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Fueling on the Go: My 3 Favourite Energy Bars


Fueling on the Go: My 3 Favourite Energy Bars


I've been on a move recently to find real food alternatives to fuel my triathlon training with real food, versus gels and gummies. Not relying exclusively on quick, accessible fuels takes a lot of extra work, planning and time - all things that are in short supply some days given other, non-training commitments.

Given this, I've always relied somewhat on the quick and easy access of energy bars. Whether that be for a long training session or a quick energy kick in the afternoon at work.

With a number of various bar options out there, growing every day, below are my three favourite energy bars.

My selection criteria is pretty simple:

  • The bar must taste good
  • Must be made primarily of real foods
  • Must have ingredients that I can (a) pronounce and (b) know what they are
  • Provide me with the required energy I'm looking for

My 3 Favourite Energy Bars


gomacro Bar

Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, Organic Raisins, Organic Almond Butter, Organic Walnuts, Organic Unsweetened Coconut, Organic Dates, Organic Puffed Brown Rice


Elevate Me

Ingredients: Whey Protein Isolate, Dates, Organic Raisins, Apples, Almonds, Cranberries (cranberries, apple juice, sunflower oil), Strawberries, Papaya (papaya, calcium, citric acid) & Mango


Bonk Breaker

Ingredients: Brown rice syrup, gluten-free oats, cashew butter, brown rice flour,  honey, salted caramel toffee pieces (cane sugar, butter, sea salt, soy lecithin, citric acid), Peanuts, Rice Protein, crisp rice (rice flour, sugar, salt, calcium carbonate), flaxseeds, natural flavors, sea salt. 

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Will Nutrition Be Your (My) Downfall?  The Aftermath


Will Nutrition Be Your (My) Downfall? The Aftermath


So.... I know after Part 1 you're all dying to hear how my nutrition long ride experiment went. Well, in a nutshell, it actually went pretty darn good! So here's what I learned in just a few (okay several) bullet points:

  • Nutrition is much harder to pay attention to that I actually though.  It's hard to push your body and have enough mental strength to remember your plan and execute, even when on the trainer.  I was finding myself forgetting, for example, if I was to be drinking water or Infinit or when I was to be fueling with chips or with clif bars.  So I have to really be organized in advance (labels) so I'm not trying to recall on the fly on game day.
  • I work well on a lot of calories, read, a lot.  I mean I guess that's not surprising.  My hilarious bio alludes to my propensity to eat; in undergrad I had a bartender buy me a shot for finishing a burger that was "so big" that he didn't believe I ordered it that way (he checked with me before he let the kitchen make it.  The shot was Jack Daniels.  It was gross).
  • More salt is better.  When I started sloshing, ingesting salt really helped.  The chips and jerky also really helped (both very high in salt content).  My next round of Infinit has been pumped up with salt.
  • My profile aerodrink is awesome because it keeps the straw basically at my lips; I drank almost continuously.  I hope I think it's as awesome when I'm moving instead of sitting still.
  • Even drinking almost continuously, I hardly had to use the washroom.  That means in Arizona heat I will need to drink even more continuously to try and stay ahead of my hydration needs.  This causes me some concern, so I will have to manage this particularly pre-race and in the first 3 hours of the bike.
  • All told, I basically ate this (starting at lunchtime on Friday):
    • 12:00pm:  Huge salad (and potato salad) with two very large, very salty chicken legs, plus 500m milk (calories, a lot)
    • 4:00pm:   16 piece sushi (snack, also calories a lot)
    • 9:00pm:   Pasta Friday!  Kraft Dinner with spinach and hot sauce (~900kcal)
    • 3:45am (yes, I woke up to eat):  English muffin with peanut butter and honey (~350kcal)
    • 9:00am:  Pre-workout, Infinit (~280kcal) + clif bar (~260kcal)
    • 10am - 3:30pm:  4 x Infinit (1120kcal) + 4 x clif bar (~1040kcal)
    • 3:30pm:  English muffin with avocado and mustard (~480kcal)
    • 3:30 - Finish:  1 x Infinit (~280kcal), jerky (~250kcal), potato chips (~200kcal), 4 x nuuns boost, 2 x salt pills
    • Water throughout as best I could without getting too sloshy

Finished strong, and then I basically didn't eat for the rest of the day because of all the salt and sugar inside me (which was actually a huge mistake, because I totally bonked on my run on Sunday as a result).

So I essentially took in the better part of 7000 calories over 18 or so hours to be able to ride for 6h24m in my house.

In other words, three days worth of normal people foods for about 1/3 of the energy I'll be expending in Arizona.  Jeez louise....

