The Energy Bar Bachelorette: Episode 3

I have a confession to make. While I’m trying to keep the playing field fair, I’ve given a slight advantage to one of the contestants. Simply came with me to New Zealand .

*Gasp*

I’ve started seeing an awesome registered dietitian/sport nutritionist and she suggested these bars as a recovery option for easy(ier) training days when I wouldn’t need a big bar to recover (ex. after a pool session or short run). These bars are super tasty and have a great amount of protein – especially considering the low 150-calorie count. They remind me of “Rice Krispies treats” if they grew up, went to college, became a busy executive and started working out.

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This moment of sibling love and NZ activity brought to you by Simply Protein Bar

We (me and Simply) had a great time in New Zealand. These bars are light, crunchy, and they contain no artificial sugars. Plus they’re Canadian and come from a female founded company!!! Wow. I think my crush has grown into real feeeeeeeeelings.

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So far I’ve tried and loved the peanut butter and the maple pecan. This one even has a maple leaf on it!! How cute (& Canadian).


Two-on-One Snack Date:

Typically (in Bachelor world), there are two contestants and one bachelorette on the infamous two-on-one dates, but today there are two girls one bar (he he he). Please welcome my *special guest*, Canadian 10,000m record holder and Olympian: Natasha Wodak! T-Fierce and I brought our bars in San Diego to fuel our training camp on the recommendation of fellow Canadian runner, Catherine Watkins. Tash grabbed a coconut chocolate and I opt’d for chocolate sea salt. (Can you tell we like chocolate?)

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Wow. No BS and No flavour. To say we were disappointed would be an understatement. Disappointed, confused, wounded… These bars look great and there’s no denying that they’re a healthy option. Apparently it is too much to ask that you look great and taste great too.

Tash didn’t even finish hers, tossing it to Jack who remarked:

“I might as well have taken dirt and put it between some bran.”

– Jack, Canadian National XC team member & boyfriend of the bar bachelorette

Things are not looking good for RXBAR. I don’t know if I even want to try the mixed berry flavour I bought.


SoLo Meets my Mom:

I didn’t intend for any of the contestants to meet my family until “home town week,” but I’ve once again broken my own rules.

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Photo taken by Jocelyn

Obviously my own (protein) needs are more important than my family’s perception of a bar – but I’m close with my mom and sister and challenges could arise down the road if they don’t approve of the relationship. My mom (Jocelyn), took SoLo on a 7km snow shoe which gave them a lot of time alone together.

Upon her return, I immediately asked if she thought SoLo had enough substance to be my long term partner? She said she really enjoyed the bar’s company, but needs to get to know them a little better before she can give her blessing. It’s clear that I like SoLo (a lot) because I’m anxious for them to make a good impression on mama J and instantly feel relief when she remarks:

“SoLo was a great companion for a winter hike. Tasty. The texture was much better than any other bar I’ve tried, which I only ate because I needed to. Today I had an enjoyable snack experience and felt like I was eating something because I wanted to, not because I had to.”

– Jocelyn, Mother of the Bar Bachelorette

When I asked her what she needs in order to give her blessing, she said more flavours. Does she actually require more samples – or does she just want them? A good sign either way.  SoLo is getting a bite to the next round.


Group Date #2

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ONE bar continues to shine. I hope I’m not allowing my infatuation to cloud my judgement on if this is a realistic relationship or not. I don’t know if I’ve ever even seen the product in Canadian Stores.


temp1Invited but didn’t show up. Wow, these guys are hard to track down. You can pre-order them online, but I don’t think I’m ready to commit to a box of 12. Plus, I’m a hungry runner, I don’t have the patience for pre-ordering!!!


5After Coach Lynn’s “Brazilian Workout” I was in need of a protein pick-me-up and this was my bar of choice. TBH I was let down. Tasted very artificial and wasn’t worth the extra $krilla. I’ve tried better Quest flavours (ex. raspberry cheesecake), but I’m not in love with this one.


0022252233030_CF_version_type_largeSampled this bar post long run around a hilly lake in Cali. Tasted great, a little shy of the protein content I’m looking for but the flavour made up for it. Not sure if you can get this Luna “protein” variation in Canada? I will have to investigate.


