As many of us enjoy outdoor activities, we must understand the importance of proper nutrition. Weather conditions, terrain, and current fitness levels can factor different results of how much energy one consumes. As the energy continues to burn during prolonged events the need for replacement is unavoidable. Many cyclist, adventure racers, and hikers carry nutrition bars and gels to supplement lost energy during their excursions. Lost energy can reduce performance, and increase the chances of injury.
Pre-activity foods essential for success
Before a prolonged endurance event such as Adventure Racing, Mountain Biking, or any other activity that requires several hours to complete, it is important to eat the proper pre-exercise foods. The key to successful pre-exercise foods is to avoid eating items that cause gastrointestinal problems. Some of us have experienced the horrors and panic that involves getting caught a few miles out on trail, no bathroom in site, and serious stomach problems. Caution will always play a factor after such circumstances.
Each person is unique about how their body reacts to different foods. It is safe to say that some people posses an iron-clad stomach, while others are extremely sensitive. For those that are sensitive some safe pre-exercise foods include; plain bagels, bananas, and dry cereals.
Fueling during prolonged events
Hydration and eating during any prolonged event is essential for success. If the event permits it, pack items such as; Sports drinks, oatmeal raisin cookies, trail mix, and energy bars. Any type of fruit that can handle the wear and tear of outdoor events is always recommended. Basically, the trick is to eat light, and eat small. You want to avoid operating on a heavy stomach; feeling bloated and lethargic will reduce performance. On the same note, be careful with fluid intakes; avoid cramps by consuming fluids in moderation.
Nutritional eating is essential for maximum performance for outdoor enthusiast. The more extreme the activity, the higher the need for replenishment.
Recovery meals for post activities
Remember not to forget about the recovery of fluids and foods. When it comes to post-exercise, many nutritionist will preach about the 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Broken down this means, eat a high carbohydrate meal such as pasta, and supplement it with a portion of protein such as a piece of chicken.
Some excellent recovery meals include:
- A can of V8 with a chicken salad sandwich
- Fruit juice with cheese and crackers
- Fruit smoothie and a turkey sub
Remember that your body is a machine. It requires fuel to start, it needs fuel to run, and it needs some attention in between movements. Putting the right fuels in your body will increase efficiency, maximize your performance, and you will enjoy whatever activity you pursue even more.