MAKE YOUR OWN EN­ERGY BAR

Mandate - - Sport -

Any se­ri­ous ath­lete knows that nu­tri­tion is a crit­i­cal part of fit­ness—you got to stoke the fires to keep the boiler boil­ing. Ev­ery day, it seems, there are new en­ergy bars, gels, and drinks on the mar­ket to help ath­letes max­imise work­outs and im­prove per­for­mance. Some are bet­ter than oth­ers, but as a chef and a cy­clist, I’m al­ways wary of throw­ing down gobs of pro­cessed foods on the bike. So, I try to ad­here to this phi­los­o­phy: Liq­uids are for hy­dra­tion, and foods should be whole foods—noth­ing pro­cessed, no junk.

So does this mean we have to scrap en­ergy bars and gels com­pletely? Well, no, but look for min­i­mally pro­cessed prod­ucts that aren’t overly sugar-laden. Or bet­ter, start mak­ing your own. Not only are they a hell of a lot more de­li­cious than your av­er­age pack­aged bar, but they’re not very hard to make. I break down my work­out foods into three zones: be­fore, dur­ing, and after. Of course, there are plenty of com­pli­cated tests to fig­ure out your meta­bolic rate and dial in ex­actly how many and what sort of calo­ries you should be eat­ing, but that’s too much sci­ence for me. I ad­here to this ba­sic ap­proach.

PRE- WORK­OUT

While dis­cussing his diet plan, New York’s star chef and ath­lete, Sea­mus Mullen gives out his se­cret recipe for a home­made en­ergy bar.

Nor­mally, I follow a pretty low- carb reg­i­men, but be­fore a work­out I’ll add in more carbs with a good dose of healthy fat. Lately, I’ve been mak­ing sa­vory Ir­ish oats. I’ll crisp up some ba­con to stir in as you would with a risotto, fin­ish­ing with some good ched­dar, a dol­lop of grass-fed but­ter, and some chia seeds. I’ll top this with a fried egg. And if I’m go­ing re­ally hard, I’ll add av­o­cado.

DUR­ING THE WORK­OUT

Once I’m out on the bike, I keep my­self well-hy­drated and try to main­tain a bal­ance of sugar, carbs, fat, and pro­tein, tak­ing care to min­imise my sugar con­sump­tion un­til the last 45 min­utes. To en­sure I don’t have too much glycemic yo-yoing, I’ll save any­thing with sugar (such as maple syrup, dried fruit, or dark choco­late) for the end, when I need a fi­nal boost. I like to make my own bars from nat­u­ral per­for­mance food. I cut them in squares and wrap them in waxed pa­per, and I have a per­fect meal on the go.

POST- WORK­OUT

There is a lot of in­for­ma­tion out there on post-work­out food, and, while I’m sure there’s some ad­e­quate sci­ence be­hind it, I try to sched­ule my work­outs so that they end in time for a real meal, with a good bal­ance of vegetables, fat, and pro­tein. I think a lot of peo­ple have a ten­dency to over­load on pro­tein after work­outs, rather than fo­cus­ing on a bal­anced, healthy meal. Re­mem­ber, most of us are not ul­tra- en­durance ath­letes with five per­cent body fat! My fa­vorite post­work­out meal? A salad of dark leafy greens, lots of vegetables, some av­o­cado, an egg or two, and some sar­dines. Good veg, good fat, good pro­tein.

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