Eating a balanced diet and drinking lots of water is part of basic nutrition and very important when you exercise or play sports. But what about when you need to go the extra mile, literally? That's where sports nutrition comes into play. To help athletes perform at their peak regardless of the task at hand, energy products have been formulated to aid the body through the hardest times by supplying it with extra protein and carbohydrates to keep you going strong.
Not everyone needs energy snacks and drinks. Serious athletes who spend more than 90 minutes exercising at a time can benefit from a snack or drink that is easy to eat, digest, and carry. They help replenish lost fluids and energy. If you are only doing short workouts, energy products are not entirely necessary. Drinking water at regular intervals during your workout and eating well after a workout will be sufficient. Plus, what you have in your kitchen, such as a banana, smoothie, peanut butter sandwich, and water, costs much less than energy products.
Here are the major types of products available and some quick picks for some of the best in each category compiled thanks to the reviews at About.com, BodyBuilding.com, DirtWorld.com, and SixPackNow.
Energy gels are squeezable packets of energy that are easy to stick in a pocket for a long run or bike ride. They contain complex and simple carbs to raise your blood sugar, give you a boost of energy, and even electrolytes to help keep you hydrated.
* Clif Shot: Contains caffeine, but no malodextrins or high fructose corn syrup.
* Powergel: Caffeine, kola nut, and ginseng help give this gel a jolt.