Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Chocolate covered espresso beans? Aren’t those like loaded with sugar? How can that be called a real food? Well, yes they do have sugar in them. But, they only have about the same amount of sugar as energy gels for an equivalent serving size. And other than the sugar (also depending on which brand you buy) all of the other ingredients are natural (cocoa, milk, coffee beans, etc.). And if you buy the dark chocolate ones, those have beneficial antioxidants too.
I had read online that some ultra runners use chocolate covered espresso beans as fuel when on endurance runs and it makes sense. After all, caffeine has been dubbed the best legal performance booster and who doesn’t love chocolate (unless you’re one of those weird people that hates chocolate, and in that case we just can’t be friends). So, I figured I’d give it a try. On Sunday, we had driven home from visiting my sister in Utah and I needed to get my workout in. I was feeling very sluggish and the thought of brewing a hot pot of coffee when it was 110 outside just want not every appealing. I remembered I had bought these a little while back as fuel for my half marathon training, but thought I might as well give them a shot now! I couldn’t find the exact numbers, but each bean contains approximately 5mg of caffeine. I ate 10, so about 50mg of caffeine (and about 80 calories), which is roughly about a half of cup of coffee. Then I hit the gym.
I first did a 60 minute spin class. It went great. I had lots of energy for the duration of the class and felt really great during all the climbs and speed work that we did. When it was over, I was actually feeling so good, that I stuck around for a 30 minute core conditioning class afterwards. I didn’t feel any kind of a crash and no unwanted stomach issues that I’d normally get from a gel. The only hesitation I have with these (and I’ll find out next week on a long training run I have planned) is if they melt in the summer heat. I’ll keep you posted on that one.
You can pick these up at most grocery stores, but if you want organic/fair trade/etc. you better hit up your nearest Whole Foods or health foods store.
On a scale from 1 to 10, I give chocolate covered espresso beans an 8 (due to the potential melting factor).
Have you ever had chocolate covered espresso beans? Do you fuel with caffeine?
Also, don’t forget my Fellow Flowers giveaway is still going on!