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Osmo Active Hydration
$20 for 15oz tub, osmonutrition.com
Osmo was one of the first brands to bring women-specific fueling products to the sports nutrition market and this Active Hydration mix, optimized for women, is a top-notch electrolyte drink that’s easy to get down before, during, and after workouts. Available in two flavors—mango plus lemon and lime—it’s remarkably palatable and has zero after taste or nastiness that’s common in many sports drinks. Hormonal fluctuations can lead to drops in plasma, sodium, and glucose, depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle, and this can reduce available body water. This drink mix is specifically formulated to help women improve endurance, increase power output, and avoid premenstrual decline. It’s recommended to mix 2.5 scoops of power with every 20 ounces of water while working out (or 3 scoops per 24 ounces of water), which we found to be easy to do. This product really came into its own, though, when you’re looking for an easy way to keep hydrated and keep electrolytes up throughout the day outside of your workouts (especially after an intense workout when you’re looking to rehydrate). Hit a hard lunchtime workout? Drop a scoop of powder into a bottle of water and sip on it at your desk as you work through the afternoon—it’s light and easy to drink and helps ensure you’re topping off electrolytes ready for your next workout.
$36 for 12-bar box, reddbar.com
Granted, the name of these bars is a little odd (it feels like maybe the marketing/product team didn’t quite finish their brainstorming session?!), but, that aside, these bars tick all the boxes when it comes to taste, nutrients, and fueling. For those interested, R.E.D.D stands for Radiant Energy Deliciously Delivered, which might give you a little insight into what they’re all about: they’re designed to be more than “just” your average energy bar, complete with prebiotics, probiotics, adaptogens, plant-based protein, and more. Coming in at around 200 calories per bar, they pack in 26g of carbs, 10g of protein (from pea protein, hemp protein, and pumpkin seed protein), and 9g of fat. In our testing, we found them to be much better suited to post-workout than pre-workout (they can tend to sit a tad heavy in the stomach pre-workout), but they’re ideal for a grab-and-go snack after a swim or gym workout. The addition of adaptogens is an interesting one, as we start to see an increasing amount of herbs/plant extracts such as maca root and cordyceps working their way into the endurance fueling space. Stay tuned for an upcoming Ask Stacy column on this exact topic.
Kodiak Cakes Protein Oats
$5.50 for 1lb canister, kodiakcakes.com
Is it too bold of a statement to say that oatmeal for breakfast is the choice of champions? Especially in the winter time, it feels as though oatmeal is the simple, steadfast choice when you’re looking to refuel from a hard early morning workout. Kodiak Cakes took its oats to the next level by adding in protein powder (pea protein concentrate plus whey protein crisps) so you can rustle up your oatmeal safe in the knowledge you’re also getting a solid hit of protein at the same time, which is especially important when you’re looking to refuel well and recover. You can mix the oats with water or milk, although we found making it with milk delivered a far more creamy, tasty, and satisfying bowl of oatmeal. Add in a dollop of yoghurt, peanut butter, and/or some slices of banana and you’ve got a world-class breakfast right there. Made using a half-cup of oats and ¾ cup of milk, these oats will deliver around 200 calories per serving with approximately 18g of protein and 30g of carbs. Of course, they can also be used in a variety of other recipes and Kodiak Cakes has no shortage of them on its website.