The Chomping Ceremony:

Safe: Simply, SoLo, ONE, Picky, Nakd, Vega, & Clif

Eliminated: RXBAR, Temple, & Quest


Next Time:

WAR. SUGAR. What is it good for? How much sweetness should I have in my life? How much is too much? Time to start asking some complex (carbohydrate) questions.

Sun Diego: Training camp 2018

Training Camp. The adult version of summer camp (if you only did one sport and spent a lot of time talking about it). Our small-but-mighty training group “Pacific Elite,” headed down to San Diego for the past nine days to #PutInWork and escape the Vancouver winter. It was awesome to spend time in a place so dear to Coach Lynn’s heart and visit a couple “landmarks” that are also familiar to Jack, Tamara, and myself after many trips with Marek and UBC (aka. the The Bahia Resort & Mr. Ruribertos).


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“Pacific Elite”

We stayed in a great little condo in the Mission Bay/Pacific Beach area and spent our time running, cross training (in outdoor pools #bless), checking out new tracks, and playing Codenames – it made for a great week and a bit. The timing of this camp acted as a primer for Tash before Common Wealth Games, and a confidence boost for the rest of us heading into our outdoor seasons. Woo Hoo!


Workouts:
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On the track

The ladies hit some solid speed sessions at SDSU! Tamara and I PB’d mid workout in the 300m running a 40s rep (Coach Lynn told us to “let the cat out of the bag” – I joked we accidentally let the tiger out of the zoo), and Tash smashed a 600m PB in 1:36. Honestly she probably should have just kept going and PB’d in the 800m too – watch out world, she’s a middle distance runner now!

Tamara and I encountered some serious lactic acid when we met our new “friend” the 30 second rest, but we managed to keep it together and finished our session strong.

I’ve often struggled with being mentally engaged and positive at practice, but I’ve noticed a complete change in my attitude. I would credit this to a couple factors:

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Selfie with Coach Lynn

  1. Having an inspiring and hard-working team to train with
  2. Following a plan that has flexibility and fun at the core (in addition to improving weaknesses)
  3. Stepping away from work/school has allowed me to save my mental focus for the track. I’m no longer arriving at workout exhausted and stressed out. This is my “job” now (which is so awesome).

At Ski Beach:

Coach Lynn is a big fan of the Brazilian workout (click here to see her YouTube video of it). I’d be very curious to know what people at the park thought we were doing… They might not have believed we’re “high performance” athletes. I’m fairly new to the Brazilian workout, but I am loving it – in a “no pain no gain” sort of way. It is hard, and requires an impressive amount of coordination.

 

Lynn said I deserved a box of raisins for the most improved Brazilian so it was pretty much the best day ever.


Food/Fuel:

Real talk: running is a sport where your weight can feel more important than it is. It’s easy to think “if I weighed less I would run faster” or “so-and-so is lighter than me and they’re running fast, so that must be the reason.” These thoughts are dangerous. I don’t feel qualified to speak about nutrition, eating disorders and/or body image, but I do know that I’ve found myself increasingly aware – in both good ways and bad – of my body in the past few months.

Good Awareness: Feeling myself getting stronger, fitter and faster

Negative Awareness: comparing my body to other athletes

You can’t control everything, especially your thoughts – but you can control the direction they go in. I’ve found it helpful to think of being kind to myself, and remembering that the only number that matters is the one on the clock at the end of your race, and not the one on the scale.

It was super refreshing to hear Natasha talk about food in a healthy and human way. She eats chocolate and loves it. Does she eat it all day every day? No. Does she have self control? Yes. The best treat of the trip IMO was chocolate covered honey comb (see photo below – this would be Winnie the Pooh’s crack).

 

We also took to the kitchen and made a meal each. If you want a more detailed recipe please comment on this blog post and I will post more information. The basic menu was as follows:

Chef Tamara made an excellent oven-baked salmon with veggies. Tash sliced about a million vegetables and made a healthy and tasty quinoa chicken salad paired with olive bread and a *deluxe* olive oil/balsamic dip. Jack and I rounded out the meals with a spinach steak salad paired with a pesto pasta.

