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Alternative Nutrition without energy gels and bars?

Hi all, I have signed up to my first 70.3 (Mallorca, this May). It will be my 3rd triathlon including Alpe d'Huez last summer. Training is going fine but my concern is race day nutrition. Following years of constant flus, sore throats, lethargy and chest infections, which curtailed my training and resulted in far too many courses of antibiotics, I sought advice from a homeopathy doctor. After some tests, I was diagnosed with candida overgrowth and put on a strict diet which ruled out sugars of any form (including honey, agave, etc). The results have been great and these days I feel full of energy and much healthier. I cheat sometimes by eating a homemade flapjack made with honey or a homemade energy bar made with dates and nuts.

However, as my training ramps up, I am starting to feel the adverse effects of no gels, no energy drinks and no energy bars when out for a long ride. I can't even imagine trying to race without them! I am reluctant to start introducing sugary foods again as I have worked so hard to rid myself of the candida overgrowth. I appreciate I may have to do this, but I wondered if anyone has suggestions for alternative race day fueling and nutrition strategy?  E.g. Could I rely on slow release energy sources over the race or will I just bonk? Has anyone else tried out a healthier alternative to the usual bars and drinks? A tough ask I know!


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425

    Graham Obree recommends jam sarnies as the best ride nutrition. May want to use a conserve with lower sugar rather than a jam though. How about cooked rice, especially the Thai sticky stuff, freshly cooked and easy flavoured and made up into small foil wrapped parcels

    I'm sure the sugars in most gels etc are quickly used up by the body during a race or long training ride so they may not hang around the body long enough to have a negative effect as long as you are depleted at the end. Your nutritionist should be able to advise

  • Kate 84Kate 84 Posts: 2

    Thanks! I like the rice suggestion. Will give it a go. Just came across Chia Energy Gel by 33Shake which looks great - it still has sugar, but at least it's more natural. 

  • Hi Kate84.

    I have a similar problem and I started using the Forever Living aloe gel and shake, it has transformed my training and racing.

    Please feel free to message me for any information and good luck with your training.

  • Hi Guys,


    Mid race nutrition is a common problem for most ultra-distance athletes, and it usually takes a lot of time to find what works best with you. I recommend people to stay clear of any solids during a race and stick to the liquids. There are many different shakes out there either which you can make yourself or if you visit a site like Bulk Powders they tend to have a lot. A honey and lemon drink with a pinch of salt works wonders for myself. 

    Contact me at: https://www.facebook.com/PerformanceScienceNutrition?ref=bookmarks

  • Hi, I have come to triathlon from a ultra marathon background and whilst doing long run training found that energy gels would often give me a quick lift and then I would get a rebound low.  This set me on a mission to find alternatives to the energy gel/ manufactured approach to race nutrition, I decided to take a leaf out of the Moroccans book and try dates, dried fruit and nuts; a lot of the Moroccan runners eat these to sustain themselves over the course of the Marathon De Sables.  Since trying this approach I never seem to get the highs and lows associated with manufactured products and can sustain myself for extended periods with limited intake; on a fasted six hour bike ride I will normally take in 2 bananas, 4/ 5 dates and a small handful of nuts.  Hope that's of some help and good luck with the training.

  • I suggest that you go for fruits. They are the best ones you could intake. Make sure not to consume too much of them, because too much is always dangerous. 

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