February 25, 2016

Why Homemade Snacks are the Best Nutrition for Cycling Racing and Training

For my first blog, I want to look at the benefits of homemade training/racing snacks over the pre-packaged items which I used to use. Although it is much more convenient to just buy muesli bars to snack on in races and on training rides, in my experience I have found that making my own snacks at home is much better.

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What I Used to Eat

Up until this year I’d generally take a couple of muesli bars and/or oat slices on a ride. These were normally enough for when I was training for less than three hours, but once I got over 100km I would ‘hungerflat’ quite often. For a while I thought it was just a normal thing which would just happen on rides. Unfortunately living in Adelaide Hills means that quite often after a long ride I would have to ride up the Old Freeway to get home. Halfway up I would often hit a wall where just getting to the top was a struggle. I attempted to remedy this by eating more muesli bars, but the chewy bars started to become quite boring and I started to dislike the taste.

This was when I started on the SA cycling famed ‘Oatey Slices’, these were a great change and tasted much better than the chewy bars. Unfortunately when I checked the nutrition content in them I realised they weren’t exactly ideal for training.

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What I Use Now

Riding for Van D’am Racing p/b Butterfields these past few years has come with a lot of changes. One is that my new coach has strongly suggested the change to homemade foods. With a team issue copy of “Feed Zone Portables” by Biju Thomas and Allan Lim, it was time to change things up. I have experimented with quite a few of the options in the book, and since there are so many it is easy to create enough variation so I don’t get sick of them. Since I’ve started making these new snacks, such as rice cakes, I have felt much better throughout the entirety of training rides. My personal favourite so far would definitely be the blueberry and chocolate coconut rice cakes.

With regards to the inconvenience of making my own snacks, it’s not really that bad. The rice cakes take about 25 minutes to make, but 15 minutes of that is just waiting for the rice cooker to do it’s job. Rice cakes can also be refrigerated and last about a week. So, the 25 minutes for a week of food for rides is in my opinion, a much better option for training with than the easy option of a few muesli bars.

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