 


Fun:

San Diego Zoo, tacos, the beach, and a lot of Codenames. If you’ve never played, Codenames is a great group game – but maybe don’t play with a group of hyper competitive athletes unless you’re looking to find yourself in some tense moments. I think Natasha feared that Jack and I would end our relationship (she’s never seen us play Game of Thrones Board Game – that gets waaaaaay worse).

 

We also went and watched Red Sparrow, hung out at the beach, and tried a bunch of new protein bars (new episode of my Bar Bachelorette series dropping soon).

That’s all for now! I’m looking forward to opening my season in April – likely back in California at the Bryan Clay invitational (TBC).

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Until next time SD!

 

 

The Energy Bar Bachelorette: Episode 2

 

 

Recap From Last Week:

Last week SoLo received the first impression bite and Larabar and KIND were sent back to the grocery store for not having enough protein. While reminiscing with Vector about our good times cramming for exams and recovering after track practice when I was a UBC student was fun, I have different needs now, and they were also eliminated from the competition.

One-on-one Snack #1:

The first snack date is going to… PowerBar! Aside from munching on one of these before the 4x400m relay final at World Junior Track Championships in 2012 (we finished sixth, so a solid vote of confidence), I don’t have too much experience with this brand. Before I dive in, I am going to call a friend for advice. (Like how the Bachelor/Bachelorette always get “tips” from past contestants before their season starts – TBH I dunno WHY, 99% of those relationships have failed). I am calling on Kirsten, as she has very specific protein bar needs and has been loyal to the vanilla PowerBar for years. Although I suspect she might be settling as she remarked “looks and tastes like plastic, but I’m committed.” Hmmmm… She also said the vanilla flavour can be tough to find in-store.

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Basic nutritional info: 20g protein (good – more than I need), calories 210 (seems good), sugar 14g. Number of ingredients I can’t pronounce: not as many as I thought – but more than other brands I’ve seen. Price: I found the chocolate peanut butter flavour on Amazon.ca for $3.19 per bar (OK) and the vanilla for a whopping $5! (Not OK).

Our snack date is a bit meh. I feel like I should like them more than I do. While the lemon poppyseed flavour is way better than I expected (though my expectations were low), I don’t know if we’re right for each other. Something feels a bit forced.

*Cue dramatic music.* I decide I can’t give them a bite and send them home.

GROUP DATE #1:

I’m not sure how a group date works here – I chop up a bunch of bars and sample them? Sounds good to me!


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Builder bar comes across as aggressive in the group setting. At 270 calories and 21g of sugar there’s no doubt they’re one of the biggest and sweetest bars and I’m questioning if they can meet my needs. Luna bar is a much quieter side of the Clif Conglomerate with a lower 190-200 calorie count, 8-10g sugar and 8-9g protein, while the OG Clif bar comes in at 250 calories, 10g protein and a whooping 20g of sugar. An early leader, Clif might be in trouble after this group date.


 

product-fan-bars-500-2They come from a simple background, have natural ingredients and are the lowest calorie option of the bunch. Calorie count is not a priority of my contest, but the reality of track as a sport is that size can matter – so a lighter option could present advantages. That said, I don’t want to feel hungry after a big workout! Maybe I could have these as a side bae after a light run and look to a more substantial bar for after my big workouts? However, I am looking for one brand to rule them all… I am hopeful that Simply will have more substance than I am giving them credit for.


 

ChcPB5ct1710_3DlrAtkins is not one I would have considered for this contest if they hadn’t been on a “buy two boxes for $10 special” at Safeway ($1 a bar!) They also meet my 16g protein requirement and have only 1g of sugar! And they taste fine. Fine… not a word I want to use when describing my true love. Maybe I could upgrade them to “pretty good.” This is a suitor your parents like, and everyone says their nice, buuuuttt I don’t think it’s enough. #Friendzone


838766080154_-_Vega_Sport_Protein_Bar_Single_-_Choc_Coconut_1_grandeI have tried to keep an open mind to Vega’s vegan bar but I haven’t even unwrapped it when I’m stopped by the sugar content… 16g for 15g of protein? Those numbers do not make sense to me. There are also only two flavours – so there isn’t a ton of variety happening. UGH, the turmoil is real. I decide I am being small minded and biased against vegan Vega. I shouldn’t be casting it aside without a proper trial. I vow to take Vega on a one-on-one snack and give this relationship a fair shot.


imageServiceKirkland is like the girl next door (if you lived next to a Costco). They have everything you need: not too sweet, enough protein, easy to come by. BUT… they lack a certain spark. I’m just not that into them. I don’t want to take them for granted… but I don’t know if I can get past the feeling that I want more.


