Big days out on the bike, long runs and hard workout sessions take great effort, motivation, concentration and fuel.
We all need to consume nutritious 100% natural foods that can help us build stamina and fight off tiredness and we want to do so without them being sickly sweet, sticky, synthetic and hard to digest.
We all want something fresh, savoury, moreish and powerfull... this is why we created Pronto.
Caffeine can give running, cycling and any endurance activity a very real boost and Pronto is our new naturally caffeinated bar. Made from 100% natural ingredients, it's vegan, gluten-free and designed specifically to help kick-start your training session and keep you feeling strong and motivated to the end of your race or ride.
Contrary to popular beliefs, Caffeine doesn't directly give you more energy, but it does have some clear and proven benefits to anyone trying to exercise for extended periods of time. Caffeine is a mild central-nervous-system stimulant so can improve your alertness and concentration and perk you up if you are feeling tired or lethargic. It has the ability to help us exercise harder and for longer, it encourages our bodies to burn fat as fuel and it can reduce feelings of pain and fatigue. Caffeine really works!
Distance runners and cyclists consume a lot of caffeine, whether in coffee, gels or supplements and its benefits are widely understood.
Indeed Cyclists have developed a long-established love affair with caffeine through coffee too. We use it as a powerful pick me up to get our rides started, as a helpful refuelling device mid-way through a ride as well as at indulgent Cafe stops. Cafes and a love of good coffee are now ingrained in cycling culture.
But the flavour of coffee added into anything other than fresh Coffee is divisive, and the nature of the 'hit' we get from the Caffeine in coffee (especially synthetic Caffeine) is more famous for giving us 'the jitters' and leaving a bad taste in our mouths than anything else.
How much caffeine for endurance exercise?
There have been numerous studies into the effects of caffeine on exercise and how much is needed, and when, for best performance.
It takes about an hour for caffeine to peak in your blood stream so for short events you need to be taking your caffeine an hour or less before your event is due to start.
In longer rides or runs then caffeine comes into its own in the later stages when you need a boost to fight fatigue, increase your ability to run, and minimise your perception of discomfort and pain - just make sure you don’t leave it too late!
You want to take the caffeine in good time to make sure it is in your system ready for when you need it.
A general consensus is that between 1.5 to 4mg per kg of body weight is an effective amount when taken either an hour before starting your ride or run or during it.
For reference, there's 80mg in a typical espresso, 95mg in a large brewed coffee or 60mg in an instant coffee. People have different levels of sensitivity to caffeine so as with any supplement you need to try it out in training to establish the right level for you.
Typical Caffeine gels vs Natural Caffeine bars
There are plenty of caffeine gels on the market but in our experience these are unappetising, horribly gloopy, overly sweet or even slightly bitter, they are certainly not something that you would look forward to taking during a ride or enjoy consuming pre-race.
Knowing the benefits of caffeine, we wanted to create a bar that honoured our Veloforte ethos of producing food that is 100% natural, powerful & delicious - not mention easy to digest, healthy and effective.
The question of flavour and enjoyment is always important to us and it sent Lara Giusti, Veloforte founder, on an exciting journey, “baking to a brief is always a challenge and this time I started with finding the right source of caffeine and then paired flavours around it.”
We have used Matcha tea and Guarana berries from South America as our natural caffeine source - packed full of anti-oxidants, essential vitamins and minerals these 100% natural ingredients are absorbed easily by the body with a potency higher than that of processed caffeine.
Using these we have created a bar with 80mg of caffeine which has a gentler release profile so you have all the effects of caffeine for longer and without the crash normally felt afterwards. Matcha and Guarana taste great and they are brilliant for your health.
“Matcha tea is huge in the health world but it has quite a distinctive flavour, matching the spices and wider flavours to compliment the earthiness of Matcha tea was quite a challenge,” Lara explains.
Many caffeine products are sweet and gloopy but Matcha tea has an extremely savoury flavour which we needed to balance with other ingredients. Lara opted for ginger, lemon & fig, “ginger is stimulating and invigorating which fits perfectly with the purpose of the bar, while figs keep the bar very moist, easy to eat on the go. This bar has a really rounded much more savoury flavour profile, yet is still sweet with a fresh palate because of the natural acidity of fresh lemon juice.”
When to use caffeine energy bars to increase stamina for running & cycling?
With the caffeine equivalent to an espresso, Pronto bars provide a very clean and powerful natural lift, each bar contains 80mg of natural caffeine and as little as 50mg of caffeine has been shown to increase alertness.
As well as caffeine they also contain the optimal balance of carbohydrates and protein too, so are a great combination when you need something to boost your energy levels, improve your running and help you build stamina.
These are a great pre-ride snack if you don’t have time for breakfast or find yourself flagging mid-afternoon before your commute home or evening training session.
If you are riding or doing a distance run for 90mins or more, then a stash of these are perfect for taking mid-way through your race or training or toward the end of the event.
They will give you the physical and mental boost you need to push through to the finish. Thanks to the deliciously sweet figs, the tang of fresh lemon and warming, rich flavours of ginger they are also wonderful in your mouth and a treat to look forward to when the going gets tough.
With the new Pronto bars we wanted to create something that was a real pick-me-up, that would provide a natural boost when you needed it most but would also stick to our core beliefs that the food we eat during sport should be tasty, natural, healthy and delicious.
It’s now our go to bar for early morning training and tough long rides - we hope it will become yours too.
(Available in Packs of 3, and Boxes of up to 24 bars)