Nutrition Review: MaxiFuel Bars, Gels, Drink & Shakes

Back when I used to row, MaxiMuscle supplements were what I always lusted after; although a bit out of my price range back then, my team-mates whole-heartedly advocated the use of ProGain, ProMax and Viper as a vital part of their training regime. I used to have to settle for MyProtein or Holland & Barrett, which I assure you don't really sit in the same league.

MaxiFuel had rather slipped my mind in terms of cycling nutrition though; I'm not sure why, I knew how well the stuff should work, but I have always been swayed by Science In Sport or High5. Last month though, I had the opportunity to try some of the MaxiFuel products, and I have to say I've been very impressed.

For the cyclist or triathlete out there, MaxiFuel do four principle products that will help your performance: ViperBoost Energy Bars, RecoverMax Protein Shakes, ViperActive Energy Gels and ViperActive Drink. These were the products that I have been testing over the last month.
Below I've written a bit about my experience with each of them:

ViperBoost Fruit, Cereal and Dark Chocolate Energy Bars
I reviewed the Apple and Cinnamon ViperActive Energy Bar in my Energy Bar Comparison blog a year or so ago; it was good, but not my favourite. However this 'Cereal and Dark Chocolate' one is A LOT more to my liking. I'm a sucker for a bit of dark chocolate, especially on a long winter ride, and this one really tastes good. It's got a chewy inner cereal filling, which delivers the low GI oats for sustained energy; then the chocolate coating makes it tastier to munch down.

RecoverMax Strawberry Protein Shakes
Recovering properly from a hard ride is so important to training, as people that have read my previous 'Blogs on Recovery' will know. Protein shakes are an easy way of getting good quality protein on board after a hard training session. They're also a very convenient way to make sure you get your recovery ingredients when you are away from home at a race meet for example, when Alternative Recovery Foods aren't available. This strawberry flavour shake is as good as any I've tried, not dissimilar to REGO (which I have used previously), it tastes good and aids recovery effectively. When it comes to recovery shakes some are definitely more palatable than others, this one seems to be firmly in the better bracket; mixing easily and tasting smooth. Get those muscles recovering!

ViperActive Blackcurrant Flavour Energy Gels
These are quite likely the best gels that I have had. At 70 grams per gel, they are one of the largest gels that you will find on the market; slightly larger than the SIS gels (60ml) and substantially larger than High 5's offering (38 grams). Their size means that you can get away with having them a lot less often; I normally have three High 5 gels in an hour when I'm racing if I can, at the very least two in an hour. With these gels you can get away with one every 45 mins in my experience! Admittedly when you do have that gel it is a fair 'gulp' to get it down, but I found doing that once every 45 minutes is a lot easier than trying to find a suitable time to have three gels an hour. The blackcurrant flavour is very palatable, tasting a bit like Ribena; it's sweet, but then this is an energy gel we're talking about. Most importantly it's not too sticky, which makes it a lot easier to "eat".
Overall, this a great product in my opinion; certainly my choice for races in the 2013 season.   

ViperActive Orange Flavour Energy Drink
I've tried a fair few energy drinks; High 5, Gatorade, PSP22, Nectar, etc. They all seem to have different attributes: High 5 and PSP are very easy to drink, but don't seem to be overly energy-boosting in my experience. Gatorade gives you a decent energy kick and is palatable as well; probably an improvement over High 5 and PSP. However if you're really looking for a major energy hit from your drink, Nectar and ViperBoost should definitely be top of your list; I wonder if you would ever 'bonk' drinking ViperBoost, the sugar hit is a serious one! Because of that I have found you want to dilute it down a fair bit for normal training (which makes it more economical as well), however for racing it's a real asset, fuelling you all the way to the finish line. The orange flavour is tasty, perhaps a little too much colouring in the mix, but the flavour itself is not overpowering and nice to keep sipping. A good race drink of choice.

So...MaxiFuel sports supplements: they seem to be as good as I thought they were back when I was rowing...perhaps if I had been using them when I was in a boat, I might have pulled some faster times as well!
Who knows...all I'm going to say is I will be sure that's not an excuse on the bike! They'll definitely be in my pockets and bottles a fair bit in 2013.


  1. Another interesting post Tim....
    Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...



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