Sport bars can be effective energy boosters – but they are not magic. Without a doubt they are an expensive source of calories, but they are convenient and take no time to prepare!
Sport bars are basically an easy to digest snack food – they are rich in carbohydrates but generally low in protein, fiber, and many other nutrients found in a well balanced diet. Most sport bars contain between 100-300 Calories, with most of the Calories coming from carbohydrates. Some bars have little fat to speak of (Energy Bar) while others are high in fat (Balance Bar) with claims of performance enhancing properties. A sports bar is not a complete meal so avoid using it as a meal replacement, regardless of what it says on the packaging.
What to look for
predominantly carbohydrate (>55% kcal)
low in fat (< 30% of kcal)
low to moderate in protein (15-20% of kcal)
What you eat pre and during exercise can greatly influence the quality of your training session. So if you are looking for an easy to carry, easy to consume pre-workout snack (for those early morning workouts or pre-supper training sessions) a sport bar could be a convenient fast fueler. Thy can also be used during training, during those long slow runs or during a tough training session. Experiment with them during training to determine which brand works best for you – and be sure to drink lots of water along with them!
Make your own
There are standard foods that can fit the “sport bar” criteria – bagels, bananas, dried fruit, fig newtons, etc – that can all give you the same energizing benefits!