So, what do I have to do for Arizona?  Eat all the things!!  Better get to practicing.  19 days....

ps.  I'd also like to give a big shout out Joe Hayden of Bulldozer in an F1 Race for his very very very very detailed report of his recent Ironman 70.3 in Tempe.  His nutrition advice in particular has been extremely helpful in my planning.  Thanks Joe!  Check out Joe here:


Fueling on the Go: Homemade Potato Chips

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Fueling on the Go: Homemade Potato Chips


As  I continue my weaning off of the gels/gummies, I've taken a little bit of relapse. This week it became obvious to me that I'm going to have to rely somewhat on gels/gummies - a necessary evil of travelling for racing. With that in mind, I did go back to using them occasionally as a means of keeping my body use to them. That being said, I'm certainly not giving up on my use of the real-food alternatives. My last attempt were some absolutely amazing Ham & Pineapple Rice Balls that did everything I needed and wanted from it. Tasted delicious, like a Hawaiian Pizza, and kept me feeling strong and energized the entire time. I will certainly use this recipe again.

This week I'm trying something I've been wanting to try for awhile - Homemade Potato Chips.

I've read a lot of articles that professional cyclists use potato fuel quite a bit in their races and training sessions. Trevor and I also have a fellow triathlete friend who loves fueling with potatoes. So I figured why not - full of potassium, magnesium and carbs they certainly have the necessary ingredients for a good fuel source on a long ride.

Homemade Potato Chips

This may actually be the easiest recipe I've made. Potatoes, seasoning salt, olive oil. Slice the potatoes as thinly as you desire. My cutting skills suck, so they are all over the map. Throw the ingredients into a bowl or Tupperware container and mix together.


Preheat the oven to 400. Take the covered potato slices and spread evenly across a cooking sheet on some parchment paper.


Bake the potatoes until desired crispiness. I did 15 minutes. Then flipped the potatoes and did another 15 minutes. When they were done I added a little bit more salt just for flavoring and good measure.

That's it. That's all.

Happy Training Everyone!

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Fueling on the go: Ham and Pineapple Rice Balls


Fueling on the go: Ham and Pineapple Rice Balls


It has been almost 4 weeks since I've relied exclusively on gels and/or gummies to fuel my long distance training sessions. Now, I'll be completely honest, this has been helped by the fact that I've been forced indoors on account of living in the frigid North. Nonetheless, I'm proud of myself. So far it has been a successful transition. I don't think I'll be quite there before my next race and will definitely have to use some gels, I feel confident that I'm on my way to transitioning away completely in the future. The results have been great. I feel better. I've yet to "bonk" on a single ride. My stomach has been settled and in a few brick sessions I've noticed none of the fear "sloshing" that has accompanied me in the past when relying solely on gels gummies and sugary drinks.

A quick review of what I have tried:

  • Rice cakes - good option. Not very mobile. I may have made the servings too big
  • Energy balls - a great recipe. Better option as a snack rather than fueling for a long ride or run
  • Orange Almond Macaroons- again, delicious recipe, but found them a bit difficult to eat on the go. Good snack, decent for indoor training.

My primary source of inspiration has been, or course, the internet and seeing what others have tried but I also picked up the amazing The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes  which I strongly recommend for anyone and everyone. It is full of amazing recipes and information as to why making the switch is worth it.

This week, I'm again relying on the The Feed Zone Cookbook

Rice Balls - Ham and Pineapple 


This week I'm trying the rice balls. As mentioned in my Rice Cakes review, I found the cakes to be a little large and hard to eat. So this week, I'm trying the balls, which include a little 15 minute baking time to add some structure I think .... At the very least, that is the major difference I've noticed already.

Again, simple simple recipe and takes no time at all. Cook some sticky rice. Chop some pineapple and some cooked ham. Throw them all together into a bowl and roll them into balls. Easy.


Once you're done, not only do these rice balls taste incredible, are easy to consume on the bike and pack easily; they also make your house or apartment smell like ham and pineapple pizza - without all the greasy and guilt that comes with that phone call.

Of all the recipes I've tried thus far, these are by far my favorite.

I used them on my recent 5 hour stationary training session. It was the first time I've ever rode that distance and not once felt like I was losing energy. I had sustained energy and power throughout the entire session and no digestion issues whatsoever. I felt good during and after the workout. Cannot ask for much more than that. Not to mention they tasted delicious. Like actual food. Which I'm more than certain helps ones mental game as well.

Pick up the The Feed Zone Cookbookand try this recipe. You will not be disappointed.

Until the next installment!

Happy Training!!!

