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Coach's Column with Namrita O'Dea

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |September 28, 2010 9:05 PM

This week our question goes to Namrita O'Dea. A licensed dietitian and member of the Topeak/Ergon racing team. O'Dea helps riders fine tune their bodies for maximum performance through her business 55 Nine Performance Nutrition. 

With Interbike just wrapping up, I thought I would offer a few of my favorites from the show.  Some of the products are new, some are not, but all are worth the look.

1. Honey Stinger Waffles: These are individually packaged wafer-like waffles with Honey Stinger in the center.  They have the taste and feel of "real food", are not too sweet or sticky, and would be really easy to eat while on the bike.  Honey Stinger has come a long way now offering a wide range of products including the gels made with natural honey, chews, and even protein bars.  My only problem with these waffles is it will be hard to not eat them off the bike!  They will be available in October and will cost you approximately $1.40/ea.  Nutrition Info per waffle: 160 calories, 7 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 0g protein.  For more information visit

2. Hydrapak Softflask: This isn't a new product but I picked up two new ones at Interbike as they are definitely one of my favorite products out there.  Having used "regular" gel flasks, these are much easier to squeeze so you can actually get all the gel out of the flask.  They also hold a lot more of whatever you are putting in it.  I've used PowerGel in my flasks and also almond butter thinned with agave nectar.  The softflask comes in 2 sizes, 5 oz and 8 oz, and come in either a flip top cap or a bite valve. The bite valve is best used for regular gels and the flip top works better for anything that is of a thicker consistency.  For more information visit 

3. PowerBar Sustained Release Beta Alanine: Yes, this actually a supplement from PowerBar.  Acidosis is one of the factors that has shown to increase muscle fatigue during exercise.  Muscle carnosine has a role in pH regulation in muscle but beta alanine availability is a limiting factor in carnosine synthesis.  A recent review of studies shows sustained release beta alanine increases muscle carnosine content and may improve performance in high intensity exercise.  The PowerBar supplements are not currently available for sale but keep checking  Note: PowerBar is also now retailing a protein powder supplement in chocolate and vanilla.  I have tried both in smoothies and give it the thumbs up.

4. Pure Bar: This bar is all-natural, gluten-free, organic, raw, vegan...AND it even tastes really good.  The bars are also under 200 calories and low in saturated fat, unlike many other bars.  They make great anytime snacks and come in delicious flavors such as cherry cashew, chocolate brownie, and wild blueberry.  For more information visit

5. FRS Healthy Energy ready to drink cans and hard "candies": The most recent scientific review of quercetin, a dietary flavonoid and the main antioxidant of FRS, determined that quercetin provides a benefit in both VO2 max and endurance performance.  FRS offers drink concentrate, individually wrapped chews and hard "candies", and ready to drink cans now sweetened with stevia.  New flavors include: Apricot nectarine, orange, and low-cal citrus pomegranate.  For more information visit

Namrita Kumar O'Dea, MS, RD

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