T-54 days until my first half ironman. And so far, I’m feeling pretty good.
In one of my past posts I mentioned I was eating a higher-fat diet than is traditionally recommended for endurance athletes. I had tons of energy, my workouts were going well, and to be honest, I’m much more of a fat-fiend than a carb-ivore 😉
But about a month ago things started to change. My workouts weren’t feeling quite as strong as they had been and my energy levels were pretty lackluster. So in addition to upping my rest game and reducing external stressors as much as possible, I lowered my fat intake a little and started eating more carbs.
And voila – workout performance was back to normal!
I’ve still been loving my big buttery, fatty cup of coffee. It keeps me going all day on those early morning back-to-back client sessions. And it’s great either on it’s own or with some simple carbs right before one of my own workouts. But my body is feeling great with the extra serving or two of carbs each day.
I’m fascinated by how well our bodies are able to communicate what they need at any given time. Our nutritional needs fluctuate based on exercise, lifestyle habits, hormones, all that good stuff. And if you REALLY listen, you can work in sync with those fluctuations.
Fuelling Long Workouts
While I’ve made the switch to a higher-carb diet outside of my workouts, my mid-training nutrition has always been pretty carb-heavy. In the middle of a long, tough workout your body needs food that’s easily digestible for a quick burst of energy.
I’ve seen a pretty impressive video of some pro cyclists chowing down on pizza while they ride, but my stomach would completely rebel if I opted for that in the midst of a four-hour training ride.
Medjool dates have been my go-to source of fuel for long workouts, but as I’ve started logging the longer bike rides I’ve needed something a little more substantial about halfway through.
There are a few off-the-shelf bars I love, like those from Solo and Prima, but I decided to get a little creative and try to make something myself.
I used medjool dates as the base since they’re quickly converted into sustained energy without the crash most simple sugars give you. Most of my favourite energy bars have some fat, like natural nut butter or actual raw nuts. I didn’t want a melty, peanut buttery mess in my jersey so I decided to use raw nuts.
Then came the fun part. What else could go in these bars to make them extra amazing for endurance athletes? Two things immediately came to mind: ginger and ground coffee beans. Ginger is a great natural anti-inflammatory, and the caffeine helps increase your body’s carb uptake.
Add in a few more standard energy bar ingredients, like honey, coconut oil, and rolled oats, and you’ve got yourself a powerhouse energy bar that will keep you fuelled for hours!
The day after I made them I put them to the test. I had an 80km ride scheduled, which was my longest yet! And not only did they give me the energy I needed, but they tasted ah-mazing. The medjool dates held the bars together nicely despite sitting in a warm jersey pocket for a couple of hours. And that hint of coffee flavour! Coffee always motivates me to keep going.
You Will Need:
- 1 cup raw nuts (I used almonds)
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup medjool dates (I used Natural Delights Pitted Medjool Dates)
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I used syrup)
- 1 inch chopped ginger
- 1 heaping tbsp ground coffee beans
- Place almonds in a food processor and grind until they’re chopped into little bits (if you get a bit of almond pulp, that’s fine too).
- Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until all ingredients are fine and combined. You’ll likely have to scrape the sides of the bowl every so often.
- Line an 8×14 baking pan with parchment paper (or tinfoil if you don’t have any!) and press your deliciously gooey mixture flat into the pan.
- Freeze for 3+ hours then remove and cut into bars. You can make these large or small; I cut 8 larger bars, but you could definitely get 12 smaller ones.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to take one out for a ride, wrap it in saran rap but keep one end fairly loose so you can easily open it on the bike.
- Chow down and enjoy!
Pin it for later!Try these caffeinated date nut energy bars from @arianafotinakis@ #naturallysweet #endurancenutrition Click To Tweet
Have you ever made your own energy bars using dates? What are some of your favourite flavours?
This recipe was sponsored by my partnership with Natural Delights Medjool Dates. As always, all views and opinions are 100% my own. You guys know I would never lie to you!