It’s not uncommon for many people to start the year with a “resolution.” Many of which revolve around fitness, to achieve their “body goals” by summer. I wasn’t a fan of thinking of fitness only at the start of the year, but this year I’m joining the bandwagon.
The sudden loss of physical activities during the lockdowns took a serious toll on my physique that towards the end of the year, I felt like I was living in somebody else’s body. I lost significant muscle mass and reduced my strength to just around half in some areas. I also gained fat. Depressing, but somehow, I was able to overcome the “self-pity phase.” I made it a point to continue my gym membership to force myself to workout. Thinking about the money you’re spending is a good way of motivating yourself to go to the gym!
But as everything seems to be getting crazy expensive lately while my income stays the same, I started exploring cheaper alternatives to the things that I used to buy for “motivation.” One of the feasible ideas that I thought of was using potatoes as an alternative to energy gels or a post-workout snack. Yes, potatoes!
Since I started cooking for myself last year, potatoes have become one of my favorite ingredients. They are easily available, relatively cheap, don’t spoil easily (even at room temperature), and they can go with so many dishes (be as a side or part of the dish itself). I have an inclination to baby potatoes as they normally are cheaper than the big ones (in my location at least) and I don’t have to slice them as many times to get to the size I prefer. I also prefer to keep their skin on for dietary fiber.
A quick online search can give you lots of articles about potatoes fueling workouts. Even I have numerous articles that show how versatile and underrated potatoes are. Nutrition-wise, they have a lot of things that our body needs during physical activities like running. Some of which are:
- Carbohydrates – Carbohydrate is the primary fuel for your brain and a key source of energy for muscles. The carbohydrates stored in our body are limited and may be depleted – even in a single session of intense and/or prolonged exercise – it’s important to replenish them. A medium (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato contains 26 grams of carbohydrates.
- Potassium – Potatoes have even more potassium than a medium-size banana. A medium (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato contains 620 milligrams of potassium, an important electrolyte that aids in muscle, cardiovascular and nervous system function.
- Protein – As a key component of muscle, protein is an important nutrient for athletic performance. A medium-size (5.3 oz) potato has 3 grams of protein. Some research suggests that consuming carbohydrate along with protein post exercise may aid in recovery.
I actually found suggestions of mixing bacon or cheese with mashed potatoes and you have a cost-effective alternative to energy gels! And if you tend to get hungry after a workout (and eat whatever is nearby), you may try bringing along some baked or air fried potato wedges (with skin and some salt to taste) as a quick hunger buster.
2020 is over and it’s time to recover. I already lost too many things last year, I can’t afford to lose any more in 2021. Sure, the pandemic is still here, but we have to adapt if we’re to survive. We have to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of others. And we must find “creative” ways to motivate ourselves into action.