You can try and head out for tough workouts without food, but you’re asking for trouble. What do you eat? You can go for a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and a glass of orange juice, but you’re probably going to be walking a lot with a full stomach. You can grab a quick small bowl of oatmeal, cereal or some other “healthy” and quick option. The problem with the smaller meal options is that you may not get all the nutrients you need to get you through mile 16 to 18. The last thing you want to do is bonk on a training run.
Personally, I have tried a wide array of options. More often I work on a small bowl of oatmeal or once slice of bread smeared with peanut butter. This have sufficed, but I often find myself disappointed and not satiated before heading out. I’ve also tried protein bars of many brands and come to loathe them because I cannot find a good compromise of consistency of the bar, taste and nutritional content. Generally, the better they taste, the less nutrition you can expect. Why does taste go down proportionally with good nutritional content?
I’ve been limping along with what I could find when I found PR Bar on twitter (@PrBars). You can also find them on Facebook HERE and their site, http://www.prbar.com/. I tweeted at them a few times and they offered up some bars to test out. Frankly, I knew nothing about them. I had seen them popping up here and there in advertising, but I thought they were just another protein bar in the sea of multisport nutrition.
- Taste! Nothing makes me want to eat food more than taste. Duh, right? With flavors like double chocolate and chocolate peanut, they taste right. Some bars advertise chocolate, but due to the nutritional balancing act, they are faint chocolate and some odd cardboard taste. PR Bars are all flavor. You actually taste the flavor they advertise! Imagine that.
- Choice. If chocolate is not your thing, you can try the apple pie or peanut butter berry. Don’t want the soft bar? That’s ok, they have granola choices as well. No matter what you fancy, they have something for you.
- Nutritional content. They are not just empty calories. Most bars deliver 15 grams of protein and 22 grams of carbs. You have the right balance of protein for energy and enough carbs to deliver them to your body.
- Satisfaction. After eating a bar, it’s real food and you feel satiated and hunger is at bay. I tried them out before X-Camp classes at Rev Gym at lunch since I have not access to make oatmeal or a peanut butter sandwich at work. They worked great for no mess, limiting hunger and no mess.
- Discrete. You don’t need utensils, paper towels or anything else to make or eat the bars. You can put them in your lunch bag for work and pop them out when you need them. Put some in your desk at work, some in your car, and some around the house at home. Stock up all your locations and just go.
- They are on top of marketing. They have Facebook, twitter, web site and a blog up and running. They keep each site updated and don’t slack off. Nothing is worse than an un-updated site or bland looking twitter page.
- They are verified to have no banned substances. Check out their qualifications HERE. You don’t have to worry about getting popped in doping testing after you win your Ironman race using PR Bars!
MAYBE NOT SO GOOD
- At around 200 calories per bar, they are not a snack item. I would not recommend having them around like snickers bars and munching on them whenever you have some hunger pains. You need to be balanced in your planning when you incorporate them into your diet. They are a great compliment to your nutrition if used correctly.
- They aren’t free. While they are not overly expensive at $24 for 12 bars, they do come at a price. They can replace breakfast (dump the starbucks run for a $4 latte) and bam, you come out saving money AND get something worth eating.
- The soft bars may get squashed depending on how you transport them. With any soft bars, they can get smashed in your lunch bag or in your desk when you cram your files into the food drawer. Don’t despair, you can try the harder granola bars instead.
- If you have food allergies, beware. From their allergins tab, “Contains soy and milk, and peanuts. Manufactured in a facility that also processes tree nuts and eggs.” This is on most bars nutrition tabs. For those with peanut allergies, these may not be an option.
- Education required. PR Bar is out there to help athletes with nutrition and they aim to educate as well as fuel you. “It was a tough sell in the early 90s, because we were telling people to cut back on their carbohydrate intake as well as add fat and protein.”
Overall PR Bars are a great option. It’s a great option for the AM workout to get something quality on board to get you through a long training session or race. It also provides a great recovery snack afterwards so you’re not dragging when you get done and you can actually function and not just go back to bed and miss the day. Thanks to PR Bar for opening my eyes to a great nutrition addition! I’m salivating just thinking about the chocolate peanut butter bar!
*Writer’s note, PR Bar supplied bars for free for taste testing for this review. In no way did they influence the outcome or advocate for a positive review.