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Are energy bars, gels and protein powders necessary for a runner?

A discussion on the pros and cons of using energy bars, gels and protein powders in a runners nutrition plan. How do they potentially enhance performance and recovery. Suggestions on what to use and how to use them to promote performance and good health.


The key reasons runners use ergogenic aids.


The performance effects of bars and gels and understanding about how carbohydrate blended gels work and why that may make a difference to performance.


The potential budget and nutritional drawbacks of using commercial bars and gels i.e. cost, artificial sweeteners and flavourings, GI distress and possible weight gain.


Some suggested brands of gels and bars.


How protein foods and protein powders may support a runners nutrition plan e.g. muscle repair and synthesis, mitochondria production, reducing injury risk and DOMS, efficient recovery, and metabolism.


An overview of the role of BCAA’s.


Some suggested brands of protein powders.


Female considerations for ergogenic aids of gels, bars and protein powders.


The Key Take Aways from this episode:

  1. Trial bars and gels to discover which you prefer
  2. Choose the most natural ones available to you
  3. Always read the labels – general rule of thumb: the more ingredients there are, the less natural they are likely to be
  4. Always practice with products during training
  5. Never introduce a new product on race day
  6. Observe for any digestive issues – change product if any experienced
  7. Consider making your own
  8. Are they necessary? – think about the distances you are running

But remember…food comes first!

Related Episodes:

How to avoid digestive problems as a runner

Hydration and running performance

Macronutrients to help runners go faster and stronger


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and

advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact

your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.

Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.

We are excited to be able to share our expertise, experience and short cuts with you. We hope you’ll join us again. If you’d like to know more about us and She Runs Eats Performs please check out our TRAILER.

If you’re ready to make learn more about how you may introduce easy nutrition into your running and training plan join our Easy Nutrition For Healthy Runners Online Programme for short videos, recipes, downloads and LIVE training and Q&A.

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If you’d like help from Karen and Aileen to design a personalised sports nutrition plan for your running – please contact them at

Happy Running!

Aileen and Karen