Twirlie Hot Dogs to the Refueling Rescue

Peanut Butter Crackers and Candy Bars

Some of the more popular finger foods at convenience stores include peanut butter crackers or a candy bar. Below are just a few of the many choices:

Toasty Peanut Butter Crackers

Total calories: 180
  • Carbohydrate calories: 64 -- Percentage of total: 36%
  • Protein calories: 24 -- Percentage of total: 13%
  • Fat calories: 81 -- Percentage of total: 45%

PayDay Peanut Caramel Bar

Total calories: 240
  • Carbohydrate calories: 108 -- Percentage of total: 45%
  • Protein calories: 15 -- Percentage of total: 6%
  • Fat calories: 117 -- Percentage of total: 49%

Snickers Bar

Total calories: 280
  • Carbohydrate calories: 140 -- Percentage of total: 50%
  • Protein calories: 14 -- Percentage of total: 5%
  • Fat calories: 126 -- Percentage of total: 45%

So What?

If you're an endurance cyclist, more than likely you've consumed convenience store or fast food items during a long group ride. If what you consumed maintained or increased your ride performance, that's exactly what you want. (And I've seen athletes ride just fine on twirlie hot dogs and other convenience delicacies.) Keep track of what you ate and how you did so you can have repeat performances later in the season.

If the pit stop left you feeling worse and your performance decline is not related to a lack of training, take a look at what you consumed during the stop.

From the data in the column, it is easy to see that adding sugary drinks increases the carbohydrate percentage of a sandwich or other snack. Carbohydrate is the macronutrient most easily absorbed by the body.

Adding protein and fat to a pure carbohydrate solution slows the body's caloric absorption. Even a pure carbohydrate product cannot be easily absorbed by the body if the product is too concentrated or is made of an ingredient that the individual athlete cannot tolerate.

There is anecdotal evidence indicating many endurance athletes prefer to include some fat and protein with carbohydrates in their fuel mix during training sessions exceeding three hours. The exact breakdown of the carbohydrate, fat and protein content is not clear and there appear to be some individual differences in preference and tolerance. It also appears that many athletes can tolerate higher levels of fat and protein in training compared to racing.

During physical activity, if you have food in your stomach but it isn't moving fast enough to be digested and absorbed, there is a problem. This is similar to having a full tank of gas in your car, but the line between the tank and the engine is pinched, reducing fuel flow. In each case, performance is hampered.

If twirlie hot dogs, burgers or other fast foods do not maintain or improve your performance, take a look at your fuel mix to see what you can do to change and improve. Read labels, and use books and online resources to evaluate what fuel mix makes your engine roar.

Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic coach for both the men's and women's teams. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's pre-built, easy-to-follow training plans. For more information, click here. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.

      • The NutriBase Nutrition Facts Desk Reference, Avery Publishing
      • Product labels

Related Articles:

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      • Make Your Own Homemade Energy Gel

      • Meals on Wheels

      • Fueling Up for the Ride

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