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Fuel Review and Protein Shake Recipes

September 30, 2010

Good morning everybody! It’s a rainy and miserable day here in the DC Region. I have no idea if it will rain all day because instead of watching the news for a weather report, I’m typing this post, but it doesn’t matter because I’m planning on doing my work-out tonight INDOORS so the weather can’t deter me. I’ve got 4 Miles lined up and one hour of Bodypump (I need to incorporate some weights into my training. I’m losing strength and I don’t want to make myself susceptible to injury).

But this post is not lost to the weather! I’ve been waiting for a rainy-day like this to tell you about Cliff Shot Bloks and A great Article in the October Issue of Runner’s World.

To start: Clif Shot Bloks.  Here’s my review: don’t use them!

There are a couple of reasons why this fuel is at the bottom of my list:

1. The packaging. You’ll notice by the above picture that they’re in a long package shape. Well, unless you’ve got pockets that are big enough for that, you’re S.O.L. and you’ll have to carry them along your run. I don’t know about you, but my little, attire, zipper pockets barely hold my keys and my fuel belt has a teeny, tiny pouch. Clif actually makes the Bloks in a pouch type of shape too, but I think that packaging came after the above product and as far as I’m concerned, the above choice packaging, even with an alternative, was not the smartest business idea. I get it – they wanted to set themselves apart. But, there’s a reason some packaging shapes work and some don’t based on the users and in my opinion, the long square shape = FAIL.

2. The size of the chews; they’re ginormous! I felt like I had a wad of something in my mouth that needed some gnawing down before I could actually swallow. As you can imagine, while you’re running, it’s kind of inconvenient to eat. So, the easier it is to actually eat the chew, the better the chew. These were just a little too big for my taste. I think I might have actually looked like a cow with sneakers to passer-bys.

3. Portion size. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you know I hate it when a package = more than one serving. Well, these Bloks equal two servings. Don’t forget to ration!

4. As for taste, they’re very good, but here’s the catch: Each flavor has different components. I had the Cran Razz over the weekend, which, for the most part, is composed like all other chews. But if you look closely at all of the Clif flavors, you’ll notice that the Black Cherry and Cola flavors both have 50 MG of Caffeine. The orange and tropical punch flavors both have 25 MG of Caffeine too. Lastly, the Margarita flavor has 3x Sodium. Now, these aren’t the world’s biggest red flags. Honestly, a little caffeine can be good for you depending on your endurance event or your training plan, and sodium is a key component of hydration. However, I caution against using them because I write this blog from the novice perspective and with the idea that most readers aren’t actually “endurance athletes.” With all that in mind, the truth is, if you don’t know what you’re getting into, then you could just be setting yourself up for a not great run without even knowing it. For the most part, the quantities of these additional ingredients won’t kill you, but in re to the caffeine chews for example, you have to know that there’s caffeine in them before taking them out on a run (Who really reads each of these ingredients before throwing them in your basket?) and you should only use them when you’re going on a run that you can afford to have some fun with. In general, don’t forget – you should never utilize a fuel that you’ve never tried before during an important or big race; you just never know what the effect can or will be on your body. I use caffeinated sports beans prior to races greater than 10 Miles; sometimes. But anything shorter than that and all it does is make me feel like I have to go to the bathroom. Get my drift? So I guess there’s two important notes here: 1. Try your new chews during training and practice runs and 2. Take time to read the ingredients so that you know what you’re getting yourself into (if you never did before).

Anyway – for all of the reasons above, that’s why the Bloks are on the bottom of my fuel totem pole.

Now that I’ve told you what I think you should just ignore, here’s what you should totally gobble down … these delightful smoothie recipes (which you can mix with protein) for a tasty post-run refuel [from Runner’s World, October issue]:

1. Low-Calorie Cooler:

1/2 cup almond milk

1 cup fresh spinach

1 kiwi, sliced

1/2 banana (preferably frozen,), sliced

[Yeah, I don’t know about the spinach in there, but I bet it taste good! Let me know if you try this recipe; I have not yet personally]

128 Calories; 28g carbs; 6g fiber; 2g protein; 2g fat

2. Breakfast to go:

1 Cup fat-free milk

1/2 Cup frozen blueberries

1/2 Cup Plain fat-free Greek yogurt

1/4 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats

1 TBSP ground flaxseed

[You can swap out the yogurt for vanilla protein powder. I think this is the best recipe of all post-recovery smoothies in terms of what it does for your body because it has WAY more protein than the recipe above]

290 Calories; 41g carbs; 6g fiber; 22g protein; 5g fat

And finally, the ULTIMATE FALL SMOOTHIE:

3. Maple Pumpkin Pie

1/2 Cup plain soy milk

1/3 Cup canned pumpkin

1.3 silken tofu

1 TBSP natural peanut butter

1 TSP real maple syrup

1/4 TSP cinnamon

I tried this one myself (and I LOVED IT!) though I admit I took out the tofu since I didn’t have any on hand. In general, tofu is a great non-dairy source of protein. If you’re lactose intolerant (i.e., you’re not feeling the milk or yogurt), tofu is a good option for you; check it out. Now, back to this amazing FALL recipe (I love the Fall!), I put a little more pumpkin than the recipe required because I wanted it to taste like I was having pumpkin pie. I also put in some vanilla protein powder (which kind of replaced the tofu). That made it a little sweeter and not so “Fall-y” (it was more “vanilla with a hint of pumpkin”), but never forget – even though your smoothie should taste good, most importantly, it should be composed of nutrients that will HELP your body, not just satisfy your tastebuds. In the future, I’ll put a flavor-less protein powder in the mix to keep the protein factor without affecting the Fall flavors.

212 calories; 17g carbs; 5g fiber; 11g protein; 12g fat

[Don’t forget, all of the nutrition info is for the recipes that are provided. If you mess around with portions and ingredients, the results will change]

Happy Thursday y’all! Don’t forget – HAPPY HOUR TOMORROW AT THE LAUGHING MAN TAVERN in Washington, DC. Check out the Events Page for more info! I hope to see you there!

ep 🙂

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 10:17 am

    i actually tried these last weekend for my 11mi run. i agree they are bulky, but i was able to bend the pack in half to fit them into my water bottle pouch. also, yea.. i had to completely stop on the side of the road and chew them completely.. not too good for on the go – great flavor though, i had tropical punch. and i hate taking in too many extra calories.. i am after all trying to lose weight in addition to running for the love of it. 🙂 so, i ate 4 of the 6 in the pack to make myself feel better lol. i will say, i was pretty impressed with the perk factor. i took 2 at mile 4 and 2 at mile 7. from mile 4 to the end of my run, i felt awesome! i’m sure part of that was having gotten warmed up, but at least some of it must have come from the clif.. anyways, i still haven’t found “the one” yet.. looking forward to more reviews! 🙂

  2. October 1, 2010 10:53 pm

    I agree with you about the cliff blocks. They’re huge! Plus I tried them shortly after gagging over the same flavour of gel so I was most likely a little biased! When I was training long distances I stuck to sport beans and granola bars. Do you have any other favourites?

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