How to optimally fuel your travelling athlete

The kiddo had a blast travelling with these guys…till he got sick, that is.

My son has just arrived home from a week long absence as he played a huge soccer tournament in Cebu. He is often travelling to play the sport he loves, competing in the biggest junior events of the Philippines, like Thirsty Cup (this trip), Ceres Cup in Bacolod, Palarong Pambansa in Vigan, and Pilipinas Cup in Clark…not to mention many cities he goes to in-between those big ones.

Sadly, he got sick during the trip and played all his matches with a fever. In fact, the on-site medic did not allow him to play the last match, where his team lost to the eventual champions in a tense and heartbreaking quarterfinal match.

While I could blame many factors for his sudden sickness, like the city’s dirt, the multiple-hour video game binge he had with a cousin the day before the matches started, the heat, and so on; I cannot ignore that we forgot to pack some things for his performance and health, things that he badly needed.

This unfortunate turn of events made me reflect: what are the travelling essentials needed for my son’s optimum performance? Soccer is an intense sport often played under intense heat, and so every trip has to be planned carefully so that he’s peaked and ready to win.

Of course, perfect planning doesn’t always happen (like this trip), even after years of travelling the circuit; but what does it look like when you nail it? Here’s what I think should be packed to optimally fuel your favorite athlete. Ready? Let’s go!

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Ditch commercial sports drinks and make your own

I am not a fan of sports drinks.

For one, they’re not a frugal choice at all. Each of these bottles cost P40-60 and after a hard soccer match, my son can guzzle down one whole bottle in a single sitting. In a festival-type tournament, he plays 4-5 matches in a single day, so I can spend P300 a day just on the sweet stuff! Now, if it’s a tournament that my teen daughter also competes in, that amount can easily double: P600 per day for sports drinks alone!! That’s nuts.

But that’s not the worst part.  The worst part is reserved for what they actually are: basically non-carbonated soda. They’re full of sugar (almost as much as actual sodas), artificial flavors and colors, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or even artificial sweeteners like sucralose, and not much else outside of the electrolytes they’re touted to provide the thirsty athlete.

But don’t take my word for it. Studies have vindicated my opinion on these drinks. Check out this article, as well as this one.

What I do instead is to come up with my own electrolyte drink that’s much better for my kids and for my wallet as well. I have two recipes, which are:

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