Only you can decide what balance of carbs, protein and fat you need from your energy snacks and nutrition products, but here's a quick round-up of the latest options to hit our desks, and the results of the all-important taste testing.
For Goodness Shakes! recovery shake powder
For Goodness Shakes! recovery drink is now available in new 80g sachets. Mixed with 450ml of water, each sachet contains 20 percent of your RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamin D, 59 percent of your RDA of vitamin C and 48 percent of your RDA of niacin – plus a ratio of 3:1 of carbohydrate to protein, said to be optimal for recovery.
It's available in the same flavours as FGS!'s bottled shakes – Super Berry, Choc Malt, Banana and Vanilla – and tastes pretty good. Cost is £36 for 24 sachets. A Starter Pack containing eight sachets plus a 750ml water bottle is available for £12.
No Fear Extreme Energy
No Fear are the latest brand to jump on the fizzy energy drink bandwagon, no doubt inspired by the massive success of Red Bull, Relentless, Monster and Rockstar.
The standard Extreme Energy can (a 'Motherload' version is also available) contains 174mg of caffeine, 72g of carbs and 2g of protein. It features a nifty resealable opening so you don't have to drink it all in one go. Taste is similar to Red Bull, but slightly less pungent. RRP TBC.
SiS Build Bar
These chocolate and peanut-flavoured snack bars have been a big hit in the office. While we’ve found that some other high-protein bars have a fluffy, slightly bitter taste, this one’s far nicer – like a dense version of a Snickers bar. In a 55g bar you’ll get 20g of protein, 21g of carbohydrate and six grams of fat.
The protein should help you rebuild your muscle cells after a tough workout and stave off hunger pangs, while the carbs and fat provide much-needed energy. They’re an excellent post-training recovery snack, but at £1.79 per bar they may not suit everyone’s pocket.
ZipVit ZV7 gel and ZV8 bars
ZipVit Sport are the athletic division of a massive vitamin supplements company and sponsors of the Cervelo road team. Their main USP is a massive 51g of carbs in each 60mL gel (according to the packet of the blackcurrant flavour), with just 0.1g of fat and 0.1g of protein. However, this doesn't add up when you look at the claimed energy content of 153.9kcal per 60mL serving, which should mean 38g of carbs – the figure quoted on ZipVit's website.
Whichever figure is correct, that's a lot of carbs and this does raise palatability problems when you’re trying to swallow them, and don’t try getting one down on a grinding climb either. We'd recommend taking them in two or three hits, rather than one 60mL go. On the plus side, the gels contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
The 55g bars are more palatable and contain carbs and vitamins “specifically for the nutritional demands of endurance athletes”, with 37.2g of carbs, 6.8g of fat and 2.6g of protein (strawberry flavour). They certainly perked us up quickly. RRP is £15.99 for 20.
Natur Boutique Golden Ginseng
Ginseng has long been used as a herbal supplement, said to help boost the immune system and aid with certain illnesses. Recently it has received attention for its claimed energy boosting properties, and it can be found in drinks from the likes of Monster and Rockstar.
Instead of coming in tablet or capsule form, Natur Boutique's bottle contains a whole ginseng root floating in a mix of honey, water and preservative (sodium benzoate). The idea is that you take 10ml once or twice a day.
Our database editor Oli wasn't too impressed by the taste but reckoned he felt more alert in the afternoons after taking it. It's reasonable value at £7.95 for 200ml (20 days' worth).
High5's 60g IsoGel sachets contain 22g of carbohydrate and are more palatable than many similar products, with a fairly liquid texture and a choice of mild and inoffensive flavours – orange, berry or Citrus Plus (with added caffeine). Cost is £0.99 per sachet.
Neovite Original Colostrum
Neovite's low-fat dairy protein powder is supposed to support your immune system and improve digestion. BikeRadar editor Jeff Jones hasn't noticed any difference so far (if anything, he's gotten slower). He reckons it tastes a like powdered milk, but not quite as sweet. It costs £25 for 300g.