Nothing can ruin an adventure in the outdoors more than being hungry all day. Well… besides being thirsty all day. And when it comes to fueling your body for more strenuous activities, it’s not all about what you’re eating during, but before and after as well. Though some lucky ducks can devour pints of ice cream and Oreos before running to the top of a 14er, others (myself included) have stomachs and muscles that quickly make sure we know that’s not the sort of fuel they’re looking for. To help alleviate those stomach pains, we’ve come up with a few suggestions to fuel your body to help keep you away from the cat hole and keep you crushing.
Preparation comes in more ways than just having the proper gear. Your body needs proper nutrients to perform at its best, and you don’t want to start on an empty tank. Realistically, all bodies are different, and it’s great to keep a notebook and try different meals and see how your body reacts. A good pre-activity hydration routine can help prepare your muscles for what they are about to endure. A great way to keep your hydration in check? Check out your pee! Pale yellow to transparent typically indicates a properly hydrated body. Try adding electrolyte supplements to make sure your sodium levels stay in check, and pay attention to how much you are drinking the day before, you want to stay hydrated but not over hydrate.
When it comes to food, a healthy meal the evening before a big adventure can help start your body off strong. Fueling your body with a rounded meal including vegetables, carbs, and protein can help set you up for success. Carbs are stored as glycogen, the most easily accessible form of energy, so they can help with providing energy that is quickly used by the body. Try different variations of foods and write them down along with how your body feels the next day to hone in on your best pre- adventure meals.
Once you hit the trails, climbing wall, or powder-packed mountains, it’s important to listen to your body. Depending on your sport, make sure to have easily accessible water, either in a bladder or water bottle. Keep in mind, it’s possible for water to freeze when adventuring in colder water, so an insulated bladder could be key. When working your body hard, make sure to replenish electrolytes, which are mostly lost through sweat. Some of our favorite brands that make electrolyte supplements are Nuun, Skratch Labs, and plain ol’ coconut water.
When it comes to food, often we need quick energy and protein for muscle repair. Because of their minimal weight and ability to provide our bodies with carbs, proteins, and fats, trail bars, energy chews, and energy gels are a great go to when out in nature. Make sure to check out ingredients, as certain snacks claim a variety of health benefits, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy for you. Some of our favorite brands include RX Bars which boast minimal ingredients so you know exactly what you are eating, Clif Bars which offer organic snacks with sustainable sourcing, Honey Stinger who creates snacks to provide you quick and healthy energy, and KIND which offers whole ingredients like nuts and dried fruit. Never underestimate the power of non processed foods, too. Nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables can help provide healthy energy to keep you adventuring all day long. Listen to your body and see how it reacts to different types of energy, and always keep in mind that just because a method works for your friend, doesn’t necessarily mean it will power you through a tough trail run.
After you’ve crushed your trail run or finally topped out on your bouldering project, you crash on the ground in a heap of exhaustion and stoke. Thing is, your body is still working. You need nutrients to stop muscle breakdown, as well as repair and build the muscle that will help your next adventure. Post workout snacks should include a healthy balance of protein and carbs, as protein will help with muscle recovery and carbs will replenish your body’s glycogen levels. A good balance of protein to carb post adventure snack is typically recognized as a 3:1 (carbs to protein) ratio. If you’re out on a multi-day trip, eating more carbs is typically more important than those who have a one day adventure or workout as it will help restore more easily accessible energy. Post-adventure fuel can come in many forms, including protein shakes, protein bars, or tasty foods like eggs and pasta. It’s best to eat your post-workout snacks within 45 minutes to help minimize protein breakdown and maximize protein synthesis.
Proper hydration post-workout is also key as well. If you’re thirsty, your body is telling you to drink water. Make sure to aid your muscles with recovery by properly hydrating them.
When it comes to hydration and what you eat before, during, and after any outdoor adventure, the key is to listen to your body and make sure you are keeping it fueled for top performance. Being hydrated, as well as operating on a body fueled with good food can make or break any activity, and leave you feeling miserable or running into the woods for some one-on-one time with your trowel. Fuel for success, and you’ll be able to conquer any climbing wall, river, and ski run.
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We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More