BodybuildingPro.com Nutrition Database Protein Information Database Nutrition Bars
Source for the Busy Body
Nutrition bars are a relatively new phenomenon in the bodybuilding
supplement world, and cover a wide range of varieties.
With the wide variety of nutrition bars available, some brand
names contain more protein, than carbohydrate energy sources, and
this difference should be recognized to ensure you get the desired
bar. They take the form of ordinary chocolate or candy bars, and
the ingredients within vary; most have the highest total percentage
of carbohydrates, followed by protein, and normally a small amount
of fat. They also contain some healthy and essential minerals. As
with any supplement, energy bars are not a replacement for healthy
nutrition, however, if your lifestyle is fast paced, and you
generally skip one or more meals throughout the day, it would be
encouraged to have energy bars on hand to keep your energy stores
up, as it is far better to get some nutrition and energy to burn
than none at all.
Most popular supplement companies have introduced a new brand of
energy bars to the supplement industry in recent years since their
explosion in the early 1990's. Ideally for bodybuilders, a bar with
a high content in high energy carbs and protein, and a relatively
small fat content, would be the best energy bar to choose. Stored
glycogen supplies in the body are used up in around 60 minutes for
most individuals, and at the onset of lowering levels of blood
sugar, de-motivation, and lethargy can kick in and take away
valuable intensity from training. In extreme cases, coupling low
blood sugar levels with and intense workout can cause nausea or
To see your daily calorie requirement (BMR), click this link. A
170 pound male may require more than 3000 calories a day. Some
studies have shown as many as 70% of strength training athletes do
not intake enough calories in a day. These studies have shown that
for female strength athletes, the number of energy deficient
strength athletes may be as much as 100 percent.
Due to the time constraints in our daily lives, it is not always
possible to prepare food on a tight schedule. With this in mind, a
hard training athlete would benefit from the use of energy bars
during these energy deficit times.
The main ingredients of energy bars are carbohydrates, and
protein, and are normally relatively low in fat. Carbohydrates are
the main fuel source for the body, as they fuel both the muscles
and the brain with most of its energy. Most energy bars contain
glucose as the main carbohydrate source. Some energy bars contain
10, 20, or even 30 percent fat content. This number is high, but is
still below the average fat content in most North Americans diet
(37%). Fat is also an important source of energy, and there is
evidence that it can be used before glycogen stores as an energy
Branched chain amino acids are also present in most energy bars.
Generally speaking, there is evidence suggesting that these amino
acids are used as an energy source, especially in endurance
athletes (ie, marathon runners, cyclists, etc).
Energy bars also contain vitamins, minerals, chromium sources, and
other herb - derived substances. An energy bar is a fairly complete
(although relatively low calorie in compared to a large meal)
nutritional source, which are offered in a convenient manner.
Although energy bars contain vitamins and minerals, they are in far
smaller quantity than the main energy fueling ingredients.
A Disadvantage of Energy Bars
One disadvantage of energy bars is adaptation. For hard training
and experienced athletes, the body is better adapted for using fat
as an energy source, where inactive individuals will normally store
it in adipose tissue and use it as a secondary energy source. In
other words, the likelihood of fat energy being stored as fat for
individuals who do not lead an active lifestyle is more likely to
occur than in individuals who incorporate some form of exercise
(bodybuilding, aerobic activity, etc) in their lives. Untrained
individuals may want to avoid the energy bars which contain a high
fat content, but, as stated earlier, the fat content of energy bars
is still far below the normal intake of fat in our daily lives for
most North Americans.
Selecting an Energy Bar
A basic, and very simple method of selecting an energy bar is
taste. Like candy bars, there is much variation in taste, and so
you will have to make a decision as to which bar you prefer. The
next issue is to determine the overall number of calories, and
caloric breakdown of various bars to find out which one suits your
It is always encouraged to read the nutritional information before
purchasing one and comparing it to the dollar value to make sure
you get the most for your money.
When to Consume Energy Bars
For bodybuilders, and other strength athletes, timing is not as
crucial as with other types of athletes. The most popular times
include 30 minutes before a workout, or immediately post workout to
fill the anabolic window. Immediately post workout makes the most
sense, as athletes need to replenish glycogen stores, but will
likely not be hungry enough to eat a full meal
It is recommended that an endurance athlete take an energy bar a
couple of hours before exercise, a few minutes before exercise, or
during exercise. You can even take them after exercise to boost
recovery. The worst time to take energy bars would be 45 to 60
minutes before exercise. This is because the high level of carbs
will cause a rapid release of insulin which will reduce blood sugar
levels, leading to lethargy.
Remember, energy bars work best when taken with water (one to two
glasses is the recommended amount). Also, don’t forget that
energy bars are only a supplement and are not to be taken to
Less Convenient Energy Sources
Other good energy sources for a bodybuilder include low fat
granola bars, raisins, bagels, fruit, yogurt, and cereals.
Unless you suffer from diabetes (where the high - sugar content of
energy bars may seriously interfere with blood sugar levels) side
effects of energy bars are a rarity. If your diabetes is so severe
that you require daily insulin injections, I strongly advise
avoiding energy bars high in carbohydrates.
If you are allergic to certain ingredients which you suspect may
be found in energy bars, read the ingredients before hand to make
sure you do not purchase a bar which will not cause an allergic
reaction. Side effects of taking energy bars are a rarity, and if
any problems do arise, be sure to stop consuming them, and be sure
to contact your physician.
As always, do not hesitate to Contact Me with any
questions or concerns you may have.
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