So today marks the day that three years ago I ate my first CNP Professional protein flapjack bar thing. And before you ask, no this isn’t an advert, and no they haven’t paid me to write about this (although some free bars would be nice, CNP guys!)
I’ve written before about how I need structure. And my diet is the second most important part of that (the actual training being the first). Working what I’m going to eat – and when, takes a lot of the risk of snacking away from me. And part of this was to introduce protein bars into my diet as ‘snack / supplements’ to my training.
The protein side of it I can take a leave – it’s great right now when I’m training hard and want to give my body as many opportunities for more protein as I can give it – but most of the time, this is about satiating my hunger with something that has a purpose in my body – rather than eating ‘crap’.
So protein bars seemed the sensible way to go back when I was a cyclist. They have the slow-release carbs in them for energy – and protein for the muscle side of things. But the toughest part of this idea is trying to find bars that are tasty, that aren’t loaded with junk sugar, and more importantly, not going to drain my bank account!
I went through a few. SCI-MX were ok – but I could only ever eat a couple before getting fed up with the taste. Matrix bars – no thanks. SIS were good, but too sugary for my liking. MYProtein just didn’t stay palatable for long enough (sometimes not even long enough for me to finish the bar) – taste and texture is just as important in a protein bar as the stuff that’s in it if you’re using it for ‘real’ food. I don’t mind protein shakes etc which don’t take great if they’re going to be used for a specific purpose, but when it’s part of a daily routine, it needs to taste nice too.
Then Discount Supplements did a sale on the CNP bars. I headed for the Chocolate Orange ones first. They were ok – I managed a couple of boxes, but eventually had one that either tasted nasty, or my tastebuds rejected.
But the texture was good, the energy they released was good, and I didn’t feel I wanted to snack when I ate them. So I persevered. I don’t know why I didn’t try the Cherry Almond ones first. I love almonds. I love cherry – and I love the kinda marzipan taste you get when they’re combined in this way.
In December 2013, I got my first taste of them, and now – 2 3/4 years later, I still eat them… 3 of them… every day.
Bear in mind how these slot into my day though:
- 06:30 Breakfast – Banana and (2) Coffees
- 09:00 Get to work – Protein bar
- 11:00 Small tub of Almonds (or mixed nuts)
- 13:00 Go to the gym for a row
- 14:10 Post Gym – Protein bar
- 16:00 ‘Lunch’ – Chicken breast and spinach with nothing on it
- 19:30 More training on the erg
- 20:30 Dinner – pasta / enchilladas / quiche and veggies / salmon curry – all big and (mostly) healthy and tasty!
- 21:30 Protein bar
- 23:00 Bed.
And that is precisely how my day runs from Monday to Friday. And even the weekends don’t alter that much. In fact, the most drastic change to this is that I tend to only have one training session each day on a weekend.
So three x CNP Professional flapjacks every day for three years. You’d think I’d get sick of them. But oddly, I don’t. I enjoy each one – to the point that I’m disappointed when I finish it, and look forward to the next one. Whether the protein is doing anything is hard to tell. It’s that odd paradox of being a lightweight. I train hard, but I need to keep the weight down, so I don’t eat the calories to be piling on the muscle in response to the training.
Let’s just hope Discount Supplements don’t disappear though… I’m constantly waiting for their big discount days so I can buy 8 boxes at a time. And even then, that’s £110 for 64 days worth of bars.