Homemade Energy Fuel

Q: For someone who is allergic to peanuts, sensitive to caffeine and prefers not to consume too much fructose, do you have any ideas for making your own energy gels or other on-course fuel?

Brandon Marsh answers:

A: In today’s world, there’s a large market for energy gels, nutrition bars and sports drinks. But if you have the time to make your own, it’s not a bad idea. This way you’ll know and recognize every ingredient that goes into your body. Plus, the prep is a lot easier than you might think.

Homemade Energy Fuel

Honey and cinnamon provide natural sugar and antioxidants to help you stay energized during a long workout.

Molasses is a natural source of electrolytes and provides  a decent amount of B6 and iron. The honey sweetens this up, while the honey-flavored almond butter adds bulk to the consistency, some protein for your muscles and — of course — another shot of honey for your taste buds.

6 Tbsp. raw honey
4 Tbsp. smooth honey almond butter  
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch of salt

Directions:  
1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until fully blended.
2. Using a spatula, spoon the gel into an empty flask. If you don’t have a flask, a small plastic baggie will work. When you’re ready to eat, just rip off a corner and squeeze into your mouth.

Other easy-to-eat food ideas include sandwiches, cookies and muffins. Making your own means you can skip the preservatives and added sugar that come with the packaged kind. You can also add protein or play around with different flavors depending on the season. Here are a few other recipe ideas to test for training days:

Pumped-Up Pumpkin Muffins

1 package muffin mix
2 eggs
1 can pumpkin puree
1 cup water
1 scoop vanilla pea protein powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. cinnamon, or to taste

Directions:  
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips. *Note: the package instructions include oil, but you can omit it since you’re adding the canned pumpkin.  
3. Fold in chocolate chips.
4. Divide batter into greased muffin pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

AB & J –  Almond butter and jelly are the perfect combo if you’re allergic to peanuts. You’ll get the carbs and protein you need for going the distance. If you’re really crafty, try baking bread from scratch using a whole grain bread mix.  You know how to make a sandwich, so I won’t bore you with the details. But I do recommend experimenting with different fruits. Strawberry jelly is a nice twist. As for the almond butter, keep it simple with a creamy spread. Dont forget: you want an almond butter with some sodium to fuel your body during a sweaty workout.

DIY Sports Drink

50 grams maltodextrin or CarboPro powder
1 tri-berry electrolyte tab, or 1/8 tsp. table salt if you want to keep the flavor neutral
24 ounces water

Directions: In a 24-ounce bottle, add powder and electrolyte tab or salt. Pour water over top and shake until well mixed.

That’s all there is to it! Remember to practice your  nutrition during training, so your body isn’t surprised come race day. Because you’re making everything from scratch, it’s easy to make adjustments to the recipe to find what works best for you. Experiment and enjoy!

Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at ask.the.triathletes@gmail.com. “˜Like’ them on  Facebook  or follow on Twitter: Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and Amy @AmyCMarsh.

Team Marsh

Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at ask.the.triathletes@gmail.com.

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About Team Marsh

Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at ask.the.triathletes@gmail.com.

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