Happy Hump Day! It’s product review day — my favorite topic! Today I bring you Sport Beans.
Here’s my problem. I don’t like weird gooey stuff. So on my long runs, that means gels and other weird squishy fuels are out. My friend recommended waffles, but when I started experimenting with fuel for long runs, I was worried I would squish the waffles and they would end in crumbles and be rendered useless when it came time to consume them. I started shopping around and reading reviews (much like this one!). Enter Sport Beans Jelly Beans.
Jelly beans for running fuel? Seemed strange. But I like jelly beans, so why not? I’m not a jelly bean connoisseur, but I do know I have an immediate abhorrence to popcorn flavored ones. As well as licorice. And hot and spicy. (Who does that?!) In any event, I was pleased to find packets of Sport Beans in a variety of flavors that are less crazy than the aforementioned ones found in the Jelly Belly candy beans.
I snagged three packets from my local sporting goods store and brought them home to test them out. The reviews and mentions of these products had noted that the beans had a salty flavor due to the electrolytes, but honestly, I really can’t taste anything out of the ordinary. They aren’t nearly as sweet as candy, but they definitely aren’t salty.
So what makes Sport Beans awesome? Well, first and foremost, I can eat them without any problem in the middle of a run. I don’t feel nauseous, I don’t drop any (that actually might be a slight stretch of the truth, I just haven’t checked under the treadmill yet), and they are easy to chew. The one issue I have, as I would have with any type of fuel, is that you need to take them with water. Unless you’re running with hydration, this poses a bit of a logistical challenge during some races. I also like that they come in a variety of flavors. I especially enjoy the variety pack (the middle one pictured above).
The features and benefits of these little morsels of jelly bean happiness, as pulled directly from the Sport Beans website, are:
- Carbohydrates — for fuel during intense activity
- Electrolytes — helps to maintain fluid balance
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3 — to help burn carbs and fat
- Vitamin C — to protect muscles and cells against oxidative damage
Sport Beans also offers beans with added caffeine for those that need a little extra boost, as well as Protein Recovery Crisps. I have not tried either of these products but may in the future.
The nutrition panel for your viewing pleasure.
Let’s break it down to pros and cons for simplicity’s sake, shall we?
The pros to the beans are:
- Easy to pop one or two in your mouth at a time.
- If you’re anti-gooey fuel and worried about crushing waffles in your belt, these are a nice compromise.
- They taste delicious. Just think of it this way, if you have a sweet tooth, you might as well enjoy some jelly beans while you run.
The cons to the beans are:
- They are a little sweet. But all fuels are, so unless you’re running with pretzels or crackers (which I may do in future races), you’re stuck with the sugar.
- Must take with water. Again, you’re stuck with hydrating *gasp* with all fuels and you should be hydrating anyway so this complaint is irrelevant.
- The convenient resealable bag ends up being less convenient during runs. Unless you pre-open the bag, you’re going to struggle with it mid-run. I have pretty small and nimble fingers, so I can imagine how awkward it would be for a guy with larger hands to handle the bag. But if you don’t eat all the beans, you’ve got a convenient little resealable bag. Catch-22 anyone?
Overall, I do enjoy the beans and I would definitely recommend them to a friend, especially for those who also can’t handle the gels. I didn’t use the beans for my 10-mile race but I do plan on fueling with them during every long training run, as well as my upcoming half marathon. I’ll probably run with a hydration belt as well. TBD on that one.
Essentially what it boils down to is trial and error. Everyone is different, and everyone digests (or doesn’t) fuels at a different rate. If you’re in the market for fuel, the best thing to do is go to the running store and pick up a few different options and see what works best for you. I knew I wouldn’t like gels which made it easy for me to pick the beans over the other options available. It is all personal preference.
There’s a great article on how/when to fuel for long runs from Runner’s World. Check it out here. Take note of Tips #2 and #3 in particular.
So I guess that’s it. Any questions?
Have a phenomenal day. Cheerio!
Disclaimer: I was not given or gifted any Sport Beans. I bought them at a store and tested them out because I needed fuel for my long runs. This review and these thoughts are purely my own.
What’s your favorite fuel?
At what mile marker do you usually fuel for your distance runs?
I’m embarking on my first half marathon in May. Any tips for fuel or hydration for me??
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