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Fueling On the Go: Orange Almond Macaroons


Fueling On the Go: Orange Almond Macaroons


I'm now entering into the third installment of my search for some real food alternatives to fueling those long-ass endurance runs and I've got to say it has been pretty successful so far. While I certainly haven't fully eliminated the gels and gummy fuel sources, I've made good progress in alternating in some real food options. The verdict so far: Fantastic.

I've found the rice cakes and energy balls to provide me with the needed energy and sustenance to power through my workouts, avoid bonking and just straight up feeling great. So with the positive results so far, there is no other option but to keep experimenting and trying new options.

Last weeks energy balls were fantastic. I found them an excellent option on my bike rides, as a pick me up after say a swim and honestly I took them to work as a great snack to get me through the afternoon energy drain. All and all, a quick and excellent option for anyone.

This week:

Orange Almond Macaroons

I got this recipe from The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes  which I strongly recommend for anyone and everyone. It is chalker blocked full of amazing recipes that are quick, easy and delicious.  These macaroons are no different.

Like all baking it is easy. Put the ingredients in bowl, exactly as directed. Mix together and bake. The incredients are pretty straight forward and you likely have most of it in your pantry already. Consistent with my other recipes, these are easy to customize to your tastes. I like oranges and almonds so it was a perfect fit.

Total prep and bake time was 30 mins.

Spoiler alert for next week .... These are delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!


Happy Training Everyone!!

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Fueling On the Go: Energy Balls

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Fueling On the Go: Energy Balls


A little task and goal I started a few weeks back was to start reducing and replacing the gels, gummies and energy drinks I used as fuel on my longer endurance training sessions. This post is a follow-up on my rice cake experiment, as well as an introduction to my latest attempt - Energy Balls. First off, the Rice Cakes. I was pleasantly surprised with the rice cakes. They were easy to make, they kept well and most importantly they are easily modified to your particular taste profile or nutrition requirements.  

I found the cakes very easy to eat and store on my ride. They also kept me well fed and energized throughout the rides, including rides over 100km.

A few findings on my first attempt with making the rice cakes:

  • Make portions smaller- I made my portions way too big. It made them clumsy to eat and I found I was eating them for way too long. Next time I would make them smaller, so they are easier to digested and eat while on the move.
  • Add a little more flavour - the apple cakes I made were a little bland. I would add a little more apple and cinnamon next time. I might try mango or chocolate chips as well just to add a little flavour.
  • Pay more attention to the wrapping- I was a little lazy with the wrapping and would definitely take a little more care this time.

This week we've got .............

Energy Balls

I'm sure you've all seen some sort of energy ball recipe and that this isn't new to many of you. However, keeping with my goal of recipes that are customizable and easy to transport, they seemed like a good choice.

Simple ingredients: peanut butter (almond butter), oats, vanilla flax, chocolate chips, salt, protein, honey, coconut. You could add anything chia seeds, nuts, fruit - the options are endless.


Just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix them together and let them sit in the fridge for 30-45 mins. Roll into balls and wrap. Easy peasy.

Happy Training Everyone!!!

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Race Week Routine - Nutrition

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Race Week Routine - Nutrition


In my last post, I discussed my race week routine with regards to tapering and bringing down the volume of training I'm doing.  Since then, I've had a few requests about what my diet and nutrition plan looks like during the week before a race. My typical eating habits will not change much during the beginning of the week. Although, there are a few things I try stick to when I start the week and especially later in the week:

  1. Avoid introduction of new foods - I try stick to foods by body regularly receives, no need for some random onset GI issues
  2. Stay away from the heat - spicy foods, well .... you know. I just stay away.
  3. Avoid/Limit Fiber intake - I stick to white carbs (whole wheat are much higher in fiber) during this week.
  4. Limit caffeine - I stick to a single cup in the morning. Just enough to perk me up.
  5. Limit Alcohol - the hardest, but necessary. One drink the Friday before.

Where I start to see substantive changes is the three-days prior to the race when I start carb-loading. This is where, unlike Trevor, I load up on my bread.

What is carb-loading? Carb-loading attempts to maximize the storage of glycogen in the muscles and liver. The idea being you top up the glycogen stores to be used on race day, helping avoid bonking and potentially limiting the amount of on course nutrition needed to maintain energy levels. I've been told that typically you've got about 2 hours of glycogen stores, carb-loading can bring that up too 3 hours. Not insignificant.

