Makeup artist Pratima Bassi has always had a sweet tooth.
But, when, a few years ago, her weight skyrocketed to 265 pounds thanks to her love of gooey chocolate morsels and cream-filled cookies, the 23-year-old New Yorker from Rockland County resolved to slim down.
In 2018, she committed to a low-carb lifestyle and 90-minute strength training workouts five times a week. She’s lost 90 pounds and counting, but her healthy regimen has an unexpected element: candy.
This past April, she learned that thousands of weight-lifters within TikTok’s 122.4 billion-strong #GymTok community were snacking on Sour Strips candies for a pre-workout energy boost.
So, she tried eating the tangy swatches 20-minutes before her workouts, and almost immediately noticed a difference in her stamina and post-exercise results. She’s been able to increase the weight of her dumbbells — which she uses for lateral raises, walking lunges and squats to tone her arms, legs and back — from 40 pounds to 70 pounds.
“I know [the strips] are going to give me the energy I need to burn more calories and lift heavier weights,” Bassi told The Post.
Others on TikTok are also singing the praises of the tart-sweet treat, which have attracted more than 108 million views on the platform. One gym-crazed snacker encouraged her followers to “make Sour Strips your pre-workout,” after using them to fuel her bodybuilding drills for the first time this spring. Her video testimonial netted 1.6 million views along with comments like, “I’m obsessed with Sour Strips,” and “these are the best.”
Maxx Chewning, a social media personality, entrepreneur and self-described “diehard” sour-candy enthusiast launched Sour Strips in 2019. While Chewning is known, in part, for his fitness tips, his candies aren’t marketed for gym rats. The Sour Strips website touts that they come in 12 “extreme sour” flavors and are not low in sugar.
But, it’s actually the sugar that is fueling fitness freaks.
A 2013 study conducted by researchers in Spain determined that carbs in the form of sugar are key to an athlete’s gym performance.
“Carbohydrate-rich diets are also recommended for endurance and ultra-endurance exercise, because they are associated with increased muscle glycogen (reserved sugar in the body) stores, as well as delayed onset of fatigue,” read the findings.
And New Jersey registered dietitian Cassandra Lepore confirmed to the The Post that candy, regardless of the brand or flavor, is, in fact, a decent source of pre-workout energy.
“Candy is a source of a simple carbohydrate, which means that it breaks down rapidly and is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which, in turn, boosts your energy levels,” explained Lepore.
The expert noted that healthier alternatives to confectionery, like bananas or apple sauce, can also offer gym buffs a spark of fat-burning fire. She also pointed to energy gel packs, which are popular with marathon runners, as good preworkout snacks.
“If you plan on completing a high intensity training for longer than an hour,” continued Lepore, “then you should consume at least 30 to 60 grams of fast fuel and simple carbohydrates before a workout.”
For Bassi, the candies aren’t just fuel, they’re motivation.
“Some days, when I don’t really feel like working out, I do it anyway because I know that if I go to the gym, I get to have candy,” she said laughing, adding that outside of the gym she limits her sweets to keto-friendly shakes and bars. “The Sour Strips allow me to enjoy working out while eating something that I didn’t think I could eat while dieting.”
It’s all made for sweet success on Bassi’s health journey.
“When you’re overweight and on a weight-loss journey, putting candy in your mouth is the last thing you think will make you feel good about yourself,” she said. “But candy is helping me achieve my [body goals].”