The past few weeks, I have been testing out some new products by CLIF (the makers of the popular CLIF Bar). I have been a big fan of CLIF bars for a long time and last year stuffed my bike bag with 8 of those tasty little bars for RAGBRAI. I first got hooked on CLIF and the bars when reading about the company and their focus on using whole, all-natural ingredients. In fact, 70% of them are organic and actually taste good. Another reason is they do not melt in 90 degree weather. I used to be a fan of Promax bars but ran into a chocolate, gooey mess if placed in the sun.
My usually rotation of Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip bars is good but I wanted to change it up. After my 6 mile hill run over lunch, I tried a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut bar. I couldn’t believe how good it tasted, especially for packing 9g of Protein in 240 calories. The week before that, I headed out to do some mountain biking after my morning run. My energy was running low, so I decided to test the Cool Mint Chocolate flavor because of the added 50mg of caffeine. The amount caffeine is the same as a can of Mountain Dew but comes from green tea extract (all natural). I’m not a fan of mint, but did like the taste and definitely enjoyed the boost of energy for riding. For the PB lovers, try Peanut Toffee Buzz which also contains 50mg of caffeine.
So CLIF bars are great, but that’s not all they do. CLIF also offers other nutrition to keep you going, like SHOT Bloks. These little chewable cubes come in packages of six and contain about 200 calories per package. They are perfect for long runs and pre-workout nutrition. Not only do they taste better than a typical energy gel, they are easy on the stomach. If you can’t tell, I love SHOT Bloks and here’s why
- Taste amazing. Once ate 3 packages during the latter stages of a marathon and could have done four.
- Contains at least 140mg of Sodium and 40mg of Potassium per package
- The Fastpak™ packaging is easy to carrying on long runs (will fit in your pocket)
- Packages contain Six bloks making it easy to regulate calorie intake
- Some flavors contain caffeine and the Margarita flavor has over 400mg of sodium per package, perfect for hot, humid days
If you are partial to gels, then try the CLIF SHOT. It’s just like any other energy gel, with a cool “Litter Leash” feature. The Litter Leash is a patented design that allows the tear tab to stay attached to the bottom of the package after use. Keeping the tab with the package reduces the litter of tabs along trails and roads. If you have ever run a long distance race, you’ll know what I mean…sticky tabs everywhere!
My favorite flavors, not in any particular order…
- Strawberry with 25mg of caffeine
- Double Expresso with 100mg of caffeine (perfect for mile 22 of a marathon)
After workouts, I like to take in some protein which not only helps speed the recovery process but also keeps me from downing an entire pizza four hours later. CLIF has two options for protein.
CLIF SHOT ROKS™ are bite-size pieces enabling you to take in exactly the protein you need, when you need it. The ROKS are wrapped in a protective shell that won’t melt in the package or in your hands…I even tested them on a sunny, 85 degree day in the car. There are three tasty flavors to choose from: Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I prefer the latter and with one package – 10 SHOT ROKS – I can get 20g of high quality whey protein. With 2 grams of protein per bite, you also have the option of eating else.
The other option is CLIF BUILDER’S bars. I tried the Vanilla Almond flavor and it gives candy bars a run for their money. The taste is unbelievably great! It was amazed it was an all-natural bar packed with 20g of protein. To be more specific, they are made up of 20g of soy and nut proteins, and unlike other protein bars, they contain no trans fats or hydrogenated oils.
Lastly, I tried out a hydration drink called CLIF Quench™ which is for athletes and active people needing to hydrate. Why I like CLIF over Gatorade and Powerade…
- All-natural & 88% organic sport drink
- NO high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors or preservatives
- 1st bottle of its kind made from 40% recycled PET
- Contains the optimal amount of electrolytes and low carbs
- And it just plain tastes good. I really liked Fruit Punch
Overall, I’m a huge fan of CLIF not only for their focus on environment, but most importantly, because the stuff tastes good!