Beet it Sports Bars
This time last year I had the privilege to test Beet It Shots and wrote quite an in-depth review and report about the product and the impact 0.4g Nitrate has on sports performance. This year I have had the privilege to test Beet It pro-elite Beetroot and oat flapjack.
For those who do not know much about the idea of using Beetroot as a super food then I recommend reading my previous review but in a nut shell.
Research has shown the the consumption of 0.4g of Nitrate prior to taking part in a sport significantly boosts your performance.
The science: beet nitrates are converted into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a signalling agent that causes vasodilation, a widening of the blood vessels. Wider blood vessels equal increased blood flow. Better blood flow means more stamina and improved oxygen usage, leading to a 15%ish boost in performance.
But beetroot products are not just for endurance athletes, a lot of the famous beet root juice users like Mo Farah are distance aerobic-energy-based athletes. Additionally, the majority of studies have been performed on runners, swimmers, rowers and cyclists. On the surface, the science behind beet root juice seems like it only provides a simple aerobic/endurance boost.
Beet juice-derived nitric oxide works so well it has been used in the Olympics as a supplement by endurance athletes for years now. No wonder this preconception is so pervasive. However, improved oxygen usage can be a boost to any athlete.
Nitric oxide is able to temporarily bolster the aerobic/oxidative system and helps traditionally non-aerobic, non-endurance athletes recover faster, even if they aren’t participating in a long-distance, endurance-based activities because the body draws its ability to regenerate energy from that system.
Therefore, if you’re an olympic athlete or a recreational sports person, you can benefit from beet root juice products.
This has certainly been born out this summer from my experience in the heat of riding in the Vendee. Beet It sports bars are easily digested and taste much nicer then the shots, with the added bonus that they contain slow releasing oats for addition food supply while riding.
I followed a simple regime, eat a bar 1 hour before riding and I also tested a second bar towards the end of rides over 2/3 hours. I did not start using the product until I had built up some miles in my legs and I had that ever present thigh burn at the start of rides.
The most instantly noticeable affect of the Nitrate is the lack of thigh burn at the start of rides and the ability to ride longer before fatigue begins to set in. Which is pretty much the same finding as last year so the delivery system does not affect the absorption and performance of the product.
What was new for this year was the consumption of a second bar on longer rides, while this did not necessary boost performance further but it did have a more noticeable effect on day two. Riding out on day two I did not have the expected heavy legs but it was as if I had had another bar that morning. So now my routine is to have a second bar post long ride to aid recovery.
I really can not recommend this product highly enough, it is the best sports nutrition product I have ever used, and I have used a few, it is way better then any gel, protein carb mix you can buy and to be honest is the only thing other than a zero calorie electrolyte that I will ever use.
If I was Victor Kiam I would buy the company the product is that good. Beet It pro-elite beetroot and oat flapjacks are a must.
I’d give it 110% but my editor tells me I have to cap my enthusiasm at 100% they are a CyclingShorts.cc star buy!
RRP: £25.00 for a case of 15 bars
I must admit that I had never heard of Multipower before their products arrived on my doorstep for review. However, their website tells me that they are Europe’s leading sports foods producers, with their products for sale in 36 countries, and have been established for over 35 years. They now have a number of brand ambassadors, with Cannondale Pro Cycling their cycling representative for 2013.
I was given three different products to review: Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly, Multicarbo Jelly and Recharge Drink.
1. Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly & Multicarbo Jelly
Most people will be familiar with energy gels that seem to be popular nowadays. They act as quick and easy energy replenishment which you can just swallow however I am sure everybody will also be familiar with the fact that they can be difficult to open and are also extremely sticky if you have the misfortune of not being able to open it properly mid-ride. If you dislike gels for this reason, then the Multicarbo jellies may be a pleasant alternative for you.
For a start, these jellies are just that – jelly. This means that they are solid rather than liquid, but rather than being difficult to chew, you can nibble at the jelly or just swallow it without chewing. The other positive about these jellies is the packaging that they come in. Unlike the modern gels which have a tab which you have to be able to tear off before you can access the contents, the jelly’s packaging can be opened before you ride, with the benefit of the jelly’s solid nature meaning that it won’t leak in your back pocket. You can also eat half of the packet and put the remainder back in your pocket, safe in the knowledge that you can eat the other half later on in your ride.
For anybody who is counting the calories, both of these jellies have 120 kcal per 50g sachet, which is on a par with other brands of gel, which tend to be 45g rather than 50g. Both seem to be available in orange flavour only at the moment however it is neither too sweet in flavour nor too acidic. Both are also described as being a “time release carb mix”. They are quite expensive with an RRP of £30.99 for a pack of 24 however this is on a par with their competitors.
For more information about the Multicarbo Jelly, visit: www.multipower.com/uk/product/multicarbo-jelly
For taste and ease of use, I would give these products 90 out of 100. For value for money, I would be more inclined to mark them down due to their cost and as such give them 70 out of 100. Overall I give them 85 out of 100.
2. Re-Charge Drink
The final product that I was asked to review was the imaginatively named “Re-Charge Drink”. This is Multipower’s pro-peptide offering, to help you refuel after your ride.
