crucial. You are not eating for ‘now’ but 30 mins later so start eating earlier on to stop getting to the point of no return. Also to look at your daily energy expenditure if you add in a commute or some other activity you need to eat to recover from that and replenish ready for training.
Nutrition seems to be one of my weaknesses so I have taken on a dietician. A girl that I used to work with who comes highly recommended called Rachel Hobbs she is now setting up my diet plan to get me on track for the Trans Alp.
More on my new diet soon!
Thanks for reading x
I came across this recipe whilst looking for a healthier blueberry muffin mix. I love blueberry muffins but usually they’re full of sugar and white flour so I wanted to try something a little different. I changed the recipe adding dried apricots instead of 1 cup of brown sugar I used half and added dried apricots to increase the natural sweetness. I also changed the white flour for brown flour and a cup of oats.
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup of oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat Greek yoghurt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup of honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup of dried apricots
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C
- Line a tray with 12 muffin cases
- In a large bowl mix your dry ingredients
- In another bowl mix your wet ingredients
- Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry
- Add the blueberries
- Divide the mixture into the cases
- Bake for 18 minutes, remove from the oven and check your muffins by putting a knife through the middle if it comes out clean its done
These muffins are really tasty and will last about three days in a sealed container. As they have yoghurt in them best kept in the fridge. They will freeze too!
Pre race day is a day off rest and the odd spot of baking, but baking often involves high sugar contents and as scrummy as the end product may be nutritionally its not doing me any favours!
So ive gone for a healthier rockie road treat which is indulgent, tasty and slightly more healthier than the normal sugar fuelled version and comes with the added bonus of being ready a lot quicker than anything you have to stick in the oven!
All you will need is:
250g dark chocolate (buy the good stuff 80/90% cocoa it will taste a lot better)
50g flaked almonds
50g dried fruit (I used cranberries, sultanas and raisins)
1) Melt the chocolate in a glass dish on the stove
2) Add your almonds and fruit to a large mixing bowl (you could also add other nuts and chopped apricots)
3) Pour the melted chocolate over the nut/berry mix and stir together
4) Stir well!
5) Now to get a little messy use your clean hands to roll up little balls of mixture and place on a tray/plate. (optional licking of the bowl)
6) Stick it in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours, best kept in the fridge too!
Enjoy these as a snack after a training ride.
This week my mission is to cover 100 miles so far in the last two days I have covered 55miles so well on my way to achieving my goal as its only Wednesday!
Yesterday I decided to go on a hilly 25 mile ride. The weather was hot so I used an electrolyte drink and a Protein, Nuts & Seeds bar from USN. Butser Hill is the highest point in the South Downs National Park and one of my favourite climbs, mainly for the view from the top!
I have only recently got back on my road bike and this was the first time, in a long time that I had climbed Butser Hill. When I reached the top I ate half of my USN energy bar whilst taking in the view. The first thing I noticed about this bar is even with 14g of protein it has no ‘protein bar’ taste to it. The nuts and seeds are covered in delicious honey making this a sweet nutritious treat. I really like the inclusion of pumpkin seeds which balance the sweetness.
After eating half I carried on my journey downhill and started to make my way back home. When I got home I ate the other half which was the perfect snack to keep my reaching for anything unhealthy while I cooked dinner.
The benefits of this as a snack on a longer ride is it felt substantial where a gel is a quick energy fix it does not leave you feeling nourished like the USN bar did.
At 65grams it’s a large bar which can be eaten in stages making it a handy thing to carry.
For long training rides and sportives I would highly recommend this bar and will be looking to use them as part of my nutrition plan during Ride London in August.
Check out my other USN reviews here.
As a cyclist I do a lot of my training on my bike out on the roads and trails taking my bike on the back of my car to the forest.
After a hard session out on the trails or road, I know that it’s key to refuel quickly with good quality protein and carbohydrate. Often I have around a 30 minute journey home and like to eat something on the way as the first 20 minutes after exercise are the most key to recovery.
