Don't Run on Empty - Fuel With Clif!
You've heard that it's a good idea to refuel at some point during a long run or ride, but do you know when and what type of fuel is best for optimal energy levels? If not, this post will help answer your fueling questions!
If your workout is less than an hour, you probably don't need any kind of mid-workout replenishment, other than hydration. However, if you are the type to hit the roads for long runs and or to cycle for an hour or more, you need to be prepared to refuel your body during your workout.
During exercise, your body uses muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores) as its primary source of fuel. Typically, these stores can last 2-3 hours before running out. Once they run out, you experience that "hitting the wall" feeling known as bonking. Although you should have plenty of energy stored up for shorter workouts, when you are working out for longer periods, you need to top off those energy stores with carbohydrates to prevent bonking.
What Products Are Best During Your Exercise?
Taking in 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour during aerobic exercise can help boost endurance. The key is using simple, fast absorbing carbohydrates to refuel so you can access that energy quickly. Protein and fats require much more energy to digest and also slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, which makes it harder for you to get the fuel you need and can lead to digestive distress.
You want to choose fuel that will provide you with easy to digest simple carbohydrates and electrolytes. You also need something that won't melt in your pocket and that comes in convenient packaging, making it easy to carry with you. It's also a bonus if it tastes good and doesn't upset your stomach!
Clif Bloks Energy Chews check all of those boxes, and are offered in 11 tasty flavors, including unique options like salted watermelon, margarita, and ginger ale. You also have the choice of more traditional flavors like orange, strawberry, and black cherry.
The packaging makes it easy to squeeze out the exact number of bloks you want while keeping the rest in the package for easy storage. The compact size is easy to fit in running shorts pockets, backpacks, or jersey pockets. One tube of Clif Bloks contains six chews, and each blok is formulated to provide an exact amount of carbs, calories, and electrolytes so you can adjust your intake to meet your unique needs.
Clif Bloks are a great option because they give you a precise amount of calories, carbohydrates, and electrolytes in a convenient package. They don't contain anything other than simple sugars, which is exactly the kind of fuel you need for an endurance event. Each flavor is colored and flavored with natural fruit and vegetable juice concentrate, so you don't have to worry about ingesting artificial dyes or flavorings.
If you're working out in hot conditions and think you will be sweating excessively, you may want to consider the margarita or salted watermelon flavors. These provide you with more sodium than the regular flavors to help replace what you're losing in your sweat.
Don't forget your hydration! Energy chews work best when you take them with water, because adequate hydration helps deliver the fuel and electrolytes to your working muscles.
In addition to the Clif Bloks, these Clif Shots are a great way to get in simple carbohydrates for fuel. These Energy gels have a smooth, thin consistency making them an easy alternative to bloks if you find it challenging to chew the bloks during exercise.
Just like the Clif Bloks, the Clif Shot comes in a variety of tasty flavors. You can choose basic flavors like vanilla or chocolate, or if you're in the mood for a decadent treat in the middle of your ride, you can bring along a shot of Boston Cream Pie.
The shots are packaged conveniently for easy carrying, and each gel contains 100 calories and 24 grams of carbohydrates. You also have the choice of caffeinated flavors, just like in the bloks energy chews. Be sure to drink plenty of water with these gels, because this will help deliver the fuel to your working muscles!
Will Caffeine Enhance Your Workout?
Both Clif Bloks and Clif Shots offer flavor options with or without caffeine. You may be wondering which option is best for you, and when to use the caffeinated options.
Caffeine has been shown to boost endurance performance in multiple ways. It can increase the force of muscle contraction, stimulate your central nervous system to increase alertness, and can also reduce tiredness and fatigue. Research has shown it does improve your performance, and it can even increase the amount of fat that you burn during exercise.
The best way to use the caffeinated products is to have one serving 15-30 minutes before a workout or race for an energy boost. You can then alternate between caffeinated and non-caffeinated options during exercise, or save the caffeinated flavors for the second half of your workout or race to ward off fatigue.
Keep in mind that caffeine affects everyone differently. If you are interested in trying caffeine on your endurance events, try it out first during your training runs or rides. Don't wait for a competitive even to give it a try.
Clif Bloks flavors of orange, tropical punch, and black cherry all contain 50mg of caffeine per package. Clif Shots caffeinated flavors are citrus, mocha, double espresso, chocolate cherry, and strawberry and contain 25mg per gel.
When Should You Add Protein?
Typically, it's not a good idea to add too much protein during your workouts. You benefit most from electrolytes and simple carbohydrates from sugars. However, if you are competing in ultra-running events or rides that are over 4 hours, small amounts of protein can help prevent muscle breakdown without causing stomach upset. That's where products like Clif Cubes come in handy!
Post-workout is another great time to focus on getting in some protein. Having protein and carbohydrates within an hour of your workout can help boost muscle repair and replenish energy stores, so you can recover faster for your next training session.
Clif Shot Recovery Drink Mix is an easy way to meet your post-workout nutrition needs, with the optimal 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio to promote recovery after a hard workout. The Clif Builder Bar is a great option for your workout days that are less aerobic, but still require some protein to recover.
Finding What's Right For You
Everyone is different, and there is no one size fits all recommendation when it comes to fueling. That's why we recommend testing these different products ou in your training first. You may find certain flavors can upset your stomach, while others cause no problem and maintain your energy. Some people love the texture and ease of the gels, while others prefer the chewiness of the bloks.
Whatever your taste preferences are, there is sure to be a flavor of Clif Bloks or Clif Shots that works for you. Check out our Clif Bar collection for a wide variety of bars, chews, gels, drink mixes, and recovery options. Whatever you choose, don't let yourself run on empty!