Fuel For The Journey
Spring is in the air and it’s a great time to be in the Tahoe/Reno area if you’re an outdoorsy person. However, the worst thing while adventuring is when you feel yourself start to get a little hangry (irritable as the result of hunger) and you don’t have enough fuel to keep your body running at optimal performance.
During any adventure making sure you fuel your body properly will help keep you going at optimal speed. Here are 5 nutrition tips to make sure you are properly fueling for your journey!
1. Do the pre-nutrition work. Depending on your adventure you’ll have done the prep work of obtaining all the correct gear. Ideally, you’ll also make sure that in the days leading up to your adventure you are fueling your body properly so that it is ready to perform. You can’t expect your body to perform optimally if you’re not putting good fuel in your tank. Making sure that you are focusing on eating carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables), as this is your body's preferred energy, and good protein sources will help you have the strength to tackle any challenge. Furthermore, starting off adequately hydrated makes it easier to keep up with your fluid needs with adventuring.
2. Have a nutrition game plan. A few things to consider is how long will your adventure last? Will you be eating while you move or have time to sit down and eat? How will you be transporting your food? Choosing foods that are nonperishable, relatively light weight and nutritiously dense are key. One nutritional aspect often overlooked is that altitude and exposure to cold (think skiing or snowboarding adventures) can increase your energy needs due to thermoregulation and appetite suppression. Keeping your food and fluids easily accessible allows you to refuel often and prevent energy depletion.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!! Perspiration is a result of your body in motion. Even being slightly dehydrated can impact your performance so drink before you feel thirsty. A good rule of thumb is to have about 2 liters worth of fluids for every hour of your adventure although that may increase/decrease depending on temperatures and the actual activity you are doing. If your activity is fairly strenuous, a sports drink may be indicated as they can assist with fluid retention and provide carbohydrates to help meet nutritional needs.
4. Small frequent snacks throughout the day will keep you at the front of the pack. Choosing snacks such as Tahoe Trail Bars, fresh fruit, dried fruit or nuts and jerky are a few good examples. Everyone has different nutritional needs but an estimated 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour can help maintain endurance and prevent/delay fatigue. However, make a note of which foods are well tolerated by your stomach and at what frequency. Too much intake of certain foods can sometimes lead to stomach discomfort. It's a good idea to experiment with timing and products prior to your adventure. (Ask me later about the time I drank a vanilla steamer and about 5 cookies prior to running a race. I won... but at the finish line I don't know if I'd say I was the real winner. I learned that is NOT optimal fuel for my adventure)
5. Post adventure makes sure to refuel your body. The ideal window to refuel is within 30 minutes but even if it takes you longer, get that fuel in! If you've worked your muscles aid them in recovery by give them some protein! Put that energy back into your muscles and liver with adequate carbohydrate intake. If your urine is darker than the color of apple juice then you are most likely dehydrated and need to get some fluids in; pale yellow is normally the color you're looking for.
With nutrition, the key is always to listen to your body and decide not only what is satisfying, but also what fuels your journey. Food is fuel! Consuming adequate carbohydrates, protein and fluids will keep you at optimal performance.
See you on the trail my friends, and be sure that you are properly fueling for your journey!
I got my undergraduate degree in Nutrition at the University of Nevada- Reno and my masters degree from Baylor. I was a dietitian for the Air Force but separated at the rank of Captain and moved back to Reno to be closer to family. I work full-time as a Registered Dietitian, I am a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and have my own business Battle Born Nutrition. Between work, being a mom to my 2.5-year-old son and my own adventures, I’m pretty busy.
As a Registered Dietitian and a mom, what I put in my mouth or my son's mouth is important. Food is fuel and I want our bodies to be running on premium. Additionally, more and more evidenced-based literature is showing the great benefits of a plant-based diet.
Follow Crescent @battlebornnutrition_nv
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