When I started to work out on a regular basis a couple of years ago, I wanted to fuel up beforehand so I could perform the best that I could. The simplest answer to me was energy bars, so I went to the local grocery store and picked some up. I definitely noticed the energy boost that they gave me, but I’ve also learned a lot since then and so now I want to unravel some of the truth behind energy bars.
You might have already read or heard about this topic, but in its simplest terms energy bars are sugar and chemicals in smart packaging. Not always so many chemicals, but the energy it provides is almost exclusively derived from processed sugar and its many aliases (cane sugar, brown rice syrup, fructose, the list goes on).
Sugar will give you that energy kick, but it won’t last very long and if you have too much of it you’ll just be working in reverse. Not to mention the amount of money you have to shell out for them. It’s really just not worth it.
Now, there has also been a recipe floating around online for simple, homemade energy bars. A clean alternative to a popular product? I had to try it!
The ingredients are so simple: equal parts dates, raisins, and almonds. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon as well to amp up the taste (using a half-cup of each ingredient)…
I loved the ease of this recipe and the nutrients it provided, and I was actually impressed with the taste! My only criticism is that I couldn’t eat of lot of them because of their denseness (I needed to have a big glass of water with it to wash it down) as well as their distinct flavour.
In the end, these are a great way to get a lot of calories (yes, calories – your body needs energy to perform well and improve), nutrients, and natural sugars to fuel your body prior to working out.
At the same time, however, there’s nothing wrong with a bowl of oatmeal with your favourite fruit and a glass of water. The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple and eat whole foods. And don’t believe everything you read on a package.