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Review: PowerBar Chocolate Gel

On long bike rides, when I pass the hour mark I need a little something to help to power up the next big hill and something I can quickly eat. There are a wide variety of sports gels out there, so I am in my experimental phase — trying them all out. Over the weekend, I placed a Chocolate PowerBar Gel in the back pocket of my biking jersey before I headed out the door. This particular flavor was labeled as having 1x caffeine and contained 25 milligrams caffeine, about one-third the amount found in a single shot of espresso. Since I was riding early in the morning, and hadn't finished my daily cup of joe, I was looking forward to putting a little more caffeine in my system. Just before the third serious climb of the day, I powered down my PowerBar gel.

To see how it tasted, and if it helped sustain my energy

.

First off, the flavor was surprisingly palatable. It didn't taste metallic or yucky, more like brownie batter than sports gel. This might sound gross, but after 90 minutes of riding it was wonderful and really easy to eat. I think the bit of caffeine perked me up and improved my attitude so rather than being daunted by the hill ahead of me, I was ready to attack. The gel sustained me for at least an hour, and the carbs and electrolytes prevented me from bonking. Here's the nutritional information:

Serving size 41 grams (one packet)
Calories 120
Fat 1.5 g
Sodium 200 mg
Carb 28 g
Potassium 40 mg
Sugar 10 g
Chloride 70 mg
Protein 0 g
Ingredients: PowerBar C2 max carbohydrate blend (maltodextrin, fructose), filtered water, chocolate (contains milk), glycerin, PowerBar electrolyte blend (sodium chloride, sodium citrate, potassium chloride), phosphoric acid, natural flavor (contains soy lecithin), PowerBar booster blend (caffeine, ginseng, kola nut extract), sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (to retard spoilage). contains milk and soy.

Do you have a favorite sports gel? Share your flavor and brand in the comments section below.

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LindsayLou LindsayLou 7 years
I apologize if this is slightly off topic...I've never had any of these "Gu" packages but I have a serious problem when runners/bikers use them and then toss the empty package on the ground. I live in NYC and they are all over Central Park. If you had a pocket to carry it with you, then you have a pocket to put the empty wrapper in! Sorry. Ending my rant now.
LindsayLou LindsayLou 7 years
I apologize if this is slightly off topic...I've never had any of these "Gu" packages but I have a serious problem when runners/bikers use them and then toss the empty package on the ground. I live in NYC and they are all over Central Park. If you had a pocket to carry it with you, then you have a pocket to put the empty wrapper in! Sorry. Ending my rant now.
PirateKitty PirateKitty 7 years
eww i tried the Vanilla one once during a 1/2 marathon and i almost lost it! It was sickly sweet and snotty. The brownie batter that you described sounds much more palatable!
nobodymuch nobodymuch 7 years
I prefer the cliff's cubes to gels, the texture's more palatable to me than gels
fleurfairy fleurfairy 7 years
@ Wild Magelet: "Bonking" in America means flipping out :)
Wild-Magelet Wild-Magelet 7 years
Also, @Teagan: I'm sorry, I know this is absolutely none of my business and I'm going to feel even worse if I've got the wrong person, but did I read on another Sugar post that you're battling with anorexia and struggle to eat a sufficient number of calories each day? That's a seriously impressive mileage that you're able to run, but I hope you're okay doing that much exercise if you're finding it difficult to eat an adequate diet. (And if that wasn't you, I sincerely apologise). Again, I know it's none of my business, but I'm in recovery from anorexia myself and I know how painful and awful it can be, so I'm always concerned when I see other people struggling with it.
Wild-Magelet Wild-Magelet 7 years
Hee. And I couldn't get past the reference to "bonking", which I'm going to assume has a different definition in America, or Fit is being a little risque today. Sorry, I'm a child sometimes! :)
ChocolateLover24 ChocolateLover24 7 years
Sorry, I just can't get over the "gel" part. Kinda like "go-gurt"...It makes my grimace : /
Chicagomarie Chicagomarie 7 years
their kind of an acquired taste. I need them for energy during my long runs for marathon training, but they are SO sweet. Water is key. I may try this Power Aid chocolate one. Brownie batter sounds good :) Since I'm really bad off in terms of eating enough on a daily basis, I'll normally eat one before my morning runs over 14/16 miles and then another during it sometime. They sit much better than normal early AM food (eg Banana) so i can eat one 20-30min before without issues.
Fitness Fitness 7 years
runningesq - congrats on the PR!
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I like GU brand gels, but I raced Rhode Island 70.3 (half ironman) on Sunday (and set a PR of 6h 15m 24s :)!) and they had PowerAde brand gels -- the vanilla was pretty tasty at mile 9 !
kclulu kclulu 7 years
I loathe the way all of these taste and I have tried almost all of them. The texture and the sweetness just doesn't sit well with me and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Unfortunately being a marathoner, there really isnt a lot of options. I prefer the jelly beans though.
jdeprima jdeprima 7 years
I swear by my Espresso Love Gu gels to get me through long runs. They have a bit more caffeine than most gels, which is great because I can't drink coffee before I run (acidic drink + bouncing = trouble). And those simple carbs go straight to the muscles. It's really amazing how quickly it makes a difference in my energy levels when I'm starting to flag a little.
Vanonymous Vanonymous 7 years
I have yet to try a sports gel. Something about them just seems so unpleasant/unnatural. But I am a big fan of brownie batter , so maybe I should give this one a try.
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