Most of Multipower’s competitors offer protein shakes that can be quite thick and difficult to drink. However, the Re-Charge Drink is 4 parts carbohydrate to 1 part protein and comes in a refreshing orange flavour rather than the more traditional chocolate/strawberry/vanilla flavours. The amount of carbohydrate in the drink means that it is easier to digest however it can be quite difficult to get the texture right – if you’re not careful it can become a bit powdery, so try to be economical with the powder or put more water in to negate this.
I’m sure many readers will be aware of how expensive any recovery drinks are: the benefits of this drink are that it is only £12.99 for a 630g tub which makes 14 servings, which equates to 92p per serving, rather than the competitors’ £2.85 per serving. So, if you feel that most recovery drinks can hit your purse, this might be worth a shot! The other benefit is that because it is much thinner than other recovery drinks, you don’t need a shaker bottle, which means less calories used in washing the bottle!
You can find more information about the Re-Charge Drink here: www.multipower.com/uk/product/re-charge-drink
Marks out of 100 are as follows: taste – 75 out of 100 (I personally feel that there is room for improvement); ease of use (does what it says on the tin) – 85 out of 100 (the carbohydrate content helps replenish your depleted glycogen stores post-ride) and value for money – 95 out of 100 (you will struggle to find a cheaper alternative). Overall – 85 out of 100.
We got our hands on a selection of Cliff Bars to review for you and Sim and Heather took on the taste and energy test.
I had my first taste of CLIF Bars whilst taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain last year – the chocolate chip version kept me going from John O’Groats all the way to Glasgow, so when I was asked to review CLIF bars for CyclingShorts, I thought why not?
So, a large selection of CLIF Bars in all different flavours made their way through my door – There was the chocolate chip version which I had tried before, then Crunchy Peanut Butter flavour, followed by Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, then Chocolate Almond Fudge, with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut bringing up the rear.
I must say that some of them sounded slightly exotic and I wasn’t convinced that I would like them, but I tried them all anyway (it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!)…
So, what did I think? Well, some of the flavours and the texture of the bars are better than others. For example, whilst the Oatmeal Raisin Walnut version may appeal to some due to the lower calorific content than the others, I found that unfortunately it was a bit disappointing – too dry to have on its own, especially trying to eat it going uphill. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the most exotic-sounding one (in my humble opinion), the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut was in actual fact the best of the bunch, mainly due to the addition of white chocolate pieces compensating for the dry nature of the bars in general. However, the Crunchy Peanut Butter flavour came a close second, as CLIF have worked hard to make that bar more chewy and therefore slightly more moist.
The Chocolate Almond Fudge was a bit disappointing too – I thought that it would be the CLIF Bar version of Bakewell Tart but it just seemed difficult to eat, as did the Chocolate Chip version. The bars really fill a hole and contain on average 245 kcals per bar and provide plenty of slow release energy from the seeds and grains used.
CLIF pride themselves on using wholesome and nutritious ingredients and having no trans fats, hydrogenated fats or high fructose corn syrup. It should be noted though that under UK regulations CLIF Bar cannot state that the bars are organic or contain no transfats.
The wrappers are foil and although this keeps the contents fresh, it can hurt your teeth trying to rip it open (I can’t ride in a group of people non-handed so I have to use my teeth – but don’t tell my dentist!) however if you want weight for your £1, these are definitely substantial bars – you can feel the heft when you pick one up!
So, for marks out of 100, overall I would probably give the CLIF bar range 70% (good start, but some improvements needed) although I would give the White Chocolate Macadamia version 85%.
I confess to being rather skeptical about using Cliff Bars as I have had mixed experiences using energy or nutrition bars when riding, to the point that I have reverted to using trusty old jam and bread on most rides. My experience is that some are gooey and sticky, others sickly and worse still some that encouraged the production of some rather unpleasant gases, which was not good in the bunkhouse when all ten of us had been using the same product with the same effect! So needless to say I was a tad apprehensive when I was among a group of friends taking part in the Manchester 100 who would be testing a range of Cliff Bars. Fortunately we would not all be staying in the same room at the end of the day!
On the day we had four different flavours, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Almond fudge, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, to test and we split them across the group of Team Parrotti riders. My son plumped for the Chocolate Chip and I tried the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut.
Out on the road we were particularly impressed with the ease of opening the packaging and the fact that the bar stayed intact allowing us to nibble on the bar and keep popping it back into our back pockets without making a mess. Which is great if you want to use them for a little pick up as you are riding.
The consistency of the bars is moist but not too gooey and this works really well when riding allowing you to take small bites without the bar falling apart. However you do need a sweet tooth as the bars are very very sweet but then that is not surprising considering nearly a third of the bar is sugar (between 21g – 23g for a 68g bar). This was the general experience of all Team Parrotti riders who tested the bars during our day out at the Manchester 100. We all agreed that the bars are worth carrying as a back up source of energy but we all felt that they are a little too sweet to use as a regular nutrition.
Of the flavours tested the clear favourite was Chocolate Chip with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut a close second. The least favourite was Chocolate Almond fudge which was incredible sweet and rather sickly.
The bottom line has to be ‘would we use Cliff Bars again?’ and the answer is a resounding yes. They provide a good energy boost that be easily nibbled on when needed and they are really easy to digest with no adverse effects (if you know what I mean!).
To learn more about CLIF Bars and their extensive range of products visit their website: www.clifbar.co.uk
Cycling Shorts overall rating for the Cliff Bar Range: