Review: PowerBar Powergel Shots and Energize Wafers
The guys at ProBikeKit recently got in touch to see if I’d like to try out some of their wide range of sports nutrition products; a mighty fine idea as I get through a hell of a lot of food so that kind of thing is always welcome!
Since getting more into the athletic side of cycling I’ve tried out an awful lot of energy bars, gels and drinks because I know firsthand how not refuelling properly can really mess up your ride, in fact I now try to keep ’emergency’ gels in my saddle bag in case the dreaded ‘bonk’ occurs and my energy levels crash when I’m miles from home.
I do like making my own energy and protein bars (I’ve been trying out lots of recipes which I’ll share with you once I’m happy with them) because homemade products tend to have a shorter, more recognisable list of ingredients, but I also like to have a stash of shop-bought products for convenience because sometimes I just can’t be bothered with the faff. And some of the shop bought products taste so good that I find them hard to resist.
I chose to give a couple of relatively new PowerBar products a go, the Energize Wafers and Powergel Shots. For a comprehensive overview of what other products ProBikeKit have on offer, click here.
First up, the gels. I have a problem with most liquid gels apart from Science In Sport’s Isotonic Gels and Clif Bar’s Clif Blocs quite simply because most of the other ones taste vile, but the chewy Powergel orange shots taste lovely and are enjoyable to eat. Five shots is equivalent to one of the regular PowerGels, but as you get 9 in a pack you can vary the amount you eat in one go.
They’re quite a firm consistency and didn’t get sticky in the heat. The main ingredients are glucose syrup, sugar and water then you’ve got some natural flavourings and disappointingly, gelatine, which I didn’t realise before I ate them (so they’re not vegetarian).
Before a race, I feel it’s preferable just to quickly slurp a regular gel rather than chow down on a packet of sweeties, so I found the shots work best when taken intermittently on a longer ride – they’re enjoyable to eat and seemed to keep me ticking along nicely. I tended to eat three at a time as little boost – it’s hardly worth getting the pack out of your jersey pocket for one at a time, but if you struggle to eat on the bike then a little and often approach might benefit you.
The shots contain a C2Max carbohydrate blend which they claim adds fast energy absorption and then you have a an electrolyte-filled centre which for ‘added refreshment,’ apparently. I say that’s clearly marketing rubbish; how can a chewy sweet ever be refreshing?
My verdict? A great product, let down by the use of gelatine – now I know it’s in them I’ve had to give the whole box away!
I fared better with the PowerBar Energize Wafer, because they also taste great but this time don’t contain anything I can’t eat.
The lightweight, individually wrapped bars are crisp and crunchy and don’t melt in your jersey pocket. Apparently they don’t freeze either, though luckily I’ve not had a chance to put that to the test yet. The chocolate peanut flavoured bars tasted really good, but with little peanut flavour – a shame really, because I adore peanut butter!
The wafers are fairly, though not overly dry – they don’t suck the moisture out of your mouth but you’d want to have a glug of water with them. They make a nice alternative to your standard oaty or chewy energy bar, and seeing as I eat so many of those things I welcomed the chance to mix things up. They’re very sweet, so although I enjoy them I definitely wouldn’t eat more than one per ride, but then I wouldn’t really want to eat more than one energy bar on a ride – I prefer to get my food from other sources, for instance a cafe stop.
27.2 grams of carbohydrates per 40g bar is delivered via PowerBar’s C2Max glucose/fructose carbohydrate blend. So does the bar work – does it deliver the energy you need and keep you from an energy crash? Well as with all these kind of casual reviews, it’s hard to truly know whether it was the product that gave you a boost, or if it was a sudden desire to get home to watch Corrie or a tail wind giving you a helping hand. It’s also hard to know whether any other kind of food would have done the job equally as effectively. All I know if that I liked eating it!
The verdict: yes please!