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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 10-15-01, 03:32 PM   #1
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Powerbars...Good or Bad?

I seem to have my worst rides when I have a Powerbar before riding. Evening rides after a day at work I seem to get side aches alot even though I wait at least a half hour before the ride. These are 3.6 mile fire road climbs with very few areas to catch a breather short of stopping. Yesterday morning I had a bowl of cereal followed by a Powerbar with water. Felt like poo right away. Usually just have a bowl of cereal and do just fine, thought I'd try something different to get a little more energy. It didn't work

Anybody have any suggestions or have similar experiences with Powerbars?
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Old 10-15-01, 04:32 PM   #2
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In my view powerbars are a total waste of money. I simply do not use them (and I often do rides exceeding 200km). A bowl of cereal is a good thing to start with and provide a solid energy base. If I feel as though I want more energy I'll reach for a banana.

During the ride I am totally convinced that bread rolls are a way to go. They are cheaper and have more carbos than the bars. Basically, I just wouldn't bother with them.
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Old 10-15-01, 05:18 PM   #3
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Powerbars work for me.

I eat them when I need energy, but can't afford a full meal - like when I am in competition.

Powerbars are the ones that work for me. The others are too fluffy.

Last edited by mike; 10-16-01 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 10-15-01, 08:31 PM   #4
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I use the powerbar Harvest bars...they taste better and go done easier. I also use the Powerbar Gels, they really fight off a bonking attack quickly.
Like Chris I try to start my morning rides with a good breakfast. My choice is two eggos with butter and maple syrup.
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Old 10-15-01, 08:34 PM   #5
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Gus and others have picked up on something that some of us may have overlooked. Overall diet is much more important than what you supplement it during the ride. Basically, if you don't eat enough at the start, you won't get very far.
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Old 10-15-01, 10:03 PM   #6
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Aside from being the most disgusting food ever made,and I'm talking worse than an MRE, they are to hard to digest. If you are looking for quick energy Powergel is the best. If you need a little more, Gatorade bars work excellent.
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Old 10-16-01, 01:51 AM   #7
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Hey,
Try a Promax bar they actually TASTE GOOD, especially the various chocolate flavors and they seem to digest easily. When you eat before a ride it's best to eat at least one hour before you go and to drink some extra water to help the food digest so your body won't pull in water from your muscles to help your stomach work.
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Old 10-16-01, 06:06 AM   #8
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I once posted a recipe for powerbars, which tasted OK, and cost a lot less than the store-bought kind. Still, you only get about 200 calories from a powerbar, and since they are mostly carbohydrates, they won't give you a "rush" of power, anyway. If you carry one, eat it at about the 1/2 way mark, so that your stomach will have some time to digest it first, and it will help when you would've needed it.
Don't forget also that you need to replenish yourself after a ride, too. You need carbs and protein after a long ride, or else your body will scavenge muscle tissue. I find that a nice short frappacino from starbucks is good after-ride protein.
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Old 10-16-01, 06:22 AM   #9
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I like to eat Fig Newtons during a ride. They taste good, are easy to carry and eat and are full of carbs.

I need to be in the mood for Power Bars. I like them but just not all the time.
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Old 10-16-01, 08:35 PM   #10
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Personally, I don't have a problem with Powerbars, but they are known to cause gastric distress in a number of people, partly because they are made with dairy protein. If you want to go the energy bar route, I would recommend Boulder Bars. They are made with soy protein and fit my somewhat finicky requirements for an energy bar: mild, pleasant taste, not very sweet and reasonably chewy to give a higher level of satisfaction. They also don't freeze or melt. You can get them at www.prolithic.com. This website seems to have good prices on a variety of different energy bars and drinks.

You don't say how long you typically ride, but if you're riding less than two hours I would suggest that you don't need anything else at all. Your glycogen stores should be able to keep you going. Plus, keep in mind that your body can only metabolize 150 to 200 calories an hour (that's what I've been told by other riders), so if you're eating a substantial bowl of cereal with milk, you've got pretty close to an hour of metabolizing going on as it is. Add a banana and that should be more than enough to stop you from bonking. However, if you're feeling a lack of energy when you ride, you might consider having some carbs before you go to bed. I don't usually do that, but when I do I usually have a more energetic ride in the morning.
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Old 10-16-01, 09:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stew
Personally, I don't have a problem with Powerbars, but they are known to cause gastric distress in a number of people...
I thought I'd leave that part out of my original post, but now that you mention it... :blush:

Cool website. Lots of selection. How's there customer service?

My ride times vary from 1 to 4 hours. I eat pasta quite a bit, but I think I'm gonna try to make a point of it the night before my rides to see what kind of results I get.

Thanks for the info Stew
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Old 10-16-01, 09:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by *WildHare*
I seem to have my worst rides when I have a Powerbar before riding.
Experiment.

It could be your diet during the work day that is insufficient. It might be sugar sensitivity. It's hard to say, but try eating protein after each ride combined with carbs. Don't load up on sugars during the day. Eat your veggies and take your vitamins and minerals.

Powerbars may not be for you (I don't use them, I can't afford them: I use orange juice, peanut butter sandwiches, apples, etc.)

Do what works for you!
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Old 10-17-01, 06:10 AM   #13
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The only real advantage of a bar is that it's easy to pullout of a pocket, tear open the wrapper and eat while riding. They're convenient in a paceline, but you'd be better off having an apple and a piece of cheese [apple=carbo+fibre for slow absorbtion, cheese=protein for muscle recovery] or a couple of handsful of trail mix [protein, plus a bunch of carbs that hit your system at different times -- think tiny time pills] before your ride.

I like bars because they're easy to carry and easy to eat. On longer rides, I'll also usually take a baggie with a half-dozen fig newtons. The newtons are GREAT for quick hits of carb [11g] while riding.
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Old 10-17-01, 12:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by *WildHare*


I thought I'd leave that part out of my original post, but now that you mention it... :blush:

Cool website. Lots of selection. How's there customer service?

My ride times vary from 1 to 4 hours. I eat pasta quite a bit, but I think I'm gonna try to make a point of it the night before my rides to see what kind of results I get.

Thanks for the info Stew
I can't really comment on Prolithic's customer service. I've ordered from them three or four times without incident. The only problem I've had is that a handblender I ordered was backordered. I sent them an e-mail asking for an idea of when it would be available and they haven't responded. Not a big deal.

Good luck with the pasta.
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Old 11-29-01, 12:02 PM   #15
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The only real advantage of a bar is that it's easy to pullout of a pocket, tear open the wrapper and eat while riding.
I think there's one more advantage - bad taste. I keep one in my saddle pack for emergencies and I am never tempted to eat it unless it IS and emergency.
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Old 11-29-01, 12:17 PM   #16
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I like Clif Bars better than Power Bars. They taste better and seem to agree with my digestive tract a little better. You have to make sure that you are also taking in fluids when you are using these bars. I tend to not use them before riding but only as a supplement during rides. I usually try to plan a good meal of some sort a couple of hours before I go for a good ride and then bring a bar in case I get hungry or in order to supplement. I have tried carrying bananas but they get to mushy for my liking and apples are just to bulky to carry in my jersey.



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Old 11-29-01, 01:00 PM   #17
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Originally posted by Captain Crunch
I like Clif Bars better than Power Bars. They taste better and seem to agree with my digestive tract a little better.
Really? I like Powerbars better because I don't have to go poop for at least four days after eating them. Less time on the throne, more time in the saddle.
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Old 11-29-01, 01:37 PM   #18
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But just think of the extra weight you are carrying up those hills if you don't poop for 4 days.

See you at the top.

Clif Bar
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Old 11-29-01, 05:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
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But just think of the extra weight you are carrying up those hills if you don't poop for 4 days.

Well, that explains the sluggish feeling - it's the extra weight!
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Old 11-29-01, 09:44 PM   #20
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Try some other brands, or more generic ride food. For me, bananas are darn near ideal. I also like Fig Newtons, and Nutrigrain bars. I generally don't start eating the fortified stuff (Power/Clif/Gu/whatever) until after 2 or 3 hours, at which point I do notice a difference from the magic ingredients.
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Old 11-30-01, 05:15 PM   #21
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Heres a tip that works for me. Cut the bars up into bite size chunks before the race or ride then put them in a small freezer bag which can be easily stowed in your back pocket. It saves trying to rip open a reinforced packet with your teeth and in winter is practically impossible with padded gloves.
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Old 11-30-01, 08:28 PM   #22
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Here is a tip to build on to Weasel's suggestion:

After you cut the Power Bar into small squares, stick a toothpick into each one and then put them into the kidney pockets of your jersey.

They are convenient to grab and the toothpicks give you something to fiddle with after you've eaten the PowerBar.

Don't crash.
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Old 11-30-01, 08:31 PM   #23
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I can just see myself wiping out in the corners with toothpicks sticking out all over me. Someone driving by will just mistake me for a road kill porcupine.

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Old 12-01-01, 12:40 AM   #24
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I have pancakes about an hour before the ride
then two hours in to the ride I'll eat a fig netwon
then around midway I'll stop and have a hero.
that will hold me until I get home and then I'm ready
for a plate of pasta ...
hmmm love being thin... eat what i want when i want..
jump on my bike a burn it off in and hour...
I eat to ride and ride to eat..
I wonder why cant gain weigth i've been 165 for ten years.
you know i still look 35..
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Old 12-01-01, 01:37 AM   #25
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I wonder why cant gain weigth i've been 165 for ten years.
you know i still look 35..
Hey, ahuman, I thought you were 24...
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