It's important to fuel yourself correctly before, during and after physical activity to avoid the dreaded bonk and for your body to recover quickly afterwards. There's a lot of tasty new treats out there to ensure you're fueled correctly for the challenge ahead.
The general rule of thumb is to eat and hydrate at least an hour before you head out the door, as well as carry snacks with you to consume on the go. How much you take depends on the intensity and duration of your ride or run. For example, if you're planning to run more than 10km, you may want to consider taking a gel or carrying a hydration vest with you. If your ride involves some big hills or you'll be out for a few hours, energy bars, gels and electrolytes should be packed in your pockets.
With so many new tasty products on the market, it's easier than ever to be prepared for longer activities and hopefully, stop the need to crawl into the corner shop and grab the nearest Mars Bar.
Here are the best new snacks available at Wiggle that we are loving for that burst of energy and recovery.
Eating before exercise
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that is highly true if you are heading out for a run or ride. Breakfast 1-2 hours before you set off means you'll have digested the good stuff and will have the energy to sustain your activities. We're loving the new High5 granola as it's got all the carbs you need, mixed with vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for exercise. Plus it works really well when used in no-bake energy bars too!
For those of you not so keen on granola, why not s̶l̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ spread some delicious peanut butter on your toast before you head out the door. We're not talking any old nut butter thought, Pip & Nut have added a few new flavours to their range. Our favourite so far has to be the maple and peanut - it's the perfect combination of sweet and savoury. Nut butter is full of good nutrients, energy and protein so is a great option to eat before you head on a ride or run. (and even better when you get home and can eat it straight from the jar!)
Fueling during exercise
When heading out on a long run or ride, you want food that you can consume quickly and easily on the go. To keep your energy levels up to avoid the bonk (especially when you're activity will be last for 2 hours or more) experts advise that you need to take in between 80-120g of carbohydrate per hour. Typical gels give you 20g of carbs per sachet, whereas the new SiS Beta Fuel gels provide 40g of carbs. This means that you can carry fewer gels with you! Plus for those who tend to suffer from GI issues, fewer gels can only be a good thing.
To quote OTE, the Super Gel is 'designed to provide a quick & big hit of energy when you need it most'. Similar to the SiS Beta Fuel above, these gels provide 40g of carbohydrates in the form of both maltodextrin and fructose in a single sachet so you'll get more energy in one go. The new berry flavour is also delicious and tastes like real fruit. For those who aren't so keen on the super sugary, artificial tasting gels, we think you'll like these. (Those of you who hate fruit flavours altogether and would rather have something much more neutral that still packs a punch in terms of carbs, check out Maurten.)
Gels aren't everyone's thing and one thing that caught our eye was the new flavour energy bars from OTE. The chocolate orange flapjack is everything you could want from a mid-ride snack. It doesn't crumble so is easy to take a bite of on the go, it's full of flavour and anyone that is nut-free or gluten-free will enjoy them too.
This new ultimate bundle pack from High5 has everything you could wish for as a runner or cyclist in their best flavour (IMO). Electrolyte energy drinks, energy bars and energy gels will keep you going throughout the day on casual activities right through to race day. A combination of these products will mean you are mixing up textures and getting different sources of nutrients from each!
As you already know, it's important to eat protein after you have finished exercising so that your body can start to recover, rebuild and get stronger. The new and improved recipe from SiS for their Protein20 bars are vegan and vegetarian friendly, making them suitable for those on a plant-based diet, or who can't stomach some regular proteins. Eat one of these delicious bars within 30 minutes of your activity to get the most from it. (And don't forget to stretch and help your muscles recover too!)