The truth is, sports is one of the hardest hit industry by this pandemic. Athletes and coaches alike were left frustrated due to the uncertainty of their return to their normal lives.
But as what I have been saying to the elite athletes I am helping, “at least we’ve got additional time to prepare” for our target competition. Staying optimistic is inevitable to be able to stay afloat and adjust to this “new normal”.
Another way of coping is by learning new things to keep oneself busy. For endurance athletes, like cyclists, now is the perfect time to explore new fueling strategies. One promising in-training/race fuelling strategy that has been gaining attention is the use of pureed potatoes. Based on a study published in October 2019 in the Journal of Applied Physiology, this whole-food based sports fuel has been found to be just as effective as carbohydrate energy gels, which are commonly consumed by endurance athletes during trainings and races.
To make the potato puree:
boil some peeled potatoes in water
add some salt or chicken cubes for added flavor
mash or puree in a blender using some of the water used for boiling
pack in ice water or ziplock bags
Consuming potatoes to fuel prolonged exercise sessions provides not just carbohydrates but also other vitamins and minerals that can aid in optimum sports performance.
Some of which are as follows:
Iron - helps in maximizing oxygen delivery in the body and to the working muscles
Vitamin B6 - helps in energy production
Vitamin C - antioxidant, aids in collagen production, and supports iron absorption
Potassium - an electrolyte needed for muscle function
Also, the addition of savory or salty pureed potatoes as part of race-feeding program can:
help address issues of flavor fatigue caused by frequent consumption of sugar-based carbohydrate fuels (i.e. gels and sports drinks),
can lessen training or race day nutrition costs, and
may help reduce gastric distress in some athletes
On a final note, just like with any other nutrition regimen, it is best to practice this strategy a couple of times to see and feel the body’s response in terms of digestion and performance.
Reference: Salvador et al. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2019. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00567.2019.
Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Potatoes USA - Philippines, but all opinions stated above are my own.