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The entire nutrition section of the 2014 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide.
The draw: Calorie-rich fuel
Much bigger than a typical bar, each Enduro Bites bar packs 400 calories into four separate pre-cut bites. Formulated by elite athletes for high-intensity training and racing, this fig-based bar is an efficient way of fueling on the go. The texture is soft and chewy, but not sticky, and the flavor is pleasingly mild. They’re all natural, free of dairy and gluten, contain 55 mg of sodium, and taste mostly of fig and chocolate. Also available in Dark Chocolate Espresso.
Osmo Active Hydration for Women
The draw: Designed for female athletes
Smarter folks than us claim (and have found through scientific research) that women’s physiology demands different nutritional supplementation from a sports drink. Osmo created this beverage to address the increased losses of sodium and plasma volume during menstruation. It’s got a mild, surprisingly realistic mango flavor, and packs a hefty 540 mg of sodium into a 24-ounce water bottle.
Nuun Active Hydration
$24 for pack of 4, Nuun.com
The draw: Sugar-free, thirst quenching dose of electrolytes
Nuun’s tabs designed to be thrown in a water bottle couldn’t be simpler. They’re full of electrolytes but light on flavor, which makes them great for gulping down during a hot workout. Toss a tube into your jersey pocket for a supply of sports drink (just add water) that will last all day. The refreshing lemonade flavor is free of sugar and includes a whopping 359 mg of sodium in a 16-ounce serving, as well as a substantial serving of vitamin C.
The draw: Tasty boost for short, hard efforts
Infinit allows customers to create custom blends of sports drink to match their specific physiology and goals. But for one of the brand’s latest stock efforts, Speed, it upped the simple sugars for rapid energy over shorter, faster distances. The powder mixes easily, tastes great (we tried the lemon lime flavor), and is easy on the stomach. It’s got 57 grams of carbs and 379 mg of sodium in a 24-ounce serving, enough to limit the need for solid fuel.
Sharkies Organic Energy Chews
$17.80 for box of 12, Sharkiesinc.com
The draw: Endurance-engineered sweets
Sweet tooths, this is the chew for you. They’re organic and free of corn syrup—and with 110 mg of sodium, they contain more than seven times the amount found in similar chews. They also have 36 grams of carbohydrates and the caffeine equivalent of a half-shot of espresso for an extra energy lift pre- or mid-workout.
Honey Stinger Protein Bar
$34.35 for box of 15, Honeystinger.com
The draw: A protein bar that’s seriously tasty
With nearly the protein content of two eggs (10 grams), Honey Stinger’s180-calorie protein bar is a great option for a post-workout recovery snack. It’s got a nougat-like center, is draped in dark chocolate and has a refreshing minty flavor, with chunks of almond providing added crunch.
Gatorade G Endurance Carb Energy Chews
$27 for box of 21, Gatorade.com/endurance
The draw: Hassle-free chews for the heat of a workout
In the middle of a run, it’s hard to beat these chews. With an easy-to-open package sleeve and 105 mg of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates and 120 calories, they’re just what you need to fuel working muscles. It helps that they taste delicious, and are soft and very easy to chew.
First Endurance Ultragen
The draw: Quick post-workout recovery
This might be endurance sports’ answer to the bodybuilder’s recovery drink. Ultragen packs 20 grams of protein into a 12-ounce serving, along with 60 grams of glucose for rapid absorption of carbohydrates after a workout. Taste is sometimes one of the downsides of recovery drinks, but this cappuccino flavor is reminiscent of a Starbucks Frappuccino and very drinkable.
Clif Shot Gel
$30 for box of 24, Clifshot.com
The draw: A boost of instant energy
For those who like gels, Clif Shot’s mocha flavor is hard to beat for tough workouts or races. Meant to be taken before or during a race, the shot, which is 90 percent organic, delivers 24 grams of carbs, 50 mg of caffeine (equivalent to one espresso shot), and 60 mg of sodium in 100 calories. It’s got a syrup-like consistency—and is nearly as sticky—and will please any chocolate lover’s palate.