Held annually in Cologne, FIBO is the world's biggest fitness expo, where big hitters and hungry upstarts alike unveil new gadgets, widgets and doodahs in the hope of grabbing a share of this multi-billion-dollar market.[related_articles]
Several acres of FIBO's epic floorspace is taken up by companies selling fitness-related foodstuffs, aimed at everyone from casual joggers to rippling muscle-monsters. Seriously, there are thousands of products vying for attention. Seems like this corner of the fitness market might be a teensy bit over-saturated in 2015.
Anyway, because we couldn't face another meal from the Cologne Exhibition Centre canteen – where the queues are so long that your meal goes cold by the time you'd paid for it – we instead put together a full three-course meal using solely products sourced from exhibition stands.
This is fine dining at FIBO. Cooking doesn't get much tougher than this.
LIKEMEAT NATURAL FILLET STRIPS
The least fake-tasting fake meat we've ever tried
German company LikeMeat make the least fake-tasting fake meat we've ever tried. Made from poor innocent plants rather than poor innocent animals, these Natural Fillet Strips really did have the texture of tender meat, if not quite the taste – although considering they were free of gluten, flavour enhancers, lactose and cholesterol (all the good stuff, basically) they were decent.
You should totally buy this if: you're a vegetarian but you sometimes like to pretend that you're not, for a kinky little thrill. Look out for LikeMeat products getting imported into the UK later this year.
The Wine Selection
ALL-STARS LIPORUSH CHERRY
Liporush is billed as "the ultimate pre-workout drink" on account of its "thermogenic diet matrix" (nope, us neither).
It's absolutely rammed up the wazzoo with caffeine
Anyway, it's real selling point is that it's absolutely rammed up the wazzoo with caffeine, which has been proven to supercharge a workout. In fact, the impressively aggro label states that each 250ml bottle contains as much caffeine as two-and-a-half cups of coffee, and warns, "Do not consume more than one bottle within a 24 hour period." Yikes.
Anyway, we swigged it all down in one go, obviously, because we're hard. Thankfully, we experienced neither a heart attack nor an aneurysm, although we were feeling notably more awake within 60 seconds or so. Grrrr. Hulk smash.
The taste was a bit of a let-down, though: we were expecting the overwhelming flavour-blast of a thousand Haribo, when what we actually got was too-diluted squash. Bah.
You should totally buy this if: you want to get a lot of caffeine into your face, sharpish, and you don't like your energy drinks fizzy.
The Main Course
GEAR MASS SHOCK BAR
Polish company GEAR are aiming their products squarely at the bodybuilding market, which is why their name is an bro-tastic acronym for Genetically Enhanced Anabolic Research.
Man, it was big though. Felt like it was never going to end
It also explains why their Mass Shock bar – almost seven inches long and crammed with 31g of muscle-buffing protein – comes in packaging that makes it look like some kind of industrial chemical.
It's billed as a "meal replacement bar" that you consume before a big workout, so that you can feel full without having to eat normal food like some kind of lame-o weakling.
Actually consuming the Mass Shock was a suprisingly enjoyable – if somewhat lengthy – process. We braced ourselves for a brick of dense, grey-tasting stodge, but it tasted like a halfway decent chocolate bar, like when Lidl do their own knock-off version of a Snickers or whatever and it's not quite right, but it's close enough.
Man, it was big though. Sooo big. Felt like it was never going to end.
You should totally buy this if: you want to load up on protein and keep hunger at bay before a workout. Although, fair warning, these are definitely for bodybuilding types rather than, say, runners or cyclists – trying to slog up a steep hill after wolfing down one of these would most likely end in some kind of 'digestive misfortune'.
OAT KING RASPBERRY SWEETS FLAPJACK
Anyway, the GEAR Mass Shock bar was taking its toll at this point, and we only got four bites before having to throw in the towel. It was nice, though. Flapjack, innit.
You should totally buy this if: you enjoy oats, flapjacks and muscular German entrepreneurs wearing chef hats and very little else.
The After-Dinner Coffee
ACTIVE LIFE ENERGY THUNDER GEL
What better way to round off a delicious, faintly insane meal than with a good, strong coffee? Unfortunately, there aren't any stands at FIBO selling mass-gaining lattes (gap in the market there, fitness entrepreneurs!) so we had to settle for this cool-looking gel by Polish company ALE.
It's designed to give you a much-needed smack on the arse
Cola-flavoured and packed with carbs and caffeine, Thunder Gel is designed to be consumed during a race, giving you a much-needed smack on the arse to get you through those last few kilometres.
Tasted okay, wasn't too slimy (as gels sometimes can be), and give us a cheeky little boost, even on top of the giddiness we were already experiencing from the Liporush. Wooooo.
It was now probably time for us to stop consuming fitness foodstuffs, before something bad happened.
You should totally buy this if: you want to replenish your energy stores during a run or cycle, while looking cool in an astronaut-y sort of way.