Caught of the day on a river kayak tour
Today’s topic is about sport nutrition, but not in the sense of what you should eat for a long-term training but rather how to choose the appropriate food configuration depending on the activity.
I always have the feeling when I read specialised nutrition pages, etc. That they overload you with tons of technical information but in the end I have no idea what exactly would be better to bring.
Many of you out there practice a bunch of sports (like me) with completely different modes when it comes to the “allowed weight”, travel distance, time on the road, etc.
Now, this is not a comprehensive guide on what to choose exactly depending your metabolism and other important factors -if you plan to take your body to the extreme but-, this is what works very good for me depending on the activity.
I’m going to stick to weekend-long activities (2 days, 1 night) to make it -even more- simple. Here it goes!
Lorenz leading the pitch of a two-day alpine mission to sky down on the other side of the mountain.
Let’s say you have that crucial objective in mind which requires you to go ultra-light but you’re still going to be demanding quite a bit from your organism in terms of fuel.
Well, the best advice here is: before the actual climb, get a good carb-load program a few days prior the climb, this way you will have the necessary amounts of glycogen to go through the mission.
Once on the climb I discovered that what really works is honey. Whether you carry it in a small bag or you buy a fancy gel packaging, honey has the ability to keep you going for a long period of effort.
Honey Stinger is my brand of choice.
I pack 4 of these puppies when I go for a two day climb to keep me going through the day. However, you’re going to need some solids, especially at the bivy.
I always sacrifice a bit of weight in favor of carrying a thermos with hot beverage. Nothing replaces the feeling of getting hot tea after a day of freezing yourself out there.
Load it with sugar or honey (preferable) to get an extra boost.
Now for the hardcore stuff. I always bring a couple of snickers but we all know that won’t cut it. You still have to be able to climb the entire next day.
The solution to this is to carry a pack of Peronin® which you can call “liquid nutrition”. ‘Regardless of what you might think, it works.
Not something I would rely for more than a day but, it surely does the job for a weekend mission. You will fill full and energized (which is creepy) but what the heck. If astronauts do it, then it will work for you as well.
Making adjustments to the front wheel on a long tour
Enduro Mountain Biking
I’d say this one is a bit more permissive on the weight but, then again, no one wants to be carrying unnecessary thing, right?
Since this I practice in the summer I can easily carry just a thin sleeping bag and the rest of my backpack is for the essentials like water and some tools and spares.
When it comes to food and considering that you’re not going to be hanging from the vertical plane, I always take a tiny stove and a pack of Trek ‘N eat.
A titanium mug will go a long way to saving weight and allow you to boil water for your meal. I carry a separate container with precisely the clean water I need for the food, since my drinking water for the day contains magnesium and things I don’t really want in my meal :)
Trek N Eat is a great brand but I also use Forestia (tastier but heavier) You can pick your prefered one here, of course.
I stay away from gels in activities like this one because I tend to get a dry mouth and the last thing I want is to suck on some sticky gel that makes me feel worse. I do carry 3 or 4 pieces of hard candy. These ones (if sweet-sour) will make you feel energized and not so dry.
Granola bars are also something that in a hot day will make me feel more miserable than replenished. I discovered that dry fruit works way better and it is still light and tasty. Plus you can chew on those regularly.
High Altitude Paddle in Patagonian Glacial Lakes
Nothing like a two day kayak session on that hidden lake to make you feel adventure right, well. The kayak is probably the less restrictive one when it comes to weight because you can haul a lot.
So, let’s skip the part where you can actually pack a ton of your favorite food for when you set up camp and let’s concentrate on the kayak’s weak point: accessibility.
I use a couple of Oru Kayaks normally but most open water ones have the same configuration and although the front pocket is supposed to be easy to access, this is not entirely true.
Especially if you have a good PFD that will make you a bit bulky. However the pockets on the PFD are sealed an the best access for food.
What I love the most when kayaking is to have something salty to come along with my regular water supply. I do kayak in winter but the whole dry-suit thing makes it a bit annoying as an activity so, I rather do this in the summer.
The best option I found so far is to have sliced salty-almonds . Why are they special? Well, other than the salt component the thin slices will be easy to chew and move quickly around the mouth. They use very little space and give tons of energy.
Things you eat will get wet when kayaking so consider not having anything sweet that will make you sticky and uncomfortable. Believe it or not a set of sticky hands it’s pretty annoying.
Long-distance touring at the Jungfraujoch area
Ahhh one of my favorites. Nothing like making a hole in the snow and snug in with your partner so you can both freeze, lol.
Consider this situation as something similar to Alpine climbing, although the weight situation is a tiny bit more permissible.
Depending on the conditions you have to consider that food or fluid will get frozen, hence the honey on the previous activity.
This case, however, offers the advantage of cooking something warm where on climbing it becomes more tricky and it’s better to avoid it if you can.
If you plan to do a good bivy while touring you can also carry the stove and the option we had on the bike tour but, if you can’t be bothered with this, the next best thing is to rely on some good beef jerky.
Man I love beef jerky...it’s salty, light and delicious and it will help you survive a night with ease. If you happen to have the stove at hand, boiling a bit of snow and some pieces of jerky will provide you with a wonderful short soup that will lift your spirit.
Throw a few pieces of dry fruit in it and you have a perfect meal
Well gents, I hope these tips are useful for the next time you feel like going out and don’t know what to pack. Obviously the options are endless but, like I said at the beginning, these ones have proven over time to be really great sources of energy, lightweight to carry and perfectly fit the activity!