This is where a pre mixed shake like the USN protein fuel is really handy! The no fuss ease of pre mixed shakes is great.
I have used protein powder and mixed it before a ride, but when you are leaving it mixed in a car for an hour or two it just isn’t the same when you arrive back! Especially in hot weather this is not an ideal combination.
I have before mentioned using protein bars these are good but tend to be hard to digest and very chewy!
The USN pre mixed protein fuel has 27 grams of protein and no fat making it a great choice for me after a training session when I can’t mix powdered protein in a shaker.
I have tried a couple of makes of protein shakes and find some rather bloating a bit like the bars they hit your stomach and fill you up quickly. This then means you don’t fancy eating a healthy meal which is key to sustaining high levels of training and competition.
The USN shake has a velvety smooth texture and glides down like milkshake. The strawberry taste is actually quite refreshing and doesn’t have that whey protein taste or smell which can be off putting!
Check out my other reviews here.
Protein supplements Powder and Bars.
Training sometimes feels like the easy part, it’s simple you have a programme you put the effort in, you get the results out (sort of). The difficulty comes in finding good nutritious, quick food to eat around my training.
I have tried many products during training. When I first started I headed off to Holland and Barrett and got a couple of protein bars and energy gels to try whilst I was training to see what brands were good.
I found the protein bars I had brought all had a tough texture a bit like chewing on a cows butt! They left me bloated and not wanting to eat a meal which meant my nutrition was suffering because I couldn’t get enough nutritious calories in.
I tried protein shakes and found these to be a lot easier and used one from Holland and Barrett after my first race as during training it had been fine, however after racing it did not agree with me and left me again with the awful bloated feeling.
The search for good protein!
I did some research online and spoke to friends who recommend Science In Sport REGO I tried it with milk and also with water and found it had a smooth consistency was easy to drink, tasted good and seemed to help with my recovery as I could train each day and felt like I was getting stronger.
Protein shakes are great for after training and races as long as you can keep the powder and water/milk separate and mix just before you want to drink it. Sometimes this is not easy when it’s hot leaving water or milk in the car is not always a good idea and a warm protein shake is not present! This is where a protein bar comes in handy. My experiments with Holland and Barrett ones where no good and if had given up on the idea of finding a good one until I got a sample from Zip Vit, the chocolate orange protein bar was totally different to anything I had tried before it tasted or chocolate orange and not protein which was a great start and the consistency was less chewy and didn’t leave me feeling bloated.
Over all I think both bars and shakes have their place in the diet of an athlete. Bars are quick and easy but personally I prefer protein shake and to eat something wholesome too.
Healthy Snacks, Banana and Almond Slice.
We all love a little bit of sweetness in our lives. Having a sweet tooth makes it rather tempting to dig into something chocolaty or a slab of cake before going on a training ride, but these sweet treats don’t sustain you for very long, as they are full of sugar which give you a quick boost but leave you wanting more very quickly.
What you really need are foods that have a low Glycemic Index (GI), these are foods which release carbohydrate more slowly over time in order to sustain the training you are doing for longer. So to combine something sweet with something that will sustain training I’ve started making banana and almond cakes, these are full of slow releasing energy and a sweet treat at the same time. Bonus!
What you will need:
3 large bananas, mashed
Sliced almonds, a hand full
200g (7 oz) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
150g (5 oz) caster sugar
75g (2 1/2 oz) butter, melted
A cap full of vanilla essence
How to make:
Preheat your oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4, then grease a tin, any tin will do as long as its about an inch deep. You could also make this into a muffin mix by using a muffin tray. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a mixing bowl and add in your sliced almonds.
Using a blended mix together the bananas, vanilla essence, sugar, egg and melted butter, once its turned into a yellow goo pour in stirring as you add the dry ingredients once its all mixed together add to your baking tray and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. You will know its cooked when you can lightly tap it and it bounces.
Leave to cool and then cut into slices, grab your bike/trainers and your delicious treat and your good to go.
I hope you enjoy my healthy snack, if you have any alternatives please share.