Monday, October 17, 2005

New Energy Options

This weekend I did 27 miles at the North Shore Trail and I tried out two new energy food options: Clif Shot Bloks and Jelly Belly Sport Beans. This wasn't a scientific comparison but I'll give my thoughts below:

Clif Shot Bloks are intended to be a solid version of the Clif Shot Energy Gel. Right now they are offered in three flavors: Cran-Razz, Strawberry and Lemon-Lime (my choice). A single package contains six bloks; each serving is three bloks. The bloks are cubes a little bit bigger than a quarter. They have the consistency of gummy candy or candy fruit slices, not too sticky. The flavor is good without being too strong or sweet. A serving has 100 calories, 70 mg of sodium, 20 mg of potassium and 24 grams of carbs. For comparison, a package of Viva Vanilla Clif Shot gel has 100 calories, 40 mg of sodium, 25 mg of potassium and 25 grams of carbs. Bloks are also all natural and 100% organic.

I really liked the Bloks. They were easy to handle and weren't messy like gel. They were easy to chew and swallow and I didn't feel like I needed to chug a bunch of water to wash them down (I did drink sports drink afterwards). As far as I could tell my energy level increased after eating the blok (I also ate some Honey Stinger gel). The bloks are an easy way to take some calories with you and offer a not-too sweet alternative to energy gels.

The Jelly Belly Sport Beans have one serving per package, which contains about 14 beans. They have 100 calories, 60 mg of sodium, 60 mg of potassium and 25 grams of carbs. They come in two flavors: Lemon Lime and Orange (my choice). They had a pleasant flavor but were sweeter than the bloks. Also, since they are small and there were more in the package, it took longer to eat them and I almost dropped a few pouring them out of the package. A little while after eating them I felt a little queasy, and I didn't feel the same energy surge (I was still eating Honey Stinger gel). But to be fair this was the last 4.5 miles of a 27 mile training walk, so some of the queasiness and lack of energy could be due to this.

Both products seem like great additions to our endurance fueling options. I prefer the Clif Shot Bloks for the following reasons:

1. Good taste that is not too sweet.
2. Bloks are larger and easier to eat quickly.
3. There are two servings to a package so it easier to carry more calories.
4. They are all organic so they are good for you.

I don't think either of the other Blok flavors sound very good so I will stick with the Lemon-Lime. I'll post an update later after I've used them for a while.