Easy Homemade Race Fuel

Tuesday already? Today in our nutrition series we have blog post from Deb Gleason. Deb is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and vegan triathlete as well as co-founder of Wellness Warrior Coaching, a whole foods nutrition and multisport performance coaching company. Deb works with people to help them transition to a whole foods, plant-based diet to help them achieve their health, fitness, and performance goals. 

Living with someone who is training for an Ironman triathlon has me thinking about all kinds of good whole foods that will help boost the performance of endurance athletes.  The following recipe is an adaptation from a gel recipe found in Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet.  I found the original was not liquid enough to actually squeeze out of a gel flask.  This is a fresh tasting alternative to those super gummy and hard to swallow commercial gels.  I have added some nutritional information so you will know how long the gel will fuel you.

Fresh Lemon Gel

6 fresh Medjool dates with pits removed
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup agave syrup

Chop up dates and add dates and the remaining ingredients to a food processor or strong blender and blend until very smooth.  Use a fine mesh strainer to remove any of the chunky parts that remain and pour into a gel flask.  (Save the chunky parts and roll into a ball for a great high energy snack before you leave the house)

Note: test your flask before you head out the door.  If you did not strain it well enough it may not flow well and you will struggle to get your nutrition which is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

A bit about the sugars: Dates are high in glucose and help bring quick energy to working muscles.  Agave syrup is an easily digestible, slow-release carbohydrate which contains an abundance of trace minerals.  It is high in fructose so it is a nice compliment to the glucose found in dates.

This recipe is the equivalent to approx. 9 commercial gels and will provide you with 900 calories236 g of carbs and 900 mg of sodium. Commercial gels will be in the range of 90-100 calories and 21-25g of carbs and about 60mg sodium.

The nice part is there is no wasted packaging and the gel tastes fresh and it is easier to consume than commercial gels because it pours out of the flask and into your mouth and does not have to be squeezed.

It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen in a gel flask for a month, just defrost the night before your training event or race.


Be sure to visit Deb’s website and feel free to contact her directly at 613-290-8733 or drop her an email. Deb is also on Twitter: @debgleason.