The Muscle Food for Lifters & Athletes

Performance-Enhancing Protein/Carb Bar

The best proteins. Functional carbohydrates. When does a nutrition bar become a true, performance-enhancing food? When it’s made like this.

Wait, Why Didn’t I Get Fat?

Working at T Nation headquarters has a lot of perks. First, I get to use the private T Nation gym. Sweet. Second, I get to work from the same building as our other company, Biotest Labs.

A while back, Biotest received a big delivery of product – a huge pallet of Fini™ in unmarked white wrappers. In case you don’t know, good supplements companies do what are called “pilot runs” of their products to test for things like flavor and texture and make sure everything is up to snuff before they produce millions of them.

The pilot run turned out great and production was cranked up. But that big pallet of Finibars, cases of them left over from testing, was just sitting there… right outside my office.

Naturally, I started to grab one here and there. Then I grabbed another couple. And maybe a couple more. Sometimes I’d stack a dark chocolate crunch bar with a peanut butter crunch bar, stick them in the microwave for 10 seconds, and eat them like giant, high-performance Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Now, if you’re a fan of Finibars, then you’re probably saying, “Um, Chris, those bars are designed to be eaten before hard workouts and competitions. They aren’t snacks!”

Yeah, I know. And I still worked my way up to eating five of them every day: one before training and four more spread throughout the day or as a lunch replacement.

I fully expected to gain some body fat. But, weirdly, I didn’t. The only thing I noticed was having the best workouts of my life and muscular pumps so tight they were almost painful.

So I decided to take a closer look at the ingredients of Finibars and figure out what was going on.

Protein and Functional Carbs

Aside from 16 grams of protein – a blend of high-quality whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate, not cheap soy like most food bars – Fini™ contain 39 to 40 grams of carbohydrate. That’s what initially had me worried. I was a low-carb guy at one time. I’m not anymore, but those carbs scared me a little, given the number of bars I was scarfing down.

Turns out, instead of being primarily made out of syrup and cheap sugars like most “energy” bars, Finibars contain isomaltulose as the primary carbohydrate. It’s truly a “functional” carb, and not just because it can do squats while standing on an exercise ball.

Isomaltulose is derived from beets, but the molecules have been enzymatically rearranged to create a carbohydrate that’s fully digested and fully absorbed — but much, much slower than regular, non-functional carbs. That’s how Finibars sustain your energy for competition or long/intense workouts.

Also, isomaltulose induces a very low blood sugar response. As such, the body releases a very small amount of insulin, which prompts the body to burn stored fat for energy production. Yes, that means these bars actually promote fat burning and improve metabolism.

That explains how I was able to eat so many of them and stay lean. Isomaltulose is a functional carb source that causes the body to oxidize fat at a greater rate, which is one of the ways it improves endurance and athletic performance.

What’s more, studies – randomized, double-blind, controlled cross-over studies – show that cyclists were able to improve their time trial tests by over a minute when using isomaltulose – the difference between winning gold and going home with just the free T-shirt (1).

Fuel for the Finish

Fini™ weren’t made because Biotest wanted a piece of the nutrition bar market. No, it happened organically. An Olympic cyclist we were working with said she needed a bar that fueled her competitions and helped her stay hydrated without upsetting her stomach.

Finibars were designed just for her and not sold to the general pubic at first. Later they were tested with every type of athlete, from ultra-marathoners to pro bodybuilders and NFL football players (who would eat them before games and during halftime).

Actor Bradley Cooper would eat them before and after his brutal workouts to prepare for his role in American Sniper. Coach Christian Thibaudeau uses them to tamp down excess cortisol from training and stress. He calls Fini™ “The Muscle Saver.”

Finibars also provide anti-catabolic protection (very important for natural lifters and athletes) and something called “superhydration.” They help pull water into muscle – when consumed with fluids of course – for a superhydration effect, which is critical for supporting and sustaining high-level performance.

And unlike a grocery store “energy bar,” which can upset your stomach during training and sports, Finibars soothe the digestive tract. As a bonus, they’re wheat free and gluten free.

Who Should Use Fini™?

  • Lifters and bodybuilders who train intensively and love a good pump
  • Combat-sport athletes and fighters
  • Runners and obstacle racers
  • CrossFit athletes
  • Military personal
  • Hikers
  • Anyone who trains their butt off

And while you won’t find this on the label or on the store page, I think Fini™ make a great anytime snack or meal replacement. Hey, life is a competition. Fuel up and win it.

To Sum Up, Fini™…

  • Fuels tough workouts and competitions
  • Provides sustained high-level energy
  • Protects against muscle loss (catabolism)
  • Improves metabolism
  • Promotes fat burning
  • Supports a muscular pump
  • Soothes the digestive system
  • Tastes damn good


  1. König D et al. Substrate Utilization and Cycling Performance Following Palatinose Ingestion: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2016 Jun 23;8(7):390. PubMed.

Having eaten many a Finibar in my years (sometimes in gratuitous quantities back to back), I can relate so much to this.

I love them for hockey and bike rides, but even more so for control. As a former fat boy, I’ve battled some food issues off and on for years. A Finibar here and there truly helps curb that for me.



Awesome. Ever stack a dark chocolate Fini bar with a peanut butter Fini bar, microwave them for 15 seconds and eat them mushed together?

I have never done that. No sir, not me.



I haven’t. But I also haven’t had lunch yet.

(I’ve only microwaved the dark chocolate before.)

I was about to purchase some but the ingredients list canola oil and caramel color… that ruins the whole thing for me.


The Dark Chocolate doesn’t have those ingredients.

Any option to ditch the canola oil. Not a really good ingredient for humans to ingest.


If the drop of canola oil in the peanut butter flavor is worrisome to you, use the dark chocolate variety, which doesn’t contain it. I’m no fan of cooking with canola oil myself, but the amount in the PB bars doesn’t worry me. It’s barely a smidge (in super-scientific terms).

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Thanks, Chris. I wasn’t sure how much was included.

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What is your current stance on carbs? I remember you being a sub 100 grams a day guy.

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About 12 years ago, Dr. Mike Roussell and I wrote “The 100 Gram Carb Cure.” It was mainly about providing one guideline to help regular people lose fat. Limiting carbs to about 100g per day usually leads to a high protein intake and the removal of most junk carbs/sugar. End result: auto-regulation and fat loss, all while not having to go full-keto and leaving room for workout nutrition, like Surge. Very effective plan.

My own carb journey (don’t you just hate that word?) started with having success decades ago with a lower carb plan, then some semi-paleo experimentation. As a former fat boy, this helped me control fat gain.

Later, Tim Patterson introduced me to Indigo-3G, not on the market yet as I recall, and told me I had to eat more carbs to get the most out of it. “You need to give the nutrient partitioning agent something to repartition,” he said. Well, that made sense. In short, Indigo-3G seemed to “cure” my old diseased fat cells and I could handle carbs again. This combined with taking the good part of paleo (no or very limited wheat) seemed to do the trick.

Today I eat plenty of carbs, take my Indigo-3G, and get my carbs from Surge, Fini bars, rice, and potatoes primarily. No idea how many carbs I take in daily, but if the abs are visible I don’t sweat the details.

Thanks for the reply. I have been low carb a long time. Recently bought two bags of Surge to try. May try the Fini bars as well. I used them many years ago and they were very tasty. Recently added a baked potato with dinner and so far like the effects. I agree with you I will eat more carbs if I can stay fairly lean. Thibs recent article on how he changed his mind on low carb and your article have made me really think. Thanks.

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Did a quick poll on Instagram. Pretty tight race between flavors!

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