I personally follow a three-day carb-loading routine where I seek to consume somewhere in between 560 - 810 grams of carbs per day (7-10 grams/kg). Yup that is a lot of food ..... and it sure isn't easy to do. I try to best break it out over 6-8 meals/snacks during the day although as we all can attest, this isn't the easiest thing at all times.  But my schedule looks something like this (I've simplified for the sake of the post, but you get the general gist):

  • Breakfast - 100 grams carbs, 15-25 grams protein, 5 grams fat
  • Snack 1 - 40-75 grams carbs, 15 grams protein, 5 grams fat
  • Lunch - 200 grams carbs, 15-25 grams protein, 5 grams fat
  • Snack 2 - 40-75 grams carbs, 15 grams protein, 5 grams fat
  • Dinner - 200 grams carbs, 15-25 grams protein, 5 grams fat
  • Snack 3 - 40-75 grams carbs, 15 grams protein, 5 grams fat
  • Snack 4 - (optional 40-75 depending on snack volume and general feeling)

Total Carbs - 660-800 grams; Protein - 105 - 175 grams; Fat - 35 grams

As you can see, that equals a lot of food in a single day. Now, it is easy to eat a ton of carbs of unhealthy foods, but when you're trying to eat healthy it can be a bit of challenge; and, at times, quite bland.

Here is a list of foods that help me reach these targets:

  • Bread & Bagels (white only) - Rod I am forever grateful for the delicious bread you provide (pictured above)!
  • Rice (white)
  • Potatoes (regular and sweet potatoe)
  • Fruit
  • Pastas (white)
  • Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Fish (leaner the better)
  • Granloas
  • Energy bars - Elevate me and Cliff
  • Yogurt (Greek during day, regular at night)
  • Vegetables (although not much in terms of carbs, I can't ignore the micronutrient benefits)
  • Water
  • Gatorade

Finally, race day morning looks a little different than a typical morning as well. Assuming a 6:20 am race start, my race morning looks like this:

  • 4:00 am - Wake up
  • 4:05 am - Breakfast - Bagel (white), Peanut Butter and Jam (no butter) + water (with NUUN Tablet)
  • 5:30 am - Energy Bar (Cliff, Elevate Me), sips of water
  • 5:45 - 6:00 - Warm-up
  • 6:30 - Game time

So there it is, a high-level overview of my nutrition strategy prior to an event. I find that this works well for me. While it may not work for everyone, it may provide a good jumping off point.

If you're creating your own plan, I would definitely recommend consultation with a Registered Nutritionist (I'm not one, but I consult one quite regularly).

Happy Training or Good Luck, if you're racing this week!

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OMG I'm Off the Bread

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OMG I'm Off the Bread


Those of you who know me well, and even those who don't, know that my life has one, unrelenting, unshakable constant: Submarine sandwiches. The Hero, The Hoggie, the Philly, The Blimpie, The Dip, The Sub, Heaven in your Mouth, whatever you want to call it, submarine sandwiches have literally been my go to, anytime of day, sometimes multiple times of day, meal food since I had my first Tuna sub sandwich at the Subway near my childhood home.  My biggest dream in life (then) was to be tall enough to see over the very tall "sneeze guard" wall.  I'm tall enough now, but they redesigned the wall years ago....NOBread

Of those many, many, many sandwiches, my all time favorite is the Subway Spicy Italian (TM Probably). 1500 Calories of fat, salt, and bready bready goodness. I have literally said to women in my past "the way to my heart is a spicy italian and a chocolate milk". I can tell you (right now today) exactly how far the three closest Subways are to my home (in step count), which one is best at which times, and which "sandwich artist" is the preferred artist.  I emailed Subway head office when they switched from the "traditional" cut.  My list of obsessive Subway related life events goes on and on and on (we all remember the controversy that was the 11 inch footlong).

But you know what? Watching Brandon and his quest for nutrition made me realize something. In all of my efforts to improve my own nutrition game (of which there have been many over the years) that one constant -- that daily massive helping (and I do mean daily. I averaged a Subway sandwich 5 out of every 7 days for the better part of 6 straight years) of enriched bread has ultimately been "too much of a good thing".  I need a change if I want my body to change.

Now this isn't a no carbs post.  Far from it.  We endurance athletes need carbs.  And carbs are great!  But my problem was balancing those carbs (and the accompanying fatty processed meats).  And inhaling several hundred calories of footlong goodness every lunch hour would leave me bloated, tired, and that much farther away from my training goals.

So I did it.  I'm off the bread.  For now at least.  And by "off" I don't mean I've quit. I love bread.  You should too.  I think it has a very healthy place in one's diet.

So maybe what I should say is "I've moderated the bread".  And what has that meant to me?  It means I've had to revamp literally my entire way of eating.  I can't just grab a sandwich anymore.  I have to plan, and I have to make smart choices.  And (ugh) sometimes I have to spend more money (it takes a lot of expensive vegetables to fill the hunger-hole a footlong sub would plug).

But two weeks in I'm down weight, up in energy, and stronger.  And I don't need to know anything more than that.

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