Bicycling is another passion of mine. One that has gone beyond being a penance for years of overindulging in food and drink and lack of physical activity. Now I bicycle as much for the challenge of going a Little bit harder, just a little bit more, A little bit further than I’ve gone before. In order to do that, I have been using energy chews and other nutritional aids.
Energy Chews — What Are They?
Energy chews are essentially candies, with the goal of delivering a quick burst of sugars to an athlete in the middle of performing. Wait a minute, are we not taught that sugars are bad? Well, yes and no. Sugars are the primary fuel our bodies run on! Without sugar, our fires extinguish — we die. The problem lays in consuming more sugar than our bodies require and that excess the body stores in other forms most notably fat.
When I am biking I typically consume a pack of sugar laced drink before starting and typically a pack of energy chews every hour of riding. I do this when I feel the symptoms of hypoglycemia starting to hit. Those symptoms are hunger pains and then weak and shaky pedaling.
These are not Koolaid and Snickers, but are for the athlete and contain a variety of sugar types to deliver the sugar both quickly and over a longer period of time. In fact, all I want is something with sugars (and perhaps some electrolytes) and avoid those chews containing protein, fat, and fiber.
Energy Chews — An Investment in Performance
Last summer, I avoided energy chews and any consumption of foods during or prior a bike ride (except for water). I did this because the idea was to burn as many calories as I could and eating energy during the ride cut into that burn. I was simply giving my body the chance to burn fewer calories.
However, during last summer I would occasionally bonk especially on long rides or rides the same day I ate little and or worked out at the Y. I recall one such ride, about a 30 mile ride that for the most part went well, but the last 7 – 10 miles of that ride went slower than it could have gone. I recall at one point getting off of my bike to walk up a mild hill.
I now I have to ride farther to get the same sort of calorie burn I did last summer and energy chews allow me to ride greater distances in the same amount of time as my rides from last year. Plus I am now becoming more interested in logging miles and making sure I log those miles as quickly as possible.
Energy Chews — I Have Tried Three Brands
I have tried three brands: Honey Stingers, Goo Chews, and Gatorade Prime Chews. All three have done the trick for me and staved off bonking and kept me in the revolution! However, in the next installment I will review my favorite of the three.