The global sports nutrition market is on fire, worth more than $12 billion and expected to grow to over $24 billion by 2025. What does that mean for triathletes? If you already thought there were too many options—from bars to powders to chews to gels and more—you’d better prepare for tons more. But fear not! We’re here to prevent you from succumbing to decision fatigue or analysis paralysis. A lot of the new stuff lands on our desks, and we’re committed to testing it all rigorously. We’ll take it out on rides and runs, and use it before and after swim and gym workouts, to give you the DL—from our guts to yours. Do these products do what they claim to? Are they worthy triathlete fuel? Let’s find out.
UCAN Anytime Energy Bar
$33 for box of 12, Amazon.com
Available in four different flavors—chocolate, coffee, chocolate peanut butter, and cinnamon—UCAN’s Anytime Energy Bar ticks the box as a pre- or post-workout snack. With 180 calories per bar, including 22g of carbohydrate and 6g of protein, it definitely packs a good nutritional punch. The lead ingredient is UCAN’s patented SuperStarch, a slow-release complex carbohydrate designed to deliver steady, long-lasting energy throughout your workout and beyond. The bars certainly do live up to this claim and kept us feeling satiated for some time. They are a little light on protein to be totally relied on as a post-workout snack, so bear that in mind, especially after higher intensity sessions when you want to fully refuel.
$8 for 2 oz bag, Rei.com
Biltong? What the heck is that? Think jerky—but way better. It’s a centuries old South African style of naturally air drying meat that creates a cross between dry-aged beef, jerky, and prosciutto. The Kalahari Biltong company was born when three friends traveled to South Africa to race an Ironman and an ultra marathon within the space of six days. They quickly realized how ideally suited this high-protein meat is to the needs of the endurance athlete. A one ounce serving provides a whopping 16g of protein (and 80 calories), and these handy snack packs are easy to throw into a workout bag. It tastes surprisingly good—and we’re already hooked on it, especially as a post-gym or -swim workout pick-me-up. Available in three flavors: original, spicy peri peri, and garlic.
$28 for box of 12, Amazon.com
The ONE Bar brand is a relative rookie in the endurance world, but it’s looking to change that in 2020. It has a couple of options in its product range that are of particular interest to triathletes: the ONE Bar and the ONE Plant Bar. The former is more of a post-workout option with its 20g of protein and 24g of carbohydrate per bar, while the latter is obviously a good choice for those seeking plant-based protein (12g of protein per bar and 21g carbohydrate). The ONE Plant Bars are available in chocolate peanut butter or banana nut bread flavors; the ONE Bars come in 20+ different flavors, including some season- al options such as pumpkin pie and iced gingerbread. Although tasty, they are definitely more palatable post-workout than they are during.