The draw: Electrolytes on the go
Nuun combines hydration (a powerful dose of electrolytes sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) with portability (10 fizzy tablets per tube equate to 10 sports drinks). The light, tangy flavor profile of the three flavors—lemon-lime, cherry limeade and wild berry—stays refreshing, even toward the end of a workout. Packed with caffeine, 3 grams of carbs and B vitamins, it will give you a race-morning boost and pump up your electrolyte intake during hot training days.
The draw: Fights flavor fatigue
A light taste and clean finish make it hard to ever tire of Skratch Labs’ electrolyte-rich sports drink. Made from all-natural ingredients and flavored with real fruit, this drink is mild on your stomach and still tastes refreshing well into a long ride. The flavor options range from the classic orange to the pleasing pineapple to the unique (and tasty!) matcha green tea with lemons (the company’s first caffeinated flavor). With just 80–90 calories and 20–22 grams of carbs per serving, it’s light on fuel as compared to other drinks, so you’ll want to pair it with extra calories for long workouts.
The draw: All-natural energy
Organic honey and tapioca syrup sweeten up this natural source of energy, which will fuel your workouts while tasting great (it’s hard to resist the urge to snack on these easy-to-chew gummies). Each pack delivers 160 calories plus 100 percent of your daily vitamin C. We love the smaller-than-average size of the chews (easier to eat on the go) and the range of flavors—tester favorites were the sweet-and-tangy pink lemonade and the naturally caffeinated lime-ade.
The draw: Tasty, well-rounded nutrition
This multitasking drink mix features both energy-boosting ingredients (coffee and glucose) and muscle-repairing nutrients (flaxseed and whey protein), making this mocha-like beverage appropriate both before and after exercise. Each serving contains 19 grams of carbs and 11 grams of protein plus omega-3 fatty acids. It’s delicious cold or hot, mixed with any kind of milk (especially almond milk) or blended into post-workout smoothies.
The draw: Clever carrying
While we enjoy both the taste and texture of these chews, available in orange and fruit punch flavors, it’s the convenient packaging that makes them great for training and racing. Each four-chew sleeve is perfect for compact carrying on the bike or run, and the design allows you to slip chews out without them touching your (sweaty, grimy) hands. Each 120-calorie pack provides electrolytes plus 31 grams of carbs.
The draw: Fuel on the move
Energy gels are ideal for easy-to-digest energy mid-workout or race, and GU is the originator of the concept. With 15 flavor options, ranging from salted watermelon to caramel macchiato, there’s always one to suit your mood, and the blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes in each 100-calorie packet will keep you fueled. Added antioxidants and amino acids protect muscles from tissue damage and delay muscle fatigue.
The draw: Recovery made easy
Bonk Breaker’s high-protein (ranging from 13 to 15 grams) bars are made with a short list of real-food ingredients, such as cashews, gluten-free oats and organic dark chocolate. You can taste the high-quality ingredients in these bars, which come in four unique flavors (testers favored the peanut butter and jelly, which is made with strawberry jam, and the cookies and cream). Thanks to a slightly crispy texture and great taste, these 245–270-calorie bars will actually sound appetizing after a workout.
The draw: Liquid recovery
Clif reformulated its protein drinks to provide 70 percent organic ingredients and a combination of three types of protein—milk, whey and casein—totaling 10 grams per serving. The drink, available in two palate-pleasing flavors, will meet your carbohydrate and protein needs immediately after a workout. The chocolate flavor is sweet and decadent, and the orange mango has a tropical twist—both are great blended into smoothies, mixed with water or blended with milk for a creamy creation.
The draw: Crunchy cookie, anyone?
If you didn’t know these wafers were an energy bar, you wouldn’t guess it from the taste—they’re packed with two kinds of carbs (29 grams per pack) and 170 calories. They taste remarkably similar to the classic sugar wafers, with an airy, crispy, multilayered texture and sweet (but not overly so) flavor. Available in chocolate peanut butter and berry yogurt flavors, this bar is a welcome reprieve from dense energy bars.