The Clif Builder's Bar has transformed my training. The 20g of protein is packaged in a tasty bar that I usually end up eating as a snack. It's probably too hard to chew during the main part of a ride, and isn't designed to be anyway, but it's perfect for post-ride or cool-down snacking.
My old routine after a race or hard training session, on the bike or at the gym, was to consume a disgusting protein shake that I bought because it had the highest calorie and protein count I could find. I tried to consume it as quickly as possible but, more often than not, half would be left after I conveniently 'forgot' about it.
When these landed in the office for testing, it coincided with snack time. How convenient. Snacking away, the first thing I noticed was the distinct layers within the bar. You get an outer layer, a chunky peanut butter layer, and a biscuity base. The taste is surprisingly pleasant. I'm used to weird tasting energy bars, so having something that I was happy to simply snack on was brilliant.
The nutrition profile is also pleasing: 20g of protein is pretty much ideal for recovery. I spoke to Ted Munson, performance nutritionist at SIS, who said that research has shown our bodies can only really absorb between 20-25g of protein every 2-3 hours. The exact figure varies between athletes, but 20g should be good enough to cover my harder training sessions.
The 27g of carbohydrate is also a welcome sight. Replacing used carbs after a ride is important for recovery as it's the main source of fuel for cycling, especially at a reasonable tempo. The 22g of sugar that contributes to the carb count is possibly what makes this taste so good – the bar isn't sickly sweet and the peanuts really help to keep the bar neutral.
It's quite a solid consistency, so I avoided eating it during harder riding, preferring to nibble on the flat, or at the back of a group. It also stayed that way in my back pocket, happily not melting in the spring warmth. My favourite time to eat this, though, was when I was cruising back home, a couple of miles from my door.
Out on the bike, I've had no stomach issues, although you'll need a little water once you've eaten it.
Overall, I'm very impressed by the Builder's Bar. The taste is very pleasant and the nutrition profile is perfect for post-ride recovery. Highly recommended.
Super-tasty post-ride recovery snack
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Clif Builders Bar (12 x 68g)
Size tested: 68g per bar
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"CLIF BUILDER'S has 20g of protein for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. BUILDER'S never contains ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils or sugar alcohols.
You put everything into your workout. Get everything out of it.
What is CLIF Builder's?
CLIF Builder's is a high-protein bar offering 20 grams of protein for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
What makes CLIF Builder's different from other protein bars?
CLIF Builder's is made solely with ingredients that you can recognize and taste like soya protein, oats, nuts, peanut butter and cocoa.
When should CLIF Builder's be eaten?
CLIF Builder's is a nutritious and convenient source of protein to be eaten after a workout."
Brilliant for post-ride replenishment.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
20 grams of protein for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass
High in protein
Vitamin B6 contributes to normal protein and glycogen metabolism
Free of hydrogenated oils and sugar alcohols
The wrapping is easy to open while riding, and the chocolate didn't melt in my pocket.
Replenished what I lost to my intervals.
At £28 for a box of 12, they're not the cheapest. But the great taste and good nutritional profile makes them worth it.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. If you don't like the taste of these types of things, you won't usually eat them.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
So tasty, I've been snacking on them in the office.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A little hard for anything more than steady riding, but really they're meant for post-ride replenishment.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
They're very tasty bars with an ideal nutrition profile for post-ride recovery.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.