Erik and I attended the 2014 Arnold Sports Festival for a few reasons. One, because “anyone who is ANYONE in fitness would be there,” said Erik. True. It didn’t matter what sport: power lifting, strongman, crossfit, gymnastics, bodybuilding, pole dancing–the best athletes in the WORLD were there!
We also wanted to attend because just as the best athletes were present, the best health/fitness suppliers were practically GIVING away their products. I’m still kicking myself for not buying the $300 hand-held portable electric stimulation device that my physical therapist uses on me…for only $130.
And not only were companies offering the most amazing deals on products, but almost everyone was giving something away. There were over 800 vendors. 800 VENDORS! And 200 thousuand+ spectators and shoppers. Imagine 200 thousand iron-pumping, testosterone-filled, fitness-minded athletes SHOPPING for food and supplements at a discount store ALL WEEKEND.
The excessive amount of capitals I’ve used in this write up thus far should give away the impressive stature of the event. Sorry. :/
So Erik and I wanted to go to this, fight the madness, take in the awe, and report back to our readers about some of the best products and supplements being offered in the market right now. And boy did we get more than we bargained for!
So to start this series of Top Arnold Products, we’re going to begin with the one item we ate more of than anything else over the entire weekend: Protein Bars.
Now, while Quest Nutrition was probably the TOP selling protein bar at the Arnold (the wait line was over one hour on Saturday just to get a free bar), Erik and I are actually going to leave Quest out of our review because we’re already affiliates with them. We don’t want you to think our post is biased. (I did, btw, get a free Quest bar on Sunday when the crowds were dying down. I also got a free wrist band that says “Never Quit.” I love fitness accessories and it reminds me to stay strong each and ever day.)
Quest aside, I will have to say that this trip was the cheapest trip we ever took–food wise. Usually to go on any sort of trip, we pack the majority of our food because it’s so hard to find “healthy” items on the road. But at the Arnold, there were at LEAST a couple hundred vendors that were giving out food samples. And good samples. Gluten free, dairy free, protein packed, low carb, low sugar, bars, drinks, aminos, caffeine, hydration, etc. etc. etc. On Sunday when the lines weren’t very long, I actually ate protein bar samples throughout the day and stayed full.
NuGo STRONGER Caramel Pretzel officially wins our vote for the BEST “Highest Protein” Bar.
Ok, this monster of a bar ROCKS. I say “monster” because I hate wimpy little bars that are gone in three bites. Most of them cost well over $2 and I hardly have a chance to enjoy them before they’re gone. But these bars are a fantastic size. Sure, they’re also well over 200 calories…some nearing 300. But if you’re someone who doesn’t worry about counting calories yet instead is just looking for a lot of protein with little carbs, and GREAT taste, this is your bar. It’s a true lifter’s dream.
The NuGo Stronger Caramel Pretzel Bar was the clear winner of the “High Protein” bar taste test.
If you like that salty caramel taste with Twix bar-like caramel and the extra crunch of pretzels then this is the bar for you.
Nutritional Information: 290 calories; 25g Protein; 26 net carbs; gluten-free; NO malitol; and non-GMO.
The only downside to the bars, and this is just my opinion, is that they were a little chewier than what I specifically like. But that’s just a texture issue that I have. I like really soft cookies, super moist cake, and little chunks of bite-sized chocolate in my gooey ice cream. I don’t really like tough, chewey, sticks-to-my-teeth stuff. I guess this depends on what type of texture person you are! The taste, though, was still awesome!
If you want to check out more from NuGo or give the caramel pretzel bar a try you can find them here.
ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bars win for the BEST “LOW CARB” Protein Bar.
Soft, chewey, little chocolate chips, melt in your mouth, OMG is this really a protein bar?…are just some of the words I uttered while eating these bars. Refresh your memory with all I said about me being a texture person, and this bar is a big time winner for me. All it took was just one sample at the festival and Erik and I bought a box of our own bars. His favorite was the Strawberry Cheesecake and mine was the Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. I’m sorry, but a protein bar that isn’t hard as a rock, melts in your mouth like actual cheesecake, is high in protien, ultra low in carbs, and is still gluten free—ding ding ding! We have a winner.
My only negative? I wish they were the size of the Nugo bar. I also wish that I could afford to eat them all day!
If you want to check out more from ANSI Sport Nutrition you can find them here.
We have asked several of our friends to test out other favorites from the Arnold Sports Festival. Sign up for a Free Subscription (in the side bar) so you do not miss out on those awesome products.
Steph, first off, I LOVE the use of Caps to show EXCITEMENT, don’t apologize 🙂
Second, what a great idea for a series of posts! I mean, there’s SO many products out there and it’s tough to believe an advertisement, I’d rather take someone else’s word for it! Great descriptions, I’m checking NUGO out now, I MISS TWIX <3