As a Spartan myself, I'm tough. But if I'm on a course without any snacks, I will have a meltdown. After all, who likes to race (or do anything, really) while hangry? But instead of shelling out lots of cash for all sorts of shots and gums and chews, I developed my own DIY running fuel recipe.
Enter my mocha honey protein sticks.
The primary ingredient, honey, is an excellent foundation for race-day fuel. It's a natural source of glucose and fructose, which are two sugars that will keep your body primed for peak performance. The natural carbs in honey feed your brain to prevent, or at least delay, it from telling your central nervous system (aka the control center of your body) that you’ve been running for too long.
Related Link: Honey: Food of the Week
For exercise that lasts more than two hours, which are most Spartan Races, it's a good idea to include protein to help prevent muscle breakdown. A 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein works fine. I’ve used soy protein powder in this homemade energy gel for its specific amino acid profile, which many experts cite is the best for long-distance events.
Also included in this easy DIY running fuel recipe: a bit of blackstrap molasses and salt to pump up the electrolytes potassium and sodium, plus a shot of espresso for the caffeine, which is a proven (and legal) performance enhancer.
To make the mocha honey protein fuel, you just need to whiskey together the five ingredients. Even easier, you can prevent a stick whisk by dumping all of the ingredients into an empty honey bottle (or any bottle) and giving it a good shake. Then, you pour this fuel into a small race flask or, as I show here, make it into sticks crafted from plastic drinking straws.
Getting the gel into the straws is easy, but it may take you a couple of tries to perfect sealing the ends (more on that later). You can make the straws full length, or cut them to any size to fit a pocket. They're not pictured, but I prefer to use “fat” straws when available because they hold more honey mix.
To use the energy straws, simply tear off the top with your teeth, slurp up the contents, and then be sure to dispose of the straw properly.
Each serving (one-fifth of the recipe) has 100 calories, 0.5g fat, 21g carbohydrates, 3.8g protein, 264mg sodium, 150mg potassium, and about 10mg caffeine.
Related Link: 5 Mistakes You're Making With Your Smoothies
Mocha Honey Protein Sticks
• ⅓ cup chocolate protein powder • 1 ounce espresso (or water if preferred) • 5 tablespoons honey • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses • ½ teaspoon salt
• 5 drinking straws • Candle • Needle-nose pliers
- Warm the honey in the microwave for 10 seconds.
- Either whisk all 5 ingredients together in a bowl or add to an empty bottle and shake vigorously until blended.
- Clamp one end of a straw shut using needle-nose pliers, and then hold that end over a flame until it's sealed.
- Use a squirt bottle to fill the straw, leaving about a half-inch worth of space at the top.
- Now, use the pliers to repeat the sealing process on that end.
- Let the straws cool and then wipe away any leaked goo. (No refrigeration is necessary.)