 

The Chomping Ceremony:

Suspenseful last bite given to: Clif Conglomerate (in a tearful moment they reveal there is also a nut butter bar I just have to try and I am too intrigued to say no.

Safe: Clif, Simply, SoLo, Picky, Kirkland, ONE, Vega, Quest, Temple, RXBAR, Nakd

Eliminated: PowerBar, Atkins, Kirkland


Next Episode:

A shocking reveal from my trip to New Zealand and a one-on-one with RX featuring an elite *mystery guest*. Plus, SoLo meets the family before hometown week? WOW! I hope you’re hungry for the drama ahead.

The Energy Bar Bachelorette: Episode 1

 

Last week I introduced the contestants and provided some background on what I’m looking for in a protein partner (protein/nutritional content, sweetness, price). This week we find out the winner of the “first impression bite,” who will have an automatic qualification into the next round. While the first impression bite winner is the early favourite, they’re often bullied by the other contestants out of jealousy so I will have to keep an eye on the cupboard and make sure they’re all getting along.

While I’m impressed (and so flattered!) by the quality of protein bars available for me to consume, I know I must stay true to my goals and not get distracted by flashy wrappers and exotic flavours. After taking a very brief read of some of the bars nutritional information and attempting to learn where they came from, it’s time for…

The first impression bite:

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Solo bar is the winner! The dark chocolate mandarine is delicious, as is the peanut butter and mocha fudge. 

I do have concerns about if there is enough protein content here…. but our initial connection is so strong I would be crazy to deny this bar a bite.

It’s now time for the first chomping ceremony. I attempt to remember everyone’s names and wish I had Chris Harrison on hand to support me with some flashcards.

The Top Three:

 

 

 

The “Clif Conglomerate”: a classic contestant with much to offer, speculation is already circulating that Clif will be getting the first one-on-one snack date.


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Simply Protein: Excellent conversation and protein content, keen to learn more.


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ONE: I can’t deny my interest in this brand. The boarder difference is going to make a relationship a challenge… does distance ever work??!


Eliminated/Going Back to the Grocery Store:

Larabar-Bars

Larabar: the peanut butter chocolate chip tastes delicious and while I would love to eat it again, these bars just don’t have the substance I’m looking for. With my protein needs around 15g, the approx. 4g of protein in these bars it just not enough to justify keeping them past a first date


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Kind bar: like Lara, these bars are super tasty and make a great snack, but their low protein count just isn’t going to work for me after a big workout.


 

 

 

Vector: despite my love for these bars during my time at UBC, I no longer feel the same excitement for them. They are good, but there isn’t a very high protein content and there is only two flavours – which I don’t think is enough to keep the excitement alive in the years to come.


Last minute additions:

The fans have spoken! Just as the chomping ceremony was coming to a tearful close (full of promises for this to be the most dramatic Bachelor season ever), ANOTHER shopping bag arrived and out came the following *new* contestants:

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RXBAR

Recommended by elite Canadian masters runner Catherine Watkins, RX bar is all about natural ingredients and transparency. The website states “no surprises here. One look at our wrapper, and you can see what we’re all about.” IMO communication is one of the most important factor in a lasting relationship, so I’m intrigued to see if they can live up to the bold “No BS” promise.


 

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Temple

Med school student, All American hurdler, lover of penguins… I would take Katherine’s word as law. She speaks highly of Temple, but cautioned on how difficult it is to find them in-store. Honestly, this only makes me more interested. After-all, isn’t real love meant to be rare? And who doesn’t want what they can’t have?


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Nakd

TBH this one caught my eye when Ameera recommended it because of the name (like naked hehehe) and her promise of excellent performance in the “fantasy sweet” department… who could say no to that? While at first glance this bar might only be about sex appeal – there is a decent protein content too! Wow, could this contestant be beauty AND brains?


Coming Up Next Time:

The first one-on-one snack date! Which bar will it be with?  Check back next week to see what happens.