Taste Test: Fusion Gym’s Trainer-Designed Energy Bars

The trainers at Center City's Fusion gym designed a few boxes of customized energy bars. We took them for test drive.

Sometimes the stockpiles of nutrition bars offered in super markets just don’t have the flavor, taste or texture you’re looking for. So why not ditch those Luna and Cliff bars and take control of the both the ingredients and nutrients in your snack? That’s what the trainers at local fitness studio Fusion did.

Fusion coaches customized and created their own energy bars, providing tasty and healthy treats for workout fanatics using YouBars.com.

The website, which launched in 2006, features a Build-a-Bar page allowing customers to tailor their bars to their own nutritional needs. You start off by picking a base or two. Then you have the option of adding on protein powders, nuts and seeds, dried fruits and berries, sweeteners, seasonings, grains and, if desired, a vitamin or fiber infusion. At the end you choose your order size; thirteen bars come in one box.

If you’re worried you might not make the right combo and end up with a box full of bars that taste like bricks, snag some ingredients from a few of Fusion’s creations. The fitness studio ranked their coaches’ customized bars out in a blind taste-test, so I decided to test out five of their creations for myself. A few had me going back for a second—or third—bite.

Here are my top five:

(1) I couldn’t believe Meredith’s Madness was actually on the healthier side. The delictable energy bar tasted just like the type of chocolate fudge you would find on the boardwalk. And with low sodium, I might just have to steal her ingredients and make my own box.

Calories: 172
Fat Calories: 98
Total Fat: 11g
Cholest: 0mg
Sodium: 12mg
Total Carb: 17g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 7g
Protein: 5g

Ingredients: Cashew Butter, Organic Clover Honey, Organic Coconut, Gluten Free Crunchy Rice Cereal, Organic Semisweet Chocolate Chips, Organic Rice Protein, Organic Flaxseeds, Fiber Infusion

(2) Nick Tini’s bar had a chewy texture and sugary sweet taste similar to cookie dough – just what I needed on a groggy Wednesday afternoon. Plus, he topped the list with the most protein, making it an ideal energy booster for before or after a tough workout.

Calories: 182
Fat Calories: 93
Total Fat: 11g
Cholest.: 2mg
Sodium: 25mg
Total Carb: 11g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 5g
Protein: 10g

Ingredients: Almond Butter, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Whey Protein Isolate, Granola, Organic Cacao Nibs, All-One Vitamin Infusion

(3) With only six grams of fat, the fruity, crunchy, and light, Mackie’s Maca Bar was a perfect pre-workout snack before I headed over to spinning class. The organic dates and goji berries left me wanting more.

Calories: 146
Fat Calories: 56
Total Fat: 6g
Cholest.: 0mg
Sodium: 15mg
Total Carb: 18g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 11g
Protein: 7g

Ingredients: Cashew Butter, Organic Dates, Organic Rice Protein, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Raisins, Organic Agave Nectar, Gluten Free Crunchy Rice Cereal, Organic Goji Berries, Chia Seeds, Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Maca Powder

(4) While I couldn’t resist the blueberry flavor and touch of cinnamon, I wasn’t crazy about the ultra-soft texture of Kelly’s Klassic bar that left it falling apart. But for those with gluten-allergies, you might want to check out one of Kelly’s ingredients – Udi’s gluten free vanilla granola.

Calories: 161
Fat Calories: 70
Total Fat: 8g
Cholest.: 0mg
Sodium: 7mg
Total Carb: 16g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 10g
Protein: 8g

Ingredients: Your Bar Base, Organic Rice Protein, Sweetened Blueberries, Organic Coconut, Udi’s Gluten Free Vanilla Granola, Organic Cacao Nibs, Cinnamon, Vanilla Extract

(5) Lt. Eric’s Energy bar fell flat in this taste-test, easily taking last place. Leaving a taste of bitterness in my mouth, all I wanted was to sink my teeth back into Meredith’s fudge-filled masterpiece again. On the bright side, YouBar’s All-One Vitamin infusion was added in, providing me with an assortment of healthy essentials.

Calories: 141
Fat Calories: 47
Total Fat: 6g
Cholest: 1mg
Sodium: 13mg
Total Carb: 16g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 12g
Protein 8g

Ingredients: You Bar Base, Whey Protein Isolate, Organic Black Mission Figs, Organic Agave Nectar, Granola, Organic Cacao Nibs, Hemp-seeds, All-One Vitamin Infusion, Organic Maca Powder

Want to try them for yourself? Fusion is selling its trainers’ creation for $4 a pop.