You may throw protein and nutrition bars into your gym kit along with custom club kit without really thinking about it, but do you know if you really need them?
Research from Braking Muscle suggests you should only eat protein or nutrition bars if you are unable to eat proper food at the time. For example, if you are stuck in traffic on the way back from the gym, or you were stuck in a meeting through lunch. They should not be used as meal replacements.
The only exception to the no meal replacement rule is if you find your appetite sufficiently suppressed after a work out that you can’t stomach the idea of a full meal.
If you are on a long cycle however, they are ideal. You can burn hundreds of calories over long cycle rides, and while you may be looking forward to a beer at the end it is important you keep yourself properly fuelled so you burn fat rather than lose muscle mass.
You should be eating 20 to 45 minutes before your workout (if your exercise time is under 90 minutes). Post workout, you can eat a recovery snack within 45 minutes of your workout to maximise its impact.
Don’t fret about only eating complete proteins, as they add up throughout the day at different meals, but do make sure there is sufficient carbohydrate in the bars to provide your muscles with enough energy to complete your work out to your maximum ability.
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