Recently, PowerBar asked me to try out some of their new product offerings, which was pretty exciting since I acquired a taste for all those energy bar/gel/drink/chews during my marathon training. I had previously had trouble with the PowerBar gel products during my runs; that is, I couldn't open them with my teeth. This is problematic during cold weather runs, when my fingers aren't nimble enough to tear the packaging.
They sent me a package with with 2 new products: PowerBar Energize Fruit Smoothie Bars and
The first time I tried a Fruit Smoothie Bar, I was hungry and didn't even feel like going for a run; however, I felt like that would be a good test of the bar's performance. I choose "Creamy Citrus" and it initially tasted exactly how I imagined it would taste- like the orange-flavored Bubblicious gum. After a few bites though, I noticed there was a strong after-taste that was sort of stinging the back of my throat. It wasn't uncomfortable enough for me to stop eating the bar, but I definitely felt something. (My husband tried the same flavor and didn't notice any aftertaste at all though.) The bar's consistency isn't as stiff as other PowerBars I've had, which was nice since sometimes they make my jaw feel sore. The bar did satiate my hunger and I felt fine during my 5 mile run.
The second time I tried a Fruit Smoothie Bar, it was before the Harpoon 5-miler. This time I tried the Tangy Tropical flavor, while Nick tried the Berry Blast one. Mine tasted pretty good, and I didn't experience the weird aftertaste that I did with the Creamy Citrus bar. Nick loved his Berry Blast flavor. Nick had flown in that same morning on a red eye from Vegas, after being there for a bachelor party and managed to run the race in record time. He told me afterwards that he's pretty sure it was the bar that got him through the course. I also felt great after the run, and I'm guessing the pre-race bar had a lot to do with that. I can't say if these bars are necessarily more effective than the original PowerBars or other bar brands; however, they seem to do the trick and I'll definitely work them into my energy bar brand/flavor rotation.
The Electrolytes are meant to be mixed into 16.9 oz of water and consumed during the run to stay hydrated. I guess the theory is that people are more willing to rehydrate during exercise if their water is flavored. So far, I have only tried one flavor of the PowerBar Electrolytes: Natural Lemon. If by natural, PowerBar meant, the lemon's natural peel, then the name is spot-on. This flavor is not especially tasty. I tried a little sip right after I mixed it, and then I refrigerated the mixture for about 10 minutes. I poured a bit into a Fuel Belt water bottle, and off I went in the 90 degree heat for a run around Castle Island in Southie. During the run, I tried to take sips at consistent intervals, and I did notice that the flavor improved as the run went on. I think that the key is to really shake the mixture before drinking it, as the drink became more palatable the longer it bounced around in my water bottle. Overall, I felt good during and after the run, despite the heat; however, the mixture just wasn't as refreshing as water. I think for shorter runs, it's better to stick with water; however, for longer runs where I wear my fuel belt, it would be helpful to alternate the electrolyte mixture with plain water in my bottles.