Over the last 10 years of endurance events, GU and other energy gels appeared to be a necessary evil for energy and electrolytes. Unfortunately I’ve found they get harder and harder to stomach the longer the race and the harder you are working. I was getting a lot of gastrointestinal (GI) upset and still getting debilitating calf cramps after about 2 hours of hard exercise. I’ve tried more or less water, salt tabs, magnesium, and potassium supplements all to no avail.
The longer and harder the run, the more likely the issues. At Quicksilver 50 mile race in 2010 I clearly remember knowing I needed to eat, but just not being able to force down a GU, and reaching for PB&J sandwiches, bananas and salted potatoes instead at the aid stations.
I first tried these Barnana Banana Bites about 6 months ago and found it not only was easy and relatively pleasant to eat no matter how hard I was working, it also caused no GI distress and my cramps were gone. Barnana is literally just partially dehydrated banana (which is why it is chewy rather than like the banana chips we all know), so its packed with potassium, which seemed to be just what my body needed to avoid the dreaded calf cramps.
As you can see from the pic above, they do look a little odd (dare I say unappetizing?) as they are little brown lumps. For me, all the other advantages easily exceeded the issue of appearance. You can also get a chocolate flavor, but I didn’t see any need to add that to the mix while running. Amazon sells them in bulk if you want to save a few $, and some Whole Foods stores stock them if you want to try a single pack without paying shipping charges.
For me, a full bag is perfect for a marathon – 1 chew each mile from roughly mile 4 to mile 22. Using this strategy , I ran a personal best (almost 30 minutes faster) at California International Marathon in December using them. You can put them in a sandwich bag and there is no mess like you have with the sticky energy gel packets. Price wise its about the same as doing 4-5 gels in a marathon, so it was a no brainer to switch for me.
So if you’re tied of the gels, this might work for you. Let me know what you think!
(Note: this is an authentic review. I’ve had no contact with the owners or makers of Barnana Banana Bites and received